Here are the important ones, what they do, and all the info you need about them!
The most important vitamins
There are 13 essential vitamins known to make you the healthiest version of yourself: Vitamins C, D, E, K, B, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). Here are the key ones, what they do and all the information you need about them.
- The key player in the growth and cell development, Vitamin A, helps give you strong nails, hair, bones and teeth. Vitamin A also helps prevent night blindness, and may even prevent lung cancer. Salmon, cold-water fishes, egg yolks and fortified dairy can give you your supply of Vitamin A.
- An important helper with calcium absorption, as well as building strong bones and teeth, is Vitamin D. You’ll find it in fortified dairy, fortified soy and rice products, butter, egg yolks, fatty fish and fish-liver oil. Your body will also produce Vitamin D when you are exposed to the sun.
- Vitamin E, the protector of fatty acids, is in charge of maintaining muscles and red blood cells. It also is an important antioxidant. Consuming eggs, vegetable oils, margarine, mayonnaise as well as nuts, seeds, fortified cereals will give you your needed supplies of Vitamin E.
- Responsibility for blood clotting comes from Vitamin K. Leafy greens, spinach, broccoli and liver are the main sources of K.
- Vitamin C from citrus, potatoes, melons, berries, peppers, broccoli, will help your body with healing, iron absorption and is known for beefing up your immune system as well as strengthening blood vessels.
The key B vitamins
- Thiamine, or B1, is core to a healthy metabolism, normal digestion and good nerve function. Eating pork, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains will give you your dose of B1.
- Riboflavin or B2 deals with energy metabolism, as well as giving you healthy skin and good vision. Fortified cereals, grains, lean meat, poultry, dairy products, fortified soy and rice beverages, raw mushrooms is where you can get your supply.
- Niacin or B3 metabolizes energy and promotes growth. Protein sources like lean meats, poultry, seafood, legumes and eggs as well as fortified bread are your main choices for B3 consumption.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is responsible for energy metabolism and the normalization of blood sugar levels. The good news is almost every food has B5.
- Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) aids in the metabolism of carbs and proteins, nerve functions and the synthesis of red blood cells. Meat, poultry, fish, grains, legumes, potatoes and leafy greens all have B6.
- Biotin or B7 plays a big role in metabolism. You’ll find it in eggs, soybeans, yeast and nuts.
- Folic Acid or B9 is crucial for pregnant women as it helps prevent birth defects.It also makes RNA and DNA. The main sources of it are liver, asparagus, orange juice, avocados and legumes.
- Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, which makes red blood cells, RNA, DNA and myelin, is found in almost all animal products.
How to think about the key vitamins for your health
There are four fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in your body’s fatty tissues: A, D, E, and K. The other eight vitamins are water-soluble which means you need to constantly replenish your supply as they get washed out from your body with urine. However, there is one outlier, Vitamin B12 – the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in your body, specifically the liver. Doctors recommend getting your dose of these vitamins through the food you consume. The best way to do this is to have a healthy diet, and if you’re struggling with that, check out our guide to eating healthy!
Questions about vitamins to discuss :
- How much did you know about these 13 essential vitamins?
- Do you take any vitamin supplements in addition to what you get from the food you consume?
- Have doctors ever shared the importance of vitamins?
- What impacts have you seen of being deficient in these key vitamins?