Vitamins are organic (carbon containing) molecules or sets of molecules that are essential micro-nutrients needed by organisms for proper functioning of their metabolism as well as many other processes and effects including growth, recovery, resistance and much more. Different vitamins are responsible for different processes in the body with most vitamins being responsible for multiple functions.
Classified as either fat or water soluble, fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the human body, while water soluble vitamins need to be provided daily, either through diet, or dietary supplements.
Most major health organizations currently list 13 Vitamins:
Vitamin A - (as all-trans-retinol, all-trans-retinyl-esters, as well as all-trans-beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids)
Vitamin B1 - Thiamine
Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin
Vitamin B3 - Niacin
Vitamin B5 - Pantothenic acid
Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine
Vitamin B7 - Biotin
Vitamin B9 - Folic acid or Folate
Vitamin B12 - Cobalamins
Vitamin C - Ascorbic acid
Vitamin D - Calciferols
Vitamin E - Tocopherols and Tocotrienols
Vitamin K - Phylloquinone and Menaquinones
Of the 13 above vitamins, 4 are fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) while 9 are water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C).
The term vitamin does not include the other 3 types of essential micro-nutrients needed by the human body: Essential Amino Acids, Essential Fatty Acids and Minerals.
References: Erowid Vitamins Vault, Wikipedia.org - Vitamins, The Vitamin and Nutrition Center.
This article is provided as a general guide, however we are not doctors. Always carry out your own research and consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.You can read similar articles to this one in our Knowledge Base.