Guide to Vitamins

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Vitamin Main Roles Deficiency Symptoms Good Sources
Thiamin (B1) Release energy from carbohydrates; synthesis of nerve-regulating substance. Beriberi: mental confusion; muscular weakness; swelling of heart; leg cramps. Pork (especially ham); liver; oysters; whole-grain and enriched cereals; pasta and bread; green peas.
Riboflavin (B2) Release of energy to cells from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; maintenance of mucous membranes. Skin disorders, especially around nose and lips; eyes very sensitive to light. Liver; milk; meat; dark-green vegetables; cereals; pasta; bread; mushrooms.
Niacin Works with thiamin and riboflavin in energy-producing reactions in cells. Pellagra: skin disorders, especially parts exposed to sun; smooth tongue; diarrhea; mental confusion; irritability. Liver; poultry; meat; tuna; cereals; pasta, bread; nuts, legumes. Made in body from amino acid tryptophan.
Pyridoxine (B6) Absorption and metabolism of proteins; use of fats; formation of red blood cells. Skin disorders: cracks at mouth corners; smooth tongue; convulsions; dizziness; anemia; kidney stones. Whole-grain (but not enriched) cereals and bread; liver; avocados; spinach; green beans; bananas.
Cobalamin (B12) Building of genetic material; formation of red blood cells; functioning of nervous system. Pernicious anemia; anemia; degeneration of peripheral nerves. Liver; kidneys; meat; fish; eggs; milk; oysters.
Folic acid Assists in forming body proteins and genetic material; formation of red blood cells. Anemia with large red blood cells; smooth tongue; diarrhea. Liver; kidneys; dark-green leafy vegetables.
Pantothenic acid Metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats; formation of hormones and nerve-regulating substances. Not known except experimentally in man: vomiting; abdominal pain; fatigue; sleep problems. Liver; kidneys; whole-grain bread and cereal; nuts; eggs; dark-green vegetables.
Biotin Formation of fatty acids; release of energy from carbohydrates. Known only experimentally in man: fatigue; depression; nausea; pains; appetite loss. Egg yolk; liver; kidneys; dark-green vegetables; green beans. Made in intestinal tract.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) Maintenance of health of bones, teeth, blood vessels; formation of collagen, which supports body structure, antioxidant. Scurvy: bleeding gums; muscles degenerate; wounds don't heal; skin rough, brown, and dry; teeth loosen. Many fruits and vegetables, including citrus, tomato, strawberries, melon, green pepper, potato, dark-green vegetables.
Vitamin A (Retinol) Formation and maintenance of skin and mucous membranes; bone growth; vision, reproduction, teeth. Night blindness; rough skin and mucous membranes; no bone growth, cracked, decayed teeth; drying of eyes. Liver; eggs; cheese; butter, fortified margarine, and milk; yellow, orange, and dark-green vegetables.
Vitamin D (Calciferol) Essential for normal bone growth and maintenance of strong bones. Rickets (in children): retarded growth; bowed legs; protruding abdomen. Osteomalacia (in adults): bones soften, deform and fracture easily; muscular twitching and spasms. Milk; egg yolk; liver; tuna, salmon. Made on skin in sunlight.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Prevents oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mild damage to blood cells. Vegetable oils; margarine; whole-grain cereal and bread; liver; dried beans; green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin K Essential for normal blood clotting. Hemorrhage (especially in newborns). Green leafy vegetables; vegetables in cabbage family; milk. Made in intestinal tract.

Excerpt from Eat Better, Live Better.