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Vitamin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Vitamins" redirects here. For the short story by Raymond Carver, see Vitamins (short story)
A vitamin (US /vatmn/ and UK /vtmn/) is an organic compound and a vital nutrient that an organism requires in limited
amounts.[1] An organic chemical compound (or related set of compounds) is called a vitamin when the organism
cannotsynthesize the compound in sufficient quantities, and it must be obtained through the diet; thus, the term "vitamin" is
conditional upon the circumstances and the particular organism. For example, ascorbic acid (one form of vitamin C) is a
vitamin for humans, but not for most other animal organisms. Supplementation is important for the treatment of certain
health problems,[2] but there is little evidence of nutritional benefit when used by otherwise healthy people. [3]
By convention, the term vitamin includes neither other essential nutrients, such as dietary minerals, essential fatty acids,
oressential amino acids (which are needed in greater amounts than vitamins) nor the great number of other nutrients that
promote health, and are required less often to maintain the health of the organism. [4] Thirteen vitamins are universally
recognized at present. Vitamins are classified by their biological and chemical activity, not their structure. Thus, each
"vitamin" refers to a number of vitamer compounds that all show the biological activity associated with a particular vitamin.
Such a set of chemicals is grouped under an alphabetized vitamin "generic descriptor" title, such as "vitamin A", which
includes the compounds retinal, retinol, and four known carotenoids. Vitamers by definition are convertible to the active form
of the vitamin in the body, and are sometimes inter-convertible to one another, as well.
Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions. Some, such as vitamin D, have hormone-like functions as regulators of mineral
metabolism, or regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation (such as some forms of vitamin A). Others function
as antioxidants (e.g., vitamin E and sometimes vitamin C).[5] The largest number of vitamins, the B complexvitamins, function
as precursors for enzyme cofactors, that help enzymes in their work as catalysts in metabolism. In this role, vitamins may be
tightly bound to enzymes as part ofprosthetic groups: For example, biotin is part of enzymes involved in making fatty acids.
They may also be less tightly bound to enzyme catalysts as coenzymes, detachable molecules that function to
carry chemical groups or electrons between molecules. For example, folic acid may carry methyl, formyl,
and methylene groups in the cell. Although these roles in assisting enzyme-substrate reactions are vitamins' best-known
function, the other vitamin functions are equally important. [6]
Until the mid-1930s, when the first commercial yeast-extract vitamin B complex and semi-synthetic vitamin C supplement
tablets were sold, vitamins were obtained solely through food intake, and changes in diet (which, for example, could occur
during a particular growing season) usually greatly altered the types and amounts of vitamins ingested. However, vitamins
have been produced as commodity chemicals and made widely available as inexpensive semisynthetic and syntheticsource multivitamin dietary and food supplements and additives, since the middle of the 20th century. Study of structural
activity, function and their role in maintaining health is called as vitaminology.[7]

List of vitamins[edit]
Each vitamin is typically used in multiple reactions, and, therefore, most have multiple functions. [8]

Vitam
in
generi
c
descri
ptor
name

Vitamin
A

Vitamerchemical name(s)
(list not complete)

Retinol, retinal, and


four carotenoids
including beta carotene

Solubility

Fat

Recomm
ended
dietary
allowanc
es
(male,
age 19
70)[9]

900 g

Deficiency
disease

Night
blindness,Hyper
keratosis,
andKeratomalac
ia[10]

Upper
Overdos
Intake Level
e
Food sources
(UL/day)[9]
disease

3,000 g

Hyperv
itamino
sis A

Liver,
orange, ripe
yellow
fruits, leafy
vegetables,
carrots,
pumpkin,
squash,
spinach, fish,
soya milk,
milk

Vitam
in
generi
c
descri
ptor
name

Vitamin
B1

Vitamerchemical name(s)
(list not complete)

Thiamine

Solubility

Water

Recomm
ended
dietary
allowanc
es
(male,
age 19
70)[9]

1.2 mg

Deficiency
disease

Beriberi, Werni
cke-Korsakoff
syndrome

Upper
Overdos
Intake Level
e
Food sources
(UL/day)[9]
disease

N/D[11]

Drowsi
ness or
muscle
relaxati
on with
large
doses.

Pork,
oatmeal,
brown rice,
vegetables,
potatoes,
liver, eggs

[12]

Vitamin
B2

Vitamin
B3

Riboflavin

Niacin, niacinamide

Water

Water

1.3 mg

16.0 mg

Ariboflavinosis,
Glossitis, Angul
ar stomatitis

Pellagra

Dairy
products,
bananas,
popcorn,
green beans,
asparagus

N/D

35.0 mg

Liver d
amage
(doses
>
2g/day)
[13]
and o
ther
proble
ms

Meat, fish,
eggs, many
vegetables,
mushrooms,
tree nuts

Diarrhe
a;
possibl
y
nausea
and
heartbu
rn.[15]

Meat,
broccoli,
avocados

Vitamin
B5

Pantothenic acid

Water

5.0 mg[14]

Paresthesia

N/D

Vitamin
B6

Pyridoxine,pyridoxamine,pyrid
oxal

Water

1.31.7 m
g

Anemia[16] perip
heral
neuropathy.

100 mg

Impair
ment
ofpropr
iocepti
on,
nerve
damage
(doses
>
100 mg

Meat,
vegetables,
tree nuts,
bananas

Vitam
in
generi
c
descri
ptor
name

Vitamerchemical name(s)
(list not complete)

Solubility

Recomm
ended
dietary
allowanc
es
(male,
age 19
70)[9]

Deficiency
disease

Upper
Overdos
Intake Level
e
Food sources
(UL/day)[9]
disease

/day)

Vitamin
B7

Vitamin
B9

Biotin

Folic acid, folinic acid

Water

Water

30.0 g

Dermatitis, ente
ritis

400 g

Megaloblastic
anemiaand
Deficiency
during
pregnancy is
associated
with birth
defects, such
as neural
tube defects

Raw egg
yolk, liver,
peanuts,
leafy green
vegetables

N/D

1,000 g

May
mask
sympto
ms of
vitamin
B12 defi
ciency;
other
effects.

Leafy
vegetables,
pasta, bread,
cereal, liver

Meat and
other animal
products

Vitamin
B12

Cyanocobalamin,hydroxycobala
min,methylcobalamin

Water

2.4 g

Megaloblastic
anemia[17]

N/D

Acnelike
rash
[causali
ty is
not
conclus
ively
establis
hed].

Vitamin
C

Ascorbic acid

Water

90.0 mg

Scurvy

2,000 mg

Vitami
nC
megado
sage

Many fruits
and
vegetables,
liver

Vitamin
D

Cholecalciferol(D3), Ergocalcif
erol(D2)

Fat

10 g[18]

Rickets andOste
omalacia

50 g

Hyperv
itamino
sis D

Fish, eggs,
liver,
mushrooms

Vitamin
E

Tocopherols,tocotrienols

Fat

15.0 mg

Increas
ed

Many fruits
and

Deficiency is
very

1,000 mg

Vitam
in
generi
c
descri
ptor
name

Vitamin
K

Vitamerchemical name(s)
(list not complete)

phylloquinone,menaquinones

Solubility

Fat

Recomm
ended
dietary
allowanc
es
(male,
age 19
70)[9]

120 g

Deficiency
disease

Upper
Overdos
Intake Level
e
Food sources
(UL/day)[9]
disease

rare;sterility in
males
andabortions in
females,
mild hemolytic
anemiain
newborn
infants.[19]

congest
ive
heart
failure
seen in
one
large
random
ized
study.[20]

vegetables,
nuts and
seeds

Bleeding
diathesis

Increas
es
coagula
tion in
patients
taking
warfari
n.[21]

Leafy green
vegetables
such as
spinach, egg
yolks, liver

N/D

Health effects[edit]
Vitamins are essential for the normal growth and development of a multicellular organism. Using the genetic blueprint
inherited from its parents, a fetus begins to develop, at the moment of conception, from the nutrients it absorbs. It requires
certain vitamins and minerals to be present at certain times. These nutrients facilitate the chemical reactions that produce
among other things, skin, bone, and muscle. If there is serious deficiency in one or more of these nutrients, a child may
develop a deficiency disease. Even minor deficiencies may cause permanent damage. [22]
For the most part, vitamins are obtained with food, but a few are obtained by other means. For example, microorganisms in
the intestine commonly known as "gut flora" produce vitamin K and biotin, while one form of vitamin D is synthesized in
the skin with the help of the natural ultraviolet wavelength of sunlight. Humans can produce some vitamins from precursors
they consume. Examples include vitamin A, produced from beta carotene, and niacin, from the amino acid tryptophan.[9]
Once growth and development are completed, vitamins remain essential nutrients for the healthy maintenance of the cells,
tissues, and organs that make up a multicellular organism; they also enable a multicellular life form to efficiently use
chemical energy provided by food it eats, and to help process the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats required for respiration. [5]

Supplements[edit]
In those who are otherwise healthy, there is little evidence that supplements have any benefits with respect
to cancer or heart disease.[3][23] Vitamin A and E supplements not only provide no health benefits for generally healthy
individuals, but they may increase mortality, though the two large studies that support this conclusion included smokers for
whom it was already known that beta-carotene supplements can be harmful.[23][24] While other findings suggest that vitamin E
toxicity is limited to only a specific form when taken in excess. [25]
The European Union and other countries of Europe have regulations that define limits of vitamin (and mineral) dosages for
their safe use as food supplements. Most vitamins that are sold as food supplements cannot exceed a maximum daily
dosage. Vitamin products above these legal limits are not considered food supplements and must be registered as
prescription or non-prescription (over-the-counter drugs) due to their potential side effects. As a result, most of the fatsoluble vitamins (such as the vitamins A, D, E, and K) that contain amounts above the daily allowance are drug products.

The daily dosage of a vitamin supplement for example cannot exceed 300% of the recommended daily allowance, and for
vitamin A, this limit is even lower (200%). Such regulations are applicable in most European countries. [26][27]

500 mg calcium supplement tablets, with vitamin D, made from calcium carbonate,maltodextrin, mineral
oil, hypromellose, glycerin,cholecalciferol, polyethylene glycol, and carnauba wax.

Dietary supplements often contain vitamins, but may also include other ingredients, such as minerals, herbs, and botanicals.
Scientific evidence supports the benefits of dietary supplements for persons with certain health conditions. [2] In some cases,
vitamin supplements may have unwanted effects, especially if taken before surgery, with other dietary supplements or
medicines, or if the person taking them has certain health conditions. [2] They may also contain levels of vitamins many times
higher, and in different forms, than one may ingest through food.[28]

Effect of cooking[edit]
Shown below is percentage loss of vitamins after cooking averaged for common foods such as vegetables, meat or fish.

Typical Maximum Nutrient Losses due to cooking [29]

[show]Vitamin & Minerals

Freeze

Dry

Cook

Cook+Drain

Reheat

It should be noted however that some vitamins may become more "bio-available" that is, usable by the body when
steamed or cooked. [30]
The table below shows whether various vitamins are susceptible to loss from heatsuch as heat from boiling, steaming,
cooking etc.and other agents. The effect of cutting vegetables can be seen from exposure to air and light. Water-soluble
vitamins such as B and C seep into the water when a vegetable is boiled. [31]
Vitamin

Soluble in Water

Exposure to Air

Exposure to Light

Exposure to Heat

Vitamin A

no

partially[clarification needed]

partially[clarification needed]

relatively stable

Vitamin C

very unstable

yes[clarification needed]

yes[clarification needed]

yes

Vitamin D

no

no[clarification needed]

no[clarification needed]

no

Vitamin E

no

yes

yes

no

Vitamin

Soluble in Water

Exposure to Air

Exposure to Light

Exposure to Heat

Vitamin K

no

no

yes

no

Thiamine (B1)

highly

no

> 100 C

Riboflavin (B2)

slightly

no

in solution

no

Niacin (B3)

yes

no

no

no

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

quite stable

no

yes

Vitamin B6

yes

yes

Biotin (B7)

somewhat

no

Folic Acid (B9)

yes

when dry

at high temp

Vitamin B12

yes

yes

no

Deficiencies[edit]
Humans must consume vitamins periodically but with differing schedules, to avoid deficiency. The human body's stores for
different vitamins vary widely; vitamins A, D, and B12 are stored in significant amounts in the human body, mainly in the liver,
[19]
and an adult human's diet may be deficient in vitamins A and D for many months and B 12 in some cases for years, before
developing a deficiency condition. However, vitamin B3 (niacin and niacinamide) is not stored in the human body in
significant amounts, so stores may last only a couple of weeks. [10][19] For vitamin C, the first symptoms of scurvy in
experimental studies of complete vitamin C deprivation in humans have varied widely, from a month to more than six
months, depending on previous dietary history that determined body stores. [32]
Deficiencies of vitamins are classified as either primary or secondary. A primary deficiency occurs when an organism does
not get enough of the vitamin in its food. A secondary deficiency may be due to an underlying disorder that prevents or limits
the absorption or use of the vitamin, due to a "lifestyle factor", such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or the use
of medications that interfere with the absorption or use of the vitamin. [19] People who eat a varied diet are unlikely to develop
a severe primary vitamin deficiency. In contrast, restrictive diets have the potential to cause prolonged vitamin deficits, which
may result in often painful and potentially deadly diseases.
Well-known human vitamin deficiencies involve thiamine (beriberi), niacin (pellagra), vitamin C (scurvy), and vitamin D
(rickets). In much of the developed world, such deficiencies are rare; this is due to (1) an adequate supply of food and (2)
the addition of vitamins and minerals to common foods, often called fortification. [9][19] In addition to these classical vitamin
deficiency diseases, some evidence has also suggested links between vitamin deficiency and a number of different
disorders.[33][34]

Side-effects[edit]
In large doses, some vitamins have documented side-effects that tend to be more severe with a larger dosage. The
likelihood of consuming too much of any vitamin from food is remote, but overdosing (vitamin poisoning) from vitamin
supplementation does occur. At high enough dosages, some vitamins cause side-effects such as nausea, diarrhea,
andvomiting.[10][35] When side-effects emerge, recovery is often accomplished by reducing the dosage. The doses of vitamins
differ because individual tolerances can vary widely and appear to be related to age and state of health. [36]
In 2008, overdose exposure to all formulations of vitamins and multivitamin-mineral formulations was reported by 68,911
individuals to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (nearly 80% of these exposures were in children under
the age of 6), leading to 8 "major" life-threatening outcomes, but no deaths. [37]

Pharmacology[edit]
Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K)
and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and, in general, are readily
excreted from the body, to the degree that urinary output is a strong predictor of vitamin consumption. [38] Because they are
not as readily stored, more consistent intake is important.[39] Many types of water-soluble vitamins are synthesized by
bacteria.[40] Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids (fats). Because they are more
likely to accumulate in the body, they are more likely to lead tohypervitaminosis than are water-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble
vitamin regulation is of particular significance in cystic fibrosis.[41]

History[edit]
The discovery dates of the vitamins and their sources

Year of discovery

Vitamin

Food source

1913

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Cod liver oil

1910

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Rice bran

1920

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

Citrus, most fresh foods

1920

Vitamin D (Calciferol)

Cod liver oil

1920

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Meat, dairy products, eggs

1922

(Vitamin E) (Tocopherol)

Wheat germ oil,


unrefined vegetable oils

1926

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins)

Liver, eggs, animal products

1929

Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone)

Leaf vegetables

The discovery dates of the vitamins and their sources

Year of discovery

Vitamin

Food source

1931

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)

Meat, whole grains,


in many foods

1931

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Meat, dairy products, eggs

1934

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Meat, dairy products

1936

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Meat, grains

1941

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)

Leaf vegetables

The value of eating a certain food to maintain health was recognized long before vitamins were identified. The
ancient Egyptians knew that feeding liver to a person would help cure night blindness, an illness now known to be caused by
a vitamin A deficiency.[42] The advancement of ocean voyages during the Renaissance resulted in prolonged periods without
access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and made illnesses from vitamin deficiency common among ships' crews. [43]
In 1747, the Scottish surgeon James Lind discovered that citrus foods helped prevent scurvy, a particularly deadly disease
in which collagen is not properly formed, causing poor wound healing, bleeding of the gums, severe pain, and death.[42] In
1753, Lind published his Treatise on the Scurvy, which recommended using lemons and limes to avoid scurvy, which was
adopted by the British Royal Navy. This led to the nickname Limey for sailors of that organization. Lind's discovery, however,
was not widely accepted by individuals in the Royal Navy's Arctic expeditions in the 19th century, where it was widely
believed that scurvy could be prevented by practicing good hygiene, regular exercise, and maintaining the morale of the
crew while on board, rather than by a diet of fresh food. [42] As a result, Arctic expeditions continued to be plagued by scurvy
and other deficiency diseases. In the early 20th century, when Robert Falcon Scott made his two expeditions to
the Antarctic, the prevailing medical theory at the time was that scurvy was caused by "tainted" canned food.[42]
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the use of deprivation studies allowed scientists to isolate and identify a
number of vitamins. Lipid from fish oil was used to cure rickets in rats, and the fat-soluble nutrient was called "antirachitic A".
Thus, the first "vitamin" bioactivity ever isolated, which cured rickets, was initially called "vitamin A"; however, the bioactivity
of this compound is now called vitamin D.[44] In 1881, Russian surgeon Nikolai Lunin studied the effects of scurvy while at
the University of Tartu in present-day Estonia.[45] He fed mice an artificial mixture of all the separate constituents
of milk known at that time, namely the proteins,fats, carbohydrates, and salts. The mice that received only the individual
constituents died, while the mice fed by milk itself developed normally. He made a conclusion that "a natural food such as
milk must therefore contain, besides these known principal ingredients, small quantities of unknown substances essential to
life."[45] However, his conclusions were rejected by other researchers when they were unable to reproduce his results. One
difference was that he had used table sugar (sucrose), while other researchers had used milk sugar (lactose) that still
contained small amounts of vitamin B.[citation needed]

The Ancient Egyptians knew that feeding a person liver would help curenight blindness.

In east Asia, where polished white rice was the common staple food of the middle class, beriberi resulting from lack of
vitamin B1 wasendemic. In 1884, Takaki Kanehiro, a British trained medical doctor of the Imperial Japanese Navy, observed
that beriberi was endemicamong low-ranking crew who often ate nothing but rice, but not among officers who consumed a
Western-style diet. With the support of the Japanese navy, he experimented using crews of two battleships; one crew was
fed only white rice, while the other was fed a diet of meat, fish, barley, rice, and beans. The group that ate only white rice
documented 161 crew members with beriberi and 25 deaths, while the latter group had only 14 cases of beriberi and no
deaths. This convinced Takaki and the Japanese Navy that diet was the cause of beriberi, but mistakenly believed that
sufficient amounts of protein prevented it.[46] That diseases could result from some dietary deficiencies was further
investigated by Christiaan Eijkman, who in 1897 discovered that feeding unpolished rice instead of the polished variety to
chickens helped to prevent beriberi in the chickens. The following year, Frederick Hopkins postulated that some foods
contained "accessory factors" in addition to proteins, carbohydrates, fats etc. that are necessary for the functions of the
human body.[42] Hopkins and Eijkman were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1929 for their discovery of
several vitamins.[47]
In 1910, the first vitamin complex was isolated by Japanese scientist Umetaro Suzuki, who succeeded in extracting a watersoluble complex of micronutrients from rice bran and named it aberic acid (later Orizanin). He published this discovery in a
Japanese scientific journal.[48]When the article was translated into German, the translation failed to state that it was a newly
discovered nutrient, a claim made in the original Japanese article, and hence his discovery failed to gain publicity. In 1912
Polish biochemist Casimir Funk isolated the same complex of micronutrients and proposed the complex be named
"vitamine" (from "vital amine"). It was later to be known as vitamin B3 (niacin), though he thought that it would be thiamine
(vitamin B1) and described it as "anti-beri-beri-factor". Funk proposed the hypothesis that other diseases, such as rickets,
pellagra, coeliac disease, and scurvy could also be cured by vitamins. Max Nierenstein a friend and reader of Biochemistry
at Bristol University reportedly suggested a "vitamine" name (from "vital amine"). [49]).[50] The name soon became synonymous
with Hopkins' "accessory factors", and, by the time it was shown that not all vitamins are amines, the word was already
ubiquitous. In 1920, Jack Cecil Drummond proposed that the final "e" be dropped to deemphasize the "amine" reference,
after researchers began to suspect that not all "vitamines" (in particular, vitamin A) have an amine component.[46]
In 1930, Paul Karrer elucidated the correct structure for beta-carotene, the main precursor of vitamin A, and identified
other carotenoids. Karrer and Norman Haworth confirmed Albert Szent-Gyrgyi's discovery of ascorbic acid and made
significant contributions to the chemistry of flavins, which led to the identification of lactoflavin. For their investigations on
carotenoids, flavins and vitamins A and B2, they both received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1937.[51]
In 1931, Albert Szent-Gyrgyi and a fellow researcher Joseph Svirbely suspected that "hexuronic acid" was actually vitamin
C, and gave a sample to Charles Glen King, who proved its anti-scorbutic activity in his long-established guinea
pig scorbutic assay. In 1937, Szent-Gyrgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery. In
1943, Edward Adelbert Doisy and Henrik Dam were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery
of vitamin K and its chemical structure. In 1967, George Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize (along with Ragnar
Granit and Haldan Keffer Hartline) for his discovery that vitamin A could participate directly in a physiological process. [47]

Etymology[edit]

The term vitamin was derived from "vitamine", a compound word coined in 1912 by the Polish biochemist Kazimierz
Funk[52] when working at the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine. The name is from vital and amine, meaning amine of life,
because it was suggested in 1912 that the organic micronutrient food factors that prevent beriberi and perhaps other similar
dietary-deficiency diseases might be chemical amines. This was true of thiamine, but after it was found that other such
micronutrients were not amines the word was shortened to vitamin in English.

Society and culture[edit]


Governmental regulation[edit]
Most countries place dietary supplements in a special category under the general umbrella of foods, not drugs. This
necessitates that the manufacturer, and not the government, be responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement
products are safe before they are marketed. Regulation of supplements varies widely by country. In the United States, a
dietary supplement is defined under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.[53] In addition, the Food and
Drug Administration uses the Adverse Event Reporting System to monitor adverse events that occur with supplements. [54] In
2007, the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21, part III took effect, regulating GMP practices in the manufacturing,
packaging, labeling, or holding operations for dietary supplements. Even though product registration is not required, these
regulations mandate production and quality control standards (including testing for identity, purity and adulterations) for
dietary supplements.[55] In the European Union, the Food Supplements Directive requires that only those supplements that
have been proven safe can be sold without a prescription.[56] For most vitamins, pharmacopoeial standards have been
established. In the United States, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) sets standards for the most commonly used
vitamins and preparations thereof. Likewise, monographs of the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph.Eur.) regulate aspects of
identity and purity for vitamins on the European market.

Naming[edit]
Nomenclature of reclassified vitamins

Previous name

Chemical name

Reason for name change[57]

Vitamin B4

Adenine

DNA metabolite; synthesized in body

Vitamin B8

Adenylic acid

DNA metabolite; synthesized in body

Vitamin F

Essential fatty acids

Needed in large quantities (does


not fit the definition of a vitamin).

Vitamin G

Riboflavin

Reclassified as Vitamin B2

Vitamin H

Biotin

Reclassified as Vitamin B7

Vitamin J

Catechol, Flavin

Catechol nonessential; flavin reclassified as Vitamin B2

Vitamin L1[58]

Anthranilic acid

Non essential

Vitamin L2[58]

Adenylthiomethylpentose

RNA metabolite; synthesized in body

Nomenclature of reclassified vitamins

Previous name

Chemical name

Reason for name change[57]

Vitamin M

Folic acid

Reclassified as Vitamin B9

Vitamin O

Carnitine

Synthesized in body

Vitamin P

Flavonoids

No longer classified as a vitamin

Vitamin PP

Niacin

Reclassified as Vitamin B3

Vitamin S

Salicylic acid

Proposed inclusion[59] of salicylate as an essential micronutrient

Vitamin U

S-Methylmethionine

Protein metabolite; synthesized in body

The reason that the set of vitamins skips directly from E to K is that the vitamins corresponding to letters F-J were either
reclassified over time, discarded as false leads, or renamed because of their relationship to vitamin B, which became a
complex of vitamins.
The German-speaking scientists who isolated and described vitamin K (in addition to naming it as such) did so because the
vitamin is intimately involved in the coagulation of blood following wounding (from the German word Koagulation). At the
time, most (but not all) of the letters from F through to J were already designated, so the use of the letter K was considered
quite reasonable.[57][60] The tablenomenclature of reclassified vitamins lists chemicals that had previously been classified as
vitamins, as well as the earlier names of vitamins that later became part of the B-complex.
There are other missing B vitamins which were reclassified or determined not to be vitamins. For example, B 9 is folic
acid and five of the folates are in the range B11 through B16, forms of other vitamins already discovered, not required as a
nutrient by the entire population (like B10, PABA for internal use[61]), biologically inactive, toxic, or with unclassifiable effects in
humans, or not generally recognised as vitamins by science, [62] such as the highest-numbered, which
somenaturopath practitioners call B21 and B22. There are also nine lettered B Complex vitamins (e.g. B m). There are other D
vitamins now recognised as other substances,[61] which some sources of the same type number up to D7. The controversial
cancer treatment Laetrile was at one point numbered as Vitamin B17. There appears to be no consensus on any vitamins Q,
R, T, V, W, X, Y or Z, nor are there substances officially designated as Vitamins N or I, although the latter may have been
another form of one of the other vitamins or a known and named nutrient of another type.

Anti-vitamins[edit]
Main article: Antinutrient
Anti-vitamins are chemical compounds that inhibit the absorption or actions of vitamins. For example, avidin is a protein in
egg whites that inhibits the absorption of biotin.[63]Pyrithiamine is similar to thiamine, vitamin B1, and inhibits the enzymes that
use thiamine.[64]

Introduction
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly.
Most people should get all the nutrients they need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
The pages in this section contain advice and information on vitamins, minerals and trace elements
essential for health, including:

what they do

how much you need

what happens if you have too much

safety advice about supplements

For information about nutrition for children, see vitamins for children.

Vitamin and mineral supplements


If you choose to take vitamin and mineral supplements, be aware that taking too many or for too long can
cause harmful effects.
Some people may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements. For information on who could benefit
from supplements, see Do I need vitamin supplements?
If you're trying to cut down on your salt intake, you might want to avoid vitamin and mineral
supplements that come as effervescent or fizzy tablets, as they can contain up to 1g of salt per tablet.
Get more tips for a lower-salt diet.

What are vitamins?


There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods and animal products, such as vegetable oils, milk and
dairy foods, eggs, liver, oily fish and butter.
While your body needs these vitamins every day to work properly, you don't need to eat foods containing
them every day.

This is because your body stores these vitamins in your liver and fatty tissues for future use. These stores
can build up so they are there when you need them. However, if you have much more than you need, fatsoluble vitamins can be harmful.
Fat-soluble vitamins are:

vitamin A

vitamin D

vitamin E

vitamin K

Water-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, so you need to have them more frequently.
If you have more than you need, your body gets rid of the extra vitamins when you urinate. As the body
does not store water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins are generally not harmful. However, this doesn't
mean that all large amounts are necessarily harmless.
Water-soluble vitamins are found in a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables, potatoes, grains,
milk and dairy foods. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they can be destroyed by heat or being exposed to the
air. They can also be lost in water used for cooking.
This means that by cooking foods, especially boiling them, we lose some of these vitamins. The best way
to keep as many of the water-soluble vitamins as possible is to steam or grill foods, rather than boil them,
or to use the cooking water in soups or stews rather than pouring it away.
Water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C, the B vitamins and folic acid.
There are also many other types of vitamins and minerals that are an important part of a healthy diet.

What are minerals?


Minerals are necessary for three main reasons:

building strong bones and teeth

controlling body fluids inside and outside cells

turning the food you eat into energy

Minerals are found in foods such as meat, cereals (including cereal products such as bread), fish, milk
and dairy foods, vegetables, fruit (especially dried fruit) and nuts.
Essential minerals include calcium and iron, although there are also manyother types of minerals that are
an important part of a healthy diet.

What are trace elements?


Trace elements are also essential nutrients that your body needs to work properly, but in much smaller
amounts than vitamins and minerals.
Trace elements are found in small amounts in a variety of foods such as meat, fish, cereals, milk and
dairy foods, vegetables and nuts.
Examples of trace elements are iodine and fluoride.

Summary
Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. There are 13 vitamins your body needs. They
are

Vitamin A

B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 andfolate)

Vitamin C

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K
You can usually get all your vitamins from the foods you eat. Your body can also make vitamins D and K. People who eat
a vegetarian diet may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Each vitamin has specific jobs. If you have low levels of certain vitamins, you may get health problems. For example, if you
don't get enough vitamin C, you could become anemic. Some vitamins may help prevent medical problems. Vitamin A
prevents night blindness.
The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. In some cases, you may need to take
vitamin supplements. It's a good idea to ask your health care provider first. High doses of some vitamins can cause
problems.
Vitamin A plays a role in your

Vision

Bone growth

Reproduction

Cell functions

Immune system
Vitamin A is an antioxidant. It can come from plant or animal sources. Plant sources include colorful fruits and vegetables.
Animal sources include liver and whole milk. Vitamin A is also added to foods like cereals.
Vegetarians, young children, and alcoholics may need extra Vitamin A. You might also need more if you have certain
conditions, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn's disease. Check with your health care provider to see if you
need to take vitamin A supplements.
NIH: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/vitamina.html
Topic Overview
The tables below list the vitamins, what they do in the body (their functions), and their sources in food.

Water-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins travel freely through the body, and excess amounts usually are excreted by the kidneys. The body needs
water-soluble vitamins in frequent, small doses. These vitamins are not as likely as fat-soluble vitamins to reach toxic levels.
But niacin, vitamin B6, folate, choline, and vitamin C have upper consumption limits. Vitamin B6 at high levels over a long period of
time has been shown to cause irreversible nerve damage.
A balanced diet usually provides enough of these vitamins. People older than 50 and some vegetarians may need to use
supplements to get enough B12.
Water-soluble vitamins

Nutrient

Function

Sources

Thiamine(vitamin
B1)

Part of an enzymeneeded for energy


metabolism; important to nerve function

Found in all nutritious foods in moderate amounts:


pork, whole-grain or enriched breads and cereals,
legumes, nuts and seeds

Riboflavin(vitamin
B2)

Part of an enzyme needed for energy


metabolism; important for normal vision
and skin health

Milk and milk products; leafy green vegetables; wholegrain, enriched breads and cereals

Niacin (vitamin B3)

Part of an enzyme needed for energy


metabolism; important for nervous system,
digestive system, and skin health

Meat, poultry, fish, whole-grain or enriched breads and


cereals, vegetables (especially mushrooms,
asparagus, and leafy green vegetables), peanut butter

Pantothenic acid

Part of an enzyme needed for energy

Widespread in foods

metabolism

Biotin

Part of an enzyme needed for energy


metabolism

Widespread in foods; also produced in intestinal tract


by bacteria

Pyridoxine(vitamin
B6)

Part of an enzyme needed for protein


metabolism; helps make red blood cells

Meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits

Folic acid

Part of an enzyme needed for


makingDNA and new cells, especially red
blood cells

Leafy green vegetables and legumes, seeds, orange


juice, and liver; now added to most refined grains

Cobalamin (vitamin
B12)

Part of an enzyme needed for making new


cells; important to nerve function

Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and milk


products; not found in plant foods

Ascorbic
acid(vitamin C)

Antioxidant; part of an enzyme needed for


protein metabolism; important for immune
system health; aids in iron absorption

Found only in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus


fruits, vegetables in the cabbage family, cantaloupe,
strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce,
papayas, mangoes, kiwifruit

Fat-soluble vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's cells and are not excreted as easily as water-soluble vitamins. They do not need to be
consumed as often as water-soluble vitamins, although adequate amounts are needed. If you take too much of a fat-soluble vitamin,
it could become toxic. Your body is especially sensitive to too much vitamin A from animal sources (retinol) and too much vitamin D.
A balanced diet usually provides enough fat-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins

Nutrient

Vitamin A (and its


precursor*, betacarotene)
*A precursor is
converted by the
body to the vitamin.

Function

Needed for vision, healthy skin and


mucous membranes, bone and tooth
growth, immune system health

Sources

Vitamin A from animal sources (retinol): fortified milk,


cheese, cream, butter, fortified margarine, eggs, liver
Beta-carotene (from plant sources): Leafy, dark green
vegetables; dark orange fruits (apricots, cantaloupe) and
vegetables (carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes,
pumpkin)

Vitamin D

Needed for proper absorption


ofcalcium; stored in bones

Egg yolks, liver, fatty fish, fortified milk, fortified margarine.


When exposed to sunlight, the skin can make vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Antioxidant; protects cell walls

Polyunsaturated plant oils (soybean, corn, cottonseed,


safflower); leafy green vegetables; wheat germ; wholegrain products; liver; egg yolks; nuts and seeds

Vitamin K

Needed for proper blood clotting

Leafy green vegetables and vegetables in the cabbage


family; milk; also produced in intestinaltract by bacteria

Next Page:

Related Information

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/vitamins_their_functions_and_sourceshealth/article_em.htm

Listing of vitamins
Vitamin (common names)

Benefits

Recommended
amount
(dailyRDA* or
dailyAI**)

Upper limit (UL)


per day

Good food
sources

Did you know?

VITAMIN A(Retinol, retinal, and


retinoic acid three active forms
of vitamin A in the body are
retinoids, preformed vitamin A.
Beta carotene can easily be
converted to vitamin A as needed.)

Essential for vision


Lycopene may lower
prostate cancer risk. Keeps
tissues and skin healthy.
Plays an important role in
bone growth. Diets rich in
the carotenoids alpha
carotene and lycopene seem
to lower lung cancer risk.
Carotenoids act as
antioxidants. Foods rich in
the carotenoids lutein and
zeaxanthin may protect
against cataracts

M: 900 mcg
(3,000 IU)W: 700
mcg
(2,333IU)Some
supplements report
vitamin A in
international units
(IUs).

3,000 mcg (about


10,000 IU)

Sources of
retinoids:beef,
liver, eggs,
shrimp, fish,
fortified milk,
cheddar cheese,
Swiss cheese

Many people get too


much preformed vitamin
A from food and
supplements.Large
amounts of
supplemental vitamin A
(but not beta carotene)
can be harmful to bones.

THIAMIN (vitamin B1)

Helps convert food into


energy. Needed for healthy
skin, hair, muscles, and
brain

M: 1.2 mg, W: 1.1


mg

Not known

Pork chops, ham,


soymilk,
watermelons,
acorn squash

Most nutritious foods


have some thiamin.

RIBOFLAVIN(vitamin B2)

Helps convert food into


energy. Needed for healthy
skin, hair, blood, and brain

M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.1


mg

Not known

Milk, yogurt,
cheese, whole
and enriched

Most Americans get


enough of this nutrient.

Sources of beta
carotene:sweet
potatoes, carrots,
pumpkins,
squash, spinach,
mangoes, turnip
greens

grains and
cereals, liver
NIACIN (vitamin B3, nicotinic
acid)

Helps convert food into


energy. Essential for healthy
skin, blood cells, brain, and
nervous system

M: 16 mg, W: 14
mg

35 mg

Meat, poultry,
fish, fortified and
whole grains,
mushrooms,
potatoes, peanut
butter

Niacin occurs naturally


in food and can also be
made by your body from
the amino acid
tryptophan, with the
help of B6.

PANTOTHENICACID (vitamin
B 5)

Helps convert food into


energy. Helps make lipids
(fats), neurotransmitters,
steroid hormones, and
hemoglobin

M: 5 mg, W: 5 mg

Not known

Wide variety of
nutritious foods,
including
chicken, whole
grains, broccoli,
mushrooms,
avocados, tomato
products

Deficiency causes
burning feet and other
neurologic symptoms.

VITAMINB6(pyridoxal,
pyridoxine, pyridoxamine)

Aids in lowering
homocysteine levels and
may reduce the risk of heart
diseaseHelps convert
tryptophan to niacin and
serotonin, a
neurotransmitter that plays
key roles in sleep, appetite,
and moods. Helps make red
blood cells Influences
cognitive abilities and
immune function

3150: M: 1.3 mg,


W: 1.3 mg51+: M:
1.7 mg, W: 1.5 mg

100 mg

Meat, fish,
poultry, legumes,
tofu and other
soy products,
potatoes,
noncitrus fruits
such as bananas
and watermelons

Many people dont get


enough of this nutrient.

Vitamin B12(cobalamin)

Aids in lowering
homocysteine levels and
may lower the risk of heart
disease. Assists in making
new cells and breaking
down some fatty acids and
amino acids. Protects nerve
cells and encourages their
normal growth Helps make
red blood cells

M: 2.4 mcg, W: 2.4


mcg

Not known

Meat, poultry,
fish, milk,
cheese, eggs,
fortified cereals,
fortified soymilk

Some people,
particularly older adults,
are deficient in vitamin
B12 because they have
trouble absorbing this
vitamin from food. A
lack of vitamin B12 can
cause memory loss,
dementia, and numbness
in the arms and legs.

BIOTIN

Helps convert food into


energy and synthesize
glucose. Helps make and
break down some fatty
acids. Needed for healthy
bones and hair

M: 30 mcg, W: 30
mcg

Not known

Many foods,
including whole
grains, organ
meats, egg yolks,
soybeans, and
fish

Your body needs very


little biotin. Some is
made by bacteria in the
gastrointestinal tract.
However, its not clear
how much of this the
body absorbs.

VITAMIN C(ascorbic acid)

Foods rich in vitamin C


may lower the risk for some
cancers, including those of
the mouth, esophagus,
stomach, and breast. Longterm use of supplemental
vitamin C may protect
against cataracts. Helps
make collagen, a connective
tissue that knits together

M: 90 mg, W: 75
mgSmokers: Add
35 mg

2,000 mg

Fruits and fruit


juices (especially
citrus), potatoes,
broccoli, bell
peppers, spinach,
strawberries,
tomatoes,
Brussels sprouts

Evidence that vitamin C


helps reduce colds has
not been convincing.

wounds and supports blood


vessel walls. Helps make
the neurotransmitters
serotonin and
norepinephrine Acts as an
antioxidant, neutralizing
unstable molecules that can
damage cells. Bolsters the
immune system
CHOLINE

Helps make and release the


neurotransmitter
acetylcholine, which aids in
many nerve and brain
activities. Plays a role in
metabolizing and
transporting fats

M: 550 mg, W:
425 mg

3,500 mg

Many foods,
especially milk,
eggs, liver, and
peanuts

No rmally the body


makes small amounts of
choline. But experts
dont know whether this
amount is enough at
certain ages.

VITAMIN D(calciferol)

Helps maintain normal


blood levels of calcium and
phosphorus, which
strengthen bones. Helps
form teeth and bones.
Supplements can reduce the
number of non-spinal
fractures

3150: 5 mcg
(200 IU) 5170: 10
mcg (400 IU) 71+:
15 mcg (600 IU)

50 mcg (2,000 IU)

Fortified milk or
margarine,
fortified cereals,
fatty fish

Many people dont get


enough of this
nutrient.While the body
uses sunlight to make
vitamin D, it cannot
make enough if you live
in northern climes or
dont spend much time
in the sun.

VITAMIN E (alpha-tocopherol)

Acts as an antioxidant,
neutralizing unstable
molecules that can damage
cells. Protects vitamin A
and certain lipids from
damage. Diets rich in
vitamin E may help prevent
Alzheimers disease.
Supplements may protect
against prostate cancer

M: 15 mg, W: 15
mg (15 mg equals
about 22 IU from
natural sources of
vitamin E and
33 IU from
synthetic vitamin
E)

1,000 mg (nearly
1,500IU natural
vitamin E;
2,200 IUsynthetic)

Wide variety of
foods, including
vegetable oils,
salad dressings
and margarines
made with
vegetable oils,
wheat germ,
leafy green
vegetables,
whole grains,
nuts

Vitamin E does not


prevent wrinkles or slow
other aging processes.

FOLIC ACID(folate, folacin)

Vital for new cell


creationHelps prevent brain
and spine birth defects
when taken early in
pregnancy; should be taken
regularly by all women of
child-bearing age since
women may not know they
are pregnant in the first
weeks of pregnancy. Can
lower levels of
homocysteine and may
reduce heart disease risk
May reduce risk for colon
cancer. Offsets breast
cancer risk among women
who consume alcohol

M: 400 mcg, W:
400 mcg

1,000 mcg

Fortified grains
and cereals,
asparagus, okra,
spinach, turnip
greens, broccoli,
legumes like
black-eyed peas
and chickpeas,
orange juice,
tomato juice

Many people dont get


enough of this
nutrient.Occasionally,
folic acid masks a
B12deficiency, which can
lead to severe
neurological
complications. Thats
not a reason to avoid
folic acid; just be sure to
get enough B12.

VITAMIN K(phylloquinone,
menadione)

Activates proteins and


calcium essential to blood

M: 120 mcg, W: 90
mcg

Not known

Cabbage, liver,
eggs, milk,

Intestinal bacteria make


a form of vitamin K that

clottingMay help prevent


hip fractures

spinach,
broccoli, sprouts,
kale, collards,
and other green
vegetables

accounts for half your


requirements.If you take
an anticoagulant, keep
your vitamin K intake
consistent.

Mineral (common names)

Benefits

Recommended
amount
(dailyRDA* or
dailyAI**)

Upper limit (UL)


per day

Good food
sources

Did you know?

CALCIUM

Builds and protects bones


and teeth. Helps with
muscle contractions and
relaxation, blood clotting,
and nerve impulse
transmission. Plays a role in
hormone secretion and
enzyme activation. Helps
maintain healthy blood
pressure

3150: M: 1,000
mg, W: 1,000 mg
51+: M: 1,200 mg,
W: 1,200 mg

2,500 mg

Yogurt, cheese,
milk, tofu,
sardines, salmon,
fortified juices,
leafy green
vegetables, such
as broccoli and
kale (but not
spinach or Swiss
chard, which
have binders that
lessen
absorption)

Adults absorb roughly


30% of calcium
ingested, but this can
vary depending on the
source.Diets very high
in calcium may increase
the risk of prostate
cancer.

CHLORIDE

Balances fluids in the body.


A component of stomach
acid, essential to digestion

Food and Nutrition


Board 1989
guidelines: M: 750
mg, W: 750 mg

Not known

Salt (sodium
chloride), soy
sauce, processed
foods

New recommendations
(DRIs) for chloride are
under development by
the Institute of
Medicine.

CHROMIUM

Enhances the activity of


insulin, helps maintain
normal blood glucose
levels, and is needed to free
energy from glucose

3150: M: 35 mcg,
W: 25 mcg 51+:
M: 30 mcg, W: 20
mcg

Not known

Meat, poultry,
fish, some
cereals, nuts,
cheese

Unrefined foods such as


brewers yeast, nuts, and
cheeses are the best
sources of chromium.

COPPER

Plays an important role in


iron metabolism. Helps
make red blood cells

M: 900 mcg, W:
900 mcg

10,000 mcg

Liver, shellfish,
nuts, seeds,
whole-grain
products, beans,
prunes

More than half of the


copper in foods is
absorbed.

FLUORIDE

Encourages strong bone


formation. Keeps dental
cavities from starting or
worsening

M: 4 mg, W: 3 mg

10 mg

Water that is
fluoridated,
toothpaste with
fluoride, marine
fish, teas

Harmful to children in
excessive amounts.

IODINE

Part of thyroid hormone,


which helps set body
temperature and influences
nerve and muscle function,
reproduction, and growth.
Prevents goiter and a
congenital thyroid disorder

M: 150 mcg, W:
150 mcg

1,100 mcg

Iodized salt,
processed foods,
seafood

To prevent iodine
deficiencies, some
countries add iodine to
salt, bread, or drinking
water.

IRON

Helps hemoglobin in red


blood cells and myoglobin
in muscle cells ferry oxygen

3150: M: 8 mg,
W: 18 mg 51+: M:
8 mg, W: 8 mg

45 mg

Red meat,
poultry, eggs,
fruits, green

Many women of
childbearing age dont
get enough iron.Women

throughout the body.


Needed for chemical
reactions in the body and
for making amino acids,
collagen, neurotransmitters,
and hormones

vegetables,
fortified bread
and grain
products

who do not menstruate


probably need the same
amount of iron as
men.Because iron is
harder to absorb from
plants, experts suggest
vegetarians get twice the
recommended amount
(assuming the source is
food).

MAGNESIUM

Needed for many chemical


reactions in the body Works
with calcium in muscle
contraction, blood clotting,
and regulation of blood
pressure. Helps build bones
and teeth

31+: M: 420 mg,


W: 320 mg

350 mg (Note: This


upper limit applies
to supplements and
medicines, such as
laxatives, not to
dietary
magnesium.)

Green vegetables
such as spinach
and broccoli,
legumes,
cashews,
sunflower seeds
and other seeds,
halibut, wholewheat bread,
milk

The majority of
magnesium in the body
is found in bones. If
your blood levels are
low, your body may tap
into these reserves to
correct the problem.

MANGANESE

Helps form bones. Helps


metabolize amino acids,
cholesterol, and
carbohydrates

M: 2.3 mg, W: 1.8


mg

11 mg

Nuts, legumes,
whole grains, tea

If you take supplements


or have manganese in
your drinking water, be
careful not to exceed the
upper limit. Those with
liver damage or whose
diets supply abundant
manganese should be
especially vigilant.

MOLYBDENUM

Part of several enzymes,


one of which helps ward off
a form of severe
neurological damage in
infants that can lead to early
death

M: 45 mcg, W: 45
mcg

2,000 mcg

Legumes, nuts,
grain products,
milk

Molybdenum
deficiencies are rare.

PHOSPHORUS

Helps build and protect


bones and teethPart
ofDNA and RNA.Helps
convert food into energy.
Part of phospholipids,
which carry lipids in blood
and help shuttle nutrients
into and out of cells

M: 700 mg, W:
700 mg

3170: 4,000 mg
71+: 3,000 mg

Wide variety of
foods, including
milk and dairy
products, meat,
fish, poultry,
eggs, liver, green
peas, broccoli,
potatoes,
almonds

Certain drugs bind with


phosphorus, making it
unavailable and causing
bone loss, weakness,
and pain.

POTASSIUM

Balances fluids in the body.


Helps maintain steady
heartbeat and send nerve
impulses. Needed for
muscle contractions. A diet
rich in potassium seems to
lower blood pressure.
Getting enough potassium
from your diet may benefit
bones

Food and Nutrition


Board 1989
guidelines: M:
2,000 mg, W:
2,000 mg

Not known

Meat, milk,
fruits,
vegetables,
grains, legumes

New recommendations
(DRIs) for potassium
are under development
by the Institute of
Medicine.Food sources
do not cause toxicity,
but high-dose
supplements might.

SELENIUM

Acts as an antioxidant,

M: 55 mcg, W: 55

400 mcg

Organ meats,

Researchers are

neutralizing unstable
molecules that can damage
cells. Helps regulate thyroid
hormone activity

mcg

seafood, walnuts,
sometimes plants
(depends on soil
content), grain
products

investigating whether
selenium may help
reduce the risk of
developing cancer.

SODIUM

Balances fluids in the body.


Helps send nerve impulses.
Needed for muscle
contractionsImpacts blood
pressure; even modest
reductions in salt
consumption can lower
blood pressure

Food and Nutrition


Board 1989
guidelines: M: 500
mg, W: 500 mg

Not determined

Salt, soy sauce,


processed foods,
vegetables

While experts
recommend that people
limit sodium intake to
2,400 mg, most
Americans consume
4,0006,000 mg a
day.New
recommendations
(DRIs) for sodium are
being developed by the
Institute of Medicine.

SULFUR

Helps form bridges that


shape and stabilize some
protein structures. Needed
for healthy hair, skin, and
nails

Unknown

Unknown

Protein-rich
foods, such as
meats, fish,
poultry, nuts,
legumes

Sulfur is a component of
thiamin and certain
amino acids. There is no
recommended amount
for sulfur. Deficiencies
occur only with a severe
lack of protein.

ZINC

Helps form many enzymes


and proteins and create new
cellsFrees vitamin A from
storage in the liver. Needed
for immune system, taste,
smell, and wound healing.
When taken with certain
antioxidants, zinc may
delay the progression of
age-related macular
degeneration

M: 11 mg, W: 8
mg

40 mg

Red meat,
poultry, oysters
and some other
seafood, fortified
cereals, beans,
nuts

Because vegetarians
absorb less zinc, experts
suggest that they get
twice the recommended
requirement of zinc
from plant foods.

*Recommended dietary allowance **Adequate intake

Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many
different functions from building strong bones to transmitting nerveimpulses. Some minerals are even used to make
hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat.

Calcium
Calcium is the top macromineral when it comes to your bones. This mineral helps build strong bones, so you can do
everything from standing up straight to scoring that winning goal. It also helps build strong, healthy teeth, for chomping
on tasty food.

Which foods are rich in calcium?

dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt

canned salmon and sardines with bones

leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli

calcium-fortified foods from orange juice to cereals and crackers

Iron
The body needs iron to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Your entire body needs oxygen to stay
healthy and alive. Iron helps because it's important in the formation of hemoglobin (say: HEE-muh-glo-bun), which is the
part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

Which foods are rich in iron?

meat, especially red meat, such as beef

tuna and salmon

eggs

beans

baked potato with skins

dried fruits, like raisins

leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli

whole and enriched grains, like wheat or oats

Potassium
Potassium (say: puh-TAH-see-um) keeps your muscles and nervous system working properly. Did you know your blood and
body tissues, such as muscles, contain water? They do, and potassium helps make sure the amount of water is just right
between cells and body fluids.

Which foods are rich in potassium?

bananas

tomatoes

potatoes and sweet potatoes, with skins

green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli

citrus fruits, like oranges

low-fat milk and yogurt

legumes, such as beans, split peas, and lentils

Zinc
Zinc helps your immune system, which is your body's system for fighting off illnesses and infections. It also helps with cell
growth and helps heal wounds, such as cuts.

Which foods are rich in zinc?

beef, pork, and dark meat chicken

nuts, such as cashews, almonds, and peanuts

legumes, such as beans, split peas, and lentils

When people don't get enough of these important minerals, they can have health problems. For instance, too little calcium
especially when you're a kid can lead to weaker bones. Some kids may take mineral supplements, but most kids don't
need them if they eat a nutritious diet. So eat those minerals and stay healthy!

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/minerals.html#

Calcium
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet

Introduction

See Consumer for easy-to-read facts about Calcium.


Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as a dietary supplement, and
present in some medicines (such as antacids). Calcium is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function,
nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion, though less than 1% of total body calcium is needed to support
these critical metabolic functions [1]. Serum calcium is very tightly regulated and does not fluctuate with changes in dietary
intakes; the body uses bone tissue as a reservoir for, and source of calcium, to maintain constant concentrations of calcium in
blood, muscle, and intercellular fluids [1].

Phosphorus in diet

Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of a person's total body weight. It is present in every cell of the body. Most of the
phosphorus in the body is found in the bones and teeth.

Function
The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of bones and teeth.
It plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the
growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. Phosphorus also helps the body make ATP, a molecule the body uses
to store energy.
Phosphorus works with the B vitamins. It also helps with the following:

Kidney function

Muscle contractions

Normal heartbeat

Nerve signaling

Food Sources
The main food sources are the protein food groups of meat and milk. A meal plan that provides adequate amounts of
calcium and protein also provides an adequate amount of phosphorus.
Although whole-grain breads and cereals contain more phosphorus than cereals and breads made from refined flour, this is
a storage form of phosphorus called phytin, which is not absorbed by humans.
Fruits and vegetables contain only small amounts of phosphorus.

Side Effects
There is generally no deficiency of phosphorus because it is so readily available in the food supply.
Excessively high levels of phosphorus in the blood, although rare, can combine with calcium to form deposits in soft tissues
such as muscle. High levels of phosphorus in blood only occur in people with severe kidney disease or severe dysfunction of
their calcium regulation.

Iodine in diet

Iodine is a trace mineral and a nutrient found naturally in the body.

Function
Iodine is needed for the normal metabolism of cells. Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy. Humans need
iodine for normal thyroid function, and for the production of thyroid hormones.

Food Sources
Iodized salt is table salt with iodine added. It is the main food source of iodine.
Seafood is naturally rich in iodine. Cod, sea bass, haddock, and perch are good sources.
Kelp is the most common vegetable-seafood that is a rich source of iodine.
Dairy products also contain iodine.

Other good sources are plants grown in iodine-rich soil.

Side Effects
Lack of enough iodine (deficiency) may occur in places that have iodine-poor soil. Many months of iodine deficiency in a
person's diet may cause goiter or hypothyroidism. Without enough iodine, the thyroid cells and the thyroid gland become
enlarged.
Deficiency happens more often in women than in men, and is more common in pregnant women and older children. Getting
enough iodine in the diet may prevent a form of physical and intellectual disability called cretinism. Cretinism is very rare in
the U.S. because iodine deficiency is generally not a problem.
Iodine poisoning is rare in the U.S. Very high intake of iodine can reduce the function of the thyroid gland.

Recommendations
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from
the food guide plate.
A 1/4 teaspoon of iodized table salt provides 95 micrograms of iodine. A 6-ounce portion of ocean fish provides 650
micrograms of iodine. Most people are able to meet the daily recommendations by eating seafood, iodized salt, and plants
grown in iodine-rich soil. When buying salt make sure it is labeled "iodized."

The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. If the thyroid doesnt have enough iodine to do its job, feedback systems in the body
cause the thyroid to work harder. This can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which becomes evident as a swollen neck.
Other consequences of not having enough iodine (iodine deficiency) are also serious. Iodine deficiency and the resulting low levels of thyroid
hormone can cause women to stop ovulating, leading to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to anautoimmune disease of the thyroid
and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other
cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002424.htm

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