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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. However, it does provide information on organic compounds which exhibit activity of that vitamin.

Acceptable and commonly used names are listed in bold.

Denomination Acceptable Names Other Names Other Organic Compounds
with Activity
Vitamin A Retinol Vitamin A1 β carotene
Retinaldehyde; retinal Retinene α carotene
Retinoic acid Vitamin A1 acid γ carotene
3-Dehydroretinol Vitamin A2
 
Vitamin D Ergocalciferol; ercalciol Vitamin D2; calciferol
Cholecalciferol; calciol Vitamin D3
 
Vitamin E α tocopherol tocotrienols
β tocopherol
γ tocopherol
 
Vitamin K Quinones
Phylloquinone Vitamin K1
Menaquinone-n (MK-n) Vitamin K2
Menadione Vitamin K3; menaquinone; menaphthone
 
Vitamin B1 Thiamin Thiamine; aneurin(e)
 
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin Riboflavine; vitamin G; lactoflavin
 
Vitamin B3 Niacin Pyridine 3-carboxylic acid
Nicotinamide Niacinamide; vitamin PP
Nicotinic acid Niacinic acid
 
Vitamin B4 Choline
 
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid
 
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine Pyridoxol
Pyridoxal
Pyridoxamine
 
Vitamin B7 Biotin Vitamin H
 
Vitamin B8 Inositol
Myo-inositol Meso-inositol
 
Vitamin B9 Folic acid Folacin; Vitamin M; Vitamin BC
Folate
Pteroly(mono)glutamic acid
 
Vitamin B12 Cobalamin Extrinsic Factor (EF)
Cyanocobalamin Vitamin B12a or B12b
Hydroxocobalamin
Aquocobalamin
Methylcobalamin
Adenosylcobalamin
 
Vitamin C Ascorbic acid
Dehydroascorbic acid
 

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