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Summary of Vitamins

Vitamins are vital micronutrients that can't be synthesized endogenously or in insufficient amounts, and therefore the principal means by which we get vitamins is thru our diet. Vitamins can classify as water-soluble or fat-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat-soluble vitamins play integral roles during a multitude of physiological processes like vision, bone health, immune function, and coagulation. This review discusses the biochemistry, transport, and roles of those vitamins highlighting deficiency syndromes and potential toxicities.

Vitamin A plays an integral role within the differentiation and proliferation of epithelial cells within the eyes, salivary glands, and genitourinary tract. A may be a precursor to the nuclear hormone all-trans retinoic acid, which heterodimerizes with retinoic acid receptors (RAR) within the nucleus. RAR- retinoid X receptor heterodimers function transcription factors that bind certain elements in promoters of genes. These genes encode important structural proteins, extracellular matrix proteins, and enzymes throughout the body. Retinal, a component of axerophthol, derives its name from its ability to supply rhodopsin within the retina, thereby aiding in vision, especially in low light settings. Additionally, A stimulates T-lymphocyte differentiation and B- lymphocyte activation in response to immune stimuli.