There are several types of vitamins. A,B,C,D,E,H,K,P, etc. How did they get their names?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about the history of what is obviously an arbitrary nomenclature rather than biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Dec 27, 2017 at 19:55
  • $\begingroup$ chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/harvey/namingvitamins.htm $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Jan 16, 2018 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a very comprehensive guide to the first person to propose alphabetical vitamines and the renaming to vitamin: gizmodo.com/… There used to be vitamine B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6... $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2020 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it was poor when it was posted and it is being used as evidence for continued posting of a new inappropriate question. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Nov 8, 2021 at 17:56

2 Answers 2


They were more or less named in the order that they were found. Letters F-J are skipped because many of those were reclassified or later found not to be vitamins. The K comes from the German word for Koagulation because the vitamin is involved in the coagulation of blood.

The discovery dates of the vitamins and their sources / Year of discovery /Vitamin Food source

  • 1913 Vitamin A (Retinol) Cod liver oil
  • 1910 Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Rice bran
  • 1920 Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) Citrus, most fresh foods
  • 1920 Vitamin D (Calciferol) Cod liver oil
  • 1920 Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Meat, dairy products, eggs
  • 1922 Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Wheat germ oil, unrefined vegetable oils
  • 1929 Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone) Leaf vegetables
  • 1931 Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) Meat, whole grains, in many foods
  • 1931 Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Meat, dairy products, eggs
  • 1934 Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Meat, dairy products
  • 1936 Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Meat, grains
  • 1941 Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) Leaf vegetables
  • 1948[42] Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins) Liver, eggs, animal products

There are many different B vitamins, water soluble, because many vitamins previously given different letters where later found to be part of the B complex. For example H is now B7. Additionally, many letters, such as P, are no longer classified as vitamins.

More information can be found on this Wikipedia page.


1 * Vitamin A: Name: Retinol. It was discovered in 1909 Function: Carotene compound responsible for transferring light to the retina. The most common sources: whale liver oil, meat, eggs, liver, kidney, cheese. Diseases resulting from deficiency: lack of it leads to night blindness.

2 * Vitamin C: Name: Ascorbic acid. It was discovered in 1912. Function: Important in the synthesis of collagen, the protein component of the body's tissue frame. The most common sources: fruits, vegetables, oranges, lemons. Diseases associated with deficiency: Lack of it leads to scurvy (weakness of the capillaries), which is characterized by the presence of fragile capillaries, poor healing wounds, and deformity in children.

3 * Vitamin B1 B1: Name: Thiamine. It was discovered in 1912. Function: Acts as a catalyst in the metabolic process of the body. The most common sources are: whole grains, rice, legumes, wheat germ. Diseases resulting from deficiency: the most important disease Berri, a disease of the nervous system and heart.

4 * Vitamin D: Name: A group of vehicles with multiple names. It was discovered in 1918. Function: It is with calcium helps to promote bone health. The most common sources: sunlight promotes the manufacture of sufficient amount of vitamin D in the skin. Deficient diseases: Deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults and bone rickets in children.

5 * Vitamin B2 B2: Name: riboflavin. It was discovered in 1920. Function: As a catalyst for enzymes that stimulate chemical reactions in the body. The most common sources: dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables. Diseases resulting from deficiency: Lack of inflammation causes inflammation of the lining of the mouth and skin.

6 * Vitamin E (E): Name: A group of vehicles with multiple names. It was discovered in 1922. Function: Antioxidants, protect the body cells from destruction. The most common sources: spinach, broccoli, wheat germ. Diseases associated with deficiency: deficiency can lead to anemia.

7 * Vitamin B12 B12: Name: Cobalamin. It was discovered in 1926. Function: One of the fundamental factors in the synthesis of DNA (genetic material of cells). The most common sources: meat, fish, eggs, dairy products. Diseases related to deficiency: deficiency leads to anemia (anemia), also called sober anemia.

8 * Vitamin (K K): Name: Generally known as vitamin clotting, it includes a group of compounds with multiple names. It was discovered in 1929. Function: A key factor in the formation of coagulation factors. The most common sources: spinach, leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, fish, liver, meat, eggs. Diseases associated with deficiency: lack of it can lead to abnormal bleeding.

9 * Vitamin B5 B5: Name: Bentothenic acid. It was discovered in 1931. Function: Incorporates some important compounds that help to decompose fatty acids and manufacture cholesterol in the body. It is used in natural medicine as an alternative to creatinine, and its presence is required for healthy and natural growth of hair. Most common sources: Most foods especially in legumes, vegetables, eggs, red meat, whole grains, and royal jelly. Diseases resulting from deficiency: burning foot syndrome, allergies, adrenal insufficiency, adison disease, and rheumatoid joints.

10 * Vitamin (H or B7): Name: Biotin. It was discovered in 1931. Function: It is necessary for the manufacture of insulin, antibodies, and some enzymes, and helps in metabolism. The most common sources: Available in almost all natural foods, found in liver and yeast. Diseases resulting from deficiency: deficiency is often the result of defects in its use (feeding on white eggs), not the lack of food because it is made by intestinal bacteria. The lack of biotin is rare because a large quantity of it is reused several times before being taken out in urine. Symptoms of the deficiency are on the body of skin peeling, hair loss, loss of appetite, nerve fiber damage.

11 * Vitamin B6 B6: Name: pyridoxine. It was discovered in 1934. Function: A catalyst for enzymes. The most common sources: whole grains, vegetables, liver, beans, fish. Diseases resulting from deficiency: lack of it leads to inflammation of the skin and mouth, nausea, vomiting, weakness, dizziness and anemia.

12 * Vitamin B3 B3: Name: Niacin. It was discovered in 1936. Function: plays an essential role in the enzymes involved in the metabolism of the body. The most common sources: dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes. Diseases resulting from deficiency: Lack of inflammation causes inflammation of the skin, rectum, vagina and mouth, as well as delayed mental development.

13 * Vitamin B9 B9: Name: Folic acid. It was discovered in 1941. Function: It is an important factor in the synthesis of DNA (genetic material of cells). The most common sources: leafy vegetables, fruits, dried legumes, peas. Diseases associated with deficiency: Folic acid deficiency leads to anemia (megaloblastic anemia). Vitamins are divided into two parts:

  • Vitamins that dissolve in the water is vitamin C and B complex (C, B complex).

  • Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K (A, D, E and K).

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the tissues of the body. Vitamins that dissolve in water (except vitamin B12) can not be stored in the body, and should therefore be constantly replenished.
After discovering vitamin A, vitamin B was detected and thought to be just one vitamin, but later it was discovered that vitamin B is a group of vitamins that dissolve in water. To differentiate between these vitamins were added numbers of their names, and resulted in vitamins B1, B 2 ... Today there are 8 vitamins in group B. One of which is called B12, which indicates that several substances from this group have been eliminated that have been shown to be non-B vitamins.


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