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Vitamins belong to the essential nutritional components, i.e. they cannot be synthesized by the organism (or at least not in sufficient quantity). In contrast to (essential) amino acids and fatty acids, however, they are only used in very small amounts (daily requirement between 5 μg and 60 ) needed. The B vitamins (B.1, B2-Complex, B6, B12, H) and vitamin K are precursors of important coenzymes that are necessary for the life of all cells. Vitamins A, C, D and E, on the other hand, are only required by higher living beings.
The name vitamin is made up of vita "Life" and amine (nitrogen-containing, basic reacting organic compound). The name was initially used for thiamine (B.1) and only later (due to the incorrect assumption that all vitamins are amines) also used for the other compounds.
The vitamins are designated with capital letters for historical reasons. The vitamins are divided into two groups according to their solubility: