Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of your everyday diet. When working together, they have the ability to carry out hundreds of functions. From healing wounds to strengthening your immune system; each vitamin plays its own unique role in keeping your body in tip-top shape [1].

What are the functions of vitamins? What are the different types of vitamins? Can you check your vitamin levels from home? Let’s discuss.



What are the functions of vitamins?


Vitamins, along with minerals, are essential nutrients. Your body needs both of these nutrient groups in order to keep healthy and essentially, help your body do its job!

Once your diet is varied and balanced, it’s likely that you’re getting the recommended intake of vitamins. That said, some people may need to take extra vitamin supplements dependent on certain factors [2]. For example, people with conditions that make it difficult to absorb a variety of nutrients such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease may take supplements [3].


Why are vitamins important to the body?


Your body needs vitamins to perform all of its essential functions, some of these include [4]:

  • Helping your body's natural defence against illness
  • Helping with wound healing
  • Keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy

What are the different types of vitamins?


While it may seem like there’s a different vitamin for every letter in the alphabet, don’t worry - there are just a few key vitamins you should get to know!

We’re going to discuss some of the essential vitamins and their functions in hopes of making it all a little easier to comprehend.


Vitamin A


Some key functions played by Vitamin A include:

  • Helping your body's immune system work properly
  • Helping vision in dim light
  • Keeping skin and the lining of some parts of the body healthy

Good sources of Vitamin A include cheese, eggs and oily fish [4].


Vitamin B


There are numerous types of Vitamin B, these include B1, B2, B3, B6, B7, B12, pantothenic acid, folate and folic acid. Some key functions played by Vitamin B include:

  • Help maintain healthy body tissues
  • Help the body convert food into energy
  • Creation of new blood cells

Good sources of Vitamin B include poultry, dairy products and leafy greens [5].


Vitamin C


Some key functions played by Vitamin C include:

  • Helping to protect cells and keeps them healthy
  • Maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage
  • Helping with wound healing

Good sources of Vitamin C include oranges, red and green peppers and potatoes [6].


Vitamin D


Some key functions played by Vitamin D include:

  • Regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body
  • Keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy

Good sources of Vitamin D include oily fish, red meat and egg yolks [7].


Vitamin E


Some key functions played by Vitamin E include:

  • Maintaining healthy skin and eyes
  • Strengthening the body's immune system

Good sources of Vitamin E include corn and olive oil, nuts, seeds and wheatgerm (found in cereals) [8].


Vitamin K


Some key functions played by Vitamin K include:

  • Promoting healthy bones
  • Encourages healthy blood clotting

Good sources of Vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils and cereal grains [9].


How can I check my vitamin levels from home?


With proper intake of vitamins being an important part of maintaining a healthy and happy body - it’s important to keep an eye on your vitamin levels and monitor them regularly.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home Vitamin Deficiency test identifies key deficiencies in Vitamin B12, Vitamin D or both - each of which play a vital role in regulating your immune system function.



You should take the Essential Vitamin test if:

  • You want to improve your overall health
  • You are suffering from chronic fatigue
  • You are following a plant-based diet
  • You are planning on becoming pregnant
  • You are over the age of 50
  • You suffer from Crohn's disease
  • You suffer from Celiac disease
  • You are deficient in the intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein which plays an important role in absorbing vitamin B12
  • You are going through the menopause
  • You are at risk of developing osteoporosis

References

  1. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Do you need a daily supplement?. Online: Health.Harvard.edu, 2018
  3. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  4. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamin A. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  5. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals - B vitamins and folic acid. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  6. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamin C. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  7. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamin D. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  8. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamin E. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017
  9. NHS. Vitamins and Minerals - Vitamin K. Online: Nhs.uk, 2017