A to Z of Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins – Sources & Functions

 

Vitamin A

Function – Eyesight, immune system
Sources – Leafy vegeatables, sweet potatoes, carrots, fish oil, cheese

8 B vitamins – All help the body to convert food, including carbohydrates, into glucose. Also help metabolise fats and protein, help in the functioning of eyes and liver and nervous system

 

Vitamin B1 – Thiamin

Function – Processing of carbohydrates and protein, anti-stress properties, required for ATP formation, rare to be deficient in this vitamin
Sources – sunflower seeds, black beans, barley, peas, lentils, oats, lima beans, whole-grains

 

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Function – Acts as an enzyme cofactor in the breakdown of macronutrients; important in energy production, and is required for healthy eyes, skin and nervous system. Used to colour food, is E number – 101
Sources – Milk, cheese, leafy vegetables, beans, almonds

 

Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Function – Breakdown and metabolism of proteins and sugar. Required for nervous system
Sources – soya, bananas, chicken, turkey, eggs, spinach

Vitamin B5

Function – oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates. Required for some hormones to be manufactured.
Sources –

 

Vitamin B6

Function – Cofactor in amino acid metabolism, and also required for the release of glucose from glycogen (Muscle carbohydrate stores) and fat metabolism
Sources – Meats, whole grains, nuts, bananas

Vitamin B7 – Biotin

Function – Metabolism of lipds, proteins and carbohydrates
Sources –

Folate – Folic Acid – Vitamin B9

Function – required to make nucleic acid (the “NA” in DNA), cell repair, cell division, red blood cells, possibly enhances brain health
Sources – Asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lentils, milk

Vitamin B12

Function – Functioning of brain and nervous system, required for formation of blood. Deficiency can result in anaemia
Sources – Liver, beef, trout, salmon, haddock, milk, eggs, chicken

Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid

Function – Helps protect cells from free-radicals/oxidative damage. Required for healthy connective tissue and wound healing
Source – Oranges, Red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, sprouts

Vitamin D

Function – Required for bone health, immune system and enhances absorption of other nutrients such as iron and magnesium
Sources – Sunlight, milk, fish, egg

Vitamin E

Function – Prevents oxidative damage/is an antioxidant
Sources – Leafy green vegetables, sunflower, hazlenuts

Vitamin K

Vitamin K actually comes in 3 forms, K1, K2 and K3.
K1 = phylloquinone – found in plants
K2 = Menaquinone – made by bacteria in the GI tract
K3 = menadione – synthetic form. Not recommended by some nutritionists
Function – Blood clotting, bones formation and strength, heart health, brain health, helps to prevent prostrate, lung and liver cancer (to an extent)
Sources – Miso, Lamb, duck, beef liver, spinach, kale, cabbage, dairy

Minerals Functions and Sources

Calcium

– Function – healthy bones, teeth, blood clotting.
– Sources – Dairy, broccoli, cabbage, kale, tofu, sardines

Chromium

– Function – metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, brain function, breakdown of insulin
– Sources – Liver, beef, eggs, spinach, bananas, green peppers

Copper

– Function – Blood (haemoglobin), iron metabolism
– nuts, beans, fish

Fluoride

– Function – Helps to prevent tooth decay
– Sources – Flourinated water, most seafood contains flouride

Iodine

– Function – Thyroid function and hormone production
– Sources – seafood, kelp, dairy

Iron

– Function – Red blood cell formation (haemoglobin)
– Sources – Red meat, whole grains, beans, liver, eggs

Magnesium

– Function – Muscle and nerve health, muscle contractions, neuro-muscular system
– Sources – Whole grains, beans, brown rice, nuts, epsom salts (don’t eat them, bathe in them!)

Manganese

– Function – Antioxidant, used in protein synthesis and is required for some enzymes to be produced
– Sources – Oats, brown Rice, spinach, pineapple, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, tea

Molybdenum

– Function – Antioxidant (helps activate enzymes required for cell protection from oxidative damge), Energy production, metabolises toxins
– Sources  – grains, nuts, dairy

Phosphorus

– Function – Formation of bones and teeth, production of ATP for energy and muscular contraction
– Sources – beef, chicken, dairy

Potassium

Function – Manage blood pressure, important for nervous system, required for muscular contractions, metabolises protein, fat and carbohydrate, promotes cognitive functioning
Sources – Bananas, spinach, oranges, prunes

Selenium

Function – Antioxidant – required for activity of enzymes called glutathione peroxidases; required in the body’s protection against free radicals/oxidative stress. Also supports thyroid function.
Sources – Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, garlic

Zinc

Function – immune system functioning, cell division, wound healing, male sexual function
Sources – Beef, pork, salmon, lamb, nuts, beans

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