The 13 Essential Vitamins: What You Need to Know

Vitamins are organic substances that are essential for the body to grow and function properly. There are 13 essential vitamins, which are divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K) dissolve in fat and tend to build up in the body, while water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C and B vitamins, such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate) must be dissolved in water before they can be absorbed by the body and therefore cannot be stored. Vitamin A helps you see at night, produce red blood cells and fight infections.

It is found in animal sources of food. Vitamin D helps prevent cell damage and an eye problem called age-related macular degeneration. However, too much vitamin A can damage the liver. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.

Its strength makes it the fundamental element of bones and teeth. Getting muscles moving, including the heart, is also key. Calcium is found in milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, and from green vegetables such as kale and broccoli. How much you need depends on your age and gender. If you eat a balanced and healthy diet, you're probably already getting adequate amounts of the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

However, if you follow a restricted diet or have certain health conditions, you may need a multivitamin supplement or other dietary supplements. Ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplement, including a multivitamin, to avoid consuming too much of a good thing. Seniors, vegetarians, vegans, and people who have undergone weight-loss surgery are at risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin and mineral supplements may be recommended under certain circumstances to correct vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as folate for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Different vitamins play different roles in the body, and a person needs a different amount of each vitamin to stay healthy. For example, vitamin K is used to reverse the blood-thinning effects of blood thinners when administered in excess.

Anyone taking supplements should be careful not to exceed the maximum dose, as research shows that taking too much vitamin can cause health problems. Having too little of any particular vitamin can increase the risk of developing certain health problems. Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can be preserved in liver and body fat, and can be stored for a long time. Vitamin K is also given to newborns who don't have enough natural amounts to prevent clotting problems. Research over the past decade suggests that vitamin D, in addition to strengthening bones, may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of several serious long-term health problems, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some types of cancer, and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin E is best obtained from a healthy diet that contains lots of fresh, minimally processed foods. Vitamins are much more delicate than minerals and can break down with heat or age.

It is important to understand how many vitamins exist in total so that you can make sure you are getting enough of them for optimal health.

Ben Liebhardt
Ben Liebhardt

Amateur travel fanatic. General web buff. Certified travel junkie. Twitter nerd. Infuriatingly humble web practitioner. Certified beer nerd.

Leave Message

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *