The Vitamins

4th Edition

Authors: Gerald F. Combs, Jr.
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123819802
eBook ISBN: 9780123819819
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 9th March 2012
Page Count: 598
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The fourth edition of this bestselling text will again provide the latest coverage of the biochemistry and physiology of vitamins and vitamin-like substances. Extensively revised and expanded on the basis of recent research findings with enlarged coverage of health effects of vitamin-like factors, it is ideally suited for students and an important reference for anyone interested in nutrition, food science, animal science or endocrinology. It contains a cohesive and well-organized presentation of each of the vitamins, as well as the history of their discoveries and current information about their roles in nutrition and health.

Key Features

  • Selected for inclusion in Doody's Core Titles 2013, an essential collection development tool for health sciences libraries
  • Includes approximately 30% new material
  • Substantial updates have been made to chapters on vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, and the quasi-vitamins
  • Provides checklists of systems affected by vitamin deficiencies and food sources of vitamins
  • Key concepts, learning objectives, vocabulary,case studies, study questions and additional reading lists are included making this ideally suited for students
  • Thoroughly updated with important recent research results, including citations to key reports, many added tables and several new figures
  • Addition of Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES III) data
  • Updated Dietary Reference Values


Students and health professionals, also researchers in food science, veterinary and animal sciences

Table of Contents



Preface to the Third Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition

How to Use This Book

PART I. Perspectives on the Vitamins in Nutrition

Chapter 1. What is a Vitamin?


1 Thinking About Vitamins

2 Vitamin: A Revolutionary Concept

3 An Operating Definition of a Vitamin

4 The Recognized Vitamins

Chapter 2. Discovery of the Vitamins


1 The Emergence of Nutrition as a Science

2 The Process of Discovery in Nutritional Science

3 The Empirical Phase of Vitamin Discovery

4 The Experimental Phase of Vitamin Discovery

5 The Vitamine Theory

6 Elucidation of the Vitamins

7 Vitamin Terminology

8 Other Factors Sometimes Called Vitamins

9 The Modern History of the Vitamins

Recommended Reading

Chapter 3. Properties of Vitamins


1 Chemical and Physical Properties of the Vitamins

2 Vitamin A

3 Vitamin D

4 Vitamin E

5 Vitamin K

6 Vitamin C

7 Thiamin

8 Riboflavin

9 Niacin

10 Vitamin B6

11 Biotin

12 Pantothenic Acid

13 Folate

14 Vitamin B12

15 General Properties of the Vitamins

16 Physiological Utilization of the Vitamins

17 Metabolism of the Vitamins

18 Metabolic Functions of the Vitamins

Recommended Reading

Chapter 4. Vitamin Deficiency


1 The Concept of Vitamin Deficiency

2 Clinical Manifestations of Vitamin Deficiencies

3 Vitamin Deficiency Diseases: Manifestations of Biochemical Lesions

4 The Many Causes of Vitamin Deficiencies

Recommended Reading

PART II. Considering the Individual Vitamins

Chapter 5. Vitamin A


1 The Significance of Vitamin A

2 Sources of Vitamin A

3 Absorption of Vitamin A


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About the Author

Gerald F. Combs, Jr.

Gerald F. Combs, Jr. is internationally recognized as a leader in Nutrition, having published widely and conducted research ranging from fundamental studies with cultured cells and animal models to human metabolic and clinical investigations. His specialties include the metabolism and health roles of minerals and vitamins, and the linkages of agriculture and human health in national development. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and reviews and 14 books, and is an Emeritus Professor of Nutrition at Cornell University.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA


Doody’s Core Titles 2013, Doody Enterprises


PRAISE FOR THE FIRST EDITION: "It was a pleasure to read this magnificent book that can be used for teaching and as a desk reference. In short, this is the premier textbook in vitamins and may be used at both the graduate and undergraduate levels." -JOURNAL OF OPTIMAL NUTRITION "This text would be useful for anyone teaching a course about vitamins." -FOOD TECHNOLOGY "The organization of the book is a unique and useful approach to presenting material. Students will find the formatting of individual chapters extremely useful. This is an excellent learning textbook for an undergraduate or early graduate course on the vitamins." -JOURNAL OF NUTRITION EDUCATION "The book is obviously valuable to those teaching or using information associated with vitamins. I also recommend the book to other teachers as a way of presenting material to students to learn rather than memorize." -JOURNAL OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EDUCATION "The strength of this book is the clear description of the chemistry of each vitamin and related compounds and of the biochemistry and metabolic functions in the body. For those who want to build their knowledge of the vitamins on a chemical and biochemical base, this book will prove excellent." -AUSTRALIAN VETERINARY JOURNAL