Die wichtigsten Vitamine im Überblick

The 13 most important vitamins at a glance


How to prevent a deficiency with the right food

Vitamins are organic compounds that your body needs to perform a variety of important functions - like growing tissues, regulating metabolism, or maintaining a healthy immune system. Sometimes the word "vitamins" is also used colloquially to refer to minerals, fatty acids, amino acids that humans need. Insufficient intake of a particular vitamin can increase the risk of developing health problems.

In our guide you will learn which 13 vitamins are the most important and what man needs them for in detail. We'll also show you what you can do if you're not getting enough of your vitamin needs from your diet.

Why does the body need vitamins?

Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients that work together to perform numerous tasks in the body. They ensure healthy skin, hair, nails, contribute to the regulation of hormone balance and are essential for our metabolism and the thyroid gland. They also have key functions within the immune system. In addition, they convert food into energy and protect our cells from damage caused by oxidative stress. Each person needs a different amount of each vitamin to stay healthy.

What are the most important vitamins for the human body?

Eine Infografik zeigt die 13 wichtigsten Vitamine im Überblick.

An overview of the most important vitamins for the body:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin B6
  • Biotin
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Basically, a distinction is made between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in fatty tissue and in the liver.[1] The reserves of these vitamins can supply the body for days and sometimes even months. Dietary fats help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins through the intestines.

Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, do not remain in the body for long and can only be stored to a limited extent, if at all.[2] They leave the body via the urine if they are not consumed. Therefore, humans need a more regular supply of water-soluble vitamins than of fat-soluble ones. Vitamin C and all B vitamins are water soluble.[3]

All 13 vitamins are essential and perform important, different tasks in the human body. So there is no such thing as "the most important" vitamins, because even one missing vitamin will cause our body not to function as it should. Let's look at the vitamins in detail.

1. vitamin D

Vitamin D occurs as ergocalciferol (D2) or cholecalciferol (D3).

    2. vitamin K

    Vitamin K is found in a variety of forms: The best known are phylloquinone (K1) or menaquinone (K2).

    ESN Vitamin D3+K2 Spray

    • Hochdosiert und ergiebig – für mehr als 3 Monate versorgt (100 Tagesportionen)
    • Vegan, alkohol- und zuckerfrei
    • Bequeme und schnelle Einnahme immer und überall
    Discover now

    3. vitamin A

    Chemical names and different forms of vitamin A are retinol, retinal or beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a provitamin or precursor of vitamin A found in plants - especially fruits and vegetables and oleaginous fruits. While beta-carotene is an antioxidant in itself, the body can also convert it to vitamin A when needed.

    • Vitamin A is fat-soluble.
    • Function: The vitamin is essential for eye health and helps maintain healthy skin, mucous membranes, cells and tissues.
    • Need: The daily allowance of vitamin A for adults is 700 to 900 micrograms. Pregnant women have a 10 and lactating women an 85% increased need.[10]
    • Deficiency: an undersupply of the vitamin can lead to night blindness and keratomalacia, in which the clear anterior layer of the eye becomes dry and cloudy.[11]
    • Good sources: Liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, some cheeses, eggs, apricots or dairy products. During pregnancy, due to the very high vitamin A content, do not reach for foods containing liver, but pay attention to a controlled vitamin A intake.

      4. vitamin B1

      The term thiamine is also used for vitamin B1.

      • Vitamin B1 is water-soluble.
      • Function: The vitamin is essential for energy metabolism and the nervous system.
      • Requirements: Adults should consume 1.1 to 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B1 daily. Pregnant women and nursing mothers have a slightly increased requirement.[12]
      • Good sources: Vitamin B1 is found, for example, in yeast, meat, whole grain products, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and also in asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.

      5. vitamin B2

      Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin.

      • Vitamin B2 is soluble in water.
      • Function: The vitamin is important for maintaining healthy mucous membranes and helps metabolize food.
      • Requirements: adults are recommended a daily dose of 1.1 to 1.4 milligrams of vitamin B2.[13]
      • Deficiency: Symptoms of vitamin deficiency include inflammation of the lip and cracking of the mouth[14]
      • Good sources: Vitamin B2 is found, for example, in asparagus, bananas, Swiss chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans.

        6. niacin

        Niacin is another name for vitamin B3.

        • Niacin is soluble in water.
        • Function: The body needs niacin for cell division, among other things.
        • Requirements: Adults should take a daily dose of 14 to 16 milligrams of niacin. Pregnant women have a slightly higher requirement.[15]
        • Deficiency: Extremely low levels of niacin lead to a health problem called pellagra, which causes diarrhea, skin changes, and intestinal disorders.[16]
        • Good sources: Niacin is found, for example, in chicken, meat, tuna, salmon, milk, eggs, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, nuts and seeds, tofu, and lentils.

          7. pantothenic acid

          Another term for pantothenic acid is vitamin B5.

          • Pantothenic acid is soluble in water.
          • Function: Pantothenic acid is necessary for energy and hormone production.
          • Need: The recommended daily dose of pantothenic acid for adults is 5 to 7 milligrams. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a slightly higher requirement.[17]
          • Deficiency: Symptoms of pantothenic acid deficiency include numbness and burning in the hands and feet, headaches, extreme fatigue, irritability, restlessness, sleep disturbances, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite[18]
          • Good sources: Pantothenic acid is found, for example, in meat, whole grain products, broccoli, avocados, and yogurt.

          8 Vitamin B6

          Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine or pyridoxamine.

          • Vitamin B6 is soluble in water.
          • Function: The vitamin is essential for the formation of red blood cells and contributes to a healthy immune system.
          • Requirements: Adults should consume 1.3 to 1.6 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a 50% higher requirement.[19]
          • Deficiency:Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to anemia and depression, among other conditions[20]
          • Good sources: For example, chickpeas, beef liver, bananas, pumpkins and nuts are recommended for adequate intake of vitamin B6.

            9 Biotin

            Biotin is also known as vitamin B7.

            • Biotin is soluble in water.
            • Function: biotin helps the body metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It also ensures healthy skin, strong hair and strong nails.
            • Requirements: For an adequate supply of biotin, adults should consume a daily dose of 30 to 40 micrograms of the vitamin.[21]
            • Deficiency: Too little biotin can lead to dermatitis or intestinal inflammation[22]
            • Good sources: Foods such as egg yolks, liver, broccoli, spinach, and cheese provide adequate intake ofbiotin.

              10. folic acid

              Today, the term folic acid is predominantly used for vitamin B9.

              • Folic acid is water-soluble.
              • Functions: Folic acid performs an important task in cell division.
              • Requirements: Adults have a requirement of about 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. For women who want to become pregnant, the daily requirement of folic acid is somewhat higher: they should reach 800 micrograms of folic acid per day and thus supplement with an additional 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.[23],[24]
              • Deficiency: During pregnancy, a deficiency of folic acid can affect the nervous system of the fetus and then of the infant. Doctors therefore recommend folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy, as well as during the first months of breastfeeding.[25]
              • Good sources: Notable amounts of folicacid are found, for example, in leafy greens, peas, legumes, liver, some fortified cereal products, and sunflower seeds. Various fruits also contain smaller amounts of folic acid.

                11. vitamin B12

                Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins for humans.

                • Vitamin B12 is soluble in water.
                • Function: Vitamin B12 is important for a healthy nervous system, supports cell division and the formation of red blood cells.
                • Need: The recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 to 4.0 micrograms.[26]
                • Deficiency: Insufficient intake of vitamin B12 can lead to neurological problems and some types of anemia[27].
                • Good sources: Vitamin B12 is found in fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products, fortified cereal and soy products, and fortified nutritional yeast.

                Vegans in particular should supplement vitamin B12 additionally, as they can hardly cover their requirements through food.

                Vitamin B12 Spray from ESN

                12. vitamin C

                Ascorbic acid is the chemical name of vitamin C.

                • Vitamin C is water-soluble.
                • Function: The vitamin contributes to collagen production, wound healing and bone formation. It also strengthens blood vessels, supports the immune system, helps the body absorb iron and acts as an antioxidant.
                • Requirements: Adults should consume a daily dose of at least 75 to 110 milligrams of vitamin C - athletes even 200 milligrams.[28]
                • Deficiency: A severe deficiency of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, which in turn causes bleeding gums, tooth loss, and poor tissue growth and wound healing. Even a slight deficiency impairs the immune system.[29]
                • Good sources: Foods rich in vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. However, the cooking process destroys the vitamin C in food, so fresh fruits and raw vegetables should be a regular part of your diet.

                13. vitamin E

                Vitamin E is also known by the technical name of its various forms tocopherol or tocotrienol.

                • Vitamin E is fat soluble.
                • Function: The antioxidant effect of vitamin E helps prevent oxidative stress, which increases the risk of inflammation and various diseases.
                • Need: Adults should consume 15 milligrams of vitamin E daily.[30]
                • Deficiency: Although a clinically relevant deficiency ofvitamin E is rare, it can lead, for example, to muscle weakness[31] or problems with the immune system in old age[32]
                • Good sources: Vitamin E is found, for example, in wheat germ, kiwis, almonds, eggs, nuts, leafy vegetables, and vegetable oils.

                What do I do if I don't get all 13 vitamins in my diet?

                Die wichtigsten Vitamine sollten bei mangelnder Deckung supplementiert werden.

                In special life situations or phases, you may develop a higher need for certain vitamins. For example, pregnant and breastfeeding women have an increased need for folic acid, and athletes:inside generally have a greater consumption of vitamins and minerals due to their high activity levels. The same applies to people who are regularly required to perform at a high level in their daily lives.

                You cannot always cover this increased vitamin requirement through your diet - this is where dietary supplements come into play! These preparations can and should by no means replace a balanced diet, but they support you in the supply of important nutrients.

                You are active in sports and are looking for a dietary supplement that was developed exactly for the needs of athletes? Get to know our ESN Athlete Stack!

                Athlete Stack Men - Vitamins for Athletes

                Athlete Stack Women - Vitamins for female athletes

                Conclusion: The 13 most important vitamins are the fuel of the human being

                Vitamins are essential nutrients that are mainly absorbed through food. All 13 vitamins fulfill different tasks in the body, which is why a Vitamin deficiency can affect health in different ways.

                A balanced, varied diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables should ensure the intake of the most important vitamins. During pregnancy, in the event of health problems, a restricted diet or intensive physical activity, adietary supplement can additionally be taken to cover vitamin requirements. Ultimately, dietary supplements - as the name suggests - should always be considered only as a supplement and not as a substitute forfood.


                Related Posts

                In 6 Schritten zu deinem perfekten Ernährungsplan
                In 6 Schritten zu deinem perfekten Ernährungsplan
                Einen Ernährungsplan zu erstellen, klingt meistens leichter als es am Ende wirklich ist. Schnell häufen sich die Frag...
                Read More
                Reis oder Kartoffeln: Was ist die bessere Kohlenhydratquelle?
                Reis oder Kartoffeln: Was ist die bessere Kohlenhydratquelle?
                Wenn man an typisches Bodybuilder-Food denkt, fallen Einem doch sofort Hähnchen, Brokkoli und Reis ein, oder? Aber wa...
                Read More
                Protein Shake as a meal replacement - does it make sense?
                Protein Shake as a meal replacement - does it make sense?
                How to use a protein shake as a delicious meal Many know it: everyday life is once again stressful and there is hardl...
                Read More