Vitamins are substances that the body needs to grow and develop normally. Your body needs 13 vitamins. These are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamins B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate or folic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
Usually, vitamins come from the food you eat. The body can also produce vitamins D and K. People who eat a vegetarian diet may need a vitamin B12 supplement.

Each vitamin has specific functions. If you have low levels of certain vitamins, you may have health problems. For example, if you do not get enough vitamin C, you may develop anemia. Some vitamins can help prevent medical problems. Vitamin A prevents night blindness.

The best way to get enough vitamins is to maintain a balanced diet with varied foods. In some cases, a daily multivitamin may be needed. It is a good idea to talk with your health provider about it. High doses of some vitamins can cause problems.