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Quiz about Vitamins  History and Basics
Quiz about Vitamins  History and Basics

Vitamins - History and Basics Trivia Quiz


This quiz tests your knowledge of the history and basic biochemistry of vitamins. Enjoy!

A multiple-choice quiz by doublemm. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
doublemm
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
361,908
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
775
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. Vitamins are named for their importance to our vitality. From this, we can gather that we need vitamins to live. But what other trait is required in order for something to be classed as a vitamin? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Which interesting sounding scientist came up with the name "vitamin"? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Vitamins can be separated into two general groups. One group is soluble in water. What are the second group of vitamins soluble in? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. We have vitamins A, C, E, D, and K. There are also a number of B vitamins. Which of these B vitamins does not exist? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Some vitamins, such as B2 and B3, are important in forming compounds which attach to enzymes and enable/enhance the enzyme's function. What are such compounds known as? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. In our bodies, vitamin derivatives are also important in forming chemicals which can circulate in the blood and affect different areas of the body. What name is given to such chemicals? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Vitamins have scientific names which may describe something about them. One vitamin's name is derived from the adjective "scorbutic", and is prefixed with the letter "a-" meaning "without". Which vitamin is this? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. The names of vitamins are often taken from the names of sources of that vitamin. For example, retinol (vitamin A) is found in the retinas of our eyes. What name is given to vitamin B9, which is abundant in leafy vegetables? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Deducing the structures of vitamins is important in understanding their biochemical function. Which woman was responsible for solving the structure of vitamin B12, the most chemically complex vitamin? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Most of the vitamins were isolated in the 1920s and 1930s, but the diseases caused by their deficiencies were known since ancient times. Which of these vitamins is incorrectly matched with the condition caused by its deficiency? Hint



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Jun 11 2024 : Emma058: 7/10
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Vitamins are named for their importance to our vitality. From this, we can gather that we need vitamins to live. But what other trait is required in order for something to be classed as a vitamin?

Answer: The inability of the body to synthesise it

Vitamins therefore must be 1) essential for life and 2) unable to be produced in our bodies. Despite this, the definition of a vitamin remains rather vague. There are several compounds which fit the above description (the amino acid tryptophan, for example) that are not vitamins.

The second point - that, by definition, we are unable to synthesise vitamins - means that we have to obtain these compounds from our external environment, hence the idea of eating five portions of fruit and veg a day and generally having a balanced diet.
2. Which interesting sounding scientist came up with the name "vitamin"?

Answer: Kazimierz Funk

Funk, as well as coining the name "vitamin", also discovered the first vitamin. It was known that eating brown rice helped to prevent the disease beri-beri. Funk therefore tried to isolate the compound in brown rice that was responsible for this. He succeeded in isolating what was to become vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 is also called thiamine and, as its name suggests, this compound contains an amine group.

The original name for this vital compound was therefore a "vitamine", but the "e" was dropped after some newly discovered vitamins were found not to contain the amine group.
3. Vitamins can be separated into two general groups. One group is soluble in water. What are the second group of vitamins soluble in?

Answer: Lipid

This distinction - water-soluble vs. lipid-soluble - is not unique to vitamin biochemistry, but is instead found in several aspects of this topic. Generally, water-soluble compounds can also be described as hydrophilic (water-loving) or polar, whereas lipid-soluble compounds are said to be hydrophobic (water-hating) or non-polar.

These distinctions may seem trivial, but are important to pretty much every aspect of biology. Without the physico-chemical properties implied by the terms polar and non-polar, our cells would not be able to form, DNA could not be held in its double helix structure, and proteins could not fold.
4. We have vitamins A, C, E, D, and K. There are also a number of B vitamins. Which of these B vitamins does not exist?

Answer: Vitamin B4

Vitamin B1 is known as thiamine, B6 is pyridoxine, and B7 is biotin. Vitamin B4 was once a vitamin, but has since fallen from grace. Vitamin B4 is an old-fashioned name for adenine - the very same adenine represented by the "A" nucleotide which is found in DNA and RNA. Other former vitamins include B8 and B13.
5. Some vitamins, such as B2 and B3, are important in forming compounds which attach to enzymes and enable/enhance the enzyme's function. What are such compounds known as?

Answer: Coenzymes

Coenzymes are non-protein components which bind to the protein element of an enzyme and allow it to function/enhance its functionality. For example, flavin derivatives from vitamin B2 (riboflavin) are important cofactors in enzymatic reactions that involve the transfer of electrons. Non-protein compounds can also bind to proteins that are not enzymes and are simply called cofactors.

They also do not have to be vitamin derivatives, but can be pretty much anything. For example, the iron ion which binds to haemoglobin in our red blood cells is described as a cofactor.
6. In our bodies, vitamin derivatives are also important in forming chemicals which can circulate in the blood and affect different areas of the body. What name is given to such chemicals?

Answer: Hormones

When hormones are released from one part of the body into the bloodstream, they can travel around the whole body and affect distant organs and tissues. This is an example of endocrine signalling, examples of which include familiar hormones such as adrenaline. Rather than travelling via the blood, a chemical released by one cell which affects an adjacent cell is an example of paracrine signalling. The third type of signalling is autocrine signalling, and involves cells responding to chemical signals they released themselves.

Vitamin D can be metabolised to calcitriol, a hormone that is important in bone growth.
7. Vitamins have scientific names which may describe something about them. One vitamin's name is derived from the adjective "scorbutic", and is prefixed with the letter "a-" meaning "without". Which vitamin is this?

Answer: Vitamin C

The adjective "scorbutic" means something to do with scurvy - an infamous disease caused a lack of vitamin C and one commonly acquired by sailors on long voyages. It was known for many years that consumption of various foodstuffs, such as lemons and limes, could prevent scurvy, but the reason remained obscure. An eccentric Hungarian scientist called Albert Szent-Gyorgyi was the first to isolate what was to become vitamin C.

This vitamin was structurally characterised by the British scientist Norman Haworth.
8. The names of vitamins are often taken from the names of sources of that vitamin. For example, retinol (vitamin A) is found in the retinas of our eyes. What name is given to vitamin B9, which is abundant in leafy vegetables?

Answer: Folic acid

The name "folic" is derived from the Latin for leaf. Folic acid is particularly important during pregnancy, since it is an essential compound in the development of the embryo. Folic acid can be metabolised by our bodies into tetrahydrofolate, an important cofactor for reactions involving the transfer of methyl groups onto various biomolecules such as DNA nucleotides.
9. Deducing the structures of vitamins is important in understanding their biochemical function. Which woman was responsible for solving the structure of vitamin B12, the most chemically complex vitamin?

Answer: Dorothy Hodgkin

Dorothy Hodgkin was one of the early pioneers of the analytical technique X-ray crystallography, which remains one of the most effective ways of determining a compound's structure to atomic detail. Hodgkin was also responsible solving the chemical structures of penicillin and insulin using this technique.

Vitamin B12 is important in to several aspects of our lives and is also known as cobalamin. This name is descriptive of the amine groups found in the molecule, as well as the cobalt ion coordinated in its centre.
10. Most of the vitamins were isolated in the 1920s and 1930s, but the diseases caused by their deficiencies were known since ancient times. Which of these vitamins is incorrectly matched with the condition caused by its deficiency?

Answer: Vitamin E - albinism

The diseases caused by deficiencies in vitamins were the main driving factors in their discovery. As already mentioned, the first vitamin discovered (vitamin B1) came about by analysing brown rice, which was known to prevent beri-beri. Similarly, the identification of the chemical factor whose deficiency causes scurvy remained an unachieved goal for many years. Deficiency of some vitamins is more rare than others.

For example, a deficiency of vitamin B12 (which leads to megaloblastic anemia) is unlikely to be caused by insufficient B12 in the diet (we need very, very little) but is instead caused by a (rare) genetic predisposition which means we cannot absorb the vitamin from our diet.
Source: Author doublemm

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