There are 13 essential vitamins and minerals you need not only to survive, but to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally. Experts believe the best way to get these vitamins is to eat a varied diet of fresh, colorful, unprocessed, and nutrient-rich foods.
But let’s face it, we are all busy and it is sometimes hard to eat a healthy, well-balanced meal full of fruits and vegetables three times a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. In less than ideal diets, vitamin supplements can be of significant benefit.
There are two main types of essential vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—which can be stored in body fat. Although there is a daily requirement, consuming these vitamins in excess can actually cause toxicity and health problems.
Water-soluble vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B6, B5, B12, C, B7, are not stored in the body fat, are depleted on a daily basis, and must be replenished every single day.
Read also: Do Vitamins Work? – Scott W. Tunis, MD
The Fat-Soluble Essential Vitamins
Vitamin A, or Retinol, serves many purposes. It is important in promoting vision, building strong teeth and bones, reducing wrinkles and other signs of aging by rejuvenating the cells, and improving immune health.
Getting enough Vitamin D can be difficult when you’re not exposed to adequate sunlight, especially in the winter.
Vitamin D, or Cholecalciferol, might be referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because it can be metabolically created from exposure to sunlight. It functions to promote the overall health of bones and teeth by facilitating calcium and phosphorus absorption.
It also plays critical roles in boosting the immune system and in optimizing cognitive health. In the winter, during rainy seasons, and in environments of diminished sun exposure, oral Vitamin D may be required to maintain adequate levels.
Vitamin E, or tocopherol, is an antioxidant with multiple tissue repair functions that also aids in red blood cell formation, helps maintain a healthy immune system, and protects cells from oxidative damage.
Vitamin K, or Aquemephyton, is designated “K’ from the German word, coagulation, because of the critical role it plays in blood clotting and the control of bleeding.
Water-Soluble Essential Vitamins
Vitamin B1, or Thiamine, is required to convert carbohydrates into energy and therefore is essential for normal metabolism of ingested food. Adequate levels of B1 will ensure maximum energy level, optimum mental clarity, healthy skin and hair, and proper peripheral nerve function.
Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin, is essential for energy production, normal adrenal function, healthy skin, and normal vision. In combination with other vitamins, B2 aids the production of red blood cells and promotes healthy immune and nervous systems.
Vitamin B3, or Niacin, is required for healthy skin, normal hearing, and normal central nervous system function. It has many other roles in promoting cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.
Getting all of your B Essential vitamins is vital for the function of the brain, particularly when it comes to memory, focus, and alertness.
Vitamin B5, or Pantothenic Acid, is essential for normal cognitive function including focus, memory, clarity, alertness, and learning.
Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxine, is required for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and as such has been reported and to be important in reducing anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Vitamin B7, or Biotin, plays an essential role in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, the support of the immune system, and the production of hormones.
Vitamin B9, or Folate, is critical for red cell production, catabolism of proteins, white cell formation, and overall central nervous system function. It is particularly critical to maintain adequate levels of B12 during pregnancy to avoid birth defects that are associated with its deficiency.
Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is necessary for red blood cell formation as well as DNA, RNA, and myelin synthesis. It is required for normal central nervous system function as well as normal alertness, cognition, memory, and mood.
Vitamin C, or Ascorbate, is well known for its healthy immune system effects, but is also critical for collagen formation and for healthy blood vessels, skin, and wound healing.
13 Essential Vitamins in Unison
Although many of the 13 essential vitamins may seem to have overlapping roles, each and everyone is still necessary every single day. You might accomplish this with an ideal diet, but that might be difficult every day. Remember, you cannot store water-soluble vitamins, what you consumed yesterday is gone today.
A daily vitamin supplement with 100% of all 13 essential vitamins guarantees your body is getting everything it needs to function at its very best every day.
And what could be better than being at our best?
The article was written by Scott W. Tunis MD FACS
Scott W. Tunis MD FACS is a Board Certified and active Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, with over 35 years of experience performing more than 50,000 procedures. Dr. Tunis is also a multiple US patent holder, an NIH protocol compliant vitamin clinical trial Principal Investigator, and a life-long recreational runner and co-developer of Runners Essentials Daily Vitamin Formula.