Vitamins play a critical role throughout the lifecycle. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for good health in every stage of the human lifecycle: from pregnancy through infancy and childhood and into adulthood and old age. Our bodies need vitamins to grow, function, stay healthy and prevent disease.
Vitamin deficiencies exist in both developing and developed countries.
Some two billion people worldwide cannot access or afford enough nutritious food, and therefore live with a chronic shortage of vital micronutrients—a condition known as hidden hunger. While such malnutrition—especially in early childhood— can lead to irreversible consequences like stunted growth and cognitive impairment, well-nourished children can grow up to learn more, earn more and be more productive as adults.
Micronutrients are key to improving health and economic development. Research shows that micronutrient interventions like vitamin supplementation and food fortification improve health, save lives and increase productivity. Increasing access to and scaling up these cost-effective solutions, as well as continuing to invest in vitamin science, is key to advancing the health and wellbeing of people across the globe.
These 13 micronutrients (vitamins A, D, E and K as well as the 8 vitamins in the B group and vitamin C) are essential. Contrary to popular belief, they can be found in food from animal as well as plant sources. But no single food contains them all, which is the reason why it is important to eat a varied diet that does not exclude any food category.
This section was written with the help of SYNPA.
Watch the Danish Association Ingredients Forum’s video about Vitamins: