Vitamins and Their Concentrations In Foods
Vitamins are organic essential micronutrient compounds required by the body for the regulation of several integral processes that ensure optimal health. Although vitamins are required in minute quantities inadequate intake can cause serious deficiencies that can cause several diseases.
Since vitamins are essential nutrients, regular dietary intake as directed by the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is necessary to ensure adequate levels in the body for the prevention of deficiency and maintenance of good health.
Vitamins are classified as the following:
After absorption can easily be stored by the body in fat.
Example: Vitamin A, D, E, and K.
Not stored by the body. Excess amounts are readily excreted.
Example: Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C
Deficiencies can result in the development of several chronic, inflammatory, infectious, and allergic disorders.
Vitamins and Their Natural Sources:
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A consists of fat-soluble retinoids, retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters. The RDA of vitamin A is as follows:
Men 900 mcg
Women 700 mcg
Intake should not exceed 3000mcg/day as it can result in toxicity.
Sweet Potatoes 1403(mcg)
Animals Quantity (in mcg)
Beef Liver 6582(mcg)
The following are benefits of vitamin A:
Vitamin A is involved in the maintenance of night vision and normal corneal and conjunctival anatomy. The deficiency of vitamin A can cause xeropthalmia.
Vitamin A plays an important role in cell differentiation and is also required to maintain epithelial integrity in all parts of the body.
Immune regulation is also an important function of vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes macrophage activity and potentiates the antiviral and anti-tumor activity of natural killer cells.
Vitamin A also plays a role in embryonic development.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D also called the sunshine vitamin as it can be produced by the skin after exposure to sunlight but dietary intake is necessary to maintain adequate levels. The RDA of vitamin D is 400-800 IU/day.
Cod liver oil 1360(UI)
The following are a few functions of vitamin D:
Vitamin D is involved in calcium and phosphorous homeostasis.
It plays an important role in bone mineralization and deficiency increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.
It is also involved in enhancing immune response.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E refers to a group of 8 fat-soluble compounds. The RDA of vitamin E is 15 mg/day.
Wheat germ oil 20.3(mg)
Sunflower oil 5.6(mg)
Vitamin E is one of the most potent anti-oxidants of the body. It promotes health and prevents several diseases by regulating the inflammatory process. It is also involved in inhibition of platelet aggregation and immune enhancement.
4. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin vital for human health. It can be obtained through diet and is also synthesized in small quantities by the gut bacteria. The RDA of vitamin K is as follows:
Men 138 mcg
Women 122 mcg
Vitamin K has the following important functions in the body:
It acts as a coenzyme in several physiologic processes.
It is involved in the synthesis of coagulation factors II, VII, IX, and X.
It is involved in the synthesis of anticoagulation proteins C, S, and Z.
Vitamin K helps in the formation of osteocalcin a bone mineralizing protein.
Vitamin K deficiency can result in bleeding disorders.
1. Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex refers to eight vitamins that play an integral role in the regulation of several important physiologic processes.
Various food sources provide different combinations of the components of the vitamin B complex.
B1 (Thiamine) Legumes, Fortified Cereals, Enriched Bread, Pasta,
B2 (Riboflavin) Organ Meat, Green Leafy Vegetables, Enriched Grain Products
B3 (Niacin) Fish, Turkey, Legumes
B5 (Pantothenic) Acid Fortified Cereals, Liver
B6 (Pyridoxine) Legumes, Organ Meat
B7 (Biotin) Egg Yolk, Milk, Fresh Vegetables
B9 (Folic Acid) Green Vegetables, Fish
B12 (Cobalamin) Fish, Milk, Oysters, Shellfish
Vitamin B complex regulates almost all processes in the body. It is involved in the following:
Regulation of the immune system
Formation of red blood cells
Maintenance of energy levels.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. The RDA of vitamin C is 65-90 mg/day.
Red pepper 95(mg)
The following are functions of vitamin C:
It is involved in collagen synthesis.
It plays a vital role in wound healing.
It is a potent anti-oxidant and can also regenerate other antioxidants.
It improves immune function.
It promotes iron absorption.
The role of vitamins in maintaining good health is indispensable. It is necessary to ensure adequate intake to prevent diseases and improve quality of life.
Vitamins can be obtained by a healthy balanced diet and in case of deficiency,
supplements can be prescribed.
Always use vitamin supplements with caution and immediately contact your health care provider if you feel unwell.