Nomenclature of Vitamins

By James Collier BSc (Hons), RNutr Nutrition Consultant

The term vitamin is used to describe a group of organic micronutrients, present in minute quantities in natural foodstuffs, that are essential to normal and healthy metabolism.

There are a large number of vitamins and it's no wonder people get confused as there are often two or more names for the same compound or different forms of a vitamin all exhibiting some activity. This comprehensive list has been devised to act as a reference for the different names for each vitamin. The list is merely information for nomenclature, so if you are looking for information on sources and functions of vitamins please do an internet search or ask on the MuscleTalk forums. However, it does provide information on organic compounds which exhibit activity of that vitamin. Acceptable and commonly used names are listed in bold.

DenominationAcceptable NamesOther NamesOther Organic Compounds
with Activity
Vitamin ARetinolVitamin A1β carotene
Retinaldehyde; retinalRetineneα carotene
Retinoic acidVitamin A1 acidγ carotene
3-DehydroretinolVitamin A2
Vitamin DErgocalciferol; ercalciolVitamin D2; calciferol
Cholecalciferol; calciolVitamin D3
Vitamin Eα tocopheroltocotrienols
β tocopherol
γ tocopherol
Vitamin KQuinones
PhylloquinoneVitamin K1
Menaquinone-n (MK-n)Vitamin K2
MenadioneVitamin K3; menaquinone; menaphthone
Vitamin B1ThiaminThiamine; aneurin(e)
Vitamin B2RiboflavinRiboflavine; vitamin G; lactoflavin
Vitamin B3NiacinPyridine 3-carboxylic acid
NicotinamideNiacinamide; vitamin PP
Nicotinic acidNiacinic acid
Vitamin B4Choline
Vitamin B5Pantothenic acid
Vitamin B6PyridoxinePyridoxol
Vitamin B7BiotinVitamin H
Vitamin B8Inositol
Vitamin B9Folic acidFolacin; Vitamin M; Vitamin BC
Pteroly(mono)glutamic acid
Vitamin B12CobalaminExtrinsic Factor (EF)
CyanocobalaminVitamin B12a or B12b
Vitamin CAscorbic acid
Dehydroascorbic acid