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List of Essential Vitamins

By Denise Stern

Essential vitamins are organic components required by the body for normal organ and system functions, and must be ingested through the foods we eat or through synthetically designed vitamin supplements. Our bodies don't manufacture essential vitamins, which act as catalysts in the body to drive chemical reactions that ensure development and growth of cells, which in turn create tissues and make up organs and organ systems in the body and control the function of everything from our brains to our heart to our muscles. The only vitamin created by the body is Vitamin D, but all the others may be provided through foods and supplement capsules, pills or powders.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be found in dairy foods like milk, cheese and cream, as well as fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli and cantaloupe. When it comes to Vitamin A, the brighter the color of the fruit or vegetable, the more beta-carotene it contains, which converts into Vitamin A in the body are highly recommended. Vitamin A is responsible for good eyesight and strong bones and also helps boost the immune system.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for skin growth and can be found in most dairy products like milk, butter and cheese, as well as cereals and fish.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can help prevent accelerated aging to the skin, heals the skin and helps certain cells in the body to fight against infection and cell destruction. Vitamin E can be found in nuts and seeds as well as spinach and asparagus and other leafy green vegetables, as well as some vegetable oils.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and can prevent hemorrhage and internal bleeding. Vitamin K can be found in foods like spinach, soybeans and cabbage.

Vitamin B3

Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3 can be found in poultry, fish and lean meats as well as eggs and nuts and dairy products like milk and cheese. Niacin helps the body reduce levels of triglycerides and cholesterol for heart health, helps improve function of the digestive system and metabolize fats.

Vitamin B1

Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, is present in whole grain foods as well as pastas, peas, fish and lean meats, and some vegetables. Vitamin B1 promotes growth and aids in the digestion of carbohydrates.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells and promotes appetite and well as growth in children. Vitamin B12 can be found in shellfish, meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products like milk.

Folic Acid

Folate (also known as folic acid) can be found in dark green leafy vegetables and is important for protecting the body against parasites and food poisoning and promoting healthy skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) can be found in all citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes, as well as strawberries. Vegetables containing Vitamin C include turnip greens, tomatoes and potatoes. Milk and fish also contain Vitamin C, essential for healing wounds, boosting the immune system, healing infections and helps cells hold together.

Pantothenic Acid and Biotin

Pantothenic acid and biotin are both found in lean beef, whole grain cereals and broccoli and other cabbage-family vegetables. Pantothenic acid and biotin metabolizes food and helps in the synthesis of cholesterol and hormones.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin works in conjunction with other B-complex vitamins and can be found in nuts, legumes, dairy products and lean meats. Riboflavin helps with red blood cell production, encourages body growth and releases energy from carbohydrates.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B 6, also called pyridoxine, is necessary for adequate immune system function and to help with nerve functions and red blood cell development. Vitamin B6 can be found in foods like beans, nuts, eggs, fish, whole grains and legumes.

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