Background: Vitamins are chemical compounds whose derivatives are involved in vital metabolic pathways of all living organisms. The complete endogenous biosynthesis of vitamins can be performed by many bacteria, yeast and plants, but humans need to acquire most of these essential nutrients with food. In recent years, new types of action of the well-recognized vitamins or their more sophisticated relationships have been reported.
Objectives: In this review we present the current knowledge of factors that can influence the yield and regulation of vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B9 biosynthesis in plants which can be important for human nutrition. A summary of modern methods applied for vitamin analysis in biological materials is also provided. Contributions of selected vitamins to the homeostasis of the human organism, as well as their relations to the progress or prevention of some important diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are discussed in the light of recent investigations. Better understanding of the mechanisms of vitamin uptake by human tissues and possible metabolic or genetic backgrounds of vitamin deficiencies can open new perspectives on the medical strategies and biotechnological processes of food fortification.