Vitamins: Definition, Types, Sources and Benefits

Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for a variety of metabolic processes. Vitamins are needed in small quantities for the normal functioning of the body. They cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from food.

The definition of vitamins is complex, but it can be simplified to say that they are organic compounds that are needed in small quantities for the normal functioning of the body.

A vitamin is a nutrient that is required for normal growth and development of a living organism, as well as its health, but which the organism cannot synthesize itself. Vitamins are classified as either fat soluble or water soluble.

What are Vitamins?

The vitamins are natural and essential nutrients, required in small quantities and play a major role in growth and development, repair and healing wounds, maintaining healthy bones and tissues, and the proper functioning of the immune system. These essential organic compounds have diverse biochemical functions.

There are 13 different types of vitamins and all are required for metabolic processes. The discovery of the vitamins was begun in 1912 by a Polish American biochemist, Casimir Funk .Based on his research and discoveries on vitamins, their sources, functions, and deficiency disorders, he is considered the father of vitamins and vitamin therapy.

Similar to minerals, we cannot synthesize vitamins on our own. Therefore, we need to get them from the food we consume or in rare cases, supplements. This is done in order to keep ourselves healthy and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle

Types of Vitamins:

Based on the solubility, Vitamins have been classified into two different groups:

  • Fat-Soluble Vitamins.
  • Water-Soluble Vitamins.

Fat-soluble vitamins:

Fat soluble vitamins are vitamins that dissolve in fat and not water. They are stored for a long time in the body and can be used when needed. Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble vitamins.

Fat soluble vitamins are also called “lipid-soluble” or “long-chain” because they dissolve in fats and oils rather than water. The body stores them for a long time, so they can be used when needed to meet the body’s needs for these nutrients.

The following is a list of fat-soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin A (retinol)
  • Vitamin D (calciferol)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  • Vitamin K (menaquinone)
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Biotin
  • Choline
  • Folate (vitamin B9, vitamin MTHF, and vitamin B12)
  • Inositol
  • Niacinamide
  • Pantothenic acid

Water-soluble vitamins:

Water soluble vitamins are a type of vitamin that is dissolved in water. They are also known as “hydrosoluble” or “hydrophilic” vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Folate.

The water soluble vitamins have the highest bioavailability in the human body when taken in liquid form. This means that they can be absorbed faster and more completely when taken with water than if they were taken alone or with food.

The main reason why people don’t get enough of these important nutrients is because they don’t drink enough fluids like water to dissolve them properly.

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in our body as its excess gets excrete through the urine. Therefore, these vitamins need to be replenished constantly.

Sources of vitamins

The human body is so perfectly designed that it extracts the nutrients from the food we eat and then sends out the waste as excreta. Organic substances are abundantly found in both plants and animals and play a vital role in both growth and development as well as optimal health.

Vitamins are important because they’re essential for the body to grow and function properly. It can be found in many sources, but some are more important than others. They also help in the prevention of diseases and in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Sources of vitamins include:

  • Vitamin A: Potato, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, beef and eggs.
  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamin: Pork chops, ham, enriched grains and seeds.
  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin: Whole grains, enriched grains and dairy products.
  • Vitamin B3 or Niacin: Mushrooms, fish, poultry, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid: Chicken, broccoli, legumes and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine: Fortified cereals and soy products.
  • Vitamin B7 or Biotin: Fruits and meats.
  • Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid: Leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin B12 or cyanocobalamin: Fish, poultry, meat and dairy products.
  • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges and grapefruits.
  • Vitamin D: Fortified milk and other dairy products.
  • Vitamin E: Fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, seeds, and nuts.
  • Vitamin K: Dark green leafy vegetables and in turnip or beet green.

Benefits of Vitamins

There are many benefits of vitamins. They can help with everything from boosting your mood to improving your skin. Vitamins are essential nutrients that the body needs to maintain good health. The human body cannot produce these nutrients on its own, so they must be obtained through diet or supplements.

Vitamin A: Helps maintain healthy eyesight, skin, teeth, bones, and immune system.

Vitamin B1 (thiamin): Helps break down carbohydrates for energy; supports nerve cells; helps metabolize fats.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Supports cell growth and division; helps turn food into energy.

Vitamin B3 (niacin): Helps convert food to energy; supports skin health.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Helps turn food into energy; supports skin health.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Supports red blood cell production, skin health, depression, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, irritability and lack of concentration

Vitamin B7 (biotin): Helps with metabolism and production of fatty acids for the body to function properly.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Supports in the production of DNA and RNA, as well as for the prevention of anemia.

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin): Essential for normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, for production of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), and for synthesis of certain proteins.

Vitamin C: Required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body; promotes healthy skin, teeth, cartilage, gums and blood vessels.

Vitamin D: Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for healthy bones and teeth. It also helps regulate the immune system, which can prevent infections and some cancers.

Vitamin E: Helps to maintain healthy skin, hair, and eyes.

Vitamin K: Necessary for coagulation of blood. Also helps in the synthesis of proteins that are essential for bone growth and repair.


Vitamins are essential nutrients that the body needs to maintain good health. They are needed for many bodily functions, such as cell growth, metabolism, and bone formation. The body does not produce vitamins so it is important to get them from food or supplements.

Vitamins are organic compounds that contain essential nutrients. They are needed for cell growth and to maintain the body’s health.

Vitamins play a key role in the body’s metabolism because they help with absorbing minerals and converting food into energy. Vitamins also help keep the immune system healthy and fight off infections.

Vitamins can be found in many food products such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, and dairy products. Vitamins also come in a supplement form which can be taken orally or through injection.