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GJ Vitamin Tips

Vitamins are the essential nutrients which serve maintain health. They can be obtained through our diet, or by taking dietary supplements. Like in the case of minerals, the human body cannot produce its own supply of vitamins, so these must also be taken from an outside source.

Vitamins can either be fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. To be properly absorbed and utilized by the body, these vitamins require the presence of fat in the diet and in the bloodstream. The extra amounts of fat soluble vitamins taken in are automatically stored in the body, particularly in the fatty organs. Excessive accumulation of fat soluble vitamins in such organs can lead to toxicity. On the other hand, water soluble vitamins include the vitamin B-complex and C. Unlike fat soluble vitamins, this type does not require the presence of fats, and is easily absorbed by the body. Moreover, any excess amounts these vitamins are just flushed out from the body, and therefore do not cause harm. Knowing what vitamins you need, and the amount to take should help you avoid problems with overdosing.
 
You should know that there’s no need to take vitamin supplements if you’re practicing healthy eating habits. But with the type of diet people have today, where it is pretty impossible to get all the nutrients we need, taking vitamin supplements becomes necessary. Knowing what you can obtain from your diet and what you need to get from vitamin supplements will keep you in good health and help you avoid suffering from health problems.
 
To help you learn more about these vitamins, we will discuss each one in the next articles. We will go over their functions, how they help maintain health, and which foods or beverages are the best sources of these vitamins:
  • Vitamin A- Retinol
  • Beta Carotene(Pro-vitamin A)
  • Vitamin B1- Thiamine
  • Vitamin B2- Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3- Niacin
  • Vitamin B5- Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin B6- Pyridoxine
  • Vitamin B7- Biotin
  • Vitamin B9- Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B12- Cobalamin
  • Vitamin C- Ascorbic Acid
  • Vitamin D- Calciferol/Cholecalciferol
  • Vitamin E- Tocopherol
  • Vitamin K- Phylloquinone/Menaquinone

Vitamin A, otherwise known as retinol, is a fat-soluble vitamin needed to maintain healthy eyes and skin. The USRDA states that men need about 3000IU of this vitamin every day, while women need 2700IU.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources ofVitamin A.
Vegetables
  • broccoli
  • carrot
  • kale
  • pea
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • sweet potato
 
Fruits
  • apricot
  • cantaloupe
  • mango
  • papaya
 
Dairy products
  • butter
  • cheddar cheese
  • fortified milk 
 
Meat and seafood products
  • egg
  • liver 
 
Functions: Vitamin A is needed by the body to:
  • promote proper functioning of the eyes
  • enhance immune function
  • maintain healthy hair,bones, teeth, and nails
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin A can lead to:
  • dry eyesandskin
  • frequent colds
  • increased susceptibility to infections
  • loss of appetite
  • night blindness
  • reduced hair growth in children
  • rough skin
  • weak, fragile hairand nails
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin A can lead to:
  • blurred vision
  • bone and joint pain
  • diarrhea
  • exhaustion
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • liver damage
  • parched, cracked skin
  • skin rashes
  • vomiting
Beta-carotene,or Pro-vitamin A, is one of the inactive forms of vitamin A. It is a fat soluble red-orange pigment found primarily in fruits and vegetables. The USRDA states that men need about 3000IU of beta-carotene every day, while women need 2700IU.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources of beta carotene.
Vegetables
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • kale
  • parsley
  • pumpkin
  • red peppers
  • spinach
  • squash
  • watercress
 
Fruits
  • apricots
  • cantaloupe
  • peaches
  • prunes
 
Dairy products
  • butter
  • fortified milk
 
Meat and seafood products
  • fish
  • liver
 
Other food sources of beta-carotene
  • sweet potatoes
 
Functions: Beta-carotene is needed by the body to:
  • promote proper functioning of the eyes
  • enhance immune function
  • maintain healthy hair, bones, teeth, and nails
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of beta-carotene can lead to:
  • acne
  • allergies
  • blindness
  • weak, fragile hair and nails
  • dry eyesandskin
  • frequent colds 
  • increased susceptibility to infections
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • loss of appetite
  • night blindness
  • reduced hair growth in children
  • rough skin
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of beta-carotene can lead to:
  • blurred vision
  • bone and joint pain
  • diarrhea
  • exhaustion
  • parched, cracked skin
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • liver damage
  • skin rashes
  • vomiting
Vitamin B1, otherwise known as thiamine, is a sulfur-containing water-soluble part of the vitamin B complex. The phosphate derivatives of this vitamin are important for various cellular processes. The USRDA states that men need about 1.3mg of this vitamin every day, while women need 0.8mg.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are the best food sources of vitamin B1.
Vegetables
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • dried beans
  • kale
  • potatoes
 
Fruits
  • oranges
 
Meat and seafood products
·         eggs
·         liver
·         pork
 
Other food sources of vitamin B1
  • brown rice
  • enriched bread
  • flax seeds
  • oatmeal
  • sunflower seeds
  • whole grain bread 
  • whole grain rye
 
Functions: Vitamin B1 needed by the body to:
  • enhance muscle coordination
  • improve metabolism of carbohydrates
  • maintain proper nerve function
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin B1 can lead to:
  • beriberi- a disease of the nervous and cardiovascular systems
  • depression
  • hysteria
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin B1 leads to the deficiency of other B-vitamins.

Vitamin B2, otherwise known as riboflavin, is a water-soluble B-vitamin, which plays a key role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 25mg of vitamin B2 every day. 
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources ofvitamin B2.
Vegetables
  • asparagus
  • green beans
  • leafy green vegetables
  • mushrooms 
  • okra
 
Fruits
  • bananas
  • persimmon
  • tomatoes
 
Dairy products
  • cheese
  • milk 
  • yogurt
 
Meat and seafood products
  • eggs
  • fish
  • kidneys
  • liver 
  • poultry 
 
Other food sources of vitamin B2
  • almonds
  • enriched pasta
  • nuts 
  • popcorn
  • unrefined whole grains
 
Functions: Vitamin B2 is needed by the body to:
  • improve metabolism
  • facilitate absorption of vitamins B3 and B6
  • release energy to cells
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin B1 can lead to:
  • cracks around the mouth
  • impaired thyroid function
  • sores around the nose and mouth
  • visual impairment
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin B2 leads to the deficiency of other B-vitamins.

Vitamin B3, otherwise known as niacin or nicotinic acid, is a water-soluble B-vitamin that has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the blood. The USRDA states that men need about 23mg of this vitamin every day, while women need 16mg.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are the best food sources of vitamin B3.
Vegetables
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • leafy green vegetables
  • mushrooms 
 
Fruits
  • avocados
  • dates
  • tomatoes
 
Meat and seafood products
  • beef 
  • chicken 
  • eggs
  • heart
  • kidney
  • liver
  • salmon
  • seafood 
  • tuna
 
Other food sources of vitamin B3
  • bran 
  • enriched bread 
  • enriched pasta 
  • peanuts
  • sweet potatoes
 
Functions: Vitamin B3 is needed by the body to:
  • control blood cholesterol levels
  • convert food to energy
  • maintain proper digestive tract function
  • treat schizophrenia
  • treat anorexia and bulimia
 
Deficiency: Long-term inadequate intake of vitamin B3 causes pellagra, which is characterized by the presence of the following symptoms:
  • dementia, or progressive mental deterioration
  • dermatitis
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • extreme sensitivity to sunlight
  • glossitis, or the inflammation of the tongue
  • muscle paralysis
  • weakness
*Pellagra can result to death if left untreated
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin B3 can lead to:
  • high blood sugar levels
  • high uric acid levels, which can exacerbate gout
  • hot flashes
  • irregular heartbeat
  • liver problems
  • maculopathy, or the thickening of the retina and macula which may lead to blurred vision and eventually, blindness
  • ulcers

Vitamin B5, otherwise known as pantothenate or pantothenic acid, is a water-soluble B-vitamin needed to synthesize and break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 100mg of vitamin B5 every day.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources ofvitamin B5.
Fruits
·         avocadoes
 
Dairy products
·         yogurt
 
Meat and seafood products
  • beef 
  • organ meats 
  • pork 
  • veal 
  • eggs
 
Other food sources of vitamin B5
  • legumes 
  • whole grain bread 
  • whole grain cereal 
  • royal jelly
 
Functions: Vitamin B5 is needed by the body to:
  • break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from food
  • produce of adrenal hormones
  • maintain proper nerve function
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin B5 can lead to:
  • exhaustion
  • impaired breakdown of uric acid, leading to the exacerbation of gout
  • impaired regulation of blood cholesterol levels
  • irritability
  • low blood sugar levels due to increased sensitivity to the effects of insulin
  • nausea and vomiting
  • obesity
  • skin ulcers
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake ofvitamin B5 leads to the impaired absorption and metabolism of other B-vitamins.


Vitamin B6, otherwise known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble B-vitamin whose primary function is to serve as a cofactor for the body enzymes that are involved in metabolism. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 25mg of vitamin B6 every day.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources of vitamin B6.
Vegetables
·         broccoli
·         spinach
 
Fruits
·         bananas
 
Meat and seafood products
·         beef
·         organ meats
·         pork
·         veal
 
Other food sources of vitamin B6
·         nuts
·         whole grain products
 
Functions: Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to:
  • improve metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins
  • maintain brain and nerve function
  • maintain hormone balance in women
  • prevent formation of kidney stones
  • produce red blood cells
  • treat rheumatoid arthritis
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin B6 can lead to:
  • anemia
  • convulsions
  • dry, scaly skin
  • irritability
  • itchy skin
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake ofvitamin B6 leads to nerve damage.


Biotin, otherwise known as vitamin B7 (and also Vitamin H and Coenzyme R), is a water-soluble B-vitamin necessary for cell growth, fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid metabolism. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 60mcg of biotin every day.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources of biotin.
  • cauliflower
  • cheese
  • liver
  • peanut butter
  • uncooked egg yolk (eating this together with egg white results to the decreased effectivity of biotin in the body; egg white contains a protein called avidin, which strongly binds to biotin)
 
Functions: Biotin is needed by the body to:
  • synthesize fatty acids
  • facilitate metabolism of glucose
  • maintain the body’s chemical balance
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of biotin can lead to:
  • anorexia
  • conjunctivitis
  • dermatitis in infants, which is characterized by the presence of dry, scaly, and itchy skin
  • hair loss
  • nauseaand vomiting
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of biotin leads to the impaired absorption of other B-vitamins.

Folic acid* is one of the most important B-vitamins. It is also known by the following names:
·       vitamin B7
·       folacin
·       folate- the form that naturally occurs in the body
The USRDA states that men need at least 220mcg of this vitamin every day, while women need at least 400mcg. The daily intake should not exceed the recommended dosage of 20mg.
*This term actually refers to the synthetic form of the vitamin, or those which are derived from dietary supplements
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources of folic acid.
Vegetables
  • beans
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • kale
  • lentils
  • spinach
  • split peas
 
Fruits
  • dates
  • oranges
 
Dairy products
  • cheese
  • milk
 
Meat and seafood products
  • beef
  • chicken
  • lamb
  • liver
  • organ meats
  • pork
  • salmon
  • tuna
 
Other food sources of folic acid
  • barley
  • bran
  • brown rice
  • whole grain bread
  • whole grain cereal
  • yeast
 
Functions: Folic acid is needed by the body to:
  • improve metabolism of protein
  • maintain proper nerve function
  • produce genetic material
  • produce red blood cells
  • for pregnant women, it reduces the risk of birth defects, particularly the neural tube defects which include the following:
    • anencephaly- a condition where there is loss of a large portion of brain and skull
    • spina bifida- a condition wherein there is an incomplete development or fusion of the vertebrae, or backbone, allowing the spinal cord to protrude from it.
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of folic acid can lead to:
  • anemia
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • exhaustion
  • faulty cell division
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • glossitis, or the inflammation of the tongue
  • vitamin B12 deficiency
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of folic acid can lead to:
  • irreversible damage to nerves, due to masked vitamin B12 deficiency
  • seizure attacks in epileptic patients
    • This is based on the reports and messages posted on the message boards of epileptic forums, by some epileptics who are monitoring their seizure attacks in relation to food or supplement intake.
    • It is possible that seizure attacks are due to the masked deficiency of other B-vitamins, particularly B12
    • Moreover, people with seizure disorder should also keep in mind that before getting into a program involving intake of more than 400mcg folic acid, consultation to a physician is recommended (this information is based on several studies, which includes those conducted separately by Dr. Weil and Dr. Atkins).

Vitamin B12, otherwise known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble B-vitamin which plays a major role in blood formation.The USRDA states that both men and women need about 100 mcg or vitamin B12 every day.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best food sources of vitamin B12.
  • beef 
  • organ meats 
  • pork 
  • veal 
 
Functions: Vitamin B12 is needed by the body to:
  • produce genetic material
  • produce red blood cells
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin B12 can lead to:
  • nerve damage
  • pernicious anemia
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin B12 leads to the impaired absorption of other B-vitamins.


Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, is awater-soluble vitamin with strong antioxidant properties. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 500mg of vitamin C every day.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are some of the best sources of vitamin C.
Vegetables
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • cabbage 
  • cauliflower 
  • green peppers 
  • horseradish 
  • kale 
  • radishes
  • red peppers 
  • spinach
 
Fruits
  • cantaloupe 
  • grapefruit 
  • lemons 
  • limes 
  • mangoes 
  • nectarines 
  • oranges 
  • pineapple 
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
 
Functions: Vitamin C is needed by the body to:
  • facilitate absorption of iron
  • maintain cell function
  • promote healthy gums
  • reduce susceptibility to cancer
  • strengthen the walls of the blood vessels
 
Deficiency:Long-term inadequate intake of vitamin C causes scurvy, which is characterized by the presence of the following symptoms:
  • anemia, resulting from the rupture of blood vessels
  • dental cavities
  • easy bruising, which results from the tissues’ absorption of blood from ruptured blood vessels
  • increased susceptibility to infections
  • inflamed, bleeding gums
  • loose teeth
  • nose bleeds
  • painful joints
  • progressive muscle weakness
  • shortness of breath
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin C leads to kidney damage.


Vitamin D, otherwise known as “the sunshine vitamin*,”calciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), is a fat-soluble vitamin essential to the formation of healthy bones and teeth. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 100IU of vitamin D every day.
* The body can produce its own vitamin D. Present in the subcutaneous layer of the skin is the inactive form of this vitamin. Upon exposure to sunlight, this inactive form is converted to the active form of vitamin D. But remember, you should not overexposure your skin to sunlight in order to get vitamin D, or else, you will develop skin cancer.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are the best food sources of vitamin D.
Dairy products
  • butter 
  • fortified milk products 
 
Meat and seafood products
  • eggs 
  • fish 
  • liver
  • salmon
  • sardines 
  • tuna 
 
Other food sources of vitamin D
  • oatmeal 
  • sweet potatoes 
 
Functions: Vitamin D is needed by the body to:
  • facilitate calcium absorption
  • enhance immune function
  • maintain healthy bonesteeth
  • treat Crohn's diseaseand ulcerative colitis
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin D deficiency can lead to:
  • abnormal sensitivity to pain
  • burning sensation in the mouth andthroat
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • hypocalcemia, or low serum calcium levels
  • irregular heartbeat
  • myopia or nearsightedness
  • nervousness
  • rickets (in children)
  • weak, fragile bones
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin D can lead to:
  • accumulation of calcium in organs
  • damage to the cardiovascular system
  • renal impairment
  • weak, fragile bones

Vitamin E,which consists of a group of compounds called the tocopherols and topotrienols, is a fat-soluble vitamin with strong antioxidant properties. The USRDA states that both men and women need about 400IU of vitamin E every day.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are the best food sources of vitamin E.
Vegetables
  • kale 
  • spinach 
 
Dairy products
  • butter 
  • milk
 
Meat and seafood products
  • eggs 
  • herring 
  • organ meats 
 
Other food sources of vitamin E
  • almonds
  • brown rice 
  • corn oil 
  • cornmeal 
  • cottonseed oil 
  • nuts 
  • oatmeal 
  • soybean oil 
  • soybeans 
  • sweet potatoes 
  • wheat germ 
  • whole grain bread
  • whole grain cereal
 
Functions: Vitamin E is needed by the body to:
  • build strong muscles and tissues
  • preserve of fatty acids
  • prevent of cataracts
  • prevent of certain types of cancer
  • produce red blood cells
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin E can lead to:
  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • hair loss
  • impaired immune function
  • impotence
  • leg cramps
  • loss of muscle tissue
  • miscarriage
  • nerve abnormalities in infants
  • poor blood circulation
  • prostate enlargement
  • sterility
 
Overdose: The result of too much intake of vitamin E is not yet known.


Vitamin K, otherwise known as phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinone (vitamin K2), is fat-soluble vitamin whose main function is to ensure proper blood clot formation during tissue injury. The USRDA states that men need about 80mcg of this vitamin every day, while women need 65mcg.
 
Food Sources: Listed below are the best food sources of vitamin K.
Vegetables
  • alfalfa 
  • broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • cabbage 
  • cauliflower 
  • kale 
  • parsley 
  • spinach 
 
Meat and seafood products
  • eggs 
  • liver 
 
Other food sources of vitamin K
  • oatmeal 
  • rye 
  • soybeans 
  • wheat 
 
Functions: Vitamin K is needed by the body to:
  • promote proper blood clotting
  • improve metabolism of proteins and amino acids
  • promote bone formation
 
Deficiency: Inadequate intake of vitamin K can lead to:
  • high blood sugar levels
  • inability of blood to clot
  • low platelet count
  • osteoporosis
 
Overdose: On the other hand, too much intake of vitamin K leads to jaundice.