6  Key Vitamins for Life

We need to consume a variety of vitamins from our food every day to have a good functioning body, below is 6 key vitamins that are essential for the body to function daily and sources to where you can get them. The levels of vitamins required differ from person to person, some of the areas that effect your requirements are:

  • Your level of activity
  • Overall condition of health
  • Biological sex and if you are pregnant
  • Age

The word “vitamin” is made up of the Latin word “vita” which means “life”.

Vitamins have a variety of functions in the body, these include:

  • Growth and repair
  • Digestion
  • Energy Transfer
  • Immunity
  • Nervous system function

There are two types of vitamin categories:

  • Fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K
  • Water soluble vitamins like Vitamin B, C

How does vitamin deficiency occur?

Vitamin deficiencies can occur to many complex reasons, some of which is very important to seek medical advice for. Some of the most common reasons these cause a deficiency are:

  • Medication

This can happen due the use of certain medications that prevent the uptake of a certain vitamin(s). These can include laxatives as they flush food through the digestive tract quicker than the body can absorb the nutrients that are available. For women that take an oral contracepetive, vitamin B2 can be affected and have low absorption.

  • Restrictive diets

Restricting food groups, fad diets , eating disorders and dieting for extended periods can result in reduced levels of essential vitamins and minerals. Reduced intake of these vitamins can show up through physical or mental functioning being affected, mood changes, confusion, loss of appetite and gut issues can suggest this.

  • Malabsorption

This occurs through many health conditions and means that the body does not absorb the nutrients well from the food we eat. For some people this can be due to conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, but can also be due to some medical procedures being done like ostomies.

Your 6  Key Vitamins

Vitamin A

Functions include:

  • Protein creation
  • Immunity and healing cuts
  • Eye pigments
  • Red blood cell development

Sources include:

  • Egg yolks
  • Leafy greens like spinach, cabbage
  • Orange, yellow and red fruit and vegetables

Vitamin D

Functions include:

  • Immune system function
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Regulate glucose tolerance

Sources include:

  • We make this in our skin with the interaction of sunlight upon it. (Note people of northern latitudes e.g. northern Europe this reduces in winter).
  • Egg yolks
  • Fish and shrimp
  • Mushrooms

Vitamin E

Functions include:

  • Immune system function
  • Vision
  • Healthy Skin
  • Antioxident to protect cells

Sources include:

  • Nuts, seeds
  • Dark green veg
  • Turnip
  • Greens

Vitamin K

Functions include:

  • Blood clotting
  • Bone tissue
  • Heal wounds

Sources include:

  • Chicken or duck
  • Egg yolks
  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Leafy greens
  • Sprouts and broccoli
  • Asparagus

Vitamin C

Functions include:

  • Iron absorption
  • Antioxident
  • Production of Collagen protein
  • Regenerate Vitamin E levels
  • Healthy skin, cartilage and bones

Sources include:

  • Colourful fruits and veg
    • Peppers
    • Citric fruits oranges, limes, lemons
    • Spinach

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is broken down into several forms which include B1, B2, B5, B6, B9 and B12.

Each of these have different functions in the body which inculde:

  • Energy creation
  • Creating DNA
  • Healthy metabolism
  • Healthy skin
  • Creating red blood cells and circulation
  • Nervous and immune system
  • Glycogen breakdown
  • Fetal development
  • Healthy brain cells

Sources include:

Egg yolks



Beans and Legumes

Whole gains

Beef, Poultry, Pork

Potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, nuts, chickpeas

If you like more information of vitamins see this great article from Harvard Medical School.

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