Vitamins recognized by legislative definitions in the United States include:
Promotes healthy bone growth, vision, reproduction, cell division and specialization and helps regulate the immune system.
Sources include whole milk, liver, eggs, some fortified breakfast cereals, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and most darkly colored fruit and vegetables.
Also known as thiamine is essential in converting foods into energy, helps supports the normal function of the nervous system, muscles and heart and promotes normal growth and development.
It is also thought to help regulate appetite. Present in moderate amounts in all foods, the best sources are whole grains and fortified cereals.
Also known as riboflavin, it is allied to vitamin B1, andsupports energy production, is necessary for red blood cell and antibody production, respiration and regulating human growth and reproduction.
It is essential for healthy skin, nails and hair growth, thyroid activity, healing of wounds and general good health.
Sources include liver, kidney, whole grains, green leaf vegetables, milk, yeast, cheese, oily fish, eggs, enriched cereals, almonds and mushrooms.
Also known as niacin is also part of the vitamin B complex that is primarily involved into converting food into energy.
Regulates circulation, hormone production, the digestive and nervous systems, promotes healthy skin.
Regular alcohol drinkers and vegetarians should consider taking a B3 (Niacin) supplement as alcohol inhibits niacin absorption and diets lacking protein are likely to be B3 deficient.
Effective in lowering levels of (bad) cholesterol. Best sources are beef liver and kidney, pork, turkey, chicken, veal, oily fish, beets, peanuts and strawberries.
Also known as pyridoxine is necessary to balance the hormonal changes in women, assists in the growth of new cells and the functioning of the immune system, converting food into energy, and in controlling moods, behavior and sex drive.
It is involved in cancer immunity, red blood cell production, preventing skin problems and in fighting certain heart difficulties.
Good sources of B6 are similar to other B vitamins and include eggs, chicken, yeast, carrots, fish, liver, kidneys, peas and walnuts.
Contains cobalt and is also known as cobalamin. The primary functions are to maintain a healthy nervous system and to produce red blood cells.
Sources include meat, dairy products and eggs but no reliable plant sources.
Sufferers from B12 deficiency, which can have mild to severe symptoms, may be unable to absorb the vitamin through normal food intake and will have to take ongoing regular injections to alleviate the problem.
The B vitamins are interconnected with many associated functions and sources.
Absorbic Acid. The human body is unable to store Vitamin C and unless replenished constantly, symptoms, the most commonly known of which is scurvy that can become fatal, will quickly occur.
It is important in forming collagen that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels and in maintaining bones and teeth, and in the absorption of iron.
Sources are most fruits and vegetables served raw if possible, Vitamin C dissolves in water so if the food must be cooked use the minimal amount of water by steaming or microwaving for as short a time as possible.
Most breakfast cereals and many fruit juices are fortified with Vitamin C. The British are known as Limeys because the Royal Navy issued limes to sailors to prevent scurvy which could occur due to long periods at sea without fresh fruit and vegetables.
The source of this vitamin is best known as being from sunlight, or more accurately, as being made in the body by exposure to UV rays.
It promotes the calcium and phosphorous that are vital in forming and maintaining strong bones.
It may also be involved in regulating cell growth and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Exposure to sunlight (which should be carefully limited) is the principal source, most dairy products contain only limited amounts, better sources include oily fish, fortified cereals, eggs, and beef liver.
Vitamin E is a powerful source of anti oxidants and as such acts as a barrier to poisons and diseases that can damage the body.
It is also recognized as being involved in immune system function, DNA repair, the protection of blood cells, the nervous system, muscles and the eye retinas from free radical damage.
Best sources include nuts, green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, sprouts) eggs, wholemeal products, soya beans and vegetable oils and particularly olive oil.
If taking this vitamin as a supplement keep the daily dosage well below 1000 milligrams per day and be sure to check with your medical advisor that there is no conflict with any other medication you are on.
This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of coagulation proteins, meaning that it is responsible for regulating the ability of the blood to clot.
A deficiency may occur in any age group, but is more often found in infants. Excessive bleeding is the principal symptom.
Any green vegetables, asparagus, oats and oils, such as olive oil, are good sources of this vitamin.
Check with your medical adviser before taking a supplement rich in Vitamin K as this can conflict with other drugs, such as warfarin, that may be prescribed.
NB. It is strongly recommended that a physician or other qualified medical practitioner approve the use of a vitamin and/or mineral supplement before embarking on a course.