Vitamins Guide And List Of Sources

 
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Posted: 09/11/2017

Updated: 02/01/2018

Vitamins are organic (carbon-containing) substances derived from plants and animals that are essential for our body to develop and function normally.

 

Vitamins are required to make enzymes and hormones which are involved in numerous chemical reactions.

 

They can be separated into two groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins

A

D

E

K

Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble meaning that they dissolve in fat but not in water. Once these vitamins are absorbed by the body, they are mainly stored in the fatty tissues and in the liver.

 

The liver provides the primary storage for vitamins A and D.

Vitamin E is stored mainly in body fat and to a lesser extent in reproductive organs. Relatively little vitamin K is stored.

 

As these vitamins are stored, it is not necessary to get a supply of them every day. On the other hand, getting too much of these vitamins (particularly vitamins A and D) can lead to toxic levels and cause problems in the body.

Note

The dietary reference values (DRIs) shown in each individual section are for healthy adults above the age of 18.

Water-soluble vitamins

B

C

The water-soluble vitamins B complex and C needs to be dissolved in water before your body can absorb them. Due to this, your body can’t store these vitamins in significant amounts.

 

The water-soluble vitamins that are not utilised are removed by your kidneys so you need a fresh supply of these vitamins every day. You cannot truly overdose on water-soluble vitamins unless you take massive doses.

Factors that deplete vitamins

There are several factors that can affect and deplete our body of vitamins:

​​​

Food storage and food preparation: vitamins can be destroyed by cooking (blanching) and washed out especially with ascorbic acid, thiamine and folic acid. It is best to:

  • Refrigerate fresh produce

  • keep milk and grains away from sunlight

  • use the cooking water from vegetables to prepare soups (1)

Smoking: directly lowers serum vitamin C and beta-carotene levels (2). It is advised that if you smoke, an extra 35 mg of vitamin C should be taken each day (3).

Stress: utilises B-complex vitamins and minerals (4).

Eating sugar and other refined products: strip chromium, zinc, vitamin B3 and other minerals from the body (5).

 

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

Recommended dietary allowances (RDA) and adequate intakes (AI) of vitamins

 

  • Recommended dietary allowances (RDA): sufficient to meet nutrient requirements of 97-98% healthy individuals.

  • Adequate intakes (AI): are used when insufficient evidence can be used to establish an EAR and RDA (shown in asterisk *)

 

Sometimes International units (IU) may be used instead of milligrams (mg). To see how to convert IU into mg and vice versa, click here.

Vitamin A

 

Forms

retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, delta-carotene, epsilon-carotene, zeta-carotene, astaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, canthaxanthin, fucoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin

 

Functions

  • Maintains and protects vision

    • It is a component of rhodopsin, a protein that detects and absorbs light in the eyes

  • Maintains healthy bones and teeth

  • Growth and repair of body tissues

  • Provides immune support

  • A potent antioxidant that provides anti-cancer activity

  • Enhances the protection and regeneration of cells and mucous membrane

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)

900 μg/day for males and 700 μg/day for females

Sources

  • Spinach, squash, carrots, parsley, garlic, yams

  • Whole milk, eggs, meat and animal liver

  • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, tuna, swordfish, kipper, sardines, and anchovies)

Vitamin A (μg) RAE

1096

653-709

604

509

468-505

498

143

119

103-104

16950

15052-15859

853

491-568

189

112 -118

190-252

Serving Size

1 medium

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

1 medium (61g)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

2 large

Food

Sweet potato (cooked)

Carrots (cooked)

Butternut squash (cooked)

Carrot (raw)

Kale (cooked)

Spinach (cooked)

Cantaloupe

Whole milk

Soy beverage

Turkey Liver

Veal Liver

Eel

Bluefin tuna

Mackerel

Salmon

Egg

Sources of Vitamin A. RAE: retinol activity equivalents (1 μg retinol = 12 μg beta-carotene = 24 μg alpha-carotene or beta-cryptoxanthin)

Source: Dietitians of Canada 

Deficiency

  • Age-related macular degeneration, night blindness, xerophthalmia, keratomalacia, and complete blindness

  • Impaired immunity, increased infections

  • Cancer

  • Skin problems e.g. acne

Overdose

  • Pain in joints, abdomen and bones, jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability, vomiting, and hair loss

  • Teratogenesis (results in birth defects)

Vitamin B Complex

 

B1

B2

B3

B5

B6

B7

B9

B12

The eight types of vitamin B mainly provides two functions in the body – energy metabolism and red blood cell generation. Some of the vitamin B types perform only one of these functions and the remaining are involved in both functions.

Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6 can work as coenzymes in energy metabolism. Coenzymes work with enzymes by accelerating reactions in the body.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Forms

Thiamine, thiamine diphosphate (thiamine pyrophosphate), thiamine monophosphate and thiamine triphosphate

 

Function

Thiamine acts as a coenzyme in the energy production system of every cell in the body. ATP is the energy currency that powers your body. There are a few pathways that your cell uses to make ATP, the major one being the Krebs cycle.

  • Necessary for nerve function

  • Energy metabolism

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)

1.2 mg/day for males and 1.1 mg/day for females

Sources

  • Pork, beef, liver, milk, eggs

  • Potatoes, nuts, oats, oranges, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast

    • Foods fortified with thiamine include rice, pasta, bread, cereals, and flour

Thiamine (mg)

0.28

0.25

0.50

0.72

0.60

0.10

0.43- 1.05

0.19 – 0.38

0.13-0.22

0.10

0.11-0.32

0.11 - 0.26

0.22 - 0.35

0.25-0.28

0.54

4.29

Serving size

125 mL (1/2 cup)

 

125 mL (1/2 cup)

 

30 g (¼ cup)

175 mL (¾ cup)

30 g

250 mL (1 cup)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

 

175 mL (¾ cup)

175 mL (¾ cup)

60 mL (¼ cup)

15mL (1 Tbsp.)

Food

Soybean sprouts (cooked)

Edamame/baby soybeans (cooked)

Wheat germ, (raw)

Oatmeal, instant (cooked)

Cereal (all types)

Soy beverage

Pork

Venison/deer

Liver (chicken, pork)

Tuna, yellowfin

Trout

Salmon

Beans (soybeans, black, pinto, adzuki, kidney, lima, navy)

Lentils (cooked)

Sunflower seeds

Yeast extract spread (marmite/vegemite)

Sources of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Source: Dietitians of Canada

Deficiency

  • Irritability, chronic fatigue, muscle weakness

  • Anorexia, rapid weight loss, poor appetite

  • Colitis, diarrhoea, abdominal pain

  • drowsiness, poor concentration, mental confusion, depression, memory loss, nerve damage, nerve inflammation (neuritis), psychosis

  • Tachycardia, heart failure, enlarged heart, heart complications

  • Syndromes: Beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and optic neuropathy

 

Additional Facts

  • Sulphite treatment results in loss of thiamine

  • Alcohol inhibits thiamine absorption

  • Patients treated with diuretics are at risk of thiamine deficiency

  • Thiamine deficiency is underdiagnosed among alcoholics and people with HIV/AIDS

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Forms

Riboflavin, riboflavin monophosphate (Flavin mononucleotide, FMN), flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)

 

Function

Important in cellular metabolism and in forming coenzymes that are necessary to make ATP, the energy currency of cells.

  • Forms vitamin B6 and folate active forms

  • Needed for metabolism

  • Cofactor of the cryptochrome pigments in the eye responsible for the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle)

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

1.3 mg/day for males and 1.1 mg/day for females

Sources

  • Brewer’s yeast

  • Organ meats, milk, eggs

  • Almonds, wild rice, yogurt, brussels sprouts, spinach, soybeans

Riboflavin (mg)

0.2-0.6

0.2

1.1

0.4-0.5

0.2-0.4

0.4

0.2

0.2-0.3

0.2

1.6-2.7

0.4

0.3-0.4

0.3

0.2

0.4-0.5

0.3-0.4

0.2

5.3

Serving Size

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

30 g

250 mL (1 cup)

175 g (¾ cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

50 g (1½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

2 large

60 mL (¼ cup)

60 mL (1/4 cup)

30 mL (2 Tbsp.)

Food

Mushroom (white, Portobello)

Spinach (cooked)

Cornflakes

Milk

Yogurt

Soy beverage

Cheese (cheddar, blue, brie, camembert)

Pork or beef

Chicken or turkey

Liver

Salmon

Mackerel

Trout

Sardines

Eggs

Almonds

Soy nuts

Yeast extract spread (marmite or vegemite)

Sources of riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Source: Dietitians of Canada

Deficiency

  • Sore throat, cheilosis (lesions of the lips), angular stomatitis (lesions of the corner of the mouth) and dermatitis

  • Normochromic-normocytic anaemia

  • Vision - blurred vision, itching, sensitivity to light and easily fatigued

  • Decreased oxidation of fatty acids and lower metabolic rate

  • Vitamin B6 deficiency

 

Additional Facts

  • Riboflavin may lower homocysteine levels

  • Intestinal bacteria can synthesise riboflavin

  • Drugs and treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia with phototherapy can cause riboflavin depletion

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Forms

Niacin, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide

Function

  • Needed for CHO/fatty acid/amino acid metabolism

  • Nicotinamide is the derivative of niacin that is used to form the coenzymes NAD and NADP which are involved in oxidation and reduction reactions in energy-yielding metabolism

  • DNA repair

  • Regulate intracellular calcium

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

16 mg/day for males and 14 mg/day for females

Sources

Sources also include foods rich in tryptophan as dietary tryptophan can be metabolised to niacin.

  • Beef, pork, turkey, chicken, liver, milk, eggs

  • fish, salmon, tuna swordfish

  • Beets, peanuts, sunflower seeds, beans, green vegetables

Niacin (NE)

6

3-4

3-6

3-5

3-4

3

10-17

8-15

6-14

10-20

11-17

7-12

8

7

3-4

3-4

3-4

8

Serving size

125 mL (½ cup)

1 medium

30 g

175 mL (¾ cup)

 

50 g (1 ½ oz.)

250 mL (1 cup)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

75 g (2½ oz.)

60 mL (1/4 cup)

60 mL (1/4 cup)

150 g (¾ cup)

175 mL (3/4 cup)

60 mL (1/4 cup)

5 mL (1 tsp)

Food

Mushrooms (Portobello)

Potato

Cereal (All Bran)

Oatmeal

Cheese (cheddar, gruyere, Gouda, mozzarella, brie)

Whole milk

Liver (beef, pork, chicken)

Chicken

Pork, beef or lamb

Tuna

Salmon

Mackerel (cooked)

Pumpkin, squash seeds

Peanuts

Tofu

Lentils

Sunflower seeds

Yeast extract spread (marmite or vegemite)

Sources of niacin (vitamin B3). NE: Niacin equivalent (60mg tryptophan = 1 mg niacin = 1 niacin equivalent)

Source: Dietitians of Canada  

Deficiency

  • Anxiety and hallucinations, mental confusion

  • Fatigue

  • Pellagra –dermatitis, dementia and diarrhoea and death (the 4 Ds)

    • thick, scaly rash on the skin

    • inflamed tongue

    • irritated gastric tract and colon (vomiting and diarrhoea)

    • depression

    • memory loss

 

Overdose

  • Niacin: Liver damage and liver failure

  • Nicotinic acid: Vasodilatation and hypotension

 

Additional Facts

  • Most niacin in cereals is biologically unavailable as it is bound to niacytin

  • Niacin intake is calculated: niacin + 1/60 tryptophan intake

  • Excessive intake of leucine inhibits tryptophan metabolism

  • Nicotinic acid is used to treat hyperlipidaemia

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Forms

Pantothenic acid, panthenol, pantetheine

 

Function

  • Energy metabolism

  • Biosynthesis of fatty acids

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

5 mg/day for both males and females

Sources

  • Liver, kidney, yeast, egg yolk, broccoli, fish, shellfish, chicken, milk, yoghurt, legumes, avocado and sweet potatoes

  • Organ meats, salmon, eggs, beans, milk, and whole grains

Pantothenic Acid (mg)

2.59

1.0

1.0

0.48

0.30

1.6

0.87

0.70

5.6

0.86

0.83

1.9

1.4

0.70

2.0

0.63

0.58

0.50

Serving size

1 cup (145g)

1 medium (½ cup)

½ fruit

½ cup (chopped)

1 whole

8 ounces

1 cup (8 fluid ounces)

½ cup (crumbled)

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

1 large

1 ounce

½ cup

½ cup

1 ounce

Food

Mushrooms (Shiitake)

Sweet potato (cooked)

Avocado (raw)

Broccoli (cooked)

Orange

Yogurt (plain, non-fat)

Milk

Cheese, feta

Beef liver (cooked)

Pork

Chicken

Trout

Lobster

Egg (cooked)

Sunflower seed kernels

Lentils (cooked)

Split peas (cooked)

Peanuts

Sources of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

Source: Oregon State University 

Deficiency

  • Paraesthesia

  • Burning foot syndrome or nutritional melalgia

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • muscle cramps

  • stomach pains

  • upper respiratory infections

  • Vomiting

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Forms

Pyridoxine, pyridoxine phosphate, pyridoxamine, pyridoxamine phosphate, pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phosphate

 

Function

  • Amino acids are converted by the B6 vitamin into proteins and it is required for transforming stored sugar within the body into essential energy.

  • Involved in the manufacture of haemoglobin for carrying oxygen in the blood cells, hormones for regulating blood pressure, neurotransmitters and various enzymes

  • Regulate actions of steroid hormones

  • Amino acid/Fatty acid/glycogen metabolism

  • Regulation of gene expression

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

1.3 mg/day for both males and females

Sources

  • Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, cheese, brown rice, carrots, milk, soy and rice beverages, meat, fish and eggs

  • High protein foods: eggs, fish, poultry, meat, breakfast cereals and bread

  • Can be synthesised by intestinal flora

Vitamin B6 (mg)

0.37-0.60

0.33

0.27

0.43

0.26

0.35

0.66-0.76

0.46-0.57

0.24 - 0.59

0.20-0.30

0.25-0.48

0.78-0.84

0.71-0.74

0.29 - 0.47

0.84

0.30

0.35

0.27-0.48

Serving size

1 medium

1 medium

125 mL (1/2 cup)

1 medium

½ fruit

30 g (1/2 cup)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

175 mL (3/4 cup)

175 mL (3/4 cup)

60 mL (1/4 cup)

60 mL (1/4 cup)

Food

Potato

Sweet potato

Carrot juice

Banana

Avocado

Wheat Bran

Liver (turkey, beef)

Venison/deer

Pork

Beef

Chicken

Tuna

Salmon

Fish (herring, mackerel, halibut, trout, snapper)

Chickpeas/garbanzo beans

Soybeans

Pistachios

Sunflower seeds

Sources of vitamin B6. Source: Dietitians of Canada 

Deficiency

  • Confusion

  • Depression

  • Irritability

  • Muscle weakness

  • Nervousness

  • Pellagra-like symptoms

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Sideroblastic anaemia

  • Weakened immune system

 

Overdose

  • Peripheral sensory neuropathy

 

Additional Facts

  • Treats side effects of premenstrual syndrome

  • Vitamin B6 in plant foods that have glycosides that reduces the bioavailability by 75-80% (6).

  • heating can make vitamin B6 biologically unavailable in most foods by the formation of an antimetabolite pyridoxyllysine (7).

  • vitamin b6 deficiency may result from drug administration e.g. penicillamine and isoniazid (8).

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Forms

Biotin and biocytin

Function

  • Lipogenesis (fat synthesis)

  • Gluconeogenesis (glucose synthesis)

  • Cell proliferation

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

30 mg/day for both males and females

Sources

Biotin (μg)

2-6

0.2-2

0.2-4

0.02-6

0.4-2

27-35

2-4

4-5

13-25

1.4-14

Serving size

1 whole

1 cup

1 cup

1 slice

1 ounce

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

1 large

1 packet (7 grams)

Food

Avocado

Raspberries

Cauliflower (raw)

Bread (whole-wheat)

Cheese (cheddar)

Liver

Pork

Salmon (cooked)

Egg (cooked)

Yeast

Sources of biotin (vitamin B7).

Source: Oregon State University 

Deficiency

  • Anaemia

  • Anorexia

  • Depression

  • Scaly erythematous dermatitis

  • Fatigue

  • Hair loss (alopecia)

  • Hyperesthesia and Paraesthesia

  • insomnia or difficulty sleeping

  • Keratoconjunctivitis

  • Muscle pain

  • Nausea

 

Additional Facts

  • Avidin in uncooked egg whites bind to biotin making it unavailable for absorption

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Forms

Folic acid, folinic acid (5-methyltetrahydrofolate)

 

Function

  • Important in development of the spinal column

  • Required for production and maintenance of human cells

  • Amino acid metabolism

  • RNA/DNA synthesis

  • Fat and RBC/WBC synthesis

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

400 μg/day for both males and females

Sources

  • Liver, poultry, pork, shellfish, peas, beans, salmon

  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, turnip), Asparagus, brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, corn, dark leafy vegetables, avocado, oranges, lentils, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, cereal

Serving size

125 mL (½ cup)

4 spears

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

6 sprouts

½ fruit

125 mL (½ cup)

1 slice (35 g)

175 mL (¾ cup)

175 mL (¾ cup)

175 mL (¾ cup)

 

175 mL (¾ cup)

 

60 mL (¼ cup)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

30 ml (2 Tbsp.)

Food

Edamame/baby soybeans

Asparagus

Spinach

Artichoke

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Papaya

Pasta, egg noodles

Bread (white)

Lentils

Peas (chickpeas, black-eyed)

Beans (mung, adzuki)

Beans (pink, pinto, navy, black, white, kidney)

Sunflower seeds

Liver (turkey, chicken)

Yeast extract spread (vegemite or marmite)

Folate (μg)

106-255

128-141

121-139

79-106

89

83

56

138

64

265

138-263

234-238

157-218

77-81

420-518

360

Sources of folic acid.

Source: Dietitians of Canada 

Deficiency

  • Depression, insomnia, irritability, cognitive impairment, and dementia

  • Weakness, poor growth, greying hair, inflammation of the tongue, palpitations and behavioural disorder

  • Stomach disorders including diarrhoea, mouth ulcer and peptic ulcer, loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Premature delivery, low birth weight of infants, neural tube defects (NTDs), anencephaly, spina bifida

  • Megaloblastic anaemia (immature red blood cells released into circulation) and low white cell and platelet count

  • Cardiovascular disease due to hyperhomocysteine

  • Breast, colon and pancreatic cancer due to altered methylation of DNA

 

Additional Facts

  • Absorption is reliant on a zinc-dependent enzyme

  • Commonly used drugs can cause folate depletion e.g. antiepileptic drugs like diphenylhydantoin (phenytoin), phenobarbital and primidone

  • The bioavailability of folate from milk is higher than free folic acid in cereals

  • High intakes of folate can mask the development of megaloblastic anaemia that is resulted from vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Forms

Cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, aquocobalamin, methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin

 

Function

  • Helps form blood cells, maintain nerves

  • DNA/RNA synthesis

  • Fat and CHO metabolism

  • RBC maturation

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

2.4 μg/day for both males and females

Sources

  • Milk, cheese, yoghurt, beef, pork, fish, liver, eggs

  • Only occurs in animal foods: Molluscs, liver, salmon, trout, and tun

  • Vegans need to supplement

Vitamin B12 (μg)

1.2-1.4

1.3​

0.7-0.9

0.5

0.3-0.6

1.0

52.9-66.0

1.3-2.5

0.5-0.9

0.9-2.1

14.6

13.2-21.6

18.0

1.5-1.6

1.0

Serving Size

250 mL (1 cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

50 g (1 ½ oz.)

 

175 g (¾ cup)

175 g (¾ cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.) or 3 slices

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

2 large

250 mL (1 cup)

Food

Whole milk

Skimmed milk​

Feta, Gouda, gruyere, brie, cheddar, fontina, mozzarella

Plain yogurt

Greek yogurt

Soy beverage (fortified)

Liver (lamb, veal, beef)

Beef

Pork

Salami (beef, pork)

Clams

Oysters

Mussels

Egg

Almond, oat or rice beverage (fortified)

Sources of cobalamin (vitamin B12) Source: Dietitians of Canada 

Deficiency

  • Pernicious anaemia – megaloblastic anaemia, loss of sensation in feet, constipation, no appetite, weight loss

  • Chronic weakness, Tingling, confusion

 

Additional Facts

  • Deficiency oftentimes occur in vegans, vegetarians and the upon the elderly (especially those with atrophic gastritis)

Vitamin C

 

Forms

L-Ascorbic acid, D-isoascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, other salts of ascorbic acid

 

Function

  • Antioxidant that helps to counteract free radicals

  • Collagen formation

  • Maintains connective tissue

  • Cell function

  • Wound healing

  • Protect the body from infections, supports the immune system

  • Contributes to the growth and repair of tissues (bones, teeth, and skin)

  • Healing wounds and forming scar tissue

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

900 mg/day for males and 700 mg/day for females

Sources

  • Guava, papaya, kiwi, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, mangoes

  • red, yellow and green peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, dark leafy vegetables

Vitamin C (mg)

101-144

121-132

54

38-52

30

27-29

28

14-31

22

14

206

94

84

59-83

Serving size

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (4 sprouts)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

1 medium

6 spears

1 medium

1 fruit

½ fruit

1 large

1 medium​

Food

Peppers (red, yellow) raw

Peppers (red, green) cooked

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Kale

Potato

Asparagus

Tomato

Guava

Papaya

Kiwifruit

Orange

Good sources of vitamin C.

Source: Dietitians of Canada 

Deficiency

  • Scurvy - Listlessness, general malaise, changes in personality, bleeding, bruising easily, hair and tooth loss, joint pain and swelling, decreased wound-healing rate, anaemia, decreased ability to ward off infection

  • Macrocytic (folate deficiency) or hypochromic anaemia (iron deficiency)

 

Overdose

  • Risk of developing oxalate and urate renal stones (9)

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetics (10)

  • diarrhoea and intestinal discomfort (11)

Facts

  • Works synergistically with vitamin E by regenerating oxidised vitamin E (12)

  • Vitamin C enhances absorption of iron

Vitamin D

 

Forms

Calcitriol, ergocalciferol (D2), cholecalciferol (D3)

  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from sunlight

  • Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) from food

 

Function

  • promotes bone growth and bone strength as it regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which are essential components for developing the structure and strength of your bones

  • regulates cell proliferation

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

15 μg/day for both males and females

Source

  • Salmon, tuna, mushroom, egg yolk, fortified milk, sunshine

  • No common plant sources

Vitamin D (μg)

1.25

2.15

2.6

1.45-1.78

1.4-2.2

9.85-15.9

8.45-10.6

9.8

3.4

8.6

2.5

2.1-2.3

Serving size

125 mL (½ cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

175 g (3/4 cup)

2 large

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

250 mL (1 cup)

250 mL (1 cup)

Food

Orange juice (fortified)

Soy beverage (fortified)

Milk

Yogurt (fortified)

Egg yolk

Salmon (cooked or raw)

Salmon (raw or cooked)

Snapper

Whitefish

Mackerel

Goat’s milk (fortified)

Rice, oat, almond beverage (fortified)

Sources of vitamin D. Data was converted from International Units (IU) to μg. 1 IU is the biological equivalent of 0.025 μg cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol.

Source: Dietitians of Canada

Deficiency

  • Rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults

 

Overdose

  • Weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, abdominal pains, cramp, diarrhoea

  • Hypercalcaemia, calcinosis (calcification of soft tissues such as kidney, heart, lungs and blood vessels)

 

Facts

  • Produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight

  • Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone

Vitamin E

 

Forms

Tocopherols (d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma and d-delta-tocopherol), tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta tocotrienols)

 

Function

  • Potent antioxidant against oxidative damage in cells

  • Protects blood vessels, nerves, muscles, skin and hair

  • Modulates gene expression, regulates cell proliferation and platelet coagulability (alpha-tocopherol)

  • Cholesterol-lowering effect (tocotrienols)

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

15 mg/day for both males and females

Source

  • Avocado, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kale, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, yams

Vitamin E (mg)

2-4

1-4

5

2-3

4

2

2

9-10

8-13

8

5

2

3

7

Serving size

125 mL (½ cup)

½ fruit

30 g (¼ cup)

2 large

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

75 g (2 ½ oz.)

60 mL (¼ cup)

60 mL (¼ cup)

30 mL (2 Tbsp.)

60 mL (¼ cup)

60 mL (¼ cup)

60 mL (¼ cup)

5 mL (1 tsp)

Food

Spinach

Avocado

Cereal (wheat germ)

Egg

Eel

Sardines (canned)

Tuna (canned)

Almonds

Sunflower seeds

Almond butter

Hazelnuts

Peanuts

Pine nuts

Vegetable oil (wheat germ)

Sources of vitamin E.

Source: Dietitians of Canada 

Deficiency

  • Cerebellar ataxia/cerebellitis (loss of coordination)

  • Axonal degeneration of sensory neurones

  • Skeletal myopathy

  • Pigmented retinopathy (vision problems)

  • Haemolytic anaemia in premature infants

 

Overdose

  • Interferes vitamin K’s anticoagulation function resulting in bleeding (13)

  • increased all-cause mortality (14)

 

Additional Facts

  • Patients with abetalipoproteinemia (a disorder of fat metabolism) and those that suffer from AVED (ataxia with vitamin E deficiency) are at risk of developing vitamin E deficiency

Vitamin K

 

Forms

Phylloquinone (K1), menaquinones (K2), menadiones (K3)

 

Function

  • K1 (phylloquinone): Helps make blood clotting proteins

  • K2 (menaquinone): helps make bone-building proteins (osteocalcin)

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

120 μg/day for males and 90 μg/day for females

Sources

  • K1: plant foods: Kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens

  • K2: formed by bacteria in the intestines; hard cheese, egg yolk, grass-fed butter, natto

Vitamin K (μg)

850

530

426

145

113

110

43

28

19

15

25

Serving size

3 ounces

½ cup

½ cup

1 cup

1 cup

½ cup

½ cup

¾ cup

¾ cup

1 ounce

1 tablespoon

Food

Natto

Collards

Turnip greens

Spinach (raw)

Kale (raw)

Broccoli

Soybeans (roasted)

Carrot juice

Pomegranate juice

Pine nuts

Soybean oil

Sources of Vitamin K.

Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH) 

Deficiency

  • Associated with heart disease and osteoporosis

  • Fetal warfarin syndrome due to impaired synthesis of osteocalcin

  • Vitamin k deficiency bleeding in newborns (previously called haemorrhagic disease)

 

Facts

  • Antibiotics can lead to vitamin K deficiency

  • Prophylactic vitamin K is given to all newborn infants

 

Choline

(Not a vitamin nor a mineral but an essential nutrient)

 

Forms

Phosphatidylcholine, lecithin, CDP Choline (Citicoline), Alpha GPC (15)

 

Function

  • A precursor for neurotransmitter acetylcholine involved in nerve and muscle function

  • Normal liver metabolism

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)

15 mg/day for both males and females

Sources

Total Choline (mg)

63

63

202

38

356

97

73

94

75

71

147

Serving size

1 cup

1 cup, chopped

1 cup

8 fluid ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

3 ounces

1 large

Food

Brussel sprouts

Broccoli

Cereal (Wheatgerm)

Skimmed milk

Beef Liver

Beef

Chicken breast

Scallop (steamed)

Salmon (canned)

Atlantic cod

Egg

Good sources of vitamin K.

Source: Oregon State University 

Deficiency

  • Chronic liver damage and liver failure

  • Atherosclerosis (16)

  • Neurological disorders e.g. depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, Tourette’s disease, schizophrenia (17)

 

Additional Facts

  • Recently classified by the Institute of medicine in 1998 as an essential nutrient

Vitamin Interactions

 

Vitamin K and Blood

Vitamin K helps the body clot blood. If you get a cut, your blood’s natural tendency to clot will keep you from bleeding to death.

 

But there are some people who have blood that clots too readily, or who have health issues that require thinner blood. Some people with specific heart problems may be on medication designed to thin the blood. Doctors may also prescribe a blood thinner for a patient getting ready for some types of surgeries.

 

If thinning the blood is your doctor’s goal, taking a vitamin K supplement or eating foods that are particularly rich in Vitamin K may be dangerous (18).

Vitamin C and Aspirin

If you’re taking an aspirin each day, your body may be experiencing a vitamin C deficiency. Studies have indicated that vitamin C is typically absorbed by blood cells, but aspirin in the system may block this normal absorption action (19).

Vitamin C and Iron

If you need more iron in your body, you may want to consider increasing the amount of vitamin C in your daily food intake. It seems that having enough vitamin C in your system makes your body more readily absorb iron, tackling that anaemia problem more quickly than taking iron alone (20).

Vitamin A and Antibiotics

If you’re taking antibiotics, particularly over a long period of time, your body may have trouble absorbing sufficient amounts of vitamin A. If you’re taking drugs to lower your cholesterol, you may also experience vitamin A deficiency (21).

Vitamin E and Zinc

Vitamin E and zinc work together. If your body has lower-than-normal levels of zinc, you may also have a vitamin E deficiency, even if you’re eating healthy (22). In addition, vitamins C and E also work together.