natural substances found in food that are necessary to keep your body healthy. Each vitamin is given a name using a letter of the alphabet, such as vitamin C, which is found in many fruits and vegetables. A vitamin deficiency is a medical condition caused by lack of vitamins.
Origin and usage
Vitamin is a word that comes from the Latin word ‘vita’ meaning ‘life’. It was originally thought that vitamins contained the essential building blocks of life and in the early 1900s the word was ‘vitamine’. Eventually, as scientific understanding of these substances advanced, the word was changed to vitamin, sometime around 1920.
The word vitamin refers to natural substances the body needs to stay healthy. Most of the vitamins humans need to live come from the foods we eat because the body either doesn’t produce enough or any at all.
Every living thing requires different combinations of vitamins in different amounts.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are all excellent food sources of vitamins. Some meat and dairy products also contain essential vitamins. One important vitamin, D, usually comes from spending time out in the sun, though it can also come from food sources.
When people don’t get the vitamins they need, they may become deficient. Being vitamin deficient means that a person has too little of a certain vitamin in their body. Vitamin deficiency can be a serious medical condition and may cause a number of health problems.
People who don’t get enough vitamins from food may choose to take supplementary pills to restore healthy vitamin levels in the body.
“Pop music is aspirin and the blues are vitamins.”
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.
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