Adult Vitamin Reviews        Children Vitamin Reviews

Vitamin Dictionary

Vitamins and minerals make people's bodies work properly. Although you get vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat every day, some foods have more vitamins and minerals than others. Vitamins work together with enzymes in chemical reactions that release energy from digested food and regulate billions of chemical activities that occur in the body every minute.  There are two basic categories of vitamins; Fat-Soluble and Water-Soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins (e.g. A,D,E & K) dissolve in fat and can be stored in the body's fatty tissue and in the liver. Therefore it is important to observe toxicity guidelines for these vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins (e.g. B's & C) need to dissolve in water before your body can absorb them. These vitamins are not stored in the body so they must be replenished on a daily basis.

Whereas vitamins are organic substances (made by plants or animals), minerals are inorganic elements that come from the soil and water and are absorbed by plants or eaten by animals. Your body needs larger amounts of some minerals, such as calcium, to grow and stay healthy. Other minerals like chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc are called trace minerals because you only need very small amounts of them each day.


Vitamin A and Beta Carotene (Retinol, Carotene)

What it is:
Vitamin A is the anti-infection vitamin. Fat soluble, this first of the vitamin alphabet is a product of plant and animal life. It needs fats and minerals to be adequately absorbed into the body.

Where to find it:
Apricots, cantaloupes, broccoli, carrots, eggs, fish-liver oil, sweet potatoes, dark green vegetables, yellow squash, mi1k, butter, cheese, and yogurt contain substantial quantities of vitamin A.

What it does for you:

  • It is crucial for the proper utilization of protein.
  • Stored in the liver, it helps purify the bloodstream.
  • It helps maintain healthy skin and is used in the treatment of acne.
  • It prevents night blindness and is prescribed for eye disorders.
  • It protects the body from bacterial and viral infections.
  • It keeps skin and tissues healthy.
  • It is thought to be of value in retarding cancer growth.
  • It helps to maintain healthy thyroid balance.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Niacin, C, D, E, pantothenic acid, zinc

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, cortisone, mineral oil, nitrates 

Results of Deficiencies:
Eye problems; night blindness; chronic infections.

Vitamin D (calciferol, ergosterol, viosterol)

What it is:
A fat-soluble substance, vitamin D is called the "sunshine" vitamin. When sunlight strikes the skin, it interacts with body oils and produces vitamin D, which is absorbed by the body. Vitamin D increases the production of ant-microbial peptides which are broad spectrum antibiotics.

Where to find it:
Fish (cod liver) oils, seafood such as tuna, salmon. and herring all contain abundant quantities of vitamin D. So do milk, cheese, and yogurt.

What it does for you:
  • Builds strong bones and teeth.

  • Protects against virus infections such as the common cold.

  • May be stored in the liver and skin.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin A, C, calcium, phosphorus

Negative Interactions:
Mineral oil  

Results of Deficiencies:
Skeletal malformations; retarded growth in children; softening of bones and teeth in adults.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

What it is:
The technical name for vitamin E - tocopherol - comes from tokos, the Greek word for "childbirth;" pherein, meaning "bring forth," and ol for "oil" - the "oil of fertility."

Where to find it:
Fresh, whole-grain wheat products are the best sources of vitamin E. It is also found in many vegetable oils (but not olive oil), especially when the oils have not been heated to extreme temperatures. There is also some vitamin E in liver, beans and peas, butter, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.

What It does for you:
  • Enhances muscle functioning.

  • Improves circulation.

  • Guards against clotting.

  • Heightens sexual activity.

  • Lessens fatigue.

  • Guards against heart attack.

  • Beneficial effects in the premature newborn infant.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin C, B12, manganese, selenium

Negative Interactions:
Air pollution, mineral oil, birth control pills

Results of Deficiencies:
Coronary thrombosis; fatigue; blood clotting; oxygen-starved cells with a propensity toward cancer.

Vitamin K

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):

Negative Interactions:
Aspirin, antibiotics, mineral oil, rancid fat, X ray therapy

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) B Complex Factor

What it is:
Thiamin was the first B vitamin to be discovered. It is found mostly in plant life and is water soluble.

Where to find it:
Whole-grain cereals and breads, wheat germ, dried yeast, milk, oatmeal, fresh pork, vegetables, soybeans, and peanuts all are rich sources of B1.

What It does for you:

  • Promotes a healthy nervous system.
  • Fosters a healthy mental outlook.
  • Retards motion sickness.
  • Can improve learning.
  • Necessary for growth and appetite.
  • Aids in the functioning of the digestive tract.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
B-complex, B12, and C

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, excessive sugar, tobacco. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient

Result of Deficiencies:
Stunted growth; nervousness

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) B Complex Factor

What it is:
Riboflavin provides biochemical reactions necessary for the cells to live. It is water soluble and must be ingested daily.

Where to find it:
Brewer's yeast, chicken liver, fish, mi1k, cheese, eggs, beans, nuts, green leafy vegetables, plums, and prunes offer the body riboflavin.

What it does for you:

  • Helps to convert protein into energy.
  • With vitamin A, it maintains mucous membranes lining the respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and excretory tracts.
  • Fosters health in the nervous system, skin and eyes.
  • Helps to control the development of the fetus.
  • Can be stored in the heart, kidney, and liver tissues.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): 
Vitamin A, niacin, B-complex, B1.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, sugar, tobacco. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient.

Results of Deficiencies:
Can lead to personality disorders; fatigue, loss of appetite, upset stomach, anxiety, hypertension, and lesions of the lips, mouth, eyes, skin, and genitals.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinic acid, Nicotinamide) B Complex Factor

What it is:
This vitamin results from the interaction of intestinal flora with the amino acid tryptophan.

Where to find it:
Foods yielding B3 include beef liver, chicken, pork, lamb, veal, roasted peanuts, swordfish, tuna, halibut and yeast.

What it does for you:
  • Assists in the digestion of fats and the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
  • Can reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides associated with heart and circulatory diseases.
  • Help to prevent senility.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
B-complex, B1, B2 B6, tryptophan.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, sugar, antibiotics. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient.

Results of Deficiencies:
Pellagra, a depletion disease resulting in a skin rash, dementia, and severe diarrhea; irritability, headaches, loss of memory, appetite suppression; observed frequently among alcoholics, diabetics, cancer victims, and sufferers from chronic diarrhea.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) B Complex Factor

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Folic acid, biotin, b-complex.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine) B Complex Factor

What it is:
Vitamin B6 is essential for the metabolism of amino acid proteins.

Where to find it:
Bananas are a good source of pyridoxine, along with beef liver, chicken, pork, brewer's yeast, peanuts, herring, mackerel, salmon, soybeans, and walnuts. The heat of cooking is destructive to this vitamin.

What it does for you:
  • Necessary for the metabolism of proteins and fats.

  • Governs the formation and function of niacin, red blood cells, bile salts, and numerous hormones, including those involved with growth, human sexuality, and skeletal structure.

  • Helps to prevent dental decay by maintaining teeth and facial bones.

  • Maintains the chemical balance of body fluids and regulates excretion of water, energy production, and resistance to stress.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin C, biotin, pantothenic acid niacin, magnesium.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, tobacco, birth control pills. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient.

Results of Deficiencies:
Sores of the skin, lips, and tongue; anemia, convulsions, white blood-cell dysfunctions and hypertensive symptoms; blood disorders and mental retardation commonly occur as effects of prenatal deprivation.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin, Cyanocobalamin) B Complex Factor

What it is:
Cobalamin is essential for the normal functioning of all body cells - particularly those in the bone marrow, the nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract.

Were to find it:
In food it is found in the liver and kidney of lamb, pork, beef, and veal, egg yolk, crab, salmon, sardines, herring, and oysters.

What it does for you:
  • It regulates the formation of red blood cells and genetic materials.

  • Maintains the health of nerve-cell membranes, tissue membranes, the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and growth hormones.

  • Is entirely excreted from the body within six days.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Folic acid, a, B1 B6, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, tobacco, calcium deficiency.  

Results of Deficiencies:
Pernicious anemia, blood weakness, paralysis, and blindness; vegetarians who eat no meat, milk, or eggs are especially vulnerable to this anemia; degeneration of the nerves and spinal cord; memory loss, paranoia and fluctuations in mood.

Folic Acid (Folacin, Folate) B Complex Factor

What it is:
Small amounts of this vitamin are synthesized by intestinal bacteria.

Where to find it:
The name is derived from the word foliage because it is found in green-leaved vegetation. The principal sources are kidneys, liver, the heart of beef, lamb, pork, and chicken, asparagus, bran, tuna, yeast, and spinach.

What it does for you:
  • Maintains the nervous system, intestinal tract, sex organs, white blood cells, and normal patterns of growth.

  • A natural analgesic or painkiller.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin C, B6, B12, niacin

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, oral contraceptives, tobacco, sulfa drugs. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient.  

Results of Deficiencies:
Pernicious anemia; disruption of cell and tissue functions; the use of oral contraceptives increase the need for the vitamin.

Choline - B Complex Factor

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin A, B-complex, inositol, folic acid.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, sugar.

Inositol - B Complex Factor

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):

Choline, B-complex, and B12.

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee  

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid, Sodium ascorbate)

What it is:
Vitamin C strengthens blood vessels and helps hold the body's cells together.

Where to find it:
Cantaloupes, cherries, citrus fruits (whole are best,) tomatoes, parsley, green peppers, cabbage, guava, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, and potatoes are the chief sources of vitamin C.

What it does for you:

  • Protects other vitamins and body tissues from injury caused by poisons and pollution.

  • Promotes healing of surgical wounds and helps to alleviate surgical shock.

  • Helps the body to absorb iron.

  • Helps the body to form bones, teeth, and cartilage.

  • Assists the adrenal glands and ovaries to produce various hormones.

  • Regulates normal body growth, heals wounds, and eases bodily stress.

  • Stimulates the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.

  • There is growing evidence that C may help to prevent stomach cancer.

  • Increases resistance to viral and bacterial infections as well as to other infectious diseases.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin A, B6, pantothenic acid, zinc.

Negative Interactions:
Antibiotics, aspirin, stress cortisone. Physical and mental stress depletes this nutrient. 

Results of Deficiencies:
Easy bruising, hemorrhaging, and tissue swelling (edema). Such enervation undermines dental strength and invites bacterial infection; lethargy and general malaise; frequent virus infections with complications following even the common cold.


Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin A, B2, B6, niacin

Negative Interactions:
Alcohol, coffee, raw egg white, antibiotics.

Calcium is vital for building strong bones and teeth. The time to build strong bones
                   is during childhood and the teen years, so it's very important to get enough calcium
                   now to fight against bone loss later in life. Weak bones are susceptible to a condition
                   called osteoporosis, which causes bones to break easily.
    Sources: Milk and other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are good sources
                  of calcium. You'll also find this mineral in broccoli and dark green, leafy vegetables. Soy foods
                  and foods fortified with calcium, including some kinds of orange juice and soy milk, are also good
Requirements: Teens need 1300 mg (milligrams) of calcium each day; Adults should get 1200-1500 mg/day,
                             young children (4-10) need 200-800 mg/day.  Supplementation is advisable.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
Vitamin A, C, D, phosphorus
    Negative Interactions: Excess saturated fat in diet

Chromium is an essential mineral known to potentiate insulin action. Recent reviews of chromium
                   supplementation in humans have shown chromium to improve the efficiency of insulin and blood lipid
                   profiles in most test subjects. Chromium is believed to exert this action by binding with nicotinic acid
                   and amino acids (e.g. glutathione: glutamate, cysteine, and glycine) to form an organic complex called
                   glucose tolerance factor (GTF). GTF is thought to initiate the disulfide bridge that allows insulin to bind
                   to its receptor on cell membrane surfaces. The exact structure of GTF is not known, but complexes with
                   good biological activity have been synthesized from chromium, niacin, and glutathione.
    Sources: Whole grains, broccoli, grapes, oranges, brown sugar, meats, black pepper, brewer’s yeast, cheese.
50 -300 mcg/day. Since dietary chromium is poorly absorbed, adverse effects are not seen with
                            typical dietary and supplemental intakes.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Insulin
    Negative Interactions: Excess iron

Copper is essential for enzymes involved in metabolic reactions that consume oxygen or oxygen radicals.
                   Copper functions as an antioxidant with the copper-requiring enzyme
superoxide dismutase, which protects
                   cell membranes from free radical damage. In addition, oxidation of ferrous iron to ferric iron (a reaction needed
                   for hemoglobin synthesis) requires copper. Lysyl oxidase is another copper-requiring enzyme necessary for
                   synthesizing collagen and healing wounds.
                   Copper is also needed in reactions related to respiration and the release of energy. Recent research indicates
                   a role of dietary copper in reducing heart disease by significantly affecting the composition and progression of
                   atherosclerotic lesions.

Oysters, other shellfish, nuts, cherries, cocoa, mushrooms, gelatin, whole grains, eggs, fish, legumes.
    Requirements: 1.5 – 25 mg
/day. Copper is relatively nontoxic to most mammals, including humans. An FAO/WHO
                            Expert Committee specified intakes of 0.5mg per kg body weight as safe, or ~25mg per day for a typical adult.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Iron, zinc, cobalt
    Negative Interactions: Exctype="text/javascript"> ipt type="text/javascript"> ipt type="text/javascript"> zinc and vitamin C decrease copper absorption.

Iodine is a key component of the hormone thyroxine produced by the thyroid gland. Thyroxine is important in general
                   metabolism regulation and in normal fetal development. Iodine deficiency can lead to an enlargement of the thyroid
                   gland (otherwise known as
goiter), as well as other related disorders. Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy may
cretinism (a form of mental retardation) in the baby. Less severe deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to
                   lesser degrees of neurological damage, which are generally manifested as poor cognitive performance and hearing
                   impairment. These conditions are rare in the U.S. as iodine is easily accessible, especially from iodized salt.

Spinach, lobster, shrimp, oysters, milk, bread, various fruits & vegetables, legumes and iodized salt.
150 mcg/day. Although cases of intolerance to levels around 2,000 mcg have been reported, humans can
                            generally tolerate levels exceeding 10,000 to 20,000 mcg per day.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Unknown
    Negative Interactions:

Magnesium helps muscles and nerves function, steadies the heart rhythm, and keeps bones strong.
                   It also helps the body create energy and make proteins.
    Sources: You get magnesium from whole grains and whole-grain breads, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables,
                   potatoes, sea food, beans, avocados, bananas, milk, and chocolate.
    Requirements: 300-600 mg/day. The recommended dietary allowance for magnesium is 400mg/day for men and
                            310mg/day for women. Excessive intake can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, but no adverse
                            effect has been seen for long-term consumption of amounts less than or equal to 700mg/day.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): B6, C, calcium, phosphorus.
    Negative Interactions: Excess iron

Manganese performs a number of essential roles in cellular function and human metabolism. At the
                   biochemical level, manganese functions both as a constituent of metallo-enzymes and as an enzyme
                   activator. It is an important constituent of an enzyme called manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD)
                   which helps protect tissues against oxidative damage. At the physiological level, manganese is associated
                   with a diverse set of functions established through scientific work done on manganese deficiencies in animal
                   models. Results indicate that a manganese deficiency may contribute to bone and joint abnormalities,
                   impaired pancreatic function, ataxia, reduced growth, impaired reproductive performance, and abnormal
                   carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

Nuts, whole grains, legumes, tea, coffee, dried fruits, spinach, green leafy vegetables.
2 - 10 mg/day. While manganese is abundant and widely distributed in nature, it is required only in
                            trace amounts in the body.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With):
    Negative Interactions: Alcohol, coffee, cortisone, diuretics, excess sugar

Phosphorus helps form healthy bones and teeth. It also helps the body make energy. It is part
                   of every cell membrane, and every cell in the body needs phosphorus to function normally.

Phosphorus is found in most foods, but the best sources are dairy foods, meat, and fish.
800-1200 mg/day. Phosphorous is easily supplied in adequate amounts in a typical diet.
                            Phosphorous is necessary for optimal bone health, but its intake must be balanced with
                            dietary calcium. Too much phosphorous can impair calcium absorption and negatively
                            affect bone health. National Health Surveys (
NHANES) have consistently shown Americans
                            to be adequate in phosphorous across all age groups. Some age groups average almost
                            twice the recommended amount.

Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, vitamins A and D
    Negative Interactions: Excess can cause calcium loss

Potassium helps with muscle and nervous system function. It also helps the body maintain the
                   balance of water in the blood and body tissues.

Potassium is found in broccoli, potatoes (with skins), green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, bananas,
                   dried fruits, and legumes such as peas and lima beans.

3000-6000 mg/day. Because most people consume an adequate amount of potassium every day,
                            the average American is not in need of supplemental potassium. The richest dietary sources of
                            potassium are unprocessed foods, especially fruits, many vegetables, and fresh meats. However,
                            some potassium can be found in nearly all foods.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Sodium
    Negative Interactions: Mercury, cadmium

Selenium is a trace element that functions as part of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, a vital antioxidant
                   enzyme system that protects cell membranes. Selenium deficiency has been linked to Kashin-Beck's disease
                   and Keshan disease.
    Sources: Meats, whole grain, dairy products, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, Brazil nuts.
100 - 300 mcg. The RDA for selenium is 55 mcg per day for men and women, 60 mcg per day for pregnant
                             women, 20-40 mcg per day for children, and 40-55 mcg per day for adolescents. No adverse effects have
                             been observed for selenium intakes under 750 mcg/d, but consumption of very large amounts can lead to
                             negative effects on hair, nails, skin, and teeth.
    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Vitamin E
    Negative Interactions: Coffee, excess zinc or copper

Zinc is important for normal growth, strong immunity, prostate and wound healing.
You'll find zinc in red meat, poultry, oysters and other seafood, nuts, dried beans, soy foods, milk and
                   other dairy products, whole grains, and fortified breakfast cereals.

15 - 30 mg/day. High intakes of zinc for an extended period of time can negatively affect copper absorption.
                            Generally, zinc intake is considered completely safe at levels below 60mg/day.

    Synergistic Nutrients (Works With): Calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, C. Vitamin D increases absorption.
    Negative Interactions: Competes for absorption with iron, calcium, and magnesium.



Adult Vitamin Reviews        Children Vitamin Reviews

Nutrition for Children, Teens & Adults