July 11, 2024

Vitamins are needed for many biological processes for growth, digestion, mental alertness, and resistance to infections.

They enable our bodies to use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, they go a step further to speed up chemical reactions. 

Vitamins and minerals are the basis for sound health and total development. A lot of us do not get the basic required Vitamins and Minerals, it is seen that a lot lack one or two of these essential materials.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is known as Retinol. It is important for immune system, protection from colds, flu, and infections of the kidney, bladder, lungs, and mucous membrane. More than 40% lack adequate intake of Vitamin A.

Vitamin A protects us against cancer, heart diseases, night blindness and other eye problems, it helps the skin to repair itself. It helps in the formation of bones and teeth.

Mega doses of Vitamin A given to children for two days lowered the number of deaths from measles in hospitalized children under the age of two.

Vitamin A is made available in the body when Beta-carotene derived from food is converted to Vitamin A. the recommended daily intake for an adult is between 2000 and 3000IU (International Units).

It is discovered that Vitamin A and E are very important in guaranteeing longevity for aged people, it is seen that they need these Vitamins in high doses than their younger counterparts.

Sources of Vitamin A

Cod liver oil is seen to contain as much as 200IU of vitamin A per teaspoon. A cup of Fortified skim milk contain 500IU, and 1oz of cheese contain 250IU of Vitamin A.

Sources of beta-carotene

Half cup of boiled carrots contain as much as 3418IU,raw carrot contains as much as 9oooIu,a cup of cantaloupe contain as much as 5400Iu, 1 cup of uncooked spinach contain 2800IU,I cup of sliced mango contain 1262Iu, and peach contain 319IU to name a few.

Vitamin A deficiency

Lack of Vitamin A in the body results in dryness of hair and skin, dry eyes, poor growth, frequent colds, skin disorders, sinusitis, insomnia, fatigue, and respiratory infections.

It is safer to consume beta carotene than Vitamin A because the body will convert it to Vitamin A itself without producing Vitamin A in toxic amounts. Excess Vitamin A may lead to liver damage.

Beta-carotene in excess do not affect the body as the needed quantity is converted to the needed Vitamin A for the body use.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) serves numerous functions in the body, but studies show that 28% of women 19years of age and older do not have adequate intake of this Vitamin.

It is needed for metabolic process of cells, the nervous and immune system needs it to function efficiently. It is vital for more than 100 enzymes involved in protein metabolism.

Vitamin B6 increases the amount of oxygen carried to the body tissues, keeps the blood sugar level in check, and helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

It is found in fortified cereals, fish, poultry, and red meat.

1,3mg is the recommended intake for adults ages 19 to 50 per day, and around 1.6mg for people over 50.

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Skin irritation, headaches, sore tongue, depression, confusion, convulsions, anemia and PMS are some of the signs of Vitamin B6 deficiency.

Deficiency of Vitamin B6 coupled with inadequate Vitamin B12 or folic acid may raise the levels of homocysteine in the blood, homocysteine is a toxic acid which high doses is seen to cause Alzheimer’s diseases.

Be aware not to take too much through supplements as megadoses can harm the body by damaging nerves in arms and legs.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known as ascorbic acid. It is an antioxidant found in both plants and animals. Vitamin C helps to form collagen, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It helps in forming bold clotting and enhancing wound healing.  

90mg per day is recommended for adult men and 75mg is recommended for adult women. Studies have shown than as much as 30% of Americans lack adequate Vitamin C.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Inadequate supply of Vitamin c causes weakness, fatigue, swollen gums, nosebleeds, and scurvy. It is needed in high doses during stress. It reduces the risk of developing cataracts and retinal damage.

It enhances immune function, and decrease the heavy metal toxicity. Increased intake reduces the risk of cancer of the cervix, stomach, colon, and lungs. It helps to reduce bad cholesterol which make build up in arteries. It supports healthy blood pressure.

Sources of Vitamin C

Guava, red bell pepper, papaya, orange, orange, broccoli, strawberries and cantaloupe are quality sources of Vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D (Calciferol) is needed by the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus. It is needed for the growth and development of bones and teeth. It protect against prostate and breast cancer, prevent autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

The higher the amount of Vitamin D levels in the blood, the lower the risk of colon and colorectal cancers. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of Calcium form the small intestine.

More than 20% of children and 95% of adults up to 50 years lack adequate intake of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is easily synthesized by the skin as the body is exposed to UV rays form the sun.

Maximum of 15 minutes in direct sunlight, twice a week is enough to meet the requirement for any individual, however, care should be taken as the skin may develop cancer, so exposure to sun in the early hours of the day.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Osteoporosis and hip fractures are some of the deficiency of Vitamin D, this is common in women.

Vitamin E

Vitamin is also known as tocopherols or tocotrienols. It is an antioxidant which decreases free radical damage of lipid membranes, protects the heart, blood vessels, and tissues of the breast, liver, eyes, skin, and testes.

It decreases blood clotting and the risk of heart diseases.

The basic source of Vitamin E is vegetable oil products like salad dressing, although cold pressed vegetables like extra virgin olive oil contain high volumes.

Vitamin E can also be acquired from dark leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, brown rice, corn meal, eggs, milk, oatmeal, almond, sweet potatoes, and wheat germ.

Vitamin E deficiency

Prolonged inadequate supply may lead to neurological complications such as unsteady gait, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness, peripheral neuropathy, and loss of reflexes.

It can cause infertility, menstrual problems, miscarriages, and shortened red blood cell life span.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is called phylloquinone or menaquinones. They help in blood clotting- a process called coagulation, they regulate the function of Calcium.

They prevent arterial calcification-the ability of losing calcium in bones as one age, and these Calcium is deposited in arteries walls and heart valves, plaguing the arteries to resemble bone.

The presence of Vitamin K in green leafy vegetables helps vegetarians to have low incidence of kidney stones.

Vitamin K is of different types. Vitamin K1 is found in plants and Vitamin K2 is primary produced by a bacteria in the intestine. The body is capable of storing a month’s need of this vitamin.

Vitamin K deficiency

Easy bruising, bleeding, and increased risk of osteoporosis.



Magnesium is needed for processes involving protein, fatty acid, and bone formation. They are important in forming new cells, relaxation of muscles, and blood clotting. It helps form ATP which gives us energy.

They are found to assist in enzyme reactions in the body, prevents muscle spasm, heart attacks, and heart diseases. They help in lowering blood pressure, and ease asthma.

They prevent against osteoporosis and helps regulate the colon and bowels. 400mg is recommended for a person between the ages of 15 and 50.

Magnesium is found in nuts, seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, grains, and legumes. Almonds, halibut, cashews, spinach and black eye peas are healthy sources of Magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency

Inadequate Magnesium causes loss of appetite, fatigue, and nausea. Muscle weakness, irregular heartbeats, leg cramps, insomnia, and eye twitches may occur if the lack is not controlled over time.


Calcium is needed by the body in large amounts. About 99% of the Calcium in the body resides in bones and teeth.

The remaining 1% circulates around the body in blood, carrying out the critical function of regulation muscle and heart contraction, and nerve function.

Calcium helps to develop strong bones and prevent osteoporosis. It also lowers blood pressure. It is seen to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.

Children and teens need as much as 1300mg per day, and adults 19 to 50 years needs 1000mg per day, and adults 51 years and above needs 1200mg per day.

Calcium is found in yoghurt, soy milk, rice milk, turnips, kale, milk, cheddar cheese, tofu, cottage cheese, and spinach.

Calcium Deficiency

Osteopenia and osteoporosis i.e. porous bones may occur as the body draw calcium form the bones to maintain the calcium level in the blood. This makes the bones to lack necessary minerals and mass.

Bone shrinkage of the jawbone and the vertebrae, loss of weight and height are possible to occur as an individual age.


Potassium is needed to maintain good health. It helps to regulate fluids in and out of body cells, makes muscle contract, maintain fluid balance.

Sends nerve impulses, and release energy from food. Potassium is needed to regulate blood pressure, neuromuscular function, and acidity level.

It is discovered that a lot of Americans do not consume enough potassium because of our diet as we consume foods high in Sodium but lacking Potassium.

Fruits and vegetables are rich source of potassium, which are absent from our daily diet.

Potassium is one of the main electrolytes in the body with Sodium and Chloride. The three play an important role in every function of the body.

Vegetables, meat, fish, potatoes, avocadoes, dried apricots, bananas, citrus juice, dairy products, tomatoes, carrot, soy beans, banana, bran and whole grains are wonderful sources of potassium.

Potassium deficiency (hypokalemia)

Consuming too much of salt tends to lower the rate at which the body store Potassium. This results in high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, dry skin, insomnia, fatigue, and asthma among others.


Ensuring adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals is crucial for maintaining optimal health and well-being.

By incorporating a diverse and balanced diet, considering dietary supplements when necessary, and consulting with healthcare professionals, individuals can better support their bodies’ needs and thrive in today’s demanding world.

Remember, taking care of your body today sets the foundation for a healthier tomorrow.


Miller S. (2006). Vitamins and minerals. RN69(10), 37–44.

Vannucchi H. (1991). Interaction of vitamins and minerals. Archivos latinoamericanos de nutricion41(1), 9–18.

Mitra, S., Paul, S., Roy, S., Sutradhar, H., Bin Emran, T., Nainu, F., Khandaker, M. U., Almalki, M., Wilairatana, P., & Mubarak, M. S. (2022). Exploring the Immune-Boosting Functions of Vitamins and Minerals as Nutritional Food Bioactive Compounds: A Comprehensive Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)27(2), 555. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27020555

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