What are Vitamins, Anyway?

Vitamins are substances the body needs to grow and function. Most vitamins come from foods, but the body can make some (thank you microbiome) including B vitamins, K, and D (from sun exposure).

The best way to get all of your vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. If you are not eating enough of certain vitamins, you may have health problems.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you need a multivitamin. Too many vitamins, from supplements, can also cause health problems.   

Types of Vitamins

There are 13 vitamins the body needs:

  • Vitamin A
    • Important for: vision, bone growth, cell function, and immunity
    • Sources: colorful fruits and vegetables, liver, whole milk
  • B Vitamins (9 types)
    • Important for: turning your food into energy and forming red blood cells
    • Sources: fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, beans, peas
  • Vitamin C
    • Important for: skin, bones, body tissues, and absorbing iron
    • Sources: citrus, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, greens
  • Vitamin D
    • Important for: absorbing calcium, regulating nerve, muscle and immune systems
    • Sources: eggs yolks, saltwater fish, liver, sunshine
  • Vitamin E
    • Important for: regulating immune and metabolic function
    • Sources: vegetable oils, margarine, nuts and seeds, greens
  • Vitamin K
    • Important for: making proteins for bones, tissues, and blood clotting
    • Sources: greens, dark berries

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