Vitamins are nutrients that are essential for life. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins provide the body with energy (calories) but vitamins do not contribute energy. Vitamins are necessary to support many bodily functions along with carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Without adequate amounts of vitamins, deficiency can occur. Excessive amounts of vitamin intakes can also have an adverse effect on the body. Vitamins are usually categorized into two types: water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins.

Water Soluble Vitamins:

  • Vitamin C
  • And B Vitamins
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Biotin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Folate

Fat Soluble Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Water Soluble vitamins are less likely to reach toxic levels because excess water soluble vitamins are usually excreted in the urine. Fat Soluble vitamins are more likely to have toxic effects because the body stores the excess. The Dietary Reference intakes (DRI) are established by the National Academies of Science. The Dietary Reference Intakes are two sets of values that serve as goals for nutrient intake. The Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) is one set of values and the Adequate (AI) is the other. The RDA is a value set of a nutrient considered to meet the needs of most healthy people. The AI is set when a nutrient is lacking sufficient to determine an RDA. Some nutrients also are given an upper intake level. (UL) The UL indicates the maximum amount of a nutrient that appears safe for most healthy people to consume on a regular basis. Nutrient needs vary depending on age, sex and conditions. RDA are set to varying ages and are different for men and women. Some conditions such as pregnancy, disease and nutritional status may alter the need for vitamins and minerals. Occasionally it may be necessary to supplement the diet with additional vitamins and minerals. However, taking excess amount of vitamins and minerals may have a negative impact on your health. Taking nutrients in excess of your RDA is not recommended unless instructed by your doctor or Registered Dietitian.

A Complete list of dietary references can be downloaded from:

The United States Department of Agriculture Website

Sources of Nutrients:

  • Vitamin C-citrus fruits, cabbage type vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, papayas, mangos
  • Thiamin- whole grain, fortified or enriched grain products, pork
  • Riboflavin-milk products, whole grains, fortified or enriched grain products and liver
  • Niacin-milk, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, whole grain, fortified and enriched grain products, nuts, all protein containing foods
  • Pantothenic Acid-chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, tomatoes, liver, eggs, yolks, broccoli, whole grains
  • Vitamin B 6-meat, fish, poultry, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables, legumes, non citrus fruits, fortified cereals, liver, soy products
  • Vitamin B 12-foods of animal origin and fortified cereals, Folate-fortified grains, leafy green vegetables, legumes, seeds, liver
  • Vitamin A -spinach, dark leafy greens, broccoli, deep orange fruits such as apricots, cantaloupe, and vegetables such as squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin
  • Vitamin D-Fortified milk, margarine, butter, juices, cereals and chocolate mixes or synthesized by the body with the help of sunlight
  • Vitamin E-polyunsaturated plant oils, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ, whole grains, liver, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, fatty meats
  • Vitamin K-may be synthesis by bacteria in the digestive tract or liver, leafy green vegetables, cabbage type vegetables, milk

Consume a variety of balanced meals to ensure adequate intake of nutrients.