Essential Vitamins: Types, their Food Sources and Benefits to the Body

A vitamin is an organic compound that is required by the human body in limited amounts.

Since the human body is not able to synthesize all the compounds in sufficient quantities, food rich in different vitamins should be consumed.

In some cases, vitamin supplements are used for the treatment of health problems.

Vitamins are vital for the normal functioning of the human body.

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They help in growth, vitality, wellbeing, prevention and cure of diseases.

 

Classification of Vitamins

There are 13 Vitamins which are vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins, which consists of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate.

The human body can synthesize vitamins D and K.

Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat-soluble and vitamin B complex and vitamin C are water-soluble.

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The Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are excreted from the body.

Since they are not stored in the human body for a long time, therefore, daily intake in required amount is important.

Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestines with the help of lipids.

Since they can accumulate in the human body, over-consumption of food rich in them can cause hypervitaminosis.

 

Vitamin Sources and their Benefits

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  • Vit. A

Vitamin A is present in egg yolk, dark-colored fruit, dark leafy vegetables, liver, beef, fish, fortified milk and dairy products (cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream).

Vitamin A nutrient is important for maintaining accurate vision, reproductive functions, and cell reproduction.

It also helps in fighting disease-causing radicals.

 

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  • Vit. B1

Vitamin B1 is obtained from eggs, peas, dried milk, lean meats, organ meats, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, enriched bread, and flour.

Vitamin B-1 can process carbohydrates into energy and helps in nerve cell function.

 

  • Vit. B2

Sources of Vitamin B2 are eggs, organ meats, lean meats, low-fat milk, green vegetables, fortified cereals, bread, and grain products.

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Vitamin B-2 helps in the production of red blood cells and aids in growth.

 

  • Vit. B3

Vitamin B3 is present in nuts, eggs, potato, poultry, avocado, legumes, lean meats, fish and enriched bread and fortified cereals.

Vitamin B3 helps in cholesterol control, processing of alcohol, maintaining healthy skin, and converting carbohydrates into energy.

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  • Vit. B5

Vitamin B5 is obtained from milk, eggs, poultry, avocado, mushroom, organ meats, legumes and lentils, whole-grain cereals, white and sweet potatoes, broccoli and kale.

Vitamin B-5 helps with many bodily functions, such as converting fats into energy and the synthesis of cholesterol.

 

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  • Vit. B6

Vitamin B6 is present in nuts, meat, poultry products, banana, avocado, legumes, and whole grains.

Vitamin B-6 helps in the production of hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin, and processing of amino acids.

 

  • Vit. B7

Vitamin B7 is obtained from food like liver, egg yolk, nuts like walnuts and peanuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon, sweet potato, and cauliflower.

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Vitamin B7 aids the functioning of the nervous system and liver metabolism.

 

  • Vit. B9

Vitamin B9 is present in legumes, asparagus, eggs, leafy vegetable, beets, citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, broccoli, nuts, and seeds.

B9 helps in the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA, aiding rapid cell division and growth, enhancing brain health.

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  • Vit. B12

Vitamin B12 is present in meat, eggs, poultry, shellfish, milk and milk products, fortified foods such as soymilk and liver and kidney.

B12 helps in DNA replication and nerve cell regulation.

 

  • Vit. C

Sources of Vitamin C are broccoli, spinach, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, citrus fruits, strawberries, tomato juice, and brussels sprouts.

Vitamin C helps in healing wounds and acts as an antioxidant.

It also helps in absorbing iron in the body.

 

  • Vit. D

Vitamin D is present in fortified cereals, fish liver oils, fortified milk and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream and fatty fish.

Vitamin D aids the body to absorb calcium necessary for healthy bones and teeth.

 

  • Vit. E

Vitamin E is obtained from avocado, seeds and nuts, papaya and mango, wheat germ and wheat germ oil, oils, margarine, dark green vegetables.

Vitamin E Helps in combating free radicals, which can have a detrimental effect on cells.

 

  • Vit. K

Vitamin K is present in cabbage, cereals, cauliflower, fish, liver, beef, eggs, and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamin K helps in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels.