Vitamin A prevents eye problems, promotes a healthy immune system, is essential for the growth and development of cells, and keeps skin healthy.
Good sources of vitamin A are milk, eggs, liver, fortified cereals, darkly colored orange or green vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and kale), and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, papayas, and mangos.
Teen guys need 900 micrograms of vitamin A each day.
Teen girls need 700 micrograms each day. It is possible to get too much vitamin A, so be careful with supplements. Don't take vitamin A supplements If you're taking isotretinoin (such as Accutane) for acne or other skin problems.
Oral acne medicines are vitamin A supplements, and a continued excess of vitamin A can build up in the body, causing headaches, skin changes, or even liver damage.
Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is needed to form collagen, a tissue that helps to hold cells together. It's essential for healthy bones, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. It helps the body absorb iron, aids in wound healing, and contributes to brain function.
You'll find high levels of vitamin C in citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, guava, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.
Teen guys need 75 mg (milligrams; 1 milligram equals 1,000 micrograms) and girls need 65 mg of vitamin C a day.
Vitamin D strengthens bones because it helps the body absorb bone-building calcium.
This vitamin is unique — your body manufactures it when you get sunlight on your skin! You can also get vitamin D from egg yolks, oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, and fortified foods like milk, soy milk, and orange juice.
Teens need 15 micrograms (600 IU) of vitamin D from food or supplements every day. Ask your doctor if supplements are right for you.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage. It is also important for the health of red blood cells.
Vitamin E is found in many foods, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and green leafy vegetables. Avocados, wheat germ, and whole grains are also good sources.
Teen guys and girls need 15 mg of vitamin E every day.
Vitamin B12 helps to make red blood cells, and is important for nerve cell function.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in fish, red meat, poultry, milk, cheese, and eggs. It's also added to some breakfast cereals.
Teens should get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily.
Vitamin B6 is important for normal brain and nerve function. It also helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells.
A wide variety of foods contain vitamin B6, including potatoes, bananas, beans, seeds, nuts, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, spinach, and fortified cereals.
Teen guys need 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 daily and teen girls need 1.2 mg.
Thiamin (also called vitamin B1)
Thiamin helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy and is necessary for the heart, muscles, and nervous system to function properly.
People get thiamin from many different foods, including fortified breads, cereals, and pasta; lean meats; dried beans, soy foods, and peas; and whole grains like wheat germ.
Teen guys need 1.2 mg of thiamin each day; teen girls need 1 mg.
Niacin (also called vitamin B3)
Niacin helps the body turn food into energy. It helps maintain healthy skin and is important for nerve function.
You'll find niacin in red meat, poultry, fish, fortified hot and cold cereals, and peanuts.
Teen guys need 16 mg of niacin daily. Teen girls need 14 mg a day.
Riboflavin (also called vitamin B2)
Riboflavin is essential for growth, turning carbohydrates into energy, and producing red blood cells.
Some of the best sources of riboflavin are meat, eggs, legumes (like peas and lentils), nuts, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and fortified cereals.
Teen guys need 1.3 mg of riboflavin per day and teen girls need 1 mg.
Folate (also known as vitamin B9, folic acid, or folacin)
Folate helps the body make red blood cells. It is also needed to make DNA.
Liver, dried beans and other legumes, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, and orange juice are good sources of this vitamin. So are fortified bread, rice, and cereals.
Teen girls and guys need 400 micrograms of folate daily.