Essential vitamins, sources and functions

Essential vitamins, sources and functions

Vitamins are essential for everyone’s body and so it is important to have enough vitamins in your diet. Deficiency in the vitamin is wreck havoc on health problems that could give rise to many conditions like anemia, blurred vision, dry skin, hair loss, fatigue, birth defect, mood swing, anxiety insomnia, depression, muscle pain, headaches, loss of bones and muscles, etc.

There are 13 types of vitamins and surprisingly all you can get through your diet. Though there is no single food that contains all the vitamins. So, you have to depend on different varieties of food.

If you are worried about fulfilling an adequate supply of vitamins in your body, Here is what you need to know about 13 essential vitamins, sources and functions along with recommended dietary allowances.

What is Vitamin?

vitamin is an essential micronutrient that is needed by an organism in sufficiently small quantities for growth and metabolism. Essential nutrients are not synthesized in the body, either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet.

Vitamins are on the most important part of a balanced diet. Many vitamins have been identified and have a diverse role in functioning the body.

There are 13 essential vitamins that occur naturally in foods and may be added to processed foods to increase their nutritional value.

Deficiency of Vitamins could cause several problems in the body and can also aid to many diseases. For example, Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, and vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia. So it is important to add sufficient amounts of vitamins to your diet.

Classification of Vitamins

Water Soluble Vitamins and Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissue of the body that can be stored for a longer period of time and can be consumed later. Vitamin A, D, E, and K

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body as they are expelled out of the body through the urine by excretory systems. However, only a small quantity of vitamin is stored in the body. Hence it is vital to consume these vitamins regularly. Vitamin B and C

Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin that comes under this category which can be stored in the liver for a longer period of time.

There are eight other subtypes of vitamin B that include: Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. All together are known as Vitamin B Complex.

Why Vitamins are important?

Vitamins are one of the most essential nutrients of our body that regulate and perform a variety of functions like the formation of blood cells. tissues, hormones, chemicals, and genetic materials, Vitamins are also important for health, cell function, growth and development, and physical and emotional balance.

The human body produces only Vitamin D and Vitamin K. While the rest vitamins can only be consumed through diet. So, it is important to keep in mind that no single food contains all the vitamins, and hence it is necessary to rely upon a group of foods to fulfil the demands of vitamins in the body.

List of 13 essential vitamins, their sources, and functions

The 13 essential vitamins listed below with their sources of consumption and recommended dietary allowances are useful for understanding how different types of vitamins work in the body to perform diverse biochemical functions. There are 13 essential vitamins and each vitamin is essential to our body.

We get vitamins through our diet. There is not any particular source of food that could provide all 13 essential vitamins. So we have to add on a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, legumes lentils, and whole-grain in our diet to accomplish the goal of consuming an adequate supply of all the vitamins.

Insufficient supply or deficiency of vitamins in the body could give rise to several conditions that can vary from mild to severe. So, It is important to know how much of each vitamin you need each day and what types of food to eat to ensure proper intake of vitamins. The amount of vitamins you need depends on many factors including age, gender, pregnancy, or other medical conditions.

RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) gives you the idea about how much of each vitamin you should ingest each day for the proper functioning of the body.

The RDA of all 13 essential vitamins listed below is for adults of 19 years of age and above, and the amount of vitamin is expressed in milligrams (mg), and micrograms (mcg).

1. Vitamin A

Type – Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Retinol

Source – Dark-colored fruits, dark leafy vegetables, egg yolk, dairy products such as butter, cream, yogurt and cheese, liver, beef, and fish

Function – Antioxidant properties, good for vision, reproduction and growth, immune response, maintain healthy teeth, bones, skins, soft tissue, and mucous membranes

Deficiency – Night Blindness, dry skin, dry eyes, infertility, miscarriages, poor wound healing, and delayed growth

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 0.8 – 1.0 mg/day

2. Vitamin B1

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Thiamine

Source – Whole grains such as lentils, green peas, beef liver, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, pork, spinach, oranges, potatoes, milk, and eggs

Function – Functioning of the heart, brain, nerves, and muscles, converting food into energy

Deficiency – Beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, changes in heart rate, muscle weakness, blurred vision, loss of appetite, fatigue, tingling sensation in the arms and legs

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 1.5 – 2 mg/day

3. Vitamin B2

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Riboflavin

Source – Coconut, mushroom, eggs, lenticels, cereals, almonds, fish, milk, meat, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and nuts

Function – Maintenance of nervous system, healthy liver, mucus membrane, eyes, nerves, nails, hair, muscles, and skin

Deficiency – Dry skin, inflammation of the tongue and lining of the mouth, red lips, cracked lips mouth ulcers, and sore throat

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 1.8 mg/day

4. Vitamin B3

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinamide riboside

Source – Beef, salmon, tuna, poultry, liver, legumes, pumpkin seeds, and cooked potatoes

Function – Energy metabolism, cell metabolism, healthy skin, digestive, and mind, supports the function of the enzyme, lowers cholesterol

Deficiency – Pellagra, headaches, irritated or red skin, fatigue, dizziness, poor circulation, depression, and anxiety

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 15mg/day

5. Vitamin B5

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Pantothenic acid

Source – Avocado, mushrooms, whole grains, sweet potatoes, eggs, milk, chicken, yogurt, nuts beans, and broccoli

Function – Convert food into energy, healthy skin, hair, eyes, digestive tract, RBC production, making sex hormone and stress-related hormones, functioning of the liver, and nervous system

Deficiency – Paresthesia, headaches, irritability, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and impaired muscle contraction

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 5mg/day

6.Vitamin B6

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Pyridoxine, Pyridoxamine, Pyridoxal

Source – Banana, nuts, avocado, legumes, baked potato with skins, poultry, and cooked skinless chicken breast

Function – Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the formation of RBC, and maintain brain function

Deficiency – Anemia, peripheral neuropathy, skin rashes, cracked and sore lips, mood changes, weekend immune function, seizures, and high homocysteine

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 1.7 mg/day

7. Vitamin B7

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Biotin, Vitamin H

Source – Green peas, legumes, seafood, barley, corn, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, Red meat, eggs, seeds, and nuts

Function – Skin health, regulate blood sugar, and low LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), production ok keratin that promotes the growth of hair and nails

Deficiency – Dermatitis, enteritis, hair loss, brittle hair, dry skin, red rashes on skin and face, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and difficulty walking

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 30 mcg/day

8. Vitamin B9

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Folic Acid, Folates

Source – Spinach, fresh foods, leafy vegetables, pasta, bread, cereals, oranges, banana, melons, legumes, tomato juice, citrus, peas, mushroom, liver, and eggs

Function – Make DNA, repair DNA, and production of RBCs

Deficiency – Megaloblastic anemia, Birth defects, poor growth, fatigue, dizziness, feeling cold, pale skin, breathing difficulty, weight loss, swollen tongue, and grey hair

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 400 mcg/day

9. Vitamin B12

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin, Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin

Source – Fish, meats, eggs, poultry, and dairy

Function – Production of RBCs and DNA, functioning, or nervous system

Deficiency – Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, blurred vision, breathlessness, dizziness, changes in mobility, weakness, fatigue, the sensation of pins and needles, and pale skin

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 2.5 mcg/day

10. Vitamin C

Type – Water-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Ascorbic acid

Source – Oranges, cabbage, citrus fruits, cauliflower, grapefruits, tomatoes, kiwi, spinach, chili peppers, guava, papaya, lychee, broccoli, and strawberries

Function – Antioxidant properties, immune response, synthesis of collagen, and healing process

Deficiency – Scurvy, Bleeding gums and tooths, chronic inflammation, fatigue, poor immunity, slow healing wounds, painful, swollen joints, and weak bones

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 60 – 70 mg/day

11. Vitamin D

Type – Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Cholecalciferol (D3), Ergocalciferol (D2)

Source – Egg, liver, fish, mushroom, milk, and milk products such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream

Function – Metabolism of calcium and phosphate in the body, development of bones and teeth

Deficiency – Rickets, Osteomalacia, hair loss, muscle pain, back pain, impaired wound healing, fatigue, tiredness, and depression

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 0.01 mg/day

12. Vitamin E

Type – Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Tocopherols, Tocotrienols

Source – Vegetable oils, nuts, soy, coconut, avocados, whole grains, blackberries, papaya, mango, liver, and fish

Function – Antioxidant properties, form red blood cells, use vitamin-k, and protect cell membranes

Deficiency – Deficiency is very rare

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 0.08 mg/day

13. Vitamin K

Type – Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Alternative name – Phylloquinone, Menaquinone, Menadione, Naphthoquinone

Source – Cabbage, cauliflower, cereals, soybean oil, dark green vegetables, dark leafy vegetables, Liver, beef, fish, and eggs

Function – Blood clotting and bone growth

Deficiency – Bleeding disorder

Recommended Dietary Allowances – 0.1mg/day

It’s all about 13 essential vitamins, their sources, and functions along with recommended dietary allowances.

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