All Basic Vitamins and How to Get Them: Part 1

Now that the ‘Every day is black Friday’ - time of the year has reached us, it’s time to talk about vitamins. Human beings need 13 different vitamins, out of which only vitamin D can be produced by the body itself (but only when there is enough sunlight, so apparently not at all in Finland this November). You may already know that eating fruits, vegetables and beans triumphs over supplement vitamins and pills any time, but which fruit had which vitamin again? Here’s a colorful and tasty list to bail you out and help you survive the winter alive.

According to nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix on INSIDER, carrots release more antioxidants when cooked. Photo: Couleur on Pixabay

Vitamin A, Retinol and Carotenoids

Vitamin A is especially beneficial for your eyesight and immune system. This vitamin also contributes to healthy skin. As a fat-soluble vitamin, excess intake of A is also possible and can cause liver damage, so it’s not recommended to take supplements.

The most typical form of vitamin A is retinol, which can be found in liver, milk products and egg yolk. Carotenoids, however, can be found in carrots and other oranges, dark green and yellow vegetables and fruits. It’s unlikely to receive too much vitamin A by consuming products of the vegetable kingdom, so eat your carrots at ease.

Vitamin B

There are eight different types of vitamin B. All of these are water-soluble, which means that they don’t store in the body for long, and it’s unlikely to get an overdose. Some vegetables and root vegetables, such as sweet potato, are full of all different types of vitamin B.


During times of stress, you should take Thiamine by gobbling up some peas! Photo: Emilia_Baczynska on Pixabay.

B1, Thiamine

Thiamine supports the normal function of your heart and metabolism. Deficiency of B1 can cause for example loss of appetite and constipation. Eat whole grain cereals, beans and peas.

Besides E, D, A and Omega 3, almond milk also has B2. Photo: rawpixel on Pixabay

B2, Riboflavin

Your body needs riboflavin to make appropriate use of oxygen and energy. Riboflavin is found in protein, so its deficiency is usually a sign of malnutrition. Good sources of riboflavin include dairy products, liver, mushrooms and almonds.

Avocado is one possible source of B3 for vegans. Photo: stux on Pixabay

B3, Niacin

Niacin is an essential vitamin that contributes to your body’s normal metabolism. Deficiency is very rare in developed countries. Niacin is found in meat, fish (especially tuna), milk, egg, whole grain, nuts, avocado and sweet potatoes.

Shiitake mushrooms are the champions of vitamin B5. Photo: cmtsouthshoreroad on Pixabay

B5, Pantothenic acid

B5 is found in small amounts in almost every typical food product. It affects, for instance, energy metabolism and normal functioning of the skin and stomach. Deficiency is highly unlikely, almost impossible. Sources with a lot of pantothenic acid include meat, pulses, cheese, egg yolk and vegetables.

Broccoli has a lot of vitamin B6. Photo: Reinaldo Kevin on Unsplash

B6, Pyridoxine

Pyridoxine is a natural antioxidant that participates in numerous important reactions in your body. Deficiency is rare, but the symptoms can include tiredness, skin infections and dejection. B6 is found in meat, salmon, beans, egg yolk, dairy products and green vegetables.

Cauliflower is one of the vegetables with a lot of B7. Photo: congerdesign on Pixabay

B7, Biotin

B7 is also involved in metabolic processes and contributes to the well-being of hair, skin, mind and nervous system. If your body functions normally, your intestinal bacteria produce enough B7 for your need from your daily meals. Sources include egg yolk, milk, whole wheat, yeast, pulses, nuts and seeds.

Mango and orange are both tasty and have a lot of B9! Photo: luhaifeng279 on Pixabay

B9, Folate

Here is where I’d like you to take a short pause, since according to studies, Finnish women are often found to have a deficiency of B9. Folate, also known as folic acid, is found for instance in leaf vegetables, asparagus, banana, berries, beans and mushrooms. Cooking easily destroys folates, however, so these should be eaten fresh. The body needs folic acid to make DNA and RNA as well as for cell division. Sufficient intake of folate reduces the risk of cancer, and its deficiency can cause anemia and tiredness.

The best sources for B12 are liver, intestines and fish, but a vegan can always console on the fact that many products, such as soy yoghurt, have added vitamins. Photo: from Pexels

B12, Cobalamin

If you are a vegan, you are at risk of getting too little B12. This is because only products of animal origin are natural sources of B12. The deficiency of B12 causes anemia, tiredness and memory disorders, even dementia. A vegan should always use supplemented vegan products, such as soy, coconut, rice milk and yogurt that include added B12. Always check the package.

To be continued – tune in next time for more information on vitamins C, D, E and K and where to get them!