Vitamins, to boost your health

Vitamins are organic nutrients that are essential for life. They have specific functions to perform in our body, which makes them unique and irreplaceable.

Vitamins are basically classified as water- soluble and fat soluble vitamins.

Fat soluble vitamins- ( Vitamins A,D,E & K)

  • Vitamin A (Retinol)- These are necessary for eye health, immunity, skin, genes and growth of  and development of our body. Sources of vitamin A includes animal products, such as human milk, glandular meats, liver and fish liver oils (especially), egg yolk, whole milk, and other dairy products. Provitamin A carotenoids are found in green leafy yellow vegetables (e.g. pumpkins, squash, and carrots), and yellow and orange non-citrus fruits.
  • Vitamin D (Calciferol)- These are essential for bone health, maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphate, muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and general cellular function in all cells of the body. On exposure to sunlight, skin produces vitamin D. There are factors such as ageing, sunscreen application, skin pigmentation, season and latitude which reduce the ability of skin to synthesize vitamin D according to needs.
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) - a powerful antioxidant present in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils and plays major role in immunity and formation of blood vessels.
  • Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)- plays role in blood clotting and bone health. Sources include green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, etc.

Water soluble vitamins- (Vitamins B & C)

  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)- Antioxidant that has major role in immunity and also wound healing, collagen and connective tissue formation. Amla, citrus fruits, vegetables such as broccoli, peppers and tomatoes are rich sources of this vitamin.
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)- It is important for conversion of food into energy and nervous system function. Sources are nuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, beans and peas.
  • Vitamin B(Riboflavin)- This plays vital role in red blood formation, growth and development and also converts food into energy. Eggs, milk, mushroom, spinach are its sources.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)- Role in nervous system function, digestion and cholesterol production. Sources includes whole grains, nuts, seafood and poultry.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)- It is involved in fat metabolism, hormone production, conversion of food into energy and red blood cell formation. Avocados, milk, mushroom, eggs and whole grains are its sources.
  • Vitamin B(Pyridoxine)- It is involved in immune function, nervous system function, protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism and also red blood cell formation. Chickpeas, potatoes, salmon are its sources.
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)- Energy storage, metabolism of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Sources are avocados, eggs, salmon, whole grains.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)- It has major role in prevention of birth defects, protein metabolism , red blood cell formation. Sources include green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, oranges and avacados.
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)- It converts food into energy, also involved in nervous system function and red blood cell formation, It is rich in dairy products, pulses, seafood and poultry.
  • Choline- Its involved in a number of functions such as brain development, cell signaling, liver function, muscle movement, nerve function, normal metabolism and also fat transport and metabolism. Sources are milk, nuts, egg yolks, soy food, salmon, beans, peas and vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.

No single food contains the full range of vitamins, and inadequate nutrient intake results in deficiencies. A variety of foods is therefore vital to meet the body’s vitamin requirements.



  • Srilakshmi, B. (2006). Nutrition Science. New Age International.
  • Manual, A. (2011). Dietary guidelines for Indians. National Institute of Nutrition, second edition. Hyderabad, India, 89-117.
  • Joint, F. A. O. (2002). Human vitamin and mineral requirements.
  • Nutrition: Vitamins- Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation 
  • Healthy Eating- Important Nutrients to Know: Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats, NIH