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Vitamins: Their Role in the Human Body

ISBN: 978-1-4051-4810-8
448 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Vitamins: Their Role in the Human Body (1405148101) cover image


This single-source reference draws together the current knowledge of the vitamins’ biological properties in the context of human nutrition. Vitamins are co-enzymes, antioxidants or precursors of hormones and are therefore involved in a great many biochemical and physiological processes. They play a vital role in the maintenance of health, and there is evidence that dietary sources of vitamins have beneficial effects in the prevention of heart-related diseases, bone diseases and possibly cancer.

Following introductory chapters on historical and nutritional aspects of vitamins, the next four chapters cover relevant and detailed aspects of physiology and functional anatomy, biochemistry, immunology and the regulation of protein synthesis by nuclear hormone receptors. These background chapters, supported by a glossary of terms, provide the scientific principles upon which vitamin functions are based. The following thirteen chapters deal with each vitamin in turn. Subject areas include chemical structure, intestinal absorption, transport, metabolism, biochemical and physiological actions, immunoregulatory properties, deficiency-related diseases and potential toxicity. An extensive bibliography refers the reader to the original research literature.

Vitamins is aimed at nutritionists, biochemists, physiologists and physicians whether they be researchers, teachers or students. Food scientists, food technologists and many others working in the health professions will also find much of use and interest in the book. The inclusion of the theoretical principles in the background chapters makes the book an ideal starting point for those working outside the area who need a solid overview of the subject.

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Table of Contents



1.Historical Events Leading to the Establishment of Vitamins.

1.1 Introduction.

1.2 Early studies of nutritionally related diseases.

1.3 Experiments on formulated diets.

1.4 Naming of the Vitamins.

Further reading.


2. Nutritional Aspects of Vitamins.

2.1 Definition and classification of vitamins.

2.2 Nutritional vitamin deficiency.

2.3 Stability and bioavailability of vitamins.

2.4 Vitamin requirements.

Further reading.


3. Background Physiology and Functional Anatomy.

3.1 movement of solutes across cell membranes and epithelia.

3.2 the blood-brain, blood-cerebrospinal fluid and placental barriers.

3.3 functional anatomy of the small and large intestine, liver and kidney.

3.4 Digestion and absorption.

3.5 Glucose transport.

3.6 Digestion, absorption and transport of dietary fat.

3.7 Neural and endocrine communication systems.

3.8 Structure of bone and its growth and development.

3.9 Cell proliferation.

Further reading.


4. Background Biochemistry.

4.1 major degradation pathways in which B-group vitamins are involved as coenzymes.

4.2 Amino acid utilization.

4.3 Defences against free radicals and other reactive species.

4.4 Haemostasis.

4.5 Atherosclerosis.

Further reading.


5. Background Immunology.

5.1 General features of the immune system.

5.2 Innate immunity.

5.3 Inflammation.

5.4 Acquired immunity.

5.5 Cytokines.

5.6 Hypersensitivity.

5.7 Immune suppression.

5.8 Neuroendocrine modulation of immune responses.

Further reading.


6. The genetic Control of Protein Synthesis and its regulation by Nuclear Hormone Receptors.

6.1 Functional structure of DNA.

6.2 Role of RNA in protein synthesis.

6.3 Gene expression.

6.4 Mutation and polymorphism.

6.5 Basal transcription.

6.6 Regulated transcription.

6.7 Jun, Fos and the AP-1 complex.

6.8 Nuclear hormone receptors as regulators of protein synthesis.

Further reading.


7. Vitamin A: Retinoids and Carotenoids.

7.1 Historical overview.

7.2 Chemistry and biological functions.

7.3 Dietary sources.

7.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

7.5 Nutritional factors that influence vitamin A status.

7.6 The role of vitamin A in vision.

7.7 Retinoids as regulators of gene expression.

7.8 Effects of vitamin A on the immune system.

7.9 Role of vitamin A in bone metabolism and embryonic development.

7.10 Vitamin A and cancer.

7.11 Vitamin A deficiency and toxicity.

Further reading.


8. Vitamin D.

8.1 Historical overview.

8.2 Chemistry and biological functions.

8.3 Dietary sources.

8.4 Cutaneous synthesis, intestinal absorption, transport and metabolism.

8.5 Molecular action of the vitamin D hormones.

8.6 Calcium and phosphate homeostasis.

8.7 Immunoregulatory properties.

8.8 Effects of vitamin D on insulin secretion.

8.9 Vitamin D-related diseases.

8.10 Therapeutic applications of vitamin D.

8.11 Toxicity.

8.12 Dietary requirements.

Further reading.


9. Vitamin E.

9.1 Historical overview.

9.2 Chemistry, biopotency and units of activity.

9.3 Dietary sources.

9.4 Absorption, transport and delivery to tissues.

9.5 Antioxidant role.

9.6 Effect upon the ageing immune responses.

9.7 Vitamin E and atherosclerosis.

9.8 Vitamin E deficiency.

9.9 Dietary intake.

Further reading.


10. Vitamin K.

10.1 Historical overview.

10.2 Chemistry.

10.3 Dietary sources.

10.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

10.5 Biochemical and physiological functions.

10.6 Vitamin K deficiency.

Further reading.


11. Thiamin (vitamin B1).

11.1 Historical overview.

11.2 Chemistry and biological activity.

11.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

11.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

11.5 Biochemical functions.

11.6 Neurophysiological functions.

11.7 Vitamin B1 deficiency.

11.8 Nutritional aspects.

Further reading.


12. Flavins: Riboflavin, FMN and FAD (vitamin B2).

12.1 Historical overview.

12.2 Chemistry.

12.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

12.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

12.5 Biochemical functions.

12.6 Vitamin B2 deficiency.

12.7 Nutritional aspects.

Further reading.


13. Niacin: Nicotinic Acid and Nicotinamide.

13.1 Historical overview.

13.2 Chemistry.

13.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

13.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

13.5 Biochemical functions.

13.6 Niacin deficiency.

13.7 Nutritional aspects.

Further reading.


14. Vitamin B6.

14.1 Historical overview.

14.2 Chemistry and biological activity.

14.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

14.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

14.5 Biochemical functions.

14.6 Regulation of steroid hormone action.

14.7 Immune function.

14.8 Vitamin B6 deficiency.

14.9 Nutritional aspects.

Further reading.


15. Pantothenic Acid and Coenzyme A.

15.1 Historical overview.

15.2 Chemistry and biological activity.

15.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

15.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

15.5 Biochemical functions of coenzyme A and acyl carrier protein in cellular metabolism.

15.6 Physiological roles of coenzyme A in the modification proteins.

15.7 Deficiency in animals and humans.

15.8 Dietary intake.

Further reading.


16. Biotin.

16.1 Historical overview.

16.2 Chemistry.

16.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

16.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

16.5 Biochemical and physiological functions.

16.6 Biotin deficiency.

Further reading.


17. Folate.

17.1 Historical overview.

17.2 Chemistry.

17.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

17.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

17.5 Biochemical functions.

17.6 Homocysteine-related occlusive arterial and thrombotic diseases.

17.7 Folate and neural tube defects.

17.8 Folate deficiency.

17.9 Dietary intake.

Further reading.


18. Vitamin B12.

18.1 Historical overview.

18.2 Chemistry.

18.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

18.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

18.5 Biochemical functions.

18.6 B12 deficiency.

18.7 Dietary intake.

Further reading.


19. Vitamin C.

19.1 Historical overview.

19.2 Chemistry.

19.3 Dietary sources and bioavailability.

19.4 Absorption, transport and metabolism.

19.5 Effect of ascorbic acid upon absorption of inorganic iron.

19.6 Inhibition of N-nitroso compound formation.

19.7 Biochemical and neurochemical functions.

19.8 Role of ascorbic acid in mesenchymal differentiation.

19.9 Antioxidant role.

19.10 Immune function.

19.11 Vitamin C and cardiovascular disease.

19.12 Vitamin C deficiency.

19.13 Dietary intake.

Further reading.





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The Wiley Advantage

* comprehensive and up-to-date
* contains a vast wealth of information appearing together for the first time
* author is well-known and respected for his previous books on vitamins
* book is of interest to wide range of scientists working with vitamins
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