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List of vitamins: reference guide of vitamins and its properties

List of Vitamins and Supplements. Water and Fat Soluble Vitamins

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In this article we will make a list of vitamins and supplements, what chemical names are they known by, explain what is the difference between fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. What benefits they have for human health and some tips to know in which cases you will benefit from their health properties, which sources you should trust when taking vitamin supplements and what to do if you have vitamin deficiencies.

This article is best viewed using the list of vitamins and supplements below as a reference to nutrition articles like part II and III of the Health and Nutrition series.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

List of vitamins and supplements: excess fat soluble vitamins are stored in our body fat deposits and liver
Excess fat soluble vitamins are stored in our body fat deposits and liver

As their name suggest they are soluble in any type of fat we take from our diets. When our stomach detects a good amount of fats it secretes lipase, an enzyme that breaks fats into tinier globules and closes the stomach’s pylorus, that is the valve that connects it to the small intestine, for a longer time than normal.

That gives time to properly digest the fats and then the fat soluble vitamins are absorbed by those fat globules that later travel through the small intestines and absorbed into our blood circulation. These fat-soluble vitamins then can be stored in our fat deposits and the liver when they are not in use.

Because of this characteristic is harder to experience deficiencies in these types of vitamins if a person has a healthy weight. We don’t need a regular intake of fat soluble vitamins since only a small amount of them are necessary and the body can access stored amounts in case of need. That’s why in the past, only with severe and prolonged malnutrition, the population experienced cases of rickets, hyperkeratosis, osteomalacia, etc.

Water soluble Vitamins

List of vitamins and supplements: excess water soluble vitamins are easily excreted in the urine
Excess water soluble vitamins are easily excreted in the urine

These vitamins dissolve in water, out of and in our bodies. That why adding lemon or rose hip to a hot tea is a known and traditional remedy for common cold.

Water soluble vitamins, contrary to what happen with fat soluble vitamins, cannot be stored in our bodies so any excess that our cells don’t immediately use is excreted through this water contained in our bodies, most often our urine.

That’s an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time because many of the water soluble vitamins don’t have a toxic dosage or is very high so there a low risk of hypervitaminosis. Nevertheless in the next list of vitamins and supplements all toxic dosages are listed.

On the other hand the disadvantage is that these water soluble vitamins require a regular intake to not experience deficiencies. As an example that’s why sea officers put much effort and care in having citruses and other sources of vitamin C on board as scurvy was a common malady for seamen in past centuries.

If You Have a Vitamin Deficiency Should You Take Vitamin Supplements?

In one word “No”. You shouldn’t except cases of extreme deficiency, why? because the field of vitamin supplements have become a no man’s land, a grey area, where the laws and regulations are dangerously lax in my opinion.

In my experience I’ve seen brands which sold vitamin B6 supplements with a six, 6 times larger dose than the upper intake level. When it is known that at toxic doses B6 can produce nerve damage.

Another disadvantage of synthetic supplements is that they sometimes offer vitamins in a configuration that is poorly or non absorbed by the human body but is much cheaper to develop than the bio-compatible form. Always the best and most reliable form of vitamin intake is through a good and varied diet.

If you have deficiencies, first you should see if there are nutritional gaps in your diet or have a professional diagnose if you have a disease that could impair your capacity to absorb vitamins.

List of Vitamins and Supplements

 

Vitamin A

 

List of vitamins and supplements: carrots, source of vitamin A
Carrot juice

Vitamin Chemical Name

Retinol, retinal, and four carotenoids including beta carotene.

Solubility

Fat soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

900 µg. (micro-grams)

Upper intake level

3,000 µg.

Deficiency diseases

Reddish eruptions on the face, unusual hair loss, night blindness, hyperkeratosis, that is a thickening of the horny layer of the skin, and keratomalacia characterized by softening and subsequent ulceration and perforation of the cornea. Hardened red and white pimples in cheeks, arms and tights. Chronic, unusual tiredness. Tendency to fall ill very often. Bleeding gums.

Overdose diseases

Hypervitaminosis A.

Food sources

Liver, orange, ripe yellow fruits, leafy vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, squash, spinach, fish, soy milk, milk.

Health effects

Vision, gene transcription, immune function, embryonic development and reproduction, bone metabolism, haematopoiesis, skin and cellular health, antioxidant, teeth, mucous membrane.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin Chemical Name

Thiamine.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

1.2 mg.

Upper intake level

N/D (such high dose that is probably non toxic in most cases, normally excreted).

Deficiency diseases

Beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Insomnia, chronic fatigue and weakness, poor muscle strength, unusual depression and bad temper, unusual weight loss, heart and gastrointestinal problems.

Overdose diseases

Drowsiness or muscle relaxation with large doses.

Food sources

Pork, oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, potatoes, liver, eggs.

Health effects

Catabolism of sugars and amino acids. Produced by our gut flora and ingested through diet. It is thought it may play a role in the fermentation processes of our flora.

Vitamin B2

healthy-foods-to-eat-asparagus

Vitamin Chemical Name

Riboflavin.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

1.3 mg.

Upper intake level

N/D.

Deficiency diseases

Ariboflavinosis, glossitis (tongue inflammation), angular stomatitis, that is inflamed cracks in the corners of the mouth. Tongue or mouth ulcers, red and sore eyes, unusually greasy hair, dermatitis.

Overdose diseases

N/D.

Food sources

Dairy products, bananas, popcorn, green beans, asparagus.

Health effects

Required for the synthesis of organic forms of vitamin A, B3, B6, folate, glutathione.

Vitamin B3

List of vitamins and supplements: meat, source of vitamin B3

Vitamin Chemical Name

Niacin, niacinamide, Nicotinamide riboside.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

16.0 mg.

Upper intake level

35.0 mg.

Deficiency diseases

Cracks in the corners of the mouth, Pellagra, a sickness which its symptoms include; inflammation of the skin, diarrhea, dementia and sores in the mouth among others. Headache, lack of energy, bad breath, anxiety, ulcers, poor appetite and intestinal problems.

Overdose diseases

Liver damage (doses > 2g/day) and other problems.

Food sources

Meat, fish, eggs, many vegetables, mushrooms, tree nuts.

Health effects

Primarily used to treat hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and pellagra. Insufficient niacin in the diet can cause nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches, and tiredness. The lack of niacin may also be observed in pandemic deficiency disease.

In animal models and in vitro, niacin produces marked anti-inflammatory effects in a variety of tissues – including the brain, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and vascular tissue.

Vitamin B5

healthy foods to eat broccoli and carrots

Vitamin Chemical Name

Pantothenic acid.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

5.0 mg.

Upper intake level

10 mg.

Deficiency diseases

Paresthesia, that is a set of unusual sensations; especially tingle, itching, numbness and burning. Tiredness, cardiac arrhythmia, nausea and insomnia.

Overdose diseases

Diarrhea; possibly nausea and heartburn.

Food sources

Meat, broccoli, avocados.

Health effects

Alleviation of conditions like asthma, hair loss, allergies, stress and anxiety, respiratory disorders and heart problems. It also helps to boost immunity, reduce osteoarthritis and signs of aging, increase resistance to various types of infections, stimulate physical growth, and manage diabetes and skin disorders.

Vitamin B6

List of vitamins and supplements: bananas, source of vitamin B6

Vitamin Chemical Name

Pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

1.3–1.7 mg.

Upper intake level

100 mg.

Deficiency diseases

Anemia, insomnia, peripheral neuropathy. Paresthesia. Skin problems, hair loss and fluid retention.

Overdose diseases

Impairment of proprioception, that is, unconscious perception of the movements and position of the body, also produces nerve damage (doses > 100 mg/day).

Food sources

Meat, vegetables, tree nuts, bananas.

Health effects

Is involved in many aspects of macro-nutrient metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, histamine synthesis, hemoglobin synthesis and function, and gene expression.

PLP generally serves as a coenzyme (co-factor) for many reactions including decarboxylation, transamination, racemization, elimination, replacement, and beta-group inter-conversion.

Vitamin B7

List of vitamins and supplements: egg yolk, source of vitamin B7

Vitamin Chemical Name

Biotin.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

30.0 µg.

Upper intake level

N/D.

Deficiency diseases

Reddish eruptions on the face, unusual hair loss, dermatitis, enteritis (inflammation of the intestinal mucous membrane).

Overdose diseases

N/D

Food sources

Raw egg yolk, liver, peanuts, leafy green vegetables.

Health effects

Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. Biotin assists in various metabolic reactions involving the transfer of carbon dioxide.

It may also be helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Biotin is often recommended as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair and nails, though scientific data supporting this outcome are weak.

Vitamin B9

List of vitamins and supplements: liver, source of vitamin B9

Vitamin Chemical Name

Folic acid, folinic acid, also called Folate.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

400 µg.

Upper intake level

1,000 µg.

Deficiency diseases

Megaloblastic anemia and deficiency during pregnancy is associated with birth defects, such as neural tube defects. Paresthesia.

Overdose diseases

May mask symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency; other effects.

Food sources

Leafy vegetables, pasta, bread, cereal, liver.

Health effects

It promotes fertility in both sexes and is used as a supplement by women to prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy. Also prevents anemia and may increase the risk of cancer. Helps with depression related to shortage of folate and macular degeneration.

Vitamin B12

List of vitamins and supplements: dairy products, source of vitamin B12

Vitamin Chemical Name

Cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

2.4 µg.

Upper intake level

N/D

Deficiency diseases

Cracks in the corners of the mouth, Pernicious anemia, that is a deficiency of red blood cells. Paresthesia. Tiredness, diarrhea, poor balance, depression, poor appetite, nerve inflammation and pain in the mouth and tongue.

Overdose diseases

Acne-like rash [causality is not conclusively established].

Food sources

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk.

Health effects

Has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. It is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, especially affecting DNA synthesis, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism.

Choline

List of vitamins and supplements: shellfish, source of vitamin Choline

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

400 mg.

Upper intake level

3500 mg.

Deficiency diseases

Liver disease, atherosclerosis (arteries wall weakening), and possibly neurological disorders.

Overdose diseases

Increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Food sources

Liver, eggs, cauliflower, mushrooms, shellfish, asparagus.

Health effects

Reduces risk of Neural Tube Defects and Fatty Liver Disease. Improves asthma.

Vitamin C

List of vitamins and supplements: assorted fruits, source of vitamin C

Vitamin Chemical Name

Ascorbic acid.

Solubility

Water soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

90.0 mg.

Upper intake level

2 g.

Deficiency diseases

Scurvy, an illness which symptoms include; weakness, feeling tired, changes to hair, sore arms and legs, especially in the joints, gum disease, easy bleeding, ease to form bruises, digestive problems.

Overdose diseases

Vitamin C mega-dosage.

Food sources

Many fruits and vegetables, liver.

Health effects

Vitamin C is a co-factor in at least eight enzymatic reactions, including several collagen synthesis reactions that, when dysfunctional, cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy.

In animals, these reactions are especially important in wound-healing and in preventing bleeding from capillaries. Ascorbate also acts as an antioxidant, protecting against oxidative stress.

Vitamin D

List of vitamins and supplements: mushrooms, source of vitamin E

Vitamin Chemical Name

Cholecalciferol (D3), Ergocalciferol (D2).

Solubility

Fat soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

10 µg.

Upper intake level

50 µg.

Deficiency diseases

Reddish eruptions on the face, unusual hair loss, osteomalacia, that is bone fragility caused by poor calcium absorption and rickets; a pediatric disease causing bowed legs, stunted growth, bone pain, large forehead, trouble sleeping. Hardened red and white pimples in cheeks, arms and tights. Higher tendency to get cavities, kidney stones and muscle weakness.

Overdose diseases

Hypervitaminosis D.

Food sources

Fish, eggs, liver, mushrooms.

Health effects

It strengthens the innate immune system and reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections. Uncertain effects and inconclusive observations of reduced risk of mortality, Alzheimer disease and osteoporosis in the elderly. It may help in cases of asthma, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

It may help mothers to prevent gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Low levels of vitamin D appear in overweight people so it is believed it may help to lose weight. More research is needed.

Vitamin E

List of vitamins and supplements: raw chia seeds, source of vitamin E

Vitamin Chemical Name

Tocopherols, tocotrienols.

Solubility

Fat soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

15.0 mg.

Upper intake level

1,000 mg.

Deficiency diseases

Deficiency is very rare; sterility in males and abortions in females, mild hemolytic anemia in newborn infants. Reddish eruptions on the face, unusual hair loss. Cardiac degeneration, nerve problems, poor reflexes and balance, difficulty walking properly.

Overdose diseases

Increased congestive heart failure seen in one large randomized study.

Food sources

Many fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Health effects

Antioxidant effect in conjunction with vitamin C. Can impair smooth muscle growth. Helps the body repair atherosclerosis damage in vascular tissue. Also plays a role in eye and neurological functions, and inhibition of platelet coagulation. It protects lipids and prevents the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Vitamin K

List of vitamins and supplements: fresh spinach leaves, source of vitamin K

Vitamin Chemical Name

Phylloquinone, menaquinones.

Solubility

Fat soluble.

Daily recommended intake (male >18y)

120 µg.

Upper intake level

N/D

Deficiency diseases

Reddish eruptions on the face, unusual hair loss, bleeding diathesis, that is predisposition to contract bleeding illnesses.

Overdose diseases

Increases coagulation in patients taking warfarin.

Food sources

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, egg yolks, liver.

Health effects

Reduces fracture incidence in post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. Adequate intake of vitamin K is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and stiffening. Is part of the suggested treatment regime for poisoning by rodenticide. No conclusive medical evidence of anti carcinogenic properties. There’s evidence that vitamin K plays an important factor in improving the absorption of all the other vitamins during digestion.

That’s it for the most important vitamins but there is also many mineral and oligo-elements that are essential for human health and work in synergy with vitamins. The best source of quality nutrients should be a balanced diet, free of toxins and preservatives. Return to old recipes with as many raw organic ingredients as possible and avoid precooked and preserved foods. Keep this list as a guide to help you recognize symptoms that may point to a vitamin deficiency. It will help you fix them avoiding unnecessary medication.

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