Beta Carotene (Vitamin A precursor)
Beta-carotene, also known as pro-vitamin A, can be converted into vitamin A when additional levels are required. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and is part of a family of compounds, including retinol, retinal and beta-carotene. All the body’s tissues need vitamin A for general growth and repair. Vitamin A helps to promote healthy bone growth and supports a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is found in peppers (sweet, green, red, hot red and green chili), citrus fruits and Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, spinach, guava, kiwi fruit, currants and strawberries. Nuts and grains contain small amounts of vitamin C. It is important to note that cooking destroys vitamin C activity.
Vitamin C is integral in supporting a healthy immune system and providing some antioxidant defense. The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. Therefore, vitamin C must be acquired through diet and supplementation.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Thiamin plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
Pantothenic acid (B5) is the transfer agent for choline to acetylcholine, which promotes proper neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3)
Nicotinamide is a water-soluble vitamin necessary for many aspects of health. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy. Nicotinamide (also known as vitamin B3) is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, eggs, legumes and enriched breads and cereals.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in meats, liver, beef, eggs whole milk, cheese, whole wheat bread and fish. Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal products, with small amounts derived from fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh, and peanuts. It is essential that vegetarians consume a vitamin B12 supplement to maintain optimal health. Vitamin B12 itself is responsible for maintaining optimum energy levels.
Folate (folic acid)
Folic acid is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, orange juice, beans and peas are the best sources, as well as Brewer’s yeast, which supplies additional B vitamins. Folic acid plays a key role by boosting the benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation. These two B vitamins join forces and work together in maintaining normal red blood cells.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Vitamin B2 is found in liver, dairy products, dark green vegetables and some types of seafood. Vitamin B2 serves as a co-enzyme, working with other B vitamins. Vitamin B2 plays a crucial role in turning food into energy. Vitamin B2 aids in the breakdown of fats while functioning as a cofactor or helper in activating B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B2 is water-soluble and cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts; thus, it must be replenished daily.
Poultry, fish, whole grains and bananas are the main dietary sources of vitamin B6. It also assists in the maintenance of healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B6 is required for hemoglobin synthesis. It is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, and plays a role in cognitive development.
Regular sunlight exposure is the main way that most humans get their vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D are vitamin D-fortified milk, cod liver oil and fatty fish, such as salmon. Small amounts are found in egg yolks and liver. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and supports the production of several proteins involved in calcium absorption and storage. Vitamin D works with calcium to promote healthy bones. It works to promote active transport of calcium out of the osteoblasts into the extra-cellular fluid and in the kidneys, promotes calcium and phosphate uptake by renal tubules. Vitamin D also promotes the normal absorption of dietary calcium and phosphate uptake by the intestinal epithelium.
The most valuable sources of dietary vitamin E include vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds, avocados and wheat germ. Safflower oil contains large amounts of vitamin E and there are trace amounts in corn oil and soybean oil. Vitamin E is actually a family of related compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols. Vitamin E is one of the fat-soluble antioxidants in the body. In turn, vitamin E helps protect cell membranes from free radical damage.
Calcium is found in milk, cheese, yogurt, corn tortillas, Chinese cabbage (Napa), kale and broccoli. Calcium is an essential mineral with a wide range of biological roles. Calcium comprises approximately 40 percent of the weight of bone. The skeleton has an obvious structural requisite for calcium, as well as acts as a storehouse for calcium. Apart from being a major constituent of bones and teeth, calcium promotes normal muscle contraction.
A sufficient daily calcium intake is necessary for maintaining bone density and maintaining healthy teeth and bones.
Chromium is a trace mineral found naturally in some cereals, meats, poultry, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, prunes, mushrooms, fish and beer.
The richest sources of dietary copper derive from organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran cereal, whole grain products and cocoa products. Copper is an essential trace mineral. It is needed for bone strength and immune health.
Iodine is found in most seafood and in iodized salt. It is a necessary component of thyroid hormones and helps regulate and maintain a properly functioning metabolism.
Foods rich in magnesium include unpolished grains, nuts and green vegetables. Green, leafy vegetables are potent sources of magnesium because of their chlorophyll content. Meats, starches and milk are less rich sources of magnesium. Refined and processed foods are generally quite low in magnesium.
Magnesium is a component of the mineralized part of bone and is necessary for the metabolism of potassium and calcium in adults. It is important for the mobilization and transportation of calcium for further utilization. It works together with calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones strong. Magnesium also plays a key role in the health and functioning of muscle tissue.
Manganese is a mineral found in large quantities in both plant and animal matter. The most valuable dietary sources of manganese include whole grains, nuts, leafy vegetables and teas. Manganese is concentrated in the bran of grains, which is often removed during processing.
It supports the normal formation of connective tissue and bones. It promotes calcium absorption.
Foods rich in potassium include fresh vegetables and fruits, such as bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, avocado, raw spinach, cabbage and celery. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to keep fluid balance. It also plays a role in a wide variety of biochemical and physiological processes. Potassium promotes normal muscle relaxation.
The best dietary sources of selenium include nuts, unrefined grains, brown rice, wheat germ and seafood. In the body, selenium functions as part of an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which plays a direct role in the body’s ability to protect cells from damage by free radicals.
Zinc is largely found in fortified cereals, red meats, eggs, poultry and certain seafood, including oysters. It is a component of multiple enzymes and proteins. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that has functions in approximately 300 different enzyme reactions.
Biotin can be found in food sources, such as egg yolks, peanuts, beef liver, milk (10 mcg/cup), cereals, almonds and Brewer’s yeast. Biotin assists in various metabolic chemical conversions.