Importance of Vitamins

Hello, Back again with an important information of Vitamins in our day to day life.

Here are some basic things to know :

Vitamins are organic food substances found only in living things, i.e. plants and animals. They are essential for our bodies to function properly, for growth, energy and for our general well-being. With very few exceptions the human body cannot manufacture or synthesize vitamins. They must be supplied in our diet or in man-made dietary supplements. Some people believe that vitamins can replace food, but that is incorrect. In fact, vitamins cannot be assimilated without also ingesting food. That is why it is best to take them with a meal. Synthetic vitamin supplements can be of varying quality, so it is a good idea to get your supplements from a reliable source.

Note that I have listed only those foods which contain the listed vitamins in significant quantities. The are listed in descending order by nutrient quantity. For more detailed information, please visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food & Nutrition Center.
Nutrient –
Daily Amount Needed

Vitamin A

Information Fruit Sources Vegetable
Sources
Nut
Sources

10,000 IU/day (plant-derived) for adult males.
8,000 for adult females – 12,000 if lactating.
4,000 for children ages 1-3
5,000 for children ages 4-6
7,000 for children ages 7-10

Vitamin A helps cell reproduction. It also stimulates immunity and is needed for formation of some hormones. Vitamin A helps vision and promotes bone growth, tooth development, and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It has been shown to be an effective preventive against measles.

Deficiency can cause night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth, and weak tooth enamel.

Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and retinol are all versions of Vitamin A.

Most fruits contain vitamin A, but the following fruits have a significant amount:
Tomatoes
Cantaloupes
Watermelon
Peaches
Kiwi
Oranges
Blackberries
Sweet potato
Kale
Carrots
Spinach
Avocado
Broccoli
Peas
Asparagus
Squash – summer
Green Pepper
Pistachios
Chestnuts
Pumpkin Seeds
Pecans
Pine Nuts/Pignolias
Sunflower Seeds
Almonds
Filberts/Hazelnuts
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

1.2 mg for adult males and 1.1 mg for women – 1.5 mg if lactating.

Children need .6 to .9 mg of B1/thiamine per day.

Vitamin B1/thiamine is important in the production of energy. It helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. Not getting enough thiamine can leave one fatigued and weak.

Note: Most fruits and vegetables are not a significant source of thiamine.

Watermelon Peas
Avocado
No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B1.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

 

1.3 mg for adult males and 1.1 mg for women – 1.5 mg if pregnant/lactating.

Children need .6 to .9 mg of B2/riboflavin per day.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is important for body growth, reproduction and red cell production. It also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Note: Most fruits and vegetables are not a significant source of riboflavin.

Kiwi Avocado No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B2.

Vitamin B3 ( Niacin)

16 mg for adult males and 14 mg for women – 17-18 mg if pregnant/lactating.

Children need 9 – 16 mg of niacin per day.

Niacin assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy. Peaches
Tomatoes
Kiwi
Bananas
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Avocado
Peas
Potatoes
Mushrooms
Squash – winter
Corn
Artichoke
Asparagus
Squash – summer
Lima Beans
Sweet potato
Kale
Broccoli
Carrots
Green Pepper
Nuts:
Peanuts
Pine Nuts/Pignolias
Chestnuts
Almonds

Vitamin B5(Pantothenic Acid)

5 mg for adults and 6 – 7 mg for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Children need 2 – 4 mg of niacin per day.

Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food as well as in the formation of hormones and (good) cholesterol. Oranges
Bananas
Avocado
Sweet potato
Potatoes
Corn
Lima Beans
Squash – winter
Artichoke
Mushrooms
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Carrots
No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B5.

Vitamin B6(Pyridoxine)

1.3 to 1.7 mg for adults – 2 mg for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Children need between .6 to 1.3 mg.

B6 plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system. It helps maintain normal nerve function and acts in the formation of red blood cells. It is also required for the chemical reactions of proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more need there is for vitamin B6. Too little B6 in the diet can cause dizziness, nausea, confusion, irritability and convulsions. Bananas
Watermelon
Avocado
Peas
Potatoes
Carrots
No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B6.

Vitamin B9(Folate/ Folic Acid)

At least 400 mcgs for most adults – pregnant women 600 mcgs and breastfeeding women should get at least 500 mcgs.

Children need between 150 to 300 mcg per day.

Folate and folic acid are both forms of B9. Folate occurs naturally in fresh foods, whereas folic acid is the synthetic form found in supplements. Your body needs folate to produce red blood cells, as well as components of the nervous system. It helps in the formation and creation of DNA and maintaining normal brain function, and is a critical part of spinal fluid. It has also been proven to reduce the risk for an NTD-affected (neural tube defect) pregnancy by 50 to 70 percent. Folic acid is vital for proper cell growth and development of the embryo. That is why it is important for a woman to have enough folate/folic acid in her body both before and during pregnancy. Kiwi
Blackberries
Tomatoes
Orange
Strawberry
Bananas
Cantaloupe
Lima Beans
Asparagus
Avocado
Peas
Artichoke
Spinach
Squash – winter
Broccoli
Squash – summer
Corn
Sweet potato
Kale
Potatoes
Carrots
Onions
Green Pepper
Nuts/Seeds:
Peanuts
Sunflower Seeds
Chestnuts
Walnuts
Pine Nuts/Pignolias
Filberts/Hazelnuts
Pistachios
Almonds
Cashews
Brazil Nuts
Pecans
Macadamias
Pumpkin Seeds

Vitamin B12(Cyanocobalamin)

2.4 mcg for adults and 2.6 – 2.8 mcg for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Children need .9 – 2.4 mcg per day.

Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B12 is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.

Vitamin B12 is the one vitamin that is available only from fish, poultry, meat or dairy sources in food.

None None No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin B12.

Vitamin C

60 mg for adults – 70 mg for women who are pregnant and 95 for those lactating.

Children need between 45 and 50 mg

Vitamin C is one of the most important of all vitamins. It plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. Antioxidants act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body’s metabolism. Free radicals can cause cell damage that may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin C has also been found by scientists to be an effective antiviral agent. Kiwi
Strawberry
Orange
Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Tomatoes
Lime
Peach
Bananas
Apples
Lemon
Grapes
Artichoke
Asparagus
Avocado
Broccoli
Carrots
Cauliflower
Corn
Cucumber
Green Pepper
Kale
Lima Beans
Mushrooms
Onions
Peas
Potatoes
Spinach
Squash – summer
Squash – winter
Sweet potato
No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin C.

 

Vitamin D

5 mg for most adults. Between 50 – 70 yrs 10 mg, and after 70 15 mg.

Children need about 5 mg/day.

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” since it is manufactured by the body after being exposed to sunshine. Ten to fifteen minutes of good sunshine three times weekly is adequate to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D. This means that we don’t need to obtain vitamin D from our diet unless we get very little sunlight – usually not a problem for children.

Vitamin D is vital to the human body as it promotes absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for the normal development of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

None Mushrooms No nuts contain a significant amount of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

30 IU for most adults. Children need between 6-11 mg/day. (1 IU is equal to approximately .75 mg)

Note: some researchers and medical experts believe that with all of the positive studies using higher doses of vitamin E, this daily recommended intake is not high enough.

Like vitamin C, vitamin E plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is important in the formation of red blood cells and the use of vitamin K. Many women also use it to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and mothers use it to help heal minor wounds without scarring, as it is valued for its ability to soothe and heal broken or stressed skin tissue. Blackberries
Bananas
Apples
Kiwi
None Nuts:
Almonds
Sunflower Seeds
Pine Nuts/Pignolias
Peanuts
Brazil Nuts

Vitamin K

70-80 micrograms/day for adult males, 60-65 micrograms per day for adult females.

Children need about half the amount, depending on age.

Vitamin K is fat soluble and plays a critical role in blood clotting. It regulates blood calcium levels and activates at least 3 proteins involved in bone health. None Vitamin K is found in significant quantities in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale. Pine Nuts/Pignolias
Cashews
Chestnuts
Filberts/Hazelnuts

Last 5 posts by Sarmila



5 Comments

  1. Asha

    Sarmila, thanks for coming back. These posts are very useful.I was missing your writing.

  2. Khushi

    Great post. I did not know that you always had to take the vitamin with food. So far, even my prenatals, I was taking separately before going to bed. Need to change my habits now.

  3. sarmila

    yes, with the food intake of vitamin and minerals is must.

  4. Sarmila,very good post….

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