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Current time:0:00Total duration:6:11

Video transcript

we've been told throughout our lives to eat certain foods because they contain vitamins or sometimes people might say they also contain some minerals that you need and so the obvious question is well what are vitamins and what are these minerals that folks are talking about well the big picture idea is that there are certain things that your body needs and we'll talk in a second about why your body needs these things but it also there are things that your body needs and your body does not produce them body does not produce there's a lot of things your body needs that your body is capable of producing but there's certain things it needs that it cannot produce itself now if these things that they need and that the body needs and it cannot produce if they are organic and organic is just a very fancy way of saying if there are compounds that involve carbons in them and most molecules and life involve a lot of carbons that's why they're called organic molecules there's a whole field of chemistry of organic chemistry which is studying the chemistry of life for the most part if these molecules if these things that the body needs that it does not produce itself organic we call these things vitamins and some of the common vitamins that you will hear people talk about are things like vitamin A vitamin D vitamin E vitamin K vitamin C and you can further divide these vitamins based on whether they are soluble and fat or not so for example vitamins a d e and K and this is by no means an exhaustive list of vitamins these are fat soluble what does that mean well to be soluble means you could be dissolved in that thing so it can be dissolved in fat and vitamin C is water soluble now the way that the reason why this might be relevant for you living as an individual trying to keep your health in good shape is that you do need all of these vitamins and we'll talk in a little bit about why you need them but fat soluble vitamins they're actually easier to overdose on because they're soluble in fat they can stay in your system a lot longer while water soluble vitamin are easier to flush out of your system now with that out of the way let's think about some of these common foods you might see and some of the vitamins that they are known for for example right over here you have carrots and you might have had people tell you hey eat carrots it's good for your eyes and that is true but the reason why it's good for your eyes is that carrots contain something known as beta carotene and the carotene part of beta carotene is not a coincidence it literally comes from Latin for carrot and carotenes are these pigment molecules it gives the carrots this orange color right over here and beta carotene once it's consumed by your body it's a precursor for vitamin A which is essential for your eyes and many many other things in your body and a precursor is just a very fancy way of saying that if you consume beta carotene your body can turn it into the vitamin A that it needs oranges famous for vitamin C and this isn't an exhaustive list of the things that these foods contain but this is some of the things that they're most famous for and vitamin C as we talked about is a water-soluble vitamin it's very valuable for immune system and in a situation where you have a severe deficiency of vitamin C you could get a disease known as scurvy and scurvy is not too common anymore but several hundred years ago sailors would often get scurvy because they had very limited diets they did not get fruits and vegetables and because of that vitamin C deficiency their collagen their connective tissue would break down and so it was a very horrible and painful disease but what if there's something your body needs that it does not produce that is not organic well those are the things that we call minerals and of course the term minerals it's also used in a geological sense but if we're talking in terms of biology that's what we mean and most of the typical milk minerals are really elements that you will see on the periodic table they will be things like phosphorus and I'm just gonna write their element symbol phosphorus calcium potassium magnesium iron and again this is not an exhaustive list but these are all essential for your body as we go further in our studies of biology you will see how phosphorus is useful in molecules like ATP the energy store it's even in the backbone of DNA and RNA we'll see how calcium is useful not just for your bones but even for things like muscle contractions to send signals down neurons you're gonna need your potassium and also sodium magnesium also important for muscle contraction iron this is in your haemoglobin bonds to the oxygen allows you to transport oxygen in your bloodstream in red blood cells so these are all very valuable and a lot of these foods that we just talked about that contain vitamins that also contain minerals for example not only do carrots contain beta carotene they also contain potassium which we mentioned is essential for things like nerve function things like milk it has vitamins like vitamin D but it also has minerals like calcium which we talked about is essential for your bones and for muscle function and so the big picture here is is that vitamins and minerals are both things that your body needs it does not produce itself and we're going to see them over and over again in biology so keep a lookout for them the vitamins as we go further in our study of biology you're going to see them as coenzymes things that help facilitate functions of the self help facilitate reactions and the minerals you're going to see in everything from the powerhouse of the cell the backbone of DNA you're going to see it in muscle contraction and how bones are formed you're going to see it in hemoglobin you're gonna see it in nerve function
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