When the doctor says, “Make sure to get your vitamins,” did you know that statement isn’t nearly as generic as it sounds? In fact, there are precisely thirteen vitamins that everybody needs. Not twelve. Not fourteen. Thirteen. Having a primary or secondary vitamin deficiency in any of these thirteen could, over time, lead to serious health consequences.
13 Vitamins: Water Soluble & Fat Soluble
These thirteen vitamins can be placed into two broad categories: water soluble and fat soluble. “Water” and “fat” describe where the vitamins dissolve. Water soluble vitamins are not actually stored by the body. They are consumed via food or supplement and then excreted via urine. As such, these vitamins must be replaced daily. (There is one exception to this rule: vitamin B-12 is water soluble, but can be stored in the liver.)
Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and the body’s fat. If you consume a greater quantity of a fat soluble vitamins than you need, your body will store away the surplus for you. In some people, the body is able to store adequate amounts of certain fat soluble vitamins for months. Because these vitamins are stored, you don’t have to consume them every day in food or supplement form. (That being said, daily recommended values still exist for fat soluble vitamins.)
The 9 Water Soluble Vitamins
Let’s start with fan favorite, vitamin C…
- Vitamin C is perhaps the best known of the water soluble vitamins. Commonly cited for boosting the immune system, vitamin C also helps with bleeding gums and dry, brittle hair. You can find it in leafy greens and bell peppers. Shop Vitamin C supplements.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is known for helping with energy levels. If you’re feeling fatigued, you may have a thiamin deficiency. Shop Vitamin B1.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) also helps with energy, as well as red blood cell production. Shop Vitamin B2.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) can reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Mushrooms, peanuts and sun flower seeds are great sources! Shop Vitamin B3.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) supports the adrenal glands. If you’re feeling fatigued and having trouble sleeping, a vitamin B5 deficiency may be behind your difficulties. Shop Vitamin B5.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential for brain and nervous system function. Shop Vitamin B6.
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin) promotes health skin, hair and nails. Shop Biotin.
- Vitamin B9 (Folate) is especially important during pregnancy, though every adult needs at least 200 mcg a day for red blood cell formation. Shop Folic Acid.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) also helps produce red blood cells! Shop Vitamin B2.
The 4 Fat Soluble Vitamins
And don’t forget the four fat soluble vitamins!
- Vitamin A is essential for vision and the immune system. Eat your carrots! Shop Vitamin A.
- Vitamin D reduces risk of bone fractures. Take it with calcium! Shop Vitamin D.
- Vitamin E can fight free radicals, staving off disease. Though deficiencies are rare, some people should consider a supplement. Shop Vitamin E.
- Vitamin K is last but not least – essential for regulating blood clotting. Shop Vitamin K.