Vitamin deficiency high among urban adults, says NIN study

Prelims level : Health / Medicine Mains level : Biotechnology
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Scientists at the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) screened the sub-clinical status of vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B6, B12 and folate among urban adults in the twin cities and they found several vitamin deficiencies and dietary inadequacies hidden under their apparently healthy exterior.

For the first time, explored the blood levels of major vitamins along with dietary intakes of urban adults and explored the homocysteine levels which amplify the chances of non-communicable diseases like heart diseases.


  • Vitamins are organic compounds that are required in small amounts in our diet but their deficiency causes specific diseases.
  • Most of the vitamins cannot be synthesized in our body but plants can synthesize almost all of them, so they are considered as essential food factors.
  • However, the bacteria of the gutcan produce some of the vitamins required by us.
  • All the vitamins are generally available in our diet. Different vitamins belong to various chemical classes and it is difficult to define them on the basis of structure.
  • They are generally regarded as organic compoundsrequired in the diet in small amounts to perform specific biological functions for normal maintenance of optimum growth and health of the organism.
  • Vitamins are designated by alphabets A, B, C, D, etc. Some of them are further named as sub-groups e.g. B1, B2, B6, B12, etc.
  • Vitamin A keeps our skin and eyes healthy.
  • Vitamin C helps body to fight against many diseases. Vitamin C gets easily destroyed by heat during cooking.
  • Vitamin D helps our body to use calcium for bones and teeth.
  • Excess of vitamins is also harmful and vitamin pills should not be taken without the advice of doctor.
  • The term “Vitamine” was coined from the word vital + amine since the earlier identified compounds had amino groups.
  • Later work showed that most of them did not contain amino groups, so the letter ‘e’ was dropped and the term vitamin is used these days.
  • Vitamins are classified into two groups depending upon their solubility in water or fat.

Fat soluble vitamins

  • Vitamins which are soluble in fat and oils but insoluble in water are kept in this group. These are vitamins A, D, E and K. They are stored in liverand adipose (fat storing) tissues.

Water soluble vitamins

  • group vitamins and vitamin are soluble in water so they are grouped together.
  • Water soluble vitamins must be supplied regularlyin diet because they are readily excreted in urine and cannot be stored (except vitamin B12) in our body.

S.NoVitaminDeficiency Diseases
Vitamin ANight blindness
Vitamin B1 Beriberi
Vitamin B2Ariboflavinosis
Vitamin B3 Pellagra
Vitamin B5 Paresthesia
Vitamin B6 Anemia
Vitamin B7 Dermatitis, enteritis
Vitamin B9 & Vitamin B12 Megaloblastic anemia
Vitamin C Scurvy, Swelling of Gums
Vitamin D Rickets & Osteomalacia
Vitamin E Less Fertility
Vitamin K Non-Clotting of Blood.

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