The complete ABC of vitamins

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  • General Information
  • History
  • Workings
  • Dosage
  • Sources
  • Quality
  • Dosage overview


1) General information of vitamins

Vitamins are very important for the functioning of the human body. In total there are 13 kinds of vitamins, all are discussed on this information page. Vitamins are chemical compounds that play an important role in the proper functioning of the body. Growth, recovery and maintenance of body tissues depend on the presence of vitamins. Vitamins occur naturally in our food, the body can not produce enough of these chemical compounds. It is therefore important that we eat healthy and varied food, so the body is provided with all necessary vitamins. It has been mentioned that there are 13 different types of vitamins, which differ not only in chemical composition but also in the way they work. So you have vitamins that are fat-soluble and water soluble. The solubility indicates the places where these vitamins may exert their effect.

Fat soluble:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
Water soluble:
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B8
  • Vitamin B11 (folic acid)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C


The fat-soluble vitamins are mainly located in the fat of foods and may be stored in the tissues of the body. The water-soluble vitamins are located in the fluid of foods. The body can produce these water-soluble vitamins (except vitamin B12) but does not store excess levels in the body. These exit the body by the urine tract.


2) History of vitamins

Vitamins were discovered in 1906. Scientists discovered that certain substances in food were essential for maintaining good health. First they thought that there was only 1 vitamin, but later discovered that there were 13 different kinds. The word vitamin is a combination of 2 words. "Vita" means living in Latin and 'amine' is a nitrogen compound. Later it was discovered that many substances which contain nitrogen compounds, but the name stayed.

Only much later around 1970, scientists succeeded in artificially producing vitamins. This has contributed to the emergence of nutritional supplements. However the last couple of years manufacturers have abandoned these synthetic forms of vitamins, because research indicates than many natural vitamins are better absorbed in the body. Hence, many nutrients such as vitamins, are natural variants. This is a difficult and time consuming process, which of course causes natural supplements to be more expensive than synthetic supplements, which can be bought for a few dollars in local shops.


3) Workings of vitamins


Vitamins are nutrients for the body, they are chemical compounds that the body needs to function properly. Vitamins assist the body in many processes. Vitamins are a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon structures. There are 13 vitamins, each with their own chemical structure and design, so they each have their own effects within the body.

Vitamins can be divided into 2 types: fat soluble and water soluble. This determines the manner and locations of uptake and duration of action within the body.

Vitamins do not provide energy, but are an important link in the energy production process. Vitamins ensure that nutrients are better absorbed by the body, allowing more good nutrients to be absorbed by the body.

4) Dosage of vitamins
Since each vitamin has its own specific dosage, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for each vitamin is written separately.


Vitamin A (retinol):
Adult females (18-50) have 800 micrograms per day.
Adult men (18-50) have 1000 micrograms per day.
Pregnant women are between 800 and 1000 micrograms per day.


1000 micrograms vitamin A corresponds to 3 slices of bread with liver pate.


Vitamin B1:
Adult men and women need 1.1 mg vitamin B1 per day.

1.1mg vitamin B1 corresponds to a meal consisting of: 4 potatoes, red cabbage 200g and 100g pork chops.


Vitamin B2:
Adult men (20-50 years) 1.5milligram per day.
Adult women (20-50 years) 1.1milligram per day.

This corresponds to 4 glasses of milk.


Vitamin B3:
Adult men (20-50 years) 17milligram per day.
Adult women (20-50 years) 13milligram per day.


Vitamin B5:
There is no vitamin B5 recommended daily allowance (RDA) established. If no RDA has been established, an adequate intake (AI) is determined, this is 5 mg per day.


Vitamin B6:
Adult men and women (20-50 years) was established at 1.5 mg per day.

This corresponds to 6 slices of bread.


Vitamin B8:
At present there is insufficient data to establish a RDA of vitamin B8, because there exists little to none vitamin B8 in a normal diet.


Vitamin B11:
Adult men and women (20-50 years) 300 micrograms per day.
Pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant are advised to additionally use a dietary supplement take 4-8 weeks after conception. Vitamin B8 reduce the risk of spina bifida in newborn babies.


Vitamin B12:
Adult men and women (20-50 years) set at 2.8mg per day.


Beta carotene:
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for beta carotene. It is set in the body to vitamin A, the Health uses a factor of 6. This means that 600mg beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A. 100mg


Vitamin C:
Adult men and women (20-50 years) set at 700mg per day.


Vitamin D:
Varied meal contains enough vitamin D for women of 4-50 years and men aged 4-70 years who have light skin and enough time outdoors. Other groups need extra vitamin D.
For the following groups of people is an additional amount of 10 micrograms of vitamin D: Children under 4 years, women of 4-50 years and men of 4-70 years who have dark skin or inadequate outside, women over 50 years who wear a veil, pregnant women or nursing women, women over 50 years and men over 70 years with a light complexion and enough time outdoors.
For the following groups of people is an additional amount of 20 micrograms of vitamin D, people with osteoporosis, people in a care home or nursing, women over 50 years and men over 70 years with a dark skin or inadequate outside, women over 50 who wear a veil.


Vitamin E:
Adult men (22-50 years) was established at 11.8mg per day.
Adult females (22-50 years) set at 9.3mg per day.


Vitamin K
Adult men and women (22-50 years) set at 90-120mg per day.


6) Sources of vitamins

Since each vitamin has its own sources, sources are written per vitamin type.


Vitamin A (retinol):

Vitamin A is found in liver, fish and butter. Because vitamin is essential for good health , it is determined by the government that the following products should contain vitamins A: margarine, and products for frying and baking.


Vitamin B1 (thiamine):

Vitamin B1 is mainly in pork and cereal. In addition, there are more foods where they are found, however, they contain very small amounts.


Vitamin B2 (riboflavin):

Vitamin B2 is found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, meats and dairy.


Vitamin B3 (niacin):

Vitamin B3 found in meat, fish, nuts, cereals, fruits and vegetables. In addition, the body can produce vitamin B3 from tryptophan.


Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid):

Vitamin B5 is found in meat, fish, eggs, potatoes, milk products, fruits and vegetables.


Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine):

Vitamin B6 found mainly in meat, eggs, fish, cereals, potatoes and legumes. Smaller amounts of vitamin B6 is found in vegetables, cheese and milk.


Vitamin B8 (Biotin):

Vitamin B8 is found in eggs, milk, nuts, and soy products.


Vitamin B11 (folic acid):

Vitamin B11 is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grain products. In addition, to a lesser extent in milk products.


Vitamin B12 (cobalamin):

Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods like meat and dairy.


Beta-carotene (provitamin A):

Beta-carotene exists most in green leafy vegetables (spinach), carrots, mangoes and mandarins and cabbage.


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):

Vitamin C is found in potatoes, vegetables and fruit.


Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is mainly supplied by sunlight. 10 minutes of sunlight per day, is enough to synthesize the required amount of D vitamin in the skin, under the influence of sunlight.


Vitamin E (tocopherol)

Vitamin E is found primarily in vegetable oils, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is rare in animal products.


Vitamin K

Vitamin K is produced by bacteria in the colon, from the age of 3 months, which is why babies get vitamin K administered during the first 3 months. There are 2 types of vitamin K, called K1 and K2. Vitamin K1 is found in: green leafy vegetables (spinach), vegetable oils, fruits, dairy and bread. Vitamin K2 is in cheese, egg, chicken, meat and dairy products is mainly found in vegetable oils, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is rare in animal products.


7) Quality of vitamins


Natural and synthetic vitamins:

Dietary supplements are now available in large numbers, something for everyone. However, there is much difference in the quality of food supplements, and this quality has a great influence on the functioning of the vitamin. An example of difference in quality is a multi-vitamin that you buy at the supermarket or drugstore and the vitamins that we sell in our shop.

The difference lies mainly in the origin of the nutrients. There are 2 types of food supplements, synthetic and natural supplements. For example, synthetic vitamins are manufactured in factories, in which the chemical structure matches the natural variant as good as possible. The second type of vitamin is where the nutrients are directly derived from nature, where it is important that as little as possible is lost of the nutrients during the manufacturing of the food supplement. In addition, natural food supplements contain no additives or modified foods. Both of which reduce the working of the food supplement.

Also the price is a big difference, natural vitamins are often several times as expensive, however, these vitamins also much better, this is caused because synthetic vitamins are less well absorbed by the body. The difference can be a factor of 3 or 4. If you take this into consideration then the natural variant is not more expansive, because you will need to use less for the same effect.

Vitamins on a scientific basis:

Dietary supplements that are composed according to scientific studies have often demonstrated their operation and precise tested how nutrients are absorbed into the body. In this respect the chemical structure and the dosage is often of interest. The body often has a preference for a particular composition and dosage, because the body can not properly absorbe all compositions. The wrong dosage can also have negative effects in the body. Nowadays much attention is devoted to scientific research to make the nutritional supplements as effective as possible.

Vitamins and raw materials:

In addition to the origin of the nutrients, the production process is also very important, since the goal is to minimize nutrient loss /destruction during this process. Nowadays, we use fermentation processes that ensure that as little as possible is lost and that the nutrients are almost identical to the nutrients that we ingest through food.

Vitamins and hypoallergenic:

Always look good if the product is hypoallergenic, especially if you suffer from allergies. If a product does not state that it is hypoallergenic, you can assume that the dietary supplement may cause an allergic reaction.

Vitamins and expiration date:

Always look for an expiration date stated on the packaging. Vitamins whose shelf life has expired, may be oxidized. This can have harmful effects if you take such a vitamin.


9) Dosage Overview of vitamins
Name: Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA):
Vitamin A (retinol) 400 mg (baby) to 1,000 micrograms (m) /800 mg (v)
Beta-carotene (provitamin A) Unknown
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.3 mg (1-3 yr) to 1.1 mg (adult)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.5 (1-3 yr) to 1.5 mg (m) 1.1 mg (v)
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 4 mg (1-3 yr) to 17 mg (m) 13 mg (v)
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 2 mg (1-3 yr) to 5 mg (adult)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 0.4 (1-3 yr) to 1.5 mg (adult)
Vitamin B8 or H (biotin) 4 mg (at 0-5 months)
Vitamin B11 (folic acid) 300 micrograms
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) 0.7 micrograms (1-3 yr) to 2.8 mg (adult)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 70 mg
Vitamin D (calciferol) 5 micrograms (1-3 yr), 2.5 mg (adults), 5-15 mg (> 50 yr). 5 micrograms for people who do not come out or have dark skin
Vitamin E (tocopherol) 5.7 mg (1-4 yr), 13.3 mg (16-19 yr, m), 11.0 mg (16-19 yr, v), 11.8 mg (22-50 yr, m), 9.3 mg (22-50 yr, v), 9 mg (> 65 yr)
Vitamin K (fylochinon (K-1), menaquinone (K-2)) 120 micrograms (m), 90 micrograms (v)