Digestive Biochemistry for Therapy and Rehabilitation
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Classification of Vitamins II

Now that we have learned that each vitamin has its own letter designation, we can discuss number designations. We learned above that ergocalciferol is known as vitamin D. There are a few different types of vitamin D. To keep things simple, we use a subscript (small number to the right and a little below the vitamin letter) to designate the different types. It's really quite simple. Vitamin D2 is the designation for ergocalciferol. Vitamin D3 is the designation for cholecalciferol. Now that you have learned all the designations used for vitamins, let us now construct a more complete list.

Letter and number designations of vitamins
letter and number chemical name
Vitamin A1 retinol
Vitamin A2 dehydroretinol
Vitamin B1 thiamine
Vitamin B2 riboflavin
Vitamin B6 pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyradoxamine
Vitamin B12 cyanocobalamin
Vitamin D2 ergocalciferol
Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol
Vitamin K1 phytonadione
Vitamin K2 menaquinone
Vitamin K3 menadione


We can even further divide some vitamins into a smaller category by placing a letter next to the number.

Letter and number designations of vitamins
letter and number chemical name
Vitamin B12a hydroxocobalamin

Don't let this confuse you. By adding the letter "A" to the B12 it simply means that this vitamin (B12a) is similar in structure to B12 ,but has a minor modification, making it slightly different. This is just like owning a VW Golf, E or EF. They are both VW Golfs, but one of them has a slight modification. It's that simple.

Just in case your extra enthusiastic and want to know the difference between these two forms of vitamin B12, they only differ slightly in structure. Vitamin B12a is similar to B12, with the exception of an added hydroxyl group. A hydroxyl group is merely an oxygen and hydrogen. However, this difference in chemical structure enables them to perform slightly different functions in different areas of the body.


Sources, Absorption and Utilization


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