Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs: A Comprehensive Reference Guide
to Medicinal Herbs, Human Ailments and Possible Herbal Remedies

by James Kedzie Sayre.

Copyright 2001. All rights reserved.



Vitamins: [Etymology: vitamin, from earlier vitamine, German vitamine, named in 1913 by a Polish biochemist, C. Funk (1884 - 1967) Latin vita, life + German amin, amine, so named for the mistaken notion that every vitamin contained amino acids]. A number of complex organic substances found in foods that are necessary in very small amounts for the healthy functioning of the human body.

vitamin A (provitamin)(carotene)(retinol) - a fat-soluble aliphatic alcohol, C20H29OH, found in butter, eggs, fish, milk, and other foods. Also derived from carotene found in carrots and other vegetables. A chronic deficiency can result in lowered resistance to infection, night blindness, rough skin and lack of bone growth. Chronic excess may cause such side effects as anemia, headache and weakness [Sifton].

vitamin A1 - C20H29OH, a yellow crystalline compound, extracted from fish-liver oils.

vitamin A2 - C20H27OH, a golden-yellow oil, occurring in pike-liver oils.

vitamin B - a complex of water-soluble vitamins including:

vitamin B1 (thiamine) (thiamin) - this has the formula (C12H17N4OS)Cl. Found naturally in brewer's yeast, eggs, fish, legumes, meats, nuts, poultry and whole grains. Chronic severe deficiency causes beriberi.

vitamin B2 (riboflavin) - a crystalline bright orange-yellow pigment - formula: C17H20O6N4 that is found in brewer's yeast, cheese, eggs, leafy green vegetables, meats and milk. Sometimes called lactoflavin or vitamin G. Chronic deficiency causes severe skin problems. Excess may harmlessly darken urine [Sifton].

vitamin B3 (niacin) (nicotinic acid) - this has the formula C6H5NO2. Found naturally in avocados, brewer's yeast, fish, meat, peanuts, poultry and soybeans. Chronic deficiency causes pellagra. Used against pellagra. Chronic excess produces nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. Sometimes used in the form of niacinamide. Niacinamide, also called nicotinamide, has the formula C6H6N2O and is closely related to niacin. Chronic excess of niacinamide may produce side effects as headache and nausea. Note: both niacin and niacinamide are toxic in excess and can cause liver problems. Note: long-term use of niacinamide may cause liver problems [Reader's Digest].

vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) (pantethine) - a viscous yellow liquid acid with the formula C9H17NO5. Found in brewer's yeast, eggs, meats, peanuts, soy beans, sweet potatoes and whole grains. Also prepared synthetically. It is thought to be involved in the metabolism of fats and proteins. Used in the treatment of certain anemias.

vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - a crystalline phenolic acid with the formula C8H11NO3N. It occurs naturally in bananas, eggs, salmon, soybeans, sunflower seeds, tuna, wheat and other whole grains. Within the body, pyridoxine is converted into pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. Chronic deficiency causes anemia, depression, nausea and vomiting.

vitamin B_ - (biotin) - a colorless crystalline water-soluble compound, C10H16O8N2S. It is found naturally in beans, brewer's yeast, eggs, green leafy vegetables, liver and whole grains. It is also produced by intestinal bacteria. Chronic deficiency causes depression, dermatitis, fatigue and nausea. Also called vitamin H.

vitamin B_ - (inositol) - a sweet white crystalline alcohol, with the formula C6H6(OH)6. It has nine isomeric forms. It is found naturally in beans, grapefruits, milk, liver, nuts, oranges, vegetables and whole grains. It is commercially produced from corn.

vitamin B_ - (para-aminobenzoic acid) (PABA) (p-aminobenzoic acid) - a colorless or yellowish para-substituted aminobenzoic acid that is a growth factor in the vitamin B complex. Its formula is C7H7NO2. It is found in brewer's yeast, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ and yogurt. Formerly used in suntan lotions and sunscreens: removed due to its tendency to cause dermatitis and photosensitivity as side effects.

vitamin B_ - (choline) - a viscous liquid with the formula C5H15NO2. It is essential to liver function and prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver. It is found in beans, brewer's yeast, cabbage family greens, eggs, fish, lentils, rice and soybeans. Chronic deficiency can lead to high blood pressure, bleeding in the kidneys, liver problems and heart disease [Sifton]. Note: very large doses (greater than 6,000 mg/day) can lead to side effects such as dizziness, nausea and vomiting [Sifton].

vitamin B9 (folic acid) (folate) (pteroylglutamic acid) - a yellowish-orange compound, of the formula, C19H19N7O6 - found in beans, brewer's yeast, eggs, green leafy vegetables, fruit, liver, soybeans and whole grains. Used to treat pernicious anemia. Thought to be protective against the formation of some cancers [Kronhausen]. Note: large doses (greater than 1,500 micrograms/day) can cause side effects such as intestinal gas, nausea and poor appetite [Sifton]. Note: a microgram is a very small quantity. It is one-millionth of a gram. 1,000 micrograms = 1 milligram.

vitamin B12 (cobalamin) (cyanocobalamin) (cyanocobalamine) - a red crystalline substance that is a large complex vitamin with the formula, C63H90N14O14PCo. Found naturally in cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, nutritional yeast, poultry and shellfish. Chronic deficiency causes pernicious anemia.

vitamin C (ascorbic acid) - a water-soluble acid hexose sugar, a white crystalline compound, C6H8O6, that occurs naturally in citrus fruits, tomatoes, rose hips and leafy vegetables. Use of mega-doses (over one gram/day) as a preventive measure and a remedy for the common cold was popularized by the late Dr. Linus Pauling. Sometimes found in supplements as calcium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate. A chronic deficiency causes scurvy.

vitamin D (a complex of fat-soluble vitamins) - found naturally in plants, fungi and yeast. Common sources are eggs, fish, liver, milk. Sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin." A chronic deficiency causes rickets in children and in adults (osteomalacia).

vitamin D2 (calciferol) (ergocalciferol) - a crystalline alcohol, C28H43OH.

vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) (25-hydroxy cholecalciferol) - a crystalline alcohol, C27H43OH. It is found in fungi, plants and yeast. It is also produced by the body in the presence of sunlight, and hence is sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin."

vitamin D4 - a crystalline alcohol, C29H42OH.

vitamin D5 - a crystalline alcohol, C29H47OH.

vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (tocopherol) - fat-soluble vitamin composed of viscous oil that is found in leafy vegetables, liver, nuts, soybeans, vegetable oils, wheat germ, and other foods. Its formula is C29H50O2. A deficiency causes breakage of red blood cells in premature infants. Chronic deficiency in adults causes apathy, irritability, lethargy and muscle weakness. It has three closely related forms (beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol and delta-tocopherol). Two synthetic forms of vitamin E are dl-tocopherol and vac-tocopherol. Chronic excess (more than 1,500 international units (IU)/day) may interfere with the blood's ability to clot properly [Sifton].

vitamin H - (biotin) - (now listed in the vitamin B complex).

vitamin K (a complex of fat-soluble vitamins). this is found naturally in cheese, eggs, leafy green vegetables and soybeans. It comes in two natural forms and two synthetic forms. A deficiency causes hemorrhaging in newborns. Chronic deficiency causes anemia in adults.

vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) (hytonadione) - C31H46O2. Phylloquinone is found in dairy products, alfalfa leaves and other green leafy vegetables.

vitamin K2 (menaquinone) - C41H56O2. menaquinone is produced by benign or friendly bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract. It is also found in fish meal.

vitamin K3 (menadione) - C11H8O2. a yellow crystalline powder - prepared synthetically.

vitamin K4 (menadiol) - prepared synthetically.

vitamin P - (former name for flavonoids) (see flavonoids listing in the other dietary supplements section).



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