A Guide To Essential Vitamins

Our bodies require a wide assortment of vitamins to keep us healthy and produce energy from the foods we eat. Instead of taking supplements, we can boost our intake of vitamins by eating a balanced diet.

A healthy body needs a balanced and diverse diet, one rich in nutrients to provide it with the essential vitamins it needs to operate at its peak performance.

Here is a guide to which foods supply the vitamins our bodies require:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A takes place in the form of retinol from animal sources (fish oil and eggs) and as beta-carotene from vegetable and fruit (particularly yellow and orange) sources.

Retinol can be used right away in the body or stored in the liver (for use in the future) while beta-carotene can be transformed into vitamin A in both the liver and intestine.

Vitamin A can be found in the following foods: apricots, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, egg, fish liver oil, mango, melon, papayas, squash, sweet potatoes, tangerines and tomatoes.

Vitamin A is needed for: antioxidant action (fight free radicals), healthy cell renewal, healthy skin (help prevent signs of premature aging), immune system, and night vision.

WARNINGS: Retinol can be toxic in high doses. While beta-carotene is safe taken during pregnancy (do not exceed 3000mcg), retinol should be avoided.

The B Vitamins

The B vitamins are water-soluble and any surplus is expelled from the body and not stored. Therefore, supplies must be restored often. The B vitamins balance each other and are more effective taken together than alone:


B1 (Thiamine) 
Found in asparagus, brown rice, cauliflower, oatmeal, pork, whole grains, and zucchini. 
Combating depression, digestion, energy production, growth, and nervous system. 
B2 (Riboflavin)  
Found in almonds, bean sprouts, broccoli, cabbage cheese, cress, eggs, fish, kidney, liver, milk, pumpkin, and seaweed. 
Healthy eyes, hair, nails and skin, and for the release of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. 
Vitamin B1 is not toxic but high doses can result in loss of other B vitamins in your urine.
B3 (Niacin) 
Found in nuts, potatoes, chicken, lamb, salmon, tuna, turkey, mushrooms, zucchini and whole wheat. The body can also produce its own vitamin B3 from the amino acid tryptophan.  
To balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels, brain function, healthy skin, and your digestive tract.  
Doses over 50mg a day can affect blood pressure or damage the liver.
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Found in alfalfa sprouts, bran, broccoli, brown rice, brussel sprouts, chicken, peas, eggs, raw nuts, liver, squash and wheat germ. Extra supplies of vitamin B5 can be manufactured in the body.
Anti-stress hormones, energy production, fat metabolism, healthy skin, nerves, brain and muscles.
None but certain medications or a diet high in processed foods can impair the body’s natural ability to make B5.
B6 (Pyridoxine)
Found in beef, bananas, cabbage, eggs, liver, pork, peppers, wheat germ and walnuts. Extra supplies of vitamin B6 can be manufactured in the body.
Balancing hormones in women, cell renewal, digestion, healthy skin and immune system.
High doses can cause neurological damage.
B9 (Folic Acid)
Found in apricots, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, liver, green leafy vegetables and liver. Intestinal bacteria can also produce its own supply.
Appetite, digestion, prevention of anemia and protecting the nervous system of a fetus while pregnant. Folic acid is vital for the healthy development of infants. Women trying to become pregnant should eat a diet rich in foods containing folic acid.
Supplements can be dangerous if taken with epilepsy medication.
B12 (Cobalamin)
Found in chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, liver, herring, liver, milk, salmon, oysters, sardines and seaweed. Can be stored in the liver for years and deficiency is rare.
Appetite, energy, the nervous system and the production of red blood cells.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) cannot be made inside the body and not enough can be stored. It is important to eat foods containing vitamin C every day.

Vitamin C can be found in the following foods: grapefruit, lemons, oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, melons, kale, peppers, red cabbage, corn and peas.

Vitamin C is needed for: hormone production and the production of collages, healthy skin, immune system and wound healing.

WARNINGS: May cause diarrhea if taken in excess and high doses can reduce the efficiency of the contraceptive pill.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D (calciferol) can be produced by the skin when exposed to the Sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Vitamin D can be stored in the body, but during the winter months, when you don’t get much sun exposure, it’s a good idea to eat foods rich in vitamin D.


Vitamin D can be found in the following foods: cottage cheese, eggs, herring, margarine, mackerel, salmon, tuna and milk.


Vitamin D is needed for: blood clotting, muscles, retaining calcium for healthy teeth and bones, the nervous system.


WARNINGS: High doses of vitamin D may be potentially toxic.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E (tocopherol) is a powerful antioxidant and fights destructive free radicals that cause damage to cells. Antioxidants also help battle the aging effects of stress on the body. Vitamin E offers protection against numerous conditions like arthritis and cancer. It is also beneficial when applied to the skin’s surface.

Vitamin E is stored in the body for only a short time, so boost your intake often.

Vitamin E can be found in the following foods: almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes and whole grains.

Vitamin E is needed for: antioxidant action, healthy skin, fertility and preventing blood clots.

WARNINGS: Vitamin E can interfere with anticoagulant medications and insulin.

Vitamin K

Only a small amount of vitamin K is stored in the body, however, production in the intestines can be promoted by eating certain fools like yogurt. Vitamin K is destroyed by freezing so, try to eat fresh vegetables instead of frozen.

Vitamin K can be found in the following foods: broccoli, cabbage, leafy vegetables, liver, cauliflower and tomatoes.

Vitamin K is needed for: healthy teeth and bones and control blood clotting.

WARNINGS: Vitamin K can interfere with anticoagulant medications.

How do you get your daily serving of vitamins?

  • I eat healthy and get my vitamins from food sources.
  • I don't have time to eat healthy so I take supplements.
  • I try to eat healthy but take supplements too.
  • I have no idea! I don't really eat healthy and I never take supplements.
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Comments 8 comments

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hey Pat, this is a well organized hub, How are you dear! Maita

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Hello Maita! Always happy when you stop by - put's a smile on my face :D

I'm fine, thank you for asking. Miss my HP friends and wish I had more time to spend with you guys. I feel like I'm missing so much! Just not enough hours in the day but I am managing to participate in the contest every once in a while. Now I just got to catch up with what all the hubbers are doing.

Hope all is well with you and I really appreciate you being the first one here. As always, you rock!!!!!! I will be talking to you soon. Pattie

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

Thanks for the information, very interesting and easy to read.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Pat, how are you, thanks for your congratulatory note for me at the forum, hmm, you know what my other account here at HP was nominated for the health hub this week, alexandriaruthk, if you have time, I know youre very busy, check it out and if you have time, you can consider me, Thank you Patti, and you rest, youre busy and write some more, your hubs are always laid out nicely, intelligent hubs, Maita

Patti, look at this site if you have time to vote, then if you vote consider me, hehe http://hubpages.com/health deadline for voting is until wednesday 12 pm, Cali time, YEHEY, thank you Morning, Maita

alexandriaruthk profile image

alexandriaruthk 6 years ago from US

hey Pat, I can always count on you, thank you!

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Thank you dear, alexandriaruthk won!

fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

Excellent hub , great info about vitamin K I didn't know that the vitamins are destroyed when frozen. Really good to know, I won't be freezing my yogurt. Thanks so much.

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thank you jayjay40 & fishtiger58! I'm so glad you both liked my hub and your comments are much appreciated!!!

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