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Updated: Jun 18

What is the role of vitamins? Which of them would be worth checking by passing tests? Where are all these valuable elements hiding? Keep a useful memo.

#Vitamins are low—molecular-weight organic compounds necessary for humans. Most of them are not synthesized by the body, so they must come with food. Otherwise, you will have to get acquainted with vitamin deficiency and a variety of diseases. In the spring, this problem is more urgent than ever.

Types of vitamins

There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-soluble (A, D, E, K) are necessary for the normal function of cells, the metabolism of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and electrolytes, the work of various enzyme systems of the body, redox processes, blood clotting, growth and development.

Water-soluble (B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, B15, PP, C) do not accumulate in the body and are excreted after a few days, so they need to be replenished regularly.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A (retinol) plays an important role in the formation of bones and teeth, as well as fat deposits. It is necessary for the growth of new cells, slows down the aging process.

Functions of vitamin A in the body:

  • It is a component of rhodopsin, the main visual pigment;

  • It is necessary for the growth and development of many cells in the body;

  • It is important for the normal development of mucous membranes (it causes a disinfecting protective effect);

  • Participates in the regulation of #antioxidant processes;

  • It is necessary to maintain childbearing function.

Condition with vitamin A deficiency:

In which products to look for?

Fish, beef and pork liver, butter, eggs, cheeses, mostly orange and yellow vegetables, fruits and berries (rose hips, carrots, curly cabbage, spinach, pumpkin, broccoli, lettuce, papaya, persimmon), sweet potatoes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D (calciferol) is a fat—soluble vitamin, an antirachitic factor.

Functions of vitamin D in the body:

  • It is necessary for better absorption of calcium and phosphorus;

  • Takes a direct part in the development of bones and teeth;

  • Reduces the risk of infection and #diabetes.

Condition with vitamin D deficiency:

Calcium absorption decreases and its release from the bone, which leads to stimulation of the production of parathyroid hormone by the parathyroid glands. Secondary hyperparathyroidism develops, which contributes to the leaching of calcium from the bones and the loss of phosphate in the urine. The clinical manifestation of these processes is rickets.

In which products to look for?

Fish, eggs (yolk), liver, fortified milk and dairy products.

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

The main function of vitamin E is related to its #antioxidant properties: it protects cell membranes, proteins, fats and DNA, trapping free #radicals and preventing them from spreading in the body.

Functions of vitamin E in the body:

  • Provides normal blood clotting and healing;

  • Reduces the possibility of scarring from some wounds;

  • Reduces #bloodpressure;

  • Helps prevent cataracts;

  • Improves athletic #performance;

  • Relieves leg #cramps;

  • Supports the health of nerves and muscles;

  • Strengthens the walls of capillaries;

  • Prevents #anemia.

Condition with vitamin E deficiency:

  • leads to damage to muscle fibers and neurons;

  • leads to tissue #hypoxia in organs with high oxygen demand.

In which products to look for?

Oils (for example, sunflower, rapeseed), seeds, nuts, almonds, bread, avocado, paprika, liver.

Vitamin K

Functions of Vitamin K (Phylloquinone):

  • Controls the formation of several blood clotting factors: II (prothrombin), VII, IX and X in the liver;

  • It is necessary for the retention of calcium in the composition of bone tissue.

Condition with vitamin K deficiency:

With a deficiency, blood clotting disorders may occur: bruises easily appear and bleeding occurs, for example, from the nose or gums.

In which products to look for?

Vegetables (especially green vegetables).


Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Functions of vitamin B1 in the body:

  • Participates in lipid and carbohydrate #metabolism;

  • It affects the work of the nervous system and muscles, in particular, the #heart;

  • Participates in the formation of #gastric juice.

Condition with vitamin B1 deficiency:

In which products to look for?

Seeds, nuts, wheat seedlings, yeast, pork, oat flakes, whole-grain pasta, bread, rustic milk, sea buckthorn, liver, fish fillet, whole-grain rice, salmon, legumes, eggs.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Functions of vitamin B2 in the body:

  • Participates in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, the work of the nervous system and muscles, in particular, the heart muscle;

  • It is necessary for good vision, reducing eye fatigue, healthy skin, mucous membranes, nails and hair, and the production of #antibodies.

Condition with vitamin B2 deficiency:

Despite the fact that vitamin B2 deficiency seriously affects the #metabolism, clear clinical symptoms appear extremely rarely. These include various kinds of skin changes. A fairly common sign of this vitamin #deficiency is cracked corners of the mouth. Acute shortage of riboflavin is associated with iron metabolism disorders, anemia and mental disorders.

Vitamin B2 deficiency alone is not usually found. As a rule, its deficiency manifests itself along with the lack of other nutrients. Foods usually contain small amounts of vitamin B2, so to get enough of it, you should eat unrefined foods and have a varied menu.

In which products to look for?

Liver, yeast, almonds, eggs, curly cabbage, cheese, spinach, bread, broccoli, dried apricots and prunes, herring, avocado, pork, legumes, turkey, nuts, seeds.

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Functions of vitamin B5 in the body:

  • Activates #metabolism, as it participates in the release of energy from essential nutrients, as well as other vitamins, especially vitamin B2;

  • It stimulates the adrenal glands, increases the level of cortisol and other adrenal hormones that are important for the skin and nerves;

  • It is necessary for the construction of cells and the development of the central nervous system;

  • Participates in the synthesis of cholesterol, steroids and fatty acids;

  • Supports the health of the gastrointestinal tract;

  • Increases the body's resistance to #stress;

  • Reduces the toxic effect of many #antibiotics;

  • Protects against premature #aging and the formation of #wrinkles.

Condition with vitamin B5 deficiency:

  • #fatigue;

  • #depression;

  • sleep disorder;

  • increased fatigue;

  • #headaches;

  • #nausea;

  • muscle pain;

  • burning, tingling, numbness of the toes;

  • burning, excruciating pain in the lower extremities, mainly at night;

  • redness of the skin of the feet;

  • dyspepsia is a violation of digestion in the stomach, excessive gas formation, a feeling of early satiety, sucking or burning pain;

  • ulcer of the 12th duodenum.

In which products to look for?

Liver, yeast, nuts, fish, legumes, mushrooms, eggs, poultry meat.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Functions of vitamin B6 in the body:

  • Provides normal amino acid metabolism (including the breakdown and use of proteins);

  • Provides carbohydrate and lipid metabolism;

  • Participates in the synthesis of many biologically active compounds in the body (for example, serotonin);

  • It helps the normal functioning of the central nervous system;

  • Participates in the absorption of vitamin B12 and magnesium;

  • Participates in the production of hydrochloric acid.

Condition with vitamin B6 deficiency:

Nutritional-related B6 deficiency is rare and usually combined with a deficiency of other B vitamins. In infants and young children, the clinical symptoms of B6 deficiency include epileptic seizures, weight loss, gastrointestinal tract problems and microcytic anemia.

In which products to look for?

Liver, nuts, poultry, fish, yeast, avocado, broccoli, paprika, bananas, pork and beef, bread, seeds, egg yolk, legumes.

Vitamin B9 (folic acid)

Functions of vitamin B9 in the body:

  • Participates in the normal development of nervous tissue in the fetus, for protein, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism;

  • Helps to normalize the nervous system;

  • Participates in the processes of DNA and RNA synthesis during growth and for the restoration of body cells;

  • Participates together with vitamin B12 in the formation of red blood cells;

  • It affects the reduction of #cholesterol in the blood and increases the efficiency of the #liver.

Condition with vitamin B9 deficiency:

If #pregnancy is accompanied by folate deficiency, neural tube defects, palate deformities, spinal cord injury may occur. Premature birth may occur, or the child will be underweight, further development will be slow, and learning abilities will be low.

High folate intake (folic acid salts) is associated with better development of the nervous system in children. Since many pregnancies, especially in adolescence, are unplanned, all women of fertile age should receive at least 400 mcg of folate per day, because the child's nervous system is laid already in the first weeks of fetal life, when a woman may not yet know about pregnancy.

In which products to look for?

Yeast, liver, legumes, broccoli, curly cabbage, spinach, nuts, seeds, beetroot, kohlrabi, green parts of plants, eggs, bread, paprika, rutabaga, cauliflower, radish, strawberries.

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

Functions of vitamin B12 in the body:

  • It affects the metabolism of amino acids;

  • Participates together with fans in the formation of red blood cells;

  • It affects the normal development of nervous tissue.

Condition with vitamin B12 deficiency:

Clinical symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are usually formed after a lack of vitamin B12 in food for many years or due to its reduced absorption. Getting enough vitamin B12 is extremely important for normal hematopoiesis and neurological processes.

Vitamin deficiency leads to degeneration of the spinal cord and brain, as well as peripheral nerves, which provokes macrocyte, megablastic anemia and/or the manifestation of neurological symptoms.

Deficiency due to insufficient nutrition can be observed only in those adults who have adhered to veganism for many years and have not consumed dietary supplements with B12 or B12-fortified products.

In which products to look for?

Liver, beef, poultry, eggs, fish, cheese, pork, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt.

Vitamin B15 (pangamic acid, sodium pangamate)

Functions of vitamin B15 in the body:

  • Stimulates the adrenal glands, liver;

  • It affects the exchange of oxygen in tissue cells;

  • Improves tissue respiration, increases the use of #oxygen in tissues and participates in #oxidative processes, stimulating them, and therefore is used in acute and chronic intoxication;

  • Improves lipid metabolism, lowers #cholesterol in the blood;

  • Stimulates protein synthesis;

  • Stimulates immune responses.

Condition with vitamin B15 deficiency:

With a lack of pangamic acid in the body, nervous disorders, disorders of the glands, insufficient supply of oxygen to the tissues of the body and diseases of the cardiovascular system can be noted (it should be borne in mind that studies have been limited). The development of increased #fatigue is possible.

In which products to look for?

Liver, watermelon seeds, pumpkin seeds, apricot seeds, almonds, wild rice, wheat, barley, buckwheat, beans.

Vitamin PP (nicotinic acid)

Functions of vitamin PP in the body:

Condition with vitamin PP deficiency:

With a lack of nicotinic acid, gum soreness, bad breath, #heartburn, decreased appetite, nausea and #diarrhea occur.

With an increase in nicotinic acid deficiency, the normal course of biochemical processes in nerve cells is disrupted and symptoms appear that indicate a lesion of the nervous system.

In which products to look for?

Nuts, seeds, liver, poultry meat, yeast, pork and beef, eggs, whole grain rice, fish, cottage cheese.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C in the body is necessary for:

  • normal wound healing;

  • increase the body's resistance, prevent spring fatigue and #stress;

  • reducing the formation of nitrosamines;

  • conversion of folic acid entering the body into folates;

  • normal brain function;

  • control the synthesis of steroid #hormones, for the synthesis of bile acid from cholesterol and regulation of #cholesterol levels in the blood.

Condition with vitamin C deficiency:

Compared to other people, #smokers need more vitamin C (30 mg more per day). #Pregnant and nursing mothers also need large amounts of vitamin C (10 mg more per day).

Vitamin C deficiency can manifest itself in a reduced ability of the body to resist #oxidative processes, in exhaustion and irritability. With a prolonged deficiency of vitamin C, scurvy can develop — an acute disease that disrupts the synthesis of collagen, as a result of which the connective tissue loses its strength.

In which products to look for?

Vegetables, fruits and berries, juice, rosehip, sea buckthorn, paprika, black currant, cloudberry, strawberry, citrus, red currant, cabbage, broccoli, leek, rutabaga, gooseberry, raspberry, tomatoes, cauliflower.

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