Vitamins are organic substances that the body needs in minute amounts and that we ingest with our foods. Vitamins do not supply energy, nor do they contribute substantially to the mass of the body; rather, they act as catalysts, substances that help to trigger other reactions in the body.

The two basic categories of vitamins are water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, and any excess amounts are flushed out in the urine. Fat-soluble vitamins are dissolved and stored in the fatty issues of the body. It is necessary to take in water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis, but fat-soluble vitamins can be ingested less often.

Water-Soluble Vitamins Fat-Soluble Vitamins
B1 (thiamin) Vitamin A
B2 (riboflavin) Vitamin D
B3 (niacin, nicotinic acid, nicotinamide) Vitamin E
B5 (pantothenic acid) Vitamin K
B6 (pyridoxine)  
B12 (cyanocobalamin)  
Folate (folic acid, folacin)  
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)  
Vitamin A (retinol)  

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