Types of Vitamins and Their Functions

19th January 2019
Vitamins are the nutrients in charge of regulating the fats, proteins and carbohydrates in our metabolism. They help us turn our food into the energy that we require.

Vitamins are some of the essential nutrients that make the body function adequately. But, so are all the other nutrients, so what’s the difference? The difference is that our body cannot produce vitamins, and so we must consume them daily. But, what are the types of vitamins and their function in the body?

Types of vitamins and their function

Vitamin A

Used in reproduction, protein synthesis, and muscle development. And so, we need this vitamin to maintain the proper functioning of the immune system, skin, and cells mucous membrane. You can find vitamin A in carrots, spinach, egg yolks, kale, and cheese among others.

Vitamin B1

This is a coenzyme that’s used for metabolizing energy. Specifically, we need it to absorb carbohydrates and fatty acids. Not to mention that it helps maintain a healthy nervous system and heart. You can find them in cereals, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Vitamin B2

Of all the types of vitamins, this one is related to the release of energy. It’s also specifically necessary for healthy skin and eyesight. Some foods that are high in Vitamin B2 are coconuts, mushrooms, and almonds.

Almods contain good quantities of Vitamin B2

Vitamin B3

This one makes up two coenzymes (NAD and NADP), and thus it participates in the metabolism of energy from carbohydrates, amino acids, and lipids. A vitamin B3 deficit causes pellagra, including symptoms such as skin, digestion and nervous system problems. We may find this vitamin in fungi, salmon and green peas.

Vitamin B5

This type of vitamin helps in the synthesis of lipids, neurotransmitters, the thyroid, and hemoglobin. A deficit of this vitamin can cause megaloblastic anemia and neuropathy. You can find it in nuts, cauliflower, and avocado.

Vitamin B6

This vitamin, like some of the other types of vitamins, helps with the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids, hemoglobin production and the production of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). It aids the liver’s release of glycogen to the muscles.

It’s also important in regulating the central nervous system. Some of the foods that contain vitamin B6 are plantains, bananas, chickpeas, and others.

Banana has many types of vitamins, among them vitamin B6

Vitamin B8

Our bodies require this vitamin to maintain the proper functioning of the skin and circulatory system. It’s also used in the production of fatty acids and helps to break down carbohydrates and fats to maintain stable body temperature and energy levels.

It also stimulates the growth of healthy cells. Some of the foods where we can find this vitamin are chocolate, hazelnuts, and others.

Vitamin B9

This one is necessary for cell formation and DNA production. It acts with other types of vitamins, like vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help our bodies use up proteins. Additionally, it helps to maintain a healthy intestinal tract. You may find it in parsley, tomato, and lettuce, among other foods.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is essential in the creation of blood cells in the bone marrow. It helps to prevent anemia and also helps the nervous system stay healthy.

Some foods that contain this vitamin are seaweed, tempeh, organic plants, and vegetables, and you can also find it in other animal products that are fortified with this vitamin.

Woman and daughter posing with thumbs up in front of dead fish

 Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, for scar tissue, iron absorption from plant-based sources. What’s more, it’s an antioxidant, which helps us maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Some of the foods where you can find this in abundance are kiwi, lime, broccoli, and others.

Vitamin D

Differing from the other types of vitamins we’ve seen, this one we can associate with sunbathing. We obtain most of our vitamin D from ultraviolet rays from the sun. A vitamin D deficiency can cause plaque in teeth and bone deformities.

Therefore, its role is fundamental in the absorption of mineral in the bones because it helps the intestines process calcium and phosphorus. Some foods that can provide vitamin D, aside from the sun, are mushrooms, and fortified animal and plant-based milk.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s used in lipid protection. Thus, it also protects cell membranes. It inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins too.  Some foods that have a high vitamin E content are soy, blackberries, and coconut.

Vitamin K

This vitamin is essential for the synthesis of clotting agents because it reacts with certain proteins during the process. We don’t need to store it in large quantities because it regenerates naturally. Some foods that we can eat that contain vitamin K are alfalfa, cauliflower, spinach, and other leafy greens.

Cauliflower has many types of vitamins

To conclude, as we have seen, all types of vitamins have specific functions in the body. And so, keeping a healthy and balanced diet can supply us with the vitamins that we need to maintain our body in top shape.