Best Vitamins For Adults

  • Urja Malhotra Master of Science - MS, Global Health, University of Glasgow
  • Drew Gallagher B.Sc. Biomedical Science, University of Manchester, UK


Ensuring optimal health and well-being is crucial at any age, and one of the key factors in achieving this is maintaining a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. Vitamins are vital nutrients that your body requires in modest quantities to function effectively and play a vital role in supporting various bodily functions, promoting immunity, and protecting against chronic diseases. In this blog, we will explore some of the best vitamins for adults, their benefits, and the best food sources to incorporate into your diet for a healthier and happier life.1

A well-balanced and diverse diet comprising various foods should supply your body with all the essential vitamins necessary for optimal functioning.1 Vitamins are organic compounds typically categorised into fat-soluble or water-soluble forms. Fat-soluble vitamins (including A, D, E, and K) dissolve in fats and can accumulate in the body. On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins (such as C, B6, B12, and folate) must dissolve in water before absorption, and as a result, they cannot be stored in the body. Any surplus of water-soluble vitamins that the body doesn't use is mainly excreted through urine.2,5

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is essential due to its multiple roles in supporting our health:

  • It enhances the effectiveness of the immune system, enabling it to combat diseases and infections effectively
  • Helps to maintain skin health
  • It plays a crucial role in supporting reproduction and promoting growth
  • Vital for maintaining proper vision

Food sources of vitamin A

Vitamin A can be found in different compounds present in both animal and plant-based foods. Plant-based sources are often identifiable by their orange or yellow pigment, which is the result of beta-carotene.

Plant sources include:

  • Carrots, red capsicum, mangoes, sweet potatoes, apricots, pumpkin, and cantaloupe (orange and yellow fruits and vegetables)
  • Spinach, peas, and broccoli (leafy green vegetables)

Animal sources include:

  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Some milk products with added vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency risks

Considering the various roles Vitamin A plays in the body, deficiency can lead to several health effects, including:

  • An increased risk of infections
  • Night blindness and a condition called xerophthalmia, which causes irreversible blindness
  • Excessive build-up of keratin in the skin3

Vitamin B

The B-group vitamins play a vital role in our bodies, enabling us to utilise energy-yielding nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for fuel. Some B-group vitamins are also essential for cell multiplication as they contribute to the synthesis of new DNA.

With the exception of B-12 and folate, which can be stored in the liver, most B-group vitamins cannot be stored in the body. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly consume these vitamins through a healthy diet that includes a variety of whole foods, such as lean meat, fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. At the same time, it is important to limit the intake of alcohol and processed foods.

The 8 types of vitamin B are:

  • Thiamin (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (B5)
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
  • Biotin (B7)
  • Folic acid (B9), commonly included in supplements 
  • Cyanocobalamin (B12)

A deficiency in B-group vitamins can occur in individuals with poor diets over a few months. To avoid this, it is essential to incorporate sufficient amounts of these vitamins into your diet regularly as part of a well-balanced and nourishing meal plan.3

Vitamin C

Obtaining vitamin C through dietary intake from food and beverages is essential as the human body cannot synthesize this vitamin from other compounds. It's crucial to regularly include vitamin C in our diet since the body cannot store it for extended periods either.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is involved in various metabolic processes, serving the following roles:

  • Collagen formation: Collagen, which is essential for strengthening the skin, blood vessels, and bones, is produced with the help of vitamin C. It also aids in wound healing
  • Antioxidant function: Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, neutralising harmful free radicals that can damage cell membranes4
  • Iron absorption: Vitamin C facilitates the absorption of non-heme iron, found in plant-based foods like beans and lentils
  • In the context of infection fighting, the immune system, especially lymphocytes, require vitamin C for optimal functioning
  • Other roles: Vitamin C is also involved in producing vital substances in the body, including neurotransmitters in the brain

Dietary Sources of Vitamin C 

Adults require approximately 45mg of vitamin C per day, and any excess amount above 200mg is excreted from the body.

Vitamin C is sensitive to heat, which means that some of its nutritional benefits can be lost during cooking. Hence, raw foods are beneficial as dietary sources of vitamin C. These sources include:

  • Fruits: Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, blackcurrants, mangoes, kiwifruits, rock melon, tomatoes, and strawberries
  • Vegetables: Particularly green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, capsicum, spinach, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes

Vitamin C Deficiency and Scurvy 

A severe lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy, a condition that may still exist despite being associated with the past. Several factors or lifestyle issues can increase the risk of scurvy, including regularly consuming unhealthy foods, crash dieting, malnutrition, strict allergy diets, having an eating disorder, and smoking (as smokers need more vitamin C to cope with the additional stress on their bodies).

Scurvy symptoms typically appear when the person's limited stores of vitamin C are depleted. These symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, fever, painful joints and muscles, and small pinpoint bleeding around hair follicles visible in the skin.

If you or someone you care for is at risk of scurvy, it is important to seek medical attention from a doctor promptly.5

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining strong bones, muscles, and overall health. The skin produces vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, making sunlight the best natural source of this vitamin. Regular physical activity also aids the body in producing vitamin D. However, the body can only absorb limited amounts of Vitamin D. Excessive sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer, so it's essential to use daily sun protection, especially when the UV index levels are high (3 or above).

Food sources provide only a small portion (around 5-10%) of Vitamin D. Some dietary sources include fatty fish like salmon, eggs, and certain fortified products such as margarine and certain milk varieties.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a decline in bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures (particularly in older individuals), and rickets in young children, a preventable bone disease. To combat Vitamin D deficiency, individuals can improve sunlight exposure, adopt a vitamin D-rich diet, engage in regular exercise, and consider vitamin and mineral supplements if necessary. If you are worried about your vitamin D levels, it's best to seek advice from your general practitioner (GP). They can assess your situation and may suggest taking vitamin D supplements as prescribed.6

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that shields your body from damage caused by free radicals, such as exposure to cigarette smoke or radiation.4 Moreover, it plays an important role in supporting:

  • Vision
  • Immune system
  • Skin health

To acquire Vitamin E, it is best to maintain a healthy diet consisting of fresh, minimally processed foods. It's worth noting that Vitamin E is sensitive to heat, especially when exposed to cooking methods like deep frying.

Some dietary sources of Vitamin E include:

  • Meats (e.g., liver)
  • Egg yolks
  • Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli
  • Dry fruits and seeds like almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and hazelnuts
  • Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil
  • Unprocessed cereals and whole grains like wheat germ

Though Vitamin E deficiency is uncommon, it may manifest in individuals with conditions that impede fat absorption, like cystic fibrosis. Additionally, erythrocyte hemolysis is another deficiency condition, mainly observed in infants born before receiving sufficient vitamin E transfer from their mothers before birth.3

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for various functions, including:

  • Maintaining healthy bones
  • Facilitating blood clotting and wound healing
  • Preventing a severe bleeding condition known as haemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN) in newborn babies

We obtain vitamin K from both our diet and the bacteria present in our gastrointestinal tract. Newborn babies receive a vitamin K booster because they are born without these beneficial bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract. Much of our vitamin K intake comes from the foods we eat. Food sources that provide vitamin K include:

  • Vegetables such as spinach and kale
  • Fruits like avocado and kiwi fruit
  • Certain vegetable oils like soybean oil

Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon except in cases where fat absorption is impaired or certain medications are used. For instance, antibiotics can eliminate gastrointestinal bacteria responsible for vitamin K production. Additionally, anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) may interfere with vitamin K's role in the body. If you have any concerns regarding vitamin K and its interactions with medications, it's advisable to consult your doctor.3


Incorporating these best vitamins for adults into your daily diet is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. A balanced and varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will provide you with the necessary nutrients to thrive. While supplements can be helpful for individuals with specific deficiencies, it's best to obtain vitamins from natural food sources whenever possible.

Keep in mind that seeking advice from a healthcare expert or a licensed dietitian can offer customised recommendations to meet your specific vitamin requirements. Embrace a wholesome lifestyle and enrich your body with these crucial vitamins to experience a vibrant and rewarding life.


  1. Vitamins and minerals [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 27]. Available from: 
  2. Avenue 677 Huntington, Boston, Ma 02115. The Nutrition Source. 2012 [cited 2023 Jul 28]. Vitamins and minerals. Available from: 
  3. Services D of H& H. Vitamins and minerals [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 28]. Available from: 
  4. Pham-Huy LA, He H, Pham-Huy C. Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS [Internet]. 2008 Jun [cited 2023 Jul 28];4(2):89–96. Available from:
  5. National Institute on Aging [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 28]. Vitamins and minerals for older adults. Available from: 
  6. CNET [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 28]. A daily dose of vitamin d is more powerful than you think. Here’s what to know. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Urja Malhotra

Master of Science - MS, Global Health, University of Glasgow

Urja is a dedicated Global Health advocate with a passion for Gender and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) projects. With a rich background in designing Health & Social Interventions and conducting Qualitative Research, Urja brings a wealth of expertise to her work. Backed by years of experience, she excels in creating captivating content that spreads awareness and drives action, particularly in promoting the "One Health" approach.

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