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Chemical properties of vitamins

Vitamin A is fat soluble and is thermally stable in oxygen-free environment and can
withstand the heat of 60, 100 do 120C. But, at the air at higher temperatures (about 60C) it
decomposes rapidly, especially under acidic conditions. Sunlight also promotes vitamin A

Vitamin A

Vitamin A (retinol) is required for the formation of rhodopsin, a photoreceptor pigment in the
retina. The recommended daily amount of vitamin A for an adult man is about 5000 IU
(International Units). 900micro(men)-700micro (women)
Whole milk contains approximately 62g of vitamin A per glass (200ml) which provides about
9% of an adults daily vitamin A requirement.

Vitamin D
These vitamins are relatively stable at high temperatures, but quickly break down under the
action of oxidizing agents and mineral acids. Vit D is also fat soluble.

Vitamin D

For a grown man, it is needed about 400 IU (International Units) of vitamin D a day.
Vitamin E
It is stable on heating at temperatures from 150 to 175C. It is less stable in acidic and alkaline
environment. Its most active form -Tocopherol is in the form of oil.


These compounds act as antioxidants (An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation
of other molecules)
The daily need for this vitamin are up to 400 IU (International Units). 15 millig.. Vitamin E is
naturally found in low levels within milk, a 200ml serving of semi-skimmed milk typically
provides 0.04mg of vitamin E.

Vitamin K
There are two major forms of this vitamin: vitamin K1 (phylloquinone, phytomenadione,
phytonadione) and K2 (menaquinone).

Vitamin K1 is oily liquid and is found in plant foods.

However Vitamin K2 is found in animal foods and thus in milk. It is a crystalline substance,
which melts at a temperature of 50 to 52 C

Vitamin K is sensitive primarily to X-rays, radiation, aspirin, air pollution, mineral oil. In the
frozen food activity of this vitamin can be lost.

Vitamin K2
For adult men it is recommended intake of 80 micrograms of vitamin K per day, while women
65 micrograms per day. There is little or no vitamin K naturally found in milk

Vitamin B2
Vitamin B2 belongs to the group of water soluble vitamins. It has yellow color. It is very stable
at high temperatures, so that at 120 C can remain stable and active over a period of five to six
hours. In acidic medium the stability is still increasing, while in alkaline medium activity
decreases. Vitamin B2 is very sensitive to visible light, and if it is exposed to it for a longer
period it can lead to its breakdown.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is involved in carbohydrate metabolism as an essential coenzyme in

many oxidation-reduction reactions
Vitamin B2 Daily requirement of riboflavin is about 1.7 milligrams. A 200ml glass of semi-
skimmed milk provides 45% of an adults (19-50 years) daily requirement for riboflavin.

Vitamin B6
The term vitamin B6 include three chemically similar compounds that occur in nature. These
are: pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine.

All three compounds in biological systems are converted into each other.

Vitamin B6 is fairly stable vitamin. In highly acidic and alkaline solution vitamin B6 does not lose
biological characteristics even when heated. However, under the influence of light, as well as
the oxidation, this vitamin is rapidly degraded.

Pyridoxine is well soluble in water, alcohol, and slightly in ether and chloroform.
They are metabolized in the body to pyridoxal phosphate, which acts as a coenzyme in many
important reactions in blood, central nervous system, and skin metabolism. Vitamin B6 is
important in the biosynthesis of heme and nucleic acid, as well as in lipid, carbohydrate, and
amino acid metabolism.
Vitamin B6 Daily requirement of vitamin B6 for an adult man is 1-2 milligrams, and large
quantities can cause toxic nerve damage. Very small amount in milk.

Folic acid
It is poorly soluble in cold water and ethanol, and very soluble in hot water.
Folic acid is easily broken down by the sun's light, food processing (particularly boiling), heat
and action of estrogen.
Daily human needs for folic acid are about 400 micrograms. A 200ml glass of semi-skimmed
milk provides a 6 year old child with 18.6% of his or her daily folate requirement and an adult
with 9.3%.

Folic acid

Vitamin B1 is very stable in the acidic environment and even at high temperatures (130 to
140 C) practically does not lose its biological activity. However, in alkaline medium, vitamin B1
is significantly more volatile and is rapidly inactivated at a temperature between 80 and 100 C.
Vitamin B1

Thiamin is involved in carbohydrate, fat, amino acid, glucose, and alcohol metabolism. For an
adults daily needs are about 1.2 to 1.5 miligrams of vitamin B1. 1 glass/200ml of semi skimmed
milk will provide an adult (19-50 years) with 15% of their daily requirement for thiamin.

Vitamin B12

It is one of the most complex vitamin by its chemical structure.

Vitamin B12 is very stable at high temperatures just if pH is ranged from 4.5 to 5.0 while the
strong acidic and highly alkaline environment loses its vitamin activity.

This vitamin is rapidly degraded in the light, and therefore it is necessary to keep it in the dark.
Vitamin B12 is negatively affected by alcohol, sleeping pills, estrogen, etc.

Vitamin B12 is well soluble in water, ethanol and methanol.

These compounds are involved in nucleic acid metabolism, methyl transfer, and myelin
synthesis and repair. They are necessary for the formation of normal red blood cells. It
is recommended from 5 to 50 micrograms per day. 1 glass/200ml of semi skimmed milk will
provide an adult (19-50 years) with the full daily requirement for vitamin B12.

Niacin or Nicotinic acid and its amide are thermally stable even when heated and not lose
vitamin properties.


Niacin derivatives include nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine
dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), which are coenzymes in oxidation-reduction reactions vital in
cell metabolism.
Adult's daily needs for this vitamin are estimated from 15 to 20 milligramsmilk provides an
individual with up to 3% of the daily requirement for niacin.

Vitamin C
Activity of vitamin C are generally destroyed by heat treatment of food, especially when there
are traces of metals such as copper, but it is resistant to freezing. Vitamin C is probably one of
the most unstable among the vitamins soluble in water.

Vitamin C is very soluble in water and methanol, and about five times lower in ethanol. Ascorbic
acid is well oxidized by air oxygen, especially in the presence of heavy metal ions (such as:
copper, iron, etc.).

In the absence of oxygen, ascorbic acid can withstand heat up to 100C.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) plays a role in collagen, hormone, and amino acid formation. It is
essential for wound healing and facilitates recovery from burns. Vitamin C is also an
antioxidant, supports immune function, and facilitates the absorption of iron.

The daily need for this vitamin for adults is 50 to 70 milligramsA glass/200ml of semi-skimmed
milk will provide a child with 14% of the daily requirement for vitamin C and an adult up to

Vitamin C is one of the least stable of all vitamins in solution and is

oxidized readily in light, air and when heated. It is also water soluble. This

means that heating in water, (like cooking broccoli in boiling water) causes

the vitamin to leach out of the food into the water and also to be oxidized,

first to dehydroascorbic acid and then to diketogulonic acid. This last

compound has no Vit C activity at all and is irreversible. However, normal

cooking usually doesn't affect Vit C levels that much; the longer you cook and

the higher the temperature you use, the more oxidation.

The high heat used in canning would seem to pose a real threat. However, the

high heat used kills the enzyme ascorbic acid oxidase, found in fruits and

vegetables, before much Vit C is oxidized. Since this enzyme catalyzes the

oxidation process, this is actually serve to protect the vitamin.

On the other end of the spectrum, freezing can also negatively effect Vit C if

the tissues of the product have been broken and exposed to air.
Dehydroascorbic acid is an organic compound that occurs when ascorbic acid is oxidized.
Oxidization is a process by which compounds are chemically changed after being exposed to air.
In the case of dehydroascorbic acid, two hydrogen atoms are removed from the ascorbic acid
compound when air is present.

Oxidation is addition of oxygen and removal of hydrogen.

Oxidation is gain of oxygen. Reduction is loss of oxygen.

Oxidation is the loss of electrons or an increase in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion.
Reduction is the gain of electrons or a decrease in oxidation state by a molecule, atom, or ion.

Acidic condition has H+ which is highly reactive and thus get electrons to neutralize sign and
oxidize other compound.