Do I need vitamins? What to know about vitamins and supplements

Vitamins are organic compounds that your body needs to survive and stay healthy. Most vitamins need to come from food or supplements because the body either does not produce them or produces very little. When we don’t take in enough nutrients, vitamin deficiencies occur and disease, or even death, can result.  

You don’t need much of each, just milligrams to micrograms a day, but if you don’t get enough or the right kinds of vitamins and minerals, essential functions in the body can’t happen.  

Vitamins can be classified as fat-soluble or water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are only in the body for a short time before excesses are excreted in the urine and sweat. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in fat tissue, so they can accumulate over time.  

What are the Benefits of Vitamins? 

Without certain vitamins, we would cease to exist. Many people in the United States take multivitamins and other supplements to ensure they receive the proper daily dosage. However, a balanced, varied diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables should be the primary source of vitamins.  

If you are asking yourself, “Do I need vitamins?,” the answer is—it depends. There are some cases where your body requires more than the recommended dose of certain vitamins, like during pregnancy, while breastfeeding or if you have specific health issues. However, too much of some vitamins can be harmful, and you might be paying for supplements you don’t need. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider before trying any supplement. 

13 Essential Vitamins 

There are 13 essential vitamins, meaning these vitamins are required for the body to work properly. They are: 

  • Vitamin A – helps form and maintain healthy teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes and skin. 
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – an antioxidant that promotes healthy teeth and gums. It helps the body absorb iron and maintain healthy tissue. It is also essential for wound healing. 
  • Vitamin D – helps the body absorb calcium as well as maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorus. It is also needed for normal development and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. 
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) – helps the body form red blood cells and use vitamin K. 
  • Vitamin K – without it, your blood would not coagulate. 
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – helps the body change carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for heart function and healthy nerve cells. 
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – important for body growth and the production of red blood cells. 
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) – helps maintain healthy skin and nerves. It also has cholesterol-lowering effects at higher doses. 
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – essential for the metabolism of food. It also plays a role in the production of hormones and cholesterol. 
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – helps form red blood cells and maintain brain function. This vitamin also plays an important role in the proteins that are part of chemical reactions in the body.  
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin) – essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the production of hormones and cholesterol. 
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) – helps form red blood cells and maintain the central nervous system. It is also important for metabolism. 
  • Folate (folic acid and B9) – needed for the production of DNA, which controls tissue growth and cell function. 

To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at EBO MD and discuss whether or not you need to add vitamins or supplements to your diet, please call 573-803-2941.  


EBO MD is not insurance coverage. We encourage patients to maintain some level of health insurance to help cover the costs of medical care that they receive from medical providers or facilities outside our practice. 

If you have questions about how your existing insurance policy will work with direct primary care, contact your insurance provider. 

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