Vitamins play an important role in keeping the body healthy. Eating a variety of healthy foods each day will provide enough vitamins for most people.
Vitamins are needed for many of the essential chemical reactions in the body to occur including those involved in energy metabolism.
Removing certain foods or food groups from the diet, may mean missing out on important vitamins. Eating a variety of healthy foods each day will provide enough vitamins for most people. It is best to get vitamins from food rather than supplements. Taking large doses of certain vitamins can actually affect the body’s ability to stay healthy and function well.
Vitamins can be described as fat-soluble or water-soluble.
- vitamin A
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body so it is possible for high intakes to result in toxicity. It is extremely difficult to overdose on vitamins by eating a healthy diet, yet it is possible if vitamin supplements are used. If you are taking supplements speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian or your pharmacist.
- vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- vitamin B3 (niacin)
- vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- folate or folic acid
- vitamin C
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body so toxicity symptoms are less likely than with fat-soluble vitamins. It is important to continually restore the body’s supply of water-soluble vitamins by eating a range of healthy foods. It is however, still unnecessary for most people to take vitamin supplements. One exception is folate supplements that are recommended for those considering pregnancy to help reduce the risk of neural tube defects.
There are ‘recommended dietary intakes’ for most vitamins. These give a guide as to the amounts of vitamins people need to eat each day.