Vitamins and Minerals List: Functions, Sources and More

The body needs essential vitamins and minerals that are best obtained by eating a variety of foods from a balanced diet. If you are eating the right combination of foods, you should be able to get a good supply of vitamins and minerals. This article will discuss the functions, safety, food sources, RDA and other information of the 11 vitamins and 4 minerals that we need every day for a healthy body. It is better to consult with your doctor or pharmacist of more professional help for your vitamin and minerals intake.

This video will give you an overview of vitamins and minerals.

List of Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins

1. Vitamin A (Retinol)

Functions

Good for the eyes, growth, taste and appetite.

Deficiency Signs

Loss of night vision (night blindness).

Food Sources

Carrots, cod liver oil, liver, green leafy vegetables, yellow fruits, enriched margarine, milk and egg yolks.

Safety

Vitamin A is stored in body fat and can build up over time and during pregnancy. Getting too much of this vitamin can be toxic.

Damaged By

Fatty Acids

RDA

800 mcg

2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Functions

Helps the muscles, nervous system, heart, digestive system and nerve tissues damaged by alcoholism.

Deficiency Signs

Confusion, off-balance, tingling in the extremities, poor concentration, appetite loss and exhaustion.

Food Sources

Egg yolk, yeast, cereal, liver, red meat, wheat germ and nuts.

Safety

This vitamin is water soluble and any excess amounts are eliminated in the urine. No known toxicity.

Damaged By

Alcohol, coffee and heat.

RDA

1.4 mg

3. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Functions

Hair, skin nails, growth, proper metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates, the eyes and sensitive oral areas.

Deficiency Signs

Itching of the lips, eyes, throat, nose and mouth. Can also show up as cracking in the lip corners.

Food Sources

Green leafy vegetables, milk, cheese, yeast, fish and liver.

Safety

This vitamin is water soluble and excess amounts are excreted in the urine. No known toxicity.

Damaged By

Light and alcohol. Paper cartons help protect B2 fortified products from light.

RDA

1.6 mg

4. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Functions

Prevents issues with nerves, skin problems, increases proper absorption of carbohydrates and protein.

Deficiency Signs

Inflammation of the skin

Food Sources

Chicken, pork, bananas, fish, dry beans and whole grains.

Safety

Overdose levels of this vitamin are not currently known, but may cause issues with the nervous system.

Damaged By

Estrogen, contraceptives, overcooked roasted or boiled foods and alcohol.

RDA

The recommended dose is 2 mg daily, but may be higher in contraceptive use.

5. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Functions

Formation of red blood cells and nerve tissue.

Deficiency Signs

Anemia, fatigue, memory issues, numbness and tingling.

Food Sources

Fortified cereals, eggs, milk, cheese, poultry, shellfish, liver and red meat.

Safety

This vitamin is water soluble and not known to be toxic.

Damaged By

Alcohol, estrogen, sleeping medications, sunlight and water.

RDA

1 mcg

6. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Functions

Wound healing, protection from viral and bacterial infections, immune system support, prevention of scurvy, cell lifespan and lowering cholesterol.

Deficiency Signs

Poor wound healing, fatigue and gum bleeding.

Food Sources

Green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries, peppers, potatoes, kiwi fruit, cauliflower and tomatoes.

Safety

Over 2000 mg daily can cause nausea and diarrhea. There is a chance that 1000 to 5000 mg daily can have damaging effects on DNA.

Damaged By

Heat, smoking, boiling foods, and light.

RDA

60 mg

7. Vitamin D

Functions

Strong teeth and bones.

Deficiency Signs

Weak bones (osteomalacia), rickets in children and unhealthy teeth.

Food Sources

Cod liver oil, sun exposure (our body can make some of the vitamin D we need from the sun on the skin), salmon, tuna, herring and vitamin D fortified milk products.

Safety

Vitamin D is stored in the body’s fat cells and can accumulate. Too much vitamin D can cause toxicity, but the overdose amounts are different for everyone. For example, children should not take more than 400 iu daily.

Damaged By

Mineral oil

RDA

5 mcg

8. Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

Functions

Powerful antioxidant that serves to clear the body of toxins.

Deficiency Signs

Fertility issues and muscle weakness.

Food Sources

Nuts, soy beans, broccoli, vegetable oil, eggs, whole grain products, spinach and sprouts.

Safety

Amounts in excess of 400 iu daily can increase the risk of death from long term illness and heart failure. Known drug interaction with Coumadin to increase the risk of bleeding issues.

Damaged By

Frost, oxygen, chlorine, heat and iron.

RDA

10 mg

9. Vitamin H (Biotin)

Functions

Strong hair and nails, keeping blood sugar levels stable and helping metabolism react to changes in the body.

Deficiency Signs

Fatigue, loss of hair, muscle weakness and pain, poor appetite, depression and nausea.

Food Sources

Yeast, meat, milk, liver, peanuts, egg yolks, soybeans and cereal.

Safety

Biotin can used in high doses. For example, in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis in infants, no adverse effects are reported.

Damaged By

Smoking and alcohol use.

RDA

Biotin deficiency tends to be rare, so no RDA has been established.

10. Vitamin K

Functions

Assists with blood clotting after injury, wound healing, protects bones from osteoporosis and may protect against cancer.

Deficiency Signs

Bleeding gums, easy bruising, anemia, nose bleeds and increase menstrual bleeding in females.

Food Sources

Milk, cheese, egg yolks, kale, collard greens, all green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, a few of the fruits and liver.

Safety

Vitamin K has no reported toxicity.

Damaged By

Salicylates (aspirin), barbiturates, cefamandole and blood thinners.

RDA

Infants: 5-10 mcg daily

Children: 15-30 mcg daily

Adolescents: 45-60 mcg daily

11. Folic Acid

Functions

When taken within the first three months of pregnancy can assist with cleft lip, cleft palate and spinal bifida prevention, helps to build healthy red blood cells.

Deficiency Signs

Anemia, red tongue and fatigue from anemia.

Food Sources

Egg yolks, carrots, yeast, liver, apricots, pumpkin, melon, rye, avocado, beans, whole wheat products and green leafy vegetables.

Safety

Folic acid is water soluble and excreted in the urine so there is no risk of toxicity.

Damaged By

Heat, water and sunlight.

RDA

Women who are planning to become pregnant or who are in the first 3 months of pregnancy need to take 400 mcg daily. All others should take 200 mcg daily.

List of Vitamins and Minerals: Minerals

1. Calcium

Functions

Teeth and bone strength, muscle contractions, blood clotting and nerve functions.

Deficiency Signs

Brittle bones, unhealthy teeth, muscle spasms (tetany).

Food Sources

Milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, green leafy vegetables.

Safety

High doses of calcium can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, headache, increased heart attack risk and gall and kidney stones.

Damaged By

None reported.

RDA

800 mg

2. Iron

Functions

Building up red blood cells, building white blood cells, strengthening the immune system and muscle function.

Deficiency Signs

Poor concentration, fatigue, and increased irritability.

Food Sources

Red meat, egg yolks, oily fish, green leafy vegetables, whole wheat and grains.

Safety

The body builds up iron stores and can be toxic in high doses, possibly even fatal. Over 17 mg can cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Damaged By

None reported.

RDA

14 mg

3. Magnesium

Functions

Muscle function, healthy teeth, energy conversion of foods we eat, bone strength, cell repair, body temperature regulation.

Deficiency Signs

Muscle cramping and spasms, weak bones and increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Food Sources

Nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.

Safety

Magnesium is a natural laxative, so over dosage can result in diarrhea.

Damaged By

None reported.

RDA

300 mg

4. Zinc

Functions

Promotes immune system health, helps the body breakdown and use carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Deficiency Signs

Skin, throat and eye lesions, poor sense of smell and taste. Poor wound healing and hair loss. Diarrhea and pediatric growth issues.

Food Sources

Brown rice, shellfish, meat, milk and whole grains.

Safety

Over 100 mg a day side effects include nausea, vomiting and stomach cramping.

Damaged By

None reported.

RDA

15 mg

 
 
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