Vitamins play a crucial role in the functions of the body. Some have specialized duties serving as chemical messengers, similar to hormones, while others are a part of enzymes termed “co-enzymes” that aid metabolic reactions in the body. When we think about the importance of vitamins, we first want to think about nutrition. “Nutrition is the science of food, the nutrients, and the substances therein, their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease and the process by which the organism ingests, digests, absorbs, transports, utilizes, and excretes food substances” (Reinhard 1998).
The term “vitamin” was derived from a Polish scientist, Casimir Funk, in 1911. The original term vitamin referred to products considered “vital to life” and were originally thought to have a nitrogen-containing component called an amine. It was later determined that not all vitamins contain an amine compound, thus the “e” was dropped from the word (Herrmann, Wolfgang, Obeid, and Rima 2011).