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An organic compound that acts as a nutrient in small amounts for organisms, vitamins have various health and beauty benefits for various organisms including humans. A vitamin is determined when the organic chemical compound can’t be synthesized in sufficient amounts by organisms and must be gained from the diet. Certain vitamins are readily available and beneficial to humans while completely useless to animals or plants and so on. There are thirteen vitamins recognized at the present time. Categorized by their biological and chemical activity, vitamins are not defined by their structure, but their biological activity. This biological activity is referred to in the term “vitamin” as it is referencing a number of vitamer compounds that all show the biological activity associated with that specific vitamin. For example, different vitamins have different functions such as vitamin D regulates metabolism and vitamin C acts as an antioxidant.

Vitamin Date of Discovery

  1. 1913- Vitamin A (Retinol)
  2. 1910- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  3. 1920- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  4. 1920- Vitamin D (Calciferol)
  5. 1920- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  6. 1922- Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
  7. 1926- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins)
  8. 1929- Vitamin K (Phylloquinone/phytol naphthoquinone)
  9. 1931- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  10. 1931- Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  11. 1934- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  12. 1936- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  13. 1941- Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Health Benefits

Vitamins and minerals are found in a large variety of the foods we consume on a daily basis, some are produced within our body due to outside sources, and some as a bi-product reaction of foods or vitamins we ingest. Each of these vitamins offers a large number of health benefits including but not limited to the prevention numerous diseases, illnesses, infections and conditions such as many types of cancer, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and more. Aside from the protection and prevention of many diseases and illnesses, many vitamins also help keep your body balanced by encouraging a healthy metabolism, cell regeneration and normal functioning, and coating the cells of the body to protect from outside invasion of illness or infections. Some vitamins also offer antioxidant benefits, which protect against free radical damage and offer a variety of beauty and health benefits.

Beauty Benefits

Vitamins, when considered in health and beauty, can hold important influence, especially when it comes to the overall health of your eyes, skin, teeth, and hair. Various vitamins provide numerous benefits to your vanity such as vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects against free radical damage caused by UV rays and pollution and vitamin A and B3 protect against them as well plus prevent premature aging and reducing or preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Other vitamin benefits include the preservation of eye health and vision, soften and moisturize the skin preventing dry or rough skin problems, prevention of dandruff, eczema or dermatitis, and the formation and normal growth of teeth and bones.

Food Sources

Vitamins, depending on the type, can be found in a variety of food sources such as leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale or lettuce (B vitamins) or in various fruits such as oranges, strawberries and papaya which all contain vitamin C. Vitamin A is found in carrots and other vegetables while vitamin D is offered by milk and sunlight exposure.

Daily Dose Recommendations

The daily dose recommendations vary from vitamin to vitamin and also depend heavily on your age and gender. Please refer to each specific vitamin page for a detailed recommendation on the daily doses according to age and gender.

Side Effects

Most side effects of vitamins are caused by taking supplements of them in large doses. Although overdose is rare, it can occur if the dosage is too high, but is usually treated by reducing the dosage amount. Side effects of exceeding the dosage amount or symptoms caused by overdose include diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. These symptoms are usually alleviated by lowering the dosage amount. Dosage amounts vary depending on vitamin type, age, health, and gender and should be researched based upon those factors.


Many vitamin deficiencies are now rare in modern times, but still occur in mostly under developed nations or nations that experience extreme poverty stricken conditions. Deficiencies in various vitamins can lead to a variety of illnesses, conditions, pain, exhaustion and in some cases, death which makes consuming vitamins very important to achieving and living a long and healthy life. Eating plenty of healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables, daily is important to the prevention of these diseases and conditions caused by vitamin deficiencies.

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