13 essential vitamins

Amy Wood - Nutritionist

The quality of our diet comes down to more than just calories. While weight hinges on calories, the type of food we eat has a much bigger bearing on health.

Our diets can provide us with all the nutrients we need, including vitamins. Vitamins are a group of 13 micronutrients that play a special role in the essential functions within the body to keep us alive and working at our best. We only need them in very small quantities, although they are crucial for human health. A healthy balanced diet containing a wide variety of whole foods should help you to meet all of your body's vitamin needs, however there are some groups of people who may need more, or are more at risk of deficiency.

Have a look at our handy vit-o-graph below to learn more about the functions of each vitamin within the body, as well as good sources of each. Useful whether you're looking to increase your intake of a particular vitamin, or you just want to achieve a healthy balance.


Vitamin A

Healthy vision, immune function, anti-inflammation, healthy skin

Eggs, liver, milk, cheese, yogurt, fortified spreads, sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, papaya, mango


Vitamin B1

Energy metabolism, normal cell function

Wheat flour, baked goods, fortified breakfast cereals, pork, peas, nuts


Vitamin B2

Energy metabolism, cell growth and development

Fortified breakfast cereals, beans, fish, milk, eggs


Vitamin B3

Energy and fat metabolism, DNA repair, antioxidation

Fortified flour and breakfast cereals, meat, fish, brown rice, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, bananas


Vitamin B5
(Pantothenic acid)

Energy and fatty acid metabolism

Almost all plant and animal foods


Vitamin B6

Energy metabolism, immune function, cognitive health

Poultry, oily fish, dark leafy greens, bananas, papaya, oranges


Vitamin B7

Energy metabolism, cell signalling

Eggs, salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds, pork


Vitamin B9

DNA growth and repair, red blood cell development, cognitive health

Dark leafy greens, whole grains, beans, seafood


Vitamin B12

DNA and red blood cell development, brain and nerve function

Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products


Vitamin C

Wound healing, immune function, antioxidation, collagen production, hormone synthesis

Citrus fruits, bell peppers, green leafy vegetables, potatoes


Vitamin D

Bone health, antioxidation

Eggs, oily fish, fortified drinks, spreads and breakfast cereals


Vitamin E

Antioxidation, immune function, heart health

Nuts, seeds, plant oils


Vitamin K

Blood clotting, bone health

Green leafy vegetables, plant oils

Nutritionist Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition has a keen interest in the relationship between diet and health. Having been published in the European Journal of Nutrition, Amy is passionate about making evidence-based nutrition accessible to everyone and helping others to adopt a food-focused approach to taking control of their health.

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