Vitamins have traditionally been used in stand-alone and multivitamin supplements and in fortified foods such as cereals. They are increasingly found in a range of natural products, from nutrition bars and functional beverages to skin care products.

Vitamins are micronutrients required by the body for proper functioning; they are structural components of the body’s tissues and facilitate biochemical reactions within the body. Each vitamin performs multiple functions—for example, vitamins E, A, and C function as antioxidants, while the B complex vitamins are involved in metabolic function. B and C vitamins are water soluble, while A, D and E are fat-soluble.

In personal care, the most widely used vitamins include vitamin C, which promotes collagen production and fends off free radical damage, and vitamin E, with antioxidant and skin-softening properties. Because recommended daily allowances for vitamins are usually at very low levels, it’s possible for functional foods and beverages to meet many of the body’s daily requirements in a single serving.