Quick Navigation


The essential vitamins and minerals are a group of 24 vitamins (organic compounds containing carbon molecules) or minerals (elements on the periodic table). They are all vital to life, and all can be consumed via food. Found in multivitamins, it is wise to supplement those you underconsume.

Our evidence-based analysis on vitamin features 297 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
Last Updated:

Summary of Vitamin

There are 24 Essential Vitamins and Minerals, twelve of each.

These compounds are normally obtained through a healthy diet, and are absolutely crucial to intake (via either supplementation or diet) for optimal human functioning.

Ingesting optimal levels results in optimal human functioning (relative to deficiency states), having a lesser than optimal intake results in what are known as 'sub-clinical' deficiencies which are non-optimal states that are not necessarily adverse.

Although rare, clinical or 'true' deficiency states may occur with prolonged avoidance of said vitamin or mineral. These states usually have unique names, like Rickets (Vitamin D deficiency) or Scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency).

Higher levels of vitamins and minerals, above what is needed for optimal health, is not necessarily better and may actually be harmful. Each vitamin or mineral has a recommended intake range which should be aimed for through diet first and supplementation afterwards.

💊 Get unbiased supplement information

Study Deep Dives

Click here to become an Examine Member and stay on top of the latest research.

Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Vitamin

Does sunscreen decrease vitamin D?
While sunscreens can decrease vitamin D production, they don’t appear to do so to a large extent. You need not completely forgo sunscreen in order to maintain a healthy vitamin D level. Sun exposure can be bolstered with vitamin D rich foods and supplements to attain sufficient levels.
Should you supplement with vitamin K?
Research is still scarce, but current evidence suggests that, through their effect on calcium regulation, some forms of vitamin K can help prevent osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.
How can you increase testosterone naturally?
When it comes to increasing your testosterone, quality sleep, physical activity, and weight management come first. A few supplements can help sustain healthy testosterone levels, but most supplements marketed as testosterone boosters don’t work, though some can make you believe they do by boosting your libido.
Does vitamin C improve blood sugar control?
We recently added several studies to the vitamin C page regarding blood sugar effects. From existing research, it seems theoretically possible that vitamin C could help improve blood sugar control, but the evidence is quite mixed at this point.
Can supplemental vitamin D improve sleep?
Vitamin D levels seem to be correlated with sleep quality. But correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation.
Should 1000 IU be the new RDA for vitamin D?
Since it was set in 2010, the 600 IU vitamin D RDA has been widely circulated. But a close look at individual patient data may give a more accurate estimate of vitamin D needs.
5 nutrients that could lift your mood
Many foods can temporarily boost your mood simply because they’re delicious. But healthy foods also contain certain nutrients that may have a more direct and lasting effect on your well-being.
How much fat do I need to absorb vitamin D?
5 supplements (and foods) for a stronger heart
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the #1 cause of death globally. But a mix of the right foods and complementary supplements can help decrease your risk factors.
Are vitamin C supplements bad for your teeth?
Do I need to supplement Vitamin D if I drink fortified milk?
It depends...
Can vitamin D cure depression?
Many people get depressed during the winter months, when we produce less vitamin D. So, can supplemental vitamin D cure seasonal depression, and maybe other types of depression? No, alas — but it may help.
Should you take a multivitamin?
Although multivitamins can address multiple nutritional deficiencies, they don’t seem to help most people live longer. They may, however, benefit certain at-risk populations.
When should I take Vitamin D?
Vitamin D can be taken any time. As it is fat soluble, likely best to take it with a meal.
Do B vitamins increase the risk of getting cancer?
Recent evidence has linked B vitamins (specifically B6 and B12) to an increased risk of lung cancer in men, especially in smokers. Here, we analyze the study and interview the lead author, Dr. Theodore Brasky.

Things to Note

Also Known As

Dietary Vitamin, Dietary Mineral, Essential vitamins or minerals, Essential Vitamin, Essential Mineral

Do Not Confuse With

Non-essential Vitamins or Mineral, Pseudovitamins

Caution Notice

Each vitamin or mineral has a recommended intake, and more is not necessarily better.

The dose makes the poison, and almost all vitamins and minerals have certain cases where an excess of said compound has caused harm.

Get our free 5-day course on the essentials of supplementation.

At Examine, our incentives line up with yours — getting unbiased information. That's why we don’t sell any advertising or supplements.

Join over 250,000 people who have learned about effective versus overrated supplements, tips for buying supplements, and how to combine supplements for safety and efficacy.

Click here to see all 297 references.