Posted by: wortix | March 25, 2009


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Vitamins are organic substances in food, which are required in small amounts but cannot be synthesized in adequate quantities by the body and therefore have to be provided from the environment.

Contrary to popular belief, deficiencies of vitamins still occur in affluent countries, for example deficiencies of folate, vitamin B and Vitamin D and C.

These are particularly common in people on fad diets, veganand alcoholics.

Deficiency diseases are more prevalent in developing countries. For example, Vitamin A deficiency is a common cause of blindness in the developing countries.

Why you should know about Vitamins
Taking Vitamin tablets is fashionable especially in affluent countries (if the number of websites on vitamins is any indication). As new researches bring out conflicting results, the recommendations about Vitamins continue to swing between ‘just enough’ to mega-dose therapies. Therefore it is important to be aware of what the Vitamins are.

Following is a brief introduction to vitamins and their sources:

Vitamin A: Retinol. Carotene compounds responsible for transmitting light sensation in the retina of the eye. Deficiency leads to night blindness.
Dietary Sources of Retinol
Liver (richest natural source)
Egg yolk
Fish and Liver oils
(Retinol or carotene is added to margarine in Britain and other countries.)

Beta-carotene: An antioxidant that protects cells against oxidation damage that can lead to cancer. Beta carotene is converted, as needed, to Vitamin A. Food sources of beta carotene include vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and other leafy green vegetables; and fruit such as cantaloupes and apricots. Excessive carotene in the diet can temporarily yellow the skin; a condition called carotenemia, commonly seen in infants’ fed largely on mashed carrots.
Dietary Sources of Carotene
Carrots (richest source)
Dark Green leafy vegetables
Some yellow and red fruits
Red palm oil

Vitamin B1: Thiamin, acts as a coenzyme in body metabolism. Deficiency leads to beriberi, a disease of the heart and nervous system. Thiamin is especially important as a supplement for persons with serious liver conditions.

Dietary Sources of Thiamin
Wheat germ, whole meal wheat flour and bread
Yeast, legumes, nuts
Pork, duck Marmite
Oatmeal, fortified breakfast cereals
White bread if flour enriched
Cod’s roe, other meats

Vitamin B2: Riboflavin, essential for the reactions of coenzymes. Deficiency causes inflammation of the lining of the mouth and skin.
Dietary Sources for Riboflavin
Liver, kidney, Milk, yoghurt, cheese
Marmite, wheat germ, meat
Mushrooms, broccoli, avocado
Fortified white flour and breakfast cereals

Vitamin B3: Niacin, an essential part of coenzymes of body metabolism. Deficiency causes inflammation of the skin, vagina, rectum and mouth, as well as mental slowing. Niacin is used in the treatment of cholesterol disorders.
Dietary Sources of Niacin
Liver, kidney
Meat, fish
Yeast (brewer’s), Marmite
Peanuts, bran, legumes
Whole meal wheat

Vitamin B6: Also called pyridoxine, a cofactor for enzymes. Deficiency leads to inflammation of the skin and mouth, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness and anemia. Vitamin B6 can be helpful in certain patients with nerve conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Vitamin B12: An essential factor in nucleic acid synthesis (the genetic material of all cells). Deficiency leads to insufficient and enlarged red blood cells (megaloblastic anemia), as can be seen in pernicious anemia.

Folate (folic acid): Folic acid is an important factor in nucleic acid synthesis (the genetic material of all cells). Deficiency leads to insufficient and enlarged red blood cells (megaloblastic anemia). It is used in some persons as a supplemental therapy to prevent side effects from medications, such as methotrexate (RHEUMATREX) and sulfasalazine (AZULFADINE).


Searchod Sources of Folate
Brussels sprouts
Fortified breakfast cereals
Spinach, asparagus, beetroot
Orange, avocado, melon
Potatoes, cauliflower, peas
Marmite and bovril
Wholemeal bread, parsnips
Dried beans

Vitamin C: Ascorbic acid, important in the synthesis of collagen, the framework protein for tissues of the body, such as those that help to make up the skin. Deficiency leads to scurvy, characterized by fragile capillaries, poor wound healing, and bone deformity in children.
Dietary sources of Vitamin C
Black currents, guavas
Green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower (raw)
Oranges and other citrus fruits
Brussels, sprouts, cabbage
Liver is the only animal food that contains it.

Vitamin D: A steroid vitamin, which promotes absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Under normal conditions of sunlight exposure, no dietary supplementation is necessary because sunlight promotes adequate vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Deficiency can lead to osteomalcia in adults and bone deformity (rickets) in children. Vitamin D is used along with calcium as a supplement in the treatment of the “bone thinning” disorders, osteoporosis.

Dietary sources of Vitamin D
Fish liver oils, e.g.: cod liver oil
Fatty fish, (herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, pilchards, tuna)
Fortified margarine
Infant milk formulas
Eggs, liver

Vitamin E: Deficiency can lead to anemia.

Vitamin K: An essential factor in the formation of blood clotting factors. Deficiency can lead to abnormal bleeding. A helpful supplement for patients with liver conditions that impair the production of the normal blood clotting factors.

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  2. Very good.
    Good description on a wide range of vitamins.

  3. This is an excellent thank you for listing good sources! I’m trying to avoid any type of vitamin deficiency so this is very helpful. There are also a wide variety of supplements and as long as you know what you need for your body, you’ll be fine.

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