Synonyms: Macro or micro nutrients

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Vitamins are essential organic compounds that an organism requires in small doses for survival.

In Our Own Words

Vitamins are organic nutrients your body needs to function properly. There are 13 classified vitamins, which fall into two categories: water-soluble or fat-soluble.


Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K, are stored in the body so you don’t need to consume them daily. Water-soluble vitamins, which include vitamin C and the family of B vitamins (biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, B6 and B12), are removed from the body daily and need to be replaced. Although all vitamins are essential, several can be toxic in very high doses.


Vitamins got their name back in the beginning of the 20th century when a scientist named Casmir Funk hypothesized that not enough “vital amines” (an amine is a kind of biologic molecule) in the diet could result in illness.

Relevant Conditions
  • Malnutrition
  • Hypervitaminosis/Hypovitaminosis
Common Types
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
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