ISSN 2398-2993      

Vitamins: overview

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Contributor(s):

Alastair Macrae

John Tulloch

Royal Dick School Veterinary Studies logoUniversity of Liverpool logo


Introduction

  • Vitamins are defined as complex organic compounds that are required in small amounts for normal growth and maintenance of living organisms (both animals and plants).
  • Vitamins are involved in numerous essential biochemical functions, including as co-enzymes.
  • Vitamins are required in very small amounts. However omission of a specific vitamin from the diet of an animal will result in specific signs of deficiency.
  • Vitamin supplementation of diets is more difficult than minerals and trace element, due to their organic nature. Many are destroyed by oxidation, and the maintenance of vitamin activity is affected by environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, chemical treatment and ultraviolet light. Thus shelf-life becomes important for vitamin supplements.
  • Vitamins are conventionally divided into two main groups:
    • Fat soluble – Vitamins A, D, E and K.
    • Water soluble – Vitamin B complex, C.

Vitamin A

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Vitamin B

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Vitamin C

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Vitamin D

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Vitamin E

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Vitamin K

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Weiss W P (2017) A 100-Year Review: From ascorbic acid to zinc-Mineral and vitamin nutrition of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 100, 10045-10060 PubMed.
  • Rothenborg A, Walter E, Berdon J, Woodard C & Cowles R (2007) Hypervitaminosis A-induced premature closure of epiphyses (physeal obliteration) in humans and calves (hyena disease): a historical review of the human and veterinary literature. Pediatric Radiology 37 (12), 1264 – 1267 PubMed.
  • Hedges J, Blowey R W, Packington A J, O'Callaghan C J & Green L E (2001) A longitudinal field trial of the effect of biotin on lameness in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 84 (9), 1969-75 PubMed.
  • Weiss W P (1998) Requirements of fat soluble vitamins for dairy cows: A review. J Dairy Sci 81, 2493 PubMed.
  • Woodard C, Donovan A & Eckhoff C (1997) Vitamin (A and D)-induced premature physeal closure (hyena disease) in calves. J Comp Pathol 116 (4), 353-66 PubMed.
  • Frye T M, Williams S N & Graham T W (1991) Vitamin deficiencies in cattle. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 7 (1), 217-75 PubMed.

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