Vitamins We Need: Their Importance & Sources

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

The human body needs vitamins in order to survive and function. Discover the different kinds of vitamins, the different sources we can obtain them from, and the important role vitamins play in our bodies. Updated: 10/03/2021

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are substances found normally in food or may be taken in, not surprisingly, via a vitamin pill. They are micronutrients that come in tiny quantities but pack a big punch when it comes to your health. Therefore, I think it's important we explore the major vitamins your body needs, why, and where you can find them in nature.

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Minerals in Our Food: Functions in the Body & Food Sources

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 Vitamins and Minerals
  • 0:24 The Different Kinds of…
  • 1:18 Antioxidant Vitamins
  • 2:05 The Roles Vitamins…
  • 4:21 Where to Find These…
  • 5:16 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

The Different Kinds of Vitamins

Vitamins are organic compounds necessary for the growth and maintenance of your body's normal functions. When I say something is organic, that means it contains carbon in its molecular structure.

Vitamins are broken into two main groups. There are fat soluble vitamins, vitamins A, D, E, and K, and water soluble vitamins, vitamins B and C.

Water soluble vitamins are easily excreted by your body in urine if you take too many of them. In contrast, fat soluble vitamins are stored by the body and are removed more slowly. Namely, fat soluble vitamins are stored in (not surprisingly) fat but also the liver.

What this means is that it's much easier to overdose on fat soluble vitamins, especially over the long run, than it is on water soluble vitamins.

Antioxidant Vitamins

While all vitamins play important roles in your body that I'll mention in just a little bit, some vitamins have an added role. Certain vitamins are known as antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help to neutralize dangerous substances called free radicals attacking you from inside and outside your body.

I always like to imagine that antioxidants are like a shield or bulletproof vest and the free radicals are like arrows, swords, or bullets trying to hurt you. Vitamins that have antioxidant properties include vitamins E, C, and a precursor to vitamin A called beta-carotene. I'm sure you are well familiar with beta-carotene - it's the stuff that gives carrots its orange color.

The Roles Vitamins Play in the Body

Be they antioxidants or not, your body needs a total of 13 vitamins. It needs the four fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) as well as vitamin C and eight different kinds of vitamin B, including vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate.

But we'll be simple about it and just stick to the fact that you need vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.

Keeping this in mind, let's find out why you need them besides the antioxidant function found in some of them.

Vitamin A is important to healthy vision in your eyes. Vitamin A in my mind is really Vitamin 'A'ye, a pirate with a patch over one eye, screaming 'Aye!' like mad.

Vitamin B is really Vitamin Bee. 'B'ees 'b'uzz around like 'b'onkers because they have so much energy. Vitamin B is necessary for energy. Vitamin B has other roles, including helping to make red 'b'lood cells.

Vitamin C is Vitamin 'C'onnectivity, because it's useful for the health of connective tissue, including that found in bone, teeth, and skin.

Vitamin D is required for the appropriate 'D'evelopment of bone and teeth as well as the absorption of calcium. Those 'Got Milk?' commercials should make it easy to remember what vitamin D is for. Vitamin D, coupled with calcium, helps to prevent a condition called osteoporosis, which leads to thin and fragile bones.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account