Nakd’s Guide to Essential Vitamins

Glass of orange juice with lemon fruits

A vitamin is an essential micronutrient that our body needs in order to function properly. Most vitamins can be obtained naturally through food and other sources, but there are vitamin supplements available to ensure we are maintaining a healthy amount.

With so many different letters to keep track of, it can be hard to remember what vitamins have what health benefits. That’s why we’ve created an easy guide for you! Here are some of the most vital vitamins, with an explanation of what they are and why they are good for us…

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is great for our bones, muscles and teeth because it helps our bodies to regulate calcium and phosphate (1). We can gain Vitamin D naturally from sunlight, which our skin absorbs and bodies convert to the hormone calcitriol.

During the winter months there are Vitamin D supplements you can take to ensure you are getting the NHS recommendation of 10 micrograms a day (1a). There are also some great vegan food sources of Vitamin D that you can easily incorporate into your diet like mushrooms or milk alternatives such as soya milk and oat milk.

Vitamin C

We’ve all been told to eat an orange or two to get Vitamin C, but do we know why it’s good for us? It’s a great immune boosting vitamin which can have anti-inflammatory effects as well as helping to fight infections (2).

It’s also been found to be a good antioxidant which can help to manage high blood pressure and reduce cholesterol (2a). A study on antioxidant vitamins also found that a high Vitamin C intake helped to reduce the occurrence of coronary heart disease (3).

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can be found in a wide variety of plant based foods like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. It’s a great vitamin for skin health as it has antioxidant properties that can help to reduce the harmful effects of UV exposure and protect the damaged cells that are linked to ageing (4).

Vitamin A

There are two types of Vitamin A – Retinol which is ‘pre-formed’ so our bodies can use it straight away and Provitamin A which is found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables like carrots, but needs to be converted into Retinol before we can reap the benefits (5).

As well as helping to fight off infection and keeping the lining of the body healthy, it’s a great vitamin for eye health (1b). Research has shown that in some cases Vitamin A can help to slow down the degeneration effects of harmful eye diseases to prevent vision loss (6).

Vitamin K

Vitamin K can be found in nutritious green vegetables like brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage. It’s important that our bodies get Vitamin K because it helps with blood cutting, which in turn helps wounds to heal (1c). This healing property can also help with the likes of bruising, stretch marks, scars and other skin conditions.

Studies have also found that Vitamin K can be good for vascular and bone health by having a protective role. For example, some bone fractures have been linked to a Vitamin K deficiency (7).

Vitamin B

There are many different types of Vitamin B that have positive health benefits, including:

  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamine which is great for our digestive system and metabolism (1d).
  • Vitamin B6 which is found in nuts, chickpeas and tofu and helps our bodies to release energy from food as well as keeping our skin healthy (8).
  • Folic acid – a manmade version of Vitamin B9 that the NHS recommends taking during pregnancy because it can reduce the risk of birth defects (9).
  • Vitamin B12 – an important vitamin that helps to create red blood cells which keeps the nervous system healthy and helps prevent the risk of anemia (10).

So, there you have it! A guide to some of the most common and vital vitamins that our bodies need to keep healthy. For more useful articles on vitamins and minerals checkout our Guide To Vegan Calcium Sources.

References
  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#6.-Boosts-immunity-
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15585762/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976416/
  5. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/vitamin_a.htm
  6. https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/columbia-researchers-work-preventing-blindness-age-related-macular-degeneration-and-stargardts
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5726210/
  8. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/#h3
  9. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/
  10. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamin-b12-or-folate-deficiency-anaemia/

 

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