Vitamins are organic substances that have key roles in certain metabolic pathways. They are fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E and K) or water-soluble (vitamins of the B-complex group and vitamin C).
Vitamin deficiencies occur in older people and alcoholic patients,and are common in developing countries. Folate deficiency is usually due topoor intake and causes macrocytic anaemia and glossitis. Vitamin B12 deficiencyis usually caused by the autoimmune disorder pernicious anaemia but can occurin vegans, smallbowel overgrowth, or ileal disease or resection. Vitamin Cdeficiency (scurvy) is less common and produces extensive bruising,particularly in the elderly living alone without access to fresh fruit andvegetables (See below info graphic).
Those with alcohol dependency may eat poorly and also becomedeficient in vitamin B1 (thiamine). Small-bowel malabsorption and liver andbiliary tract disease can lead to deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins