Vitamins are inorganic in nature. They are required in a very little quantity by the body. Vitamin can be classified into two main groups:

  1. Water soluble vitamins.
  2. Fat soluble vitamins
  3. Water soluble vitamins: these are vitamins that dissolve in water. E.g. the B complex(B1) , B2, B6, B12, B15, folic acid, niacin, biotin pantothenic acid, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
  4. Fat soluble vitamins: these are the vitamins that can dissolve in fat and oil. These include;

ADEK: vitamin A, D, E and K

Some vitamins be synthesized from other substances in the body, such substance or compound that can be converted into the acting vitamins are called the pro-vitamins. Similarly, some substances interfere the proper utilization of and function of vitamins in the body. Such compounds substances are known as anti-vitamins.


Its chemical name is thiamine.

Functions: – it promotes growth and increases appetite.

– It is involved in the release of energy.

-it prevents beriberi

Food sources: whole cereals, nut, legume, pork, offal, etc.

Vitamin B2

Its chemical name is riboflavin.

Functions: -it is involved in the release of energy from carbohydrate food.

-it assists in the formulation of red blood cells and antibiotics.

– It promotes growth.

Food sources: whole cereals, offal, milk, legumes, cheese, egg, yeast, leafy vegetable.

Vitamin B3

Its chemical name is niacin – it is resistant to air, heat, and light.

Functions: – it improves the appetite.

  • It assists in the correct function of the skin and nerves.
  • It is involved in energy release from carbohydrate food.

It promotes growth.

Vitamin B5

its chemical name is panthothenic acid.

Food sources are: legume, milk, whole cereal, yeast, offal, fish, egg, lean-meat and cheese.

Its chemical name is pantothenic acid.

Functions: -it is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Food sources are meat, legume, nut, fish, egg, whole cereal, yeast.

Vitamin B6

Its chemical name is pyridoxine.

Functions: -it assists in the formation of antibodies and the synthesis of genetic material.

  • It acts as co-enzyme in protein and fat metabolism.

Food sources are whole cereal, leafy vegetable, legume, fish, nut, offal’s, meat, milk and egg.

Vitamin B12

Its chemical name is cyanocobalamine.

Functions: – assists in the formation of red blood cells.

  • It assists in the prevention of anemia.

Food sources are fish, meat, liver, kidney, offal’s, milk.

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Vitamin C

Its chemical name is ascorbic acid – it is a simple sugar, it is the most active naturally occurring and reducing agent in living tissues.

Functions: – formation of collagen

  • Prevents scurvy.
  • Prevents cold.
  • Prevents infections.
  • Promotes healing of wounds.
  • Assists in the formation of adrenal gland.
  • It is responsible for formation and maintenance of connecting tissues.

food sources are fresh fruit (citrus fruit) egg mango, orange,  water melon, guava, black currant etc. green leafy vegetables egg okra, tomatoes, garbage, spinach.

Fat soluble vitamin


Its chemical name is retinol

Functions: – it aids bright vision

  • Development of healthy skin.
  • Essential for normal growth especially in children.
  • for good development and maintenance of the lining of the internal membrane.



Its chemical name is cholecalciferol

Functions: – it enhances the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

  • It is responsible for good development of strong and healthy bones and teeth.

food sources are:- milk and milk products, fish, egg, yam, palm oil, margarine, action of ultra violet rays from the sun on the skin.


Its chemical name is tocopherolis.

Functions:-it acts as anti-oxidant especially in fats and oil

  • it acts as anti-sterility factor
  • It aids absorption of iron in the body.

Food sources are whole cereals, green leafy vegetables, eggs, liver, milk, margarine.


See also




food and nutrition

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