Vitamins are micronutrients that are not produced in the body but are crucial for development as a child and important for general well-being throughout the adult years. They aid your body’s daily functioning and immune system, serving different purposes.

Since your body cannot make vitamins, it is important to consume a healthy, balanced diet with a variety of foods to ensure you are getting all the vitamins you need. However, a study has shown that only 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. are consuming the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. This causes many people to have a vitamin deficiency, which can lead to severe health issues and even death in some cases. Inadequate vitamin intake can cause poor bone health, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, which is why consuming the correct amounts of vitamins is very beneficial for your health.

There are 13 essential vitamins your body needs to survive and stay healthy. Some are water-soluble and some are fat-soluble. These vitamins help your body grow and function optimally by boosting immunity, strengthening your bones, increasing energy, improving your eyesight and healing wounds, among other benefits.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

There are nine water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and biotin. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in your body and must be consumed regularly to maintain adequate levels. These vitamins are needed in your diet to fight off sickness and infections, prevent heart disease and digestive issues, help the body maintain energy, encourage brain function and healthy skin and nails and regulate cell growth.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

The four fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D and vitamin E. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your fatty tissue, muscles and liver and are absorbed more easily with fat in your diet. Because these vitamins are stored in your body, they last longer and don’t need to be consumed as often. These vitamins are needed in your diet to regulate cell growth, maintain strong bones and healthy skin and teeth and fight off illness and blood clots.

It is important to ensure you are consuming enough essential water- and fat-soluble vitamins to help improve daily functioning and cell growth. If you’re unsure that you’re getting the adequate amount of each of these vitamins, consult with your doctor or a dietician. If you need a primary care provider, visit UofL Health – Primary Care or call 502-588-4343 to find a provider near you.

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Crystal Meadors, Pharm.D.

Crystal Meadors, Pharm.D., is a PGY1 community-based pharmacy resident with UofL Health – UofL Hospital. She moved to Louisville from Tennessee in June 2022 to be a part of UofL Health’s Pharmacy Residency Program focused on specialty pharmacy and community-based practice. She is passionate about specialty pharmacy, patient-centered care and empowering patients to be advocates for their health.

All posts by Crystal Meadors, Pharm.D.
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