Vitamins: Information and Sources

by in Vitamins January 17, 2008

Vitamin A: Beta-Carotene
• Vitamin A is needed for growth and development and immunity, and healthy vision, hair, skin, nails, bones and teeth.
• High doses of vitamin A supplements can be toxic; doses should not exceed 25,000 IU per day.
• Sources: apricots, cantaloupe, peaches, carrots, liver, egg yolk, yellow and dark green leafy vegetables
Vitamin D (calciferol)
• Aids in absorption of calcium, helps build bone mass and prevent bone loss. Helps maintain blood levels of calcium, phosphorus.
• Toxicity is more likely to occur in infants and young children. For adults toxicity is not a problem unless doses are in the range of 50,000 IU per day.
• Sources: sardines, Vitamin D fortified milk, liver, egg yolk, tuna, salmon, sunlight, and shitake mushrooms
Vitamin E (tocopherol)
• An antioxidant and important for the protection of cell membranes as well as maintaining healthy skin, immunity, nerves, muscles and red blood cells.
• Sources: wheat germ, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, milk fat, egg yolk, gree leafy vegetables
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
• Required for normal blood clotting. Also helps to build and maintain strong bones.
• Sources: soybean oil, vegetable oils, wheat bran, liver, dark green keafy vegetable
Thiamin; B1
• Prevents beriberi. Aids in carbohydrate metabolism. Essential for growth, normal appetite, digestion, and healthy nerves.
• Sources: potatoes, wheat germ, organ meats, pork, whole grains
Riboflavin; B2
• Helps in red blood cell formation, nervous system functioning and release of energy from foods. Needed for vision and may help protect against cataracts.
• Sources: enriched cereals, milk & dairy foods, organ meats, breads, eggs, green leafy vegetables
Niacin; B3
• Promotes release of energy from foods and proper nervous system functioning.
• Intake of one gram or more of niacinamide daily is safe for most people, but nicotinic acid, usually given to treat lipid disorders can cause flushing of the face, (this is a temporary side effect and will stop within one hour).
• Sources: peanuts, fish, poultry, legumes, liver, whole grains, milk, meat, eggs
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
• Essential for protein metabolism, nervous system and immune function. Involved in synthesis of hormones and red blood cells.
• Vitamin B6 is safe at doses of 200 mg per day.
• Sources: cereal bran & germ, glandular meats, pork, milk, egg yolk, oatmeal, legumes
Folic Acid
• A type of B vitamin needed to form new cells. It reduces the risk of spina bifida during pregnancy and works with vitamin B12 to help keep the circulation healthy. Also important for healthy red blood cells and nerve function. Folate is the form of folic acid naturally found in foods.
• Sources: lentils, cowpeas, asparagus, broccoli, collards, yeast, organ meats, beef, wheat, eggs, fish, dry beans, green leafy vegetables
Vitamin B12
• Essential for protein metabolism, nervous system and immune function. Involved in synthesis of hormones and red blood cells.
• Sources: liver, meat, kidneys, eggs, milk & dairy foods
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid
• Aids in normal growth and development.
• Sources: present in all plant and animal foods, eggs, kidney, liver, salmon, yeast
• Assists in metabolism of fatty acids and utilization of B vitamins.
• Sources: liver, mushrooms, peanuts, yeast, most vegetables, banana, grapefruit, tomato, watermelon, strawberries
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
• An antioxidant which helps to protect against free radicals, fight infection, boost iron absorption, and maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and gums.
• The only clinical side effect observed with very high doses of ascorbic acid is mild diarrhea which is a good indicator of what your body can tolerate.
• Sources: Puerto Rican cherry, citrus fruit, tomato, melon, peppers, raw cabbage, greens, guava, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, potato
Reference: Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy, 11th Edition, Krause & Mahan, W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 2004.

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  2. […] lifestyle. We should instead be educating our children to eat green and yellow vegetables rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and folic acid, avoid smoking, and avoid unsafe sex practices. (Sources: Int J Cancer. 2005 Nov […]

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