Thirteen essential vitamins in two groups

Vitamins- vital substances, which the body cannot build by itself.

Vitamins are organic compounds, which are not directly used in the process of energy production in the body (in contrast to how other substances are used such as carbohydrates, protein and fat). Because vitamins cannot be manufactured by the human body, they must be supplied to the body via the diet. Although vitamins are organic compounds, they are not directly used as sources of energy. Instead, vitamins are indispensable for the functioning of metabolic processes.

Vitamins strengthen the immune system and are important for the development of bones, teeth, cells and blood cells. Vitamins all have specific functions, and they differ in terms of their effects. The precursor of a vitamin is called a provitamin, and this can then be converted by the body into the corresponding vitamin if required, producing a particular effect.

The thirteen essential vitamins can be divided into two groups depending on whether they are soluble in water (hydrophilic) or soluble in fat (lipophilic).

Water-soluble vitamins

The following are water-soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Biotin (vitamin B7)
  • Folic acid (vitamin B9)
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)

Fat-soluble vitamins

The following are fat-soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin A (retinol)
  • Vitamin D (calciferol)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  • Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)- a vitaminoid

Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is often mentioned when referring to vitamins as a group, as its properties resemble those of vitamins. Despite this, strictly speaking it should not be referred to as a vitamin because a healthy human body can partially synthesize this substance itself. However, the classification is not entirely conclusive because like coenzyme Q10, vitamin D which is a fat-soluble vitamin can also be partially made by the body itself. This is done through the use of sunlight, however the quantities made are usually insufficient.

The body also absorbs coenzyme Q10 through food. The involvement of coenzyme Q10 in the process of energy production in cells is essential for the process to occur. In every cell in the human body, the energy from food is converted into the body’s own energy currency, ATP (adenosine triphosphate). As a coenzyme, coenzyme Q10 is involved in the process of oxidative phosphorylation which produces 95% of the body’s total energy (ATP). Because of this, the organs of the body with the highest energy requirements therefore have the highest concentration of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 also acts effectively as a powerful antioxidant.

Types: Food supplements of coenzyme Q10 are available in two different types. They can be either chemically/ synthetically manufactured or naturally organically fermented (which is unusual and only possible in selected products).