It was not until the 18th century that the importance of dietary factors in the genesis of diseases was recognized, nor until this century that the chemical structure of certain of these factors, termed "vitamins," was determined. These findings led to an understanding of the role of vitamins in intermediary metabolism that in turn fostered our present techniques for prevention and treatment of deficiency states. We are now discovering unusual disease states that can be treated with vitamins independent of the usual needs for adequate vitamin nutriture. Therefore, the interest in vitamins has recently shifted from prevention and treatment of deficiency states to their role as pharmacologic agents in the management of certain inborn errors of metabolism. The purpose of this article is to review the metabolism of B vitamins and vitamin C, their deficiency diseases, and their use in treatment of certain inborn errors in metabolism.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS Role