Vitamins and Nutrients

Vitamin A / Beta-Carotene

Found in: Liver, egg yolks, whole milk, butter, fortified margarine, and fortified reduced fat and skim milk. Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, is found in dark-green leafy vegetables, deep yellow and orange vegetables, and fruits.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 0.7mg, for women 0.6mg. Do not exceed 1.5mg daily. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which will be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for future use.

Uses and warnings: Essential for normal vision, gene expression, bone growth, healthy skin, hair, and nails, and resistance to infection. Large doses of vitamin A are toxic and cause liver damage as well as birth defects if consumed during first months of pregnancy. Over time, an excess of vitamin A may also build up and weaken bones. Large doses of beta-carotene can cause skin to yellow and may increase cancer risk in smokers.

Vitamin B1 / Thiamine

Found in: Whole grains, bran, wheat germ, enriched and fortified grain products (including cereal), pork, liver, dry beans, peas, and nuts.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 1mg, for women 0.8mg. Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 100mg daily should be safe. All B vitamins are water soluable, meaning they can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Helps body convert carbohydrates into energy and metabolize protein and fat. Promotes proper nerve function. Sensitive to heat and easily leaches into cooking water.

Vitamin B2 / Riboflavin

Found in: Meat, fish, chicken, dairy products, green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, turnip greens and asparagus, whole-grain, enriched and fortified breads and cereals.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 1.3mg, for women 1.1mg. Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 40mg daily should be safe. All B vitamins are water soluable, meaning they can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Helps body use protein, fat, and carbohydrates to produce energy. Supports normal vision and healthy skin.

Vitamin B6 / Pyridoxine

Found in: Poultry, fish, whole- grain and whole-wheat products, fortified cereals, and some fruits and vegetables such as bananas, watermelon, potatoes, and spinach.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 1.4mg, for women 1.2mg. Do not take more than 10mg daily unless advised by your doctor. All B vitamins are water soluable, meaning they can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Important in metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Large doses over months or years can cause toxicity with severe nerve damage, including numbness and difficulty walking.

Vitamin B12

Found in: All animal products (meats, dairy products, eggs, liver, fish, and shellfish) and fortified breakfast cereals.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 0.0015mg (0.15ug). Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 2mg (2000ug) daily should be safe. All B vitamins are water soluable, meaning they can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Plays role in formation of red blood cells and helps maintain nervous system. Prevents pernicious anemia. Strict vegetarians (vegans) and people over 50 should take a B12 supplement or eat foods fortified with B12.

Folate / Folic Acid

Found in: Green leafy vegetables, dry beans and peas, orange juice, asparagus, enriched and whole- grain bread and bread products, fortified breakfast cereals, and liver.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 0.2mg. Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 1mg daily should be safe. Excess folic acid may disguise a B12 deficiency which can then lead to further complications. Folic acid is water soluable, meaning it can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Essential for normal cell division and red blood cell formation. Prevents megaloblastic anemia. Large doses of folic acid (the supplement form of folate) can mask a B12 deficiency. Women of childbearing age should consume.4 milligrams from supplements or fortified foods in addition to food folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns.

Vitamin B3 / Niacin

Found in: Whole grains, enriched breads and fortified cereals, meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, peanuts, and mushrooms.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 17mg, for women 13mg. Up to 17mg daily should be safe, but excessively high doses over a long period can lead to liver damage. All B vitamins are water soluable, meaning they can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Helps cells use oxygen to release energy in the metabolism of glucose, fat, and alcohol. Large doses can cause side effects that range from uncomfortable skin flushing to liver damage.

Pantothenic Acid & Biotin

Found in: Widespread in foods, especially abundant in meat, whole-grain products, and legumes.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is about 6mg pantothenic acid, 0.05mg biotin. Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 200mg pantothenic acid daily should be safe.

Uses and warnings: Both nutrients aid in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism.

Vitamin C

Found in: Citrus fruits, other fruits and vegetables, especially red and green peppers, dark-green leafy vegetables, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, cauliflower, kiwifruit, strawberries, papaya, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 40mg. Up to 1000mg daily should be safe. Vitamin C is water soluable, meaning it can be destroyed through heat or exposure to air, and can be lost in the water while cooking. The body will only absorb what is needed and the rest will be excreted.

Uses and warnings: Prevents scurvy. Helps heal wounds by promoting collagen formation, and strengthens resistance to infection. Because of its anti-oxidant powers, eating foods rich in vitamin C may reduce risk of some cancers. Large doses can cause nausea and diarrhea, excess iron absorption, and possibly kidney stones. Heavy smokers have lower blood levels of vitamin C, and they require an additional 35 milligrams a day.

Vitamin D

Found in: Fortified milk products and margarine, fortified cereals, liver, and fatty fish; also produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 0.005mg (5ug). Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 0.025mg (25ug) daily should be safe. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which will be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for future use.

Uses and warnings: Essential for proper formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. Promotes the absorption of calcium and helps to maintain blood levels of phosphorous. Large doses can cause calcification of soft tissue. Because the ability to synthesize this vitamin from the sun is diminished with age, people older than 50 may need supplementation.

Vitamin E

Found in: Nuts, seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, vegetable oils, egg yolks, and dark-green leafy vegetables.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 4mg, for women 3mg. Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 540mg daily should be safe. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which will be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for future use.

Uses and warnings: Acts as an antioxidant to protect cells against the effect of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body’s metabolism. Extremely high doses of vitamin E may interfere with blood clotting.

Vitamin K

Found in: Dark-green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, and other cabbage-type vegetables.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 0.001mg per kilogram of bodyweight. EG: A person weighing 65kg would need 0.065mg. Not a lot known about overdose levels – up to 1mg daily should be safe. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which will be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for future use.

Uses and warnings: Essential for normal blood clotting and bone health. Made in the body by intestinal bacteria, so dietary needs are low.

Calcium

Found in: Milk, cheese, and yogurt have the most calcium. Canned sardines and salmon (including bones), clams, oysters, tofu (calcium precipitated), blackstrap molasses, broccoli, kale, almonds, and calcium-fortified juices are also good sources.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 700mg. Up to 1500mg daily should be safe, overdose can cause stomach pain and diarrhoea.

Uses and warnings: Essential for building bones and teeth, maintaining bone strength and proper muscle and nerve function. Adequate daily calcium intake throughout life plays a role in preventing osteoporosis. Food is the best source of calcium, but supplements are acceptable too. The best supplement is one that meets your needs based on tolerance, convenience, cost, and availability. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about which ones might work for you.

Iron

Found in: Meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, dark-green leafy vegetables, dry peas and beans, eggs, dried fruit, and fortified bread and grain products. Foods cooked in cast-iron cookware.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for men is 8.7mg, for women 14.8mg. Up to 17mg daily should be safe, overdose can cause constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and even death in exceedingly high doses.

Uses and warnings: Combines with protein to form hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the bloodstream. Iron deficiency is uncommon among adult men and postmenopausal women, and these individuals should not routinely take iron supplements because of the risk of iron overdose. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C in conjunction with iron-richplant-based foods increases absorption of iron. For example, drink orange juice with your iron-fortified breakfast cereal.

Iodine

Found in: Sea water and soil, and thereby in sea fish, shellfish, cereals and grains.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 0.14mg. Up to 0.5mg daily should be safe, continuously high levels can alter the way your thyroid works.

Uses and warnings: Helps make the thyroid hormones which keep the cells and metabolic rate healthy.

Phosphorous

Found in: All dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish, some cereals and breads.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 550mg. Up to 550mg daily should be safe, overdose can cause stomach pain and diarrhoea and, over a long time, can reduced the amount of calcium in the bones.

Uses and warnings: Combines with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth and helps the body convert food to energy. Maintains pH balance. Dietary deficiencies of phosphorous are undetermined. Phosphorous from additives in processed foods adds significantly to intake. Excessive intake can interfere with calcium absorption.

Potassium

Found in: Found in all whole foods: fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, meat, poultry, seafood, grains, and legumes. Particularly abundant in potatoes, bananas, and acorn squash.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 3500mg. Up to 3700mg daily should be safe, overdose can lead to stomach pain, nausea and diarrhoea. Older people should not take supplements containing potassium.

Uses and warnings: Helps maintain balance of body fluids. Essential for proper nerve and muscle function. Diuretic (fluid-releasing) drugs can deplete the body of potassium.

Sodium

Found in: Table salt, naturally occurring salt in foods, and salt added to foods during processing.

Doses and overdoses: Recommended dose for adults is 2.4g sodium (6g salt). Overdose can cause high blood pressure and lead to stroke and heart attack. Most people consume too much salt daily, and sodium should not be taken as a supplement.

Uses and warnings: Helps maintain balance of body fluids. Excessive sodium can lead to edema (fluid retention), as well as aggravate hypertension.

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