Major Vitamins and Minerals: All You Need To Know!

Vitamins | Minerals | Information | 07th October 2021 | Virtual Wire


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Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients required by the body to carry out a spread of normal functions. As these nutrients are not been produced by our body, we need to derive them from the food we eat.

Alongside other nutrients, like proteins, carbohydrates and dietary fats, vitamins and minerals help our body to build up and bloom. Each of those 10 essential vitamins and minerals plays a special role in our overall health. Most folks get what we'd like in our daily diets, with different foods providing different vitamins and minerals, consistent with the National Institutes of Health’s Dietary Supplements fact sheets. However, some people may have conditions that need vitamin or mineral supplementation additionally to what they get through their normal diet.


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They're of two types:

  • The Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E and K.

  • Water-soluble: B and C.

Vitamin A

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Vitamin A helps to make our heart, lungs, liver and other organs working properly and is important for reproductive, vision and system health.


Salmon, broccoli, carrots, squash, green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, dairy products and fortified cereals.


Vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness. It also can occur when the gut can't absorb the nutrient.


Symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency can differ in severity. Some people may have adverse complications than others. Below are several possible symptoms you'll experience:

  • Night blindness.

  • Xerophthalmia.

  • Infection.

  • Bitot spots.

  • Skin irritation.

  • Keratomalacia.

  • Keratinisation.

  • Stunted growth.

Treatment: Treatment consists of diet modifications and supplements.

Vitamin B

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There are eight different essential B vitamins — B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12(cobalamin). With the help of these vitamins, our body converts carbohydrates, fats and proteins into energy. We require them for cell development, growth and performance. You may need more B vitamins if you’re elderly, have had gastrointestinal surgery, have food poisoning, or if you abuse alcohol.

Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or decide to become pregnant may have more B vitamins, particularly folate, which has been shown to stop birth defects, consistent with the American Pregnancy Association. Up to fifteen per cent of individuals are deficient in B12. you'll also need more B12 if you've got pernicious anaemia or are a vegan or vegetarian.

The liver only stores Folate and Vitamin B12, thus rest all must be consumed daily to meet the RDA needs.


Either a scarcity of vitamin B-12 or a scarcity of folate causes a sort of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia (pernicious anaemia). With these sorts of anaemia, the red blood cells don't develop normally. they're very large.

Symptoms: The symptoms of a B-complex vitamin deficiency vary counting on which B-complex vitamin you’re deficient in.

Vitamin B1:

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Sources: Sources of vitamin B1 include:

  • Whole grains.

  • Fortified bread, cereal, pasta, and rice.

  • Pork.

  • Fish.

  • Legumes, including black beans and soybeans.

  • Nuts and seeds.

Deficiency: A deficiency of vitamin B1 commonly results in beriberi.


  • Fatigue. Fatigue may occur gradually or suddenly.

  • Irritability. Irritability is that the feeling of agitation and frustration.

  • Reduced Reflexes.

  • Tingling Sensation in Arms and Legs.

  • Muscle Weakness.

  • Blurry Vision.

  • Nausea and Vomiting.

Treatment: Treatments include B1 supplements and eating more B1-rich foods.

Vitamin B2:

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Sources of vitamin B2 include:

  • Eggs.

  • Organ meats, including kidney and liver.

  • Lean meats.

  • Low-fat milk.

  • Green vegetables, including broccoli and spinach.

  • Fortified cereals, grains, and bread.


  • Skin disorders.

  • Hyperaemia (excess blood) and oedema of the mouth and throat.

  • Angular stomatitis (lesions around the corners of the mouth).

  • Cheilosis (swollen, cracked lips).

  • Hair loss, reproductive problems.

  • Sore throat.

Vitamin B3:

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Food sources of vitamin B3 include:

• meat, including poultry, beef, pork, and fish

• some nuts, legumes, and grains

• fortified bread and cereals


Severe deficiency may result during a condition called pellagra, with symptoms such as:

  • Rough skin that turns red or brown within the sun.

  • A bright red tongue.

  • Vomiting.

  • Constipation or diarrhoea.

  • Fatigue.

  • Aggressive, paranoid, or suicidal behaviour.

  • Hallucinations.

Vitamin B6:

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Food high in vitamin B6 include:

  • Poultry, fish, and organ meats.

  • Potatoes and other starchy vegetables.

  • Fruits, apart from citrus fruits.


  • Depression.

  • Confusion.

  • Nausea.

  • Anaemia.

  • Susceptibility to infections.

  • Skin rashes or dermatitis.

Vitamin B9:

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Food sources of folate(B9) include:

  • Asparagus.

  • Brussels sprouts.

  • Dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach and mustard.

  • Oranges and fruit juice.

  • Other fruits and fruit juices.

  • Peanuts and other nuts.

  • Beans, including kidney beans.

  • Peas, including black-eyed peas.

Foods fortified with vitamin B include:

  • Enriched bread, flour, pasta, and rice.

  • Fortified breakfast cereals.

  • Corn tortillas and tamales are made with the fortification of flour.


  • Megaloblastic anaemia, which causes weakness.

  • Fatigue.

  • Trouble concentrating.

  • Irritability.

  • Headache.

  • Heart palpitations.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Open sores within the mouth.

  • Changes in skin, hair, or fingernail colour.

Vitamin B12:

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The best sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Beef liver.

  • Clams.

  • Meat, including fish and poultry.

  • Eggs.

  • Milk.

  • Cheese.

  • Fortified breakfast cereals.

  • Nutritional yeast.

  • Other fortified foods, including plant milk and flours.


  • Tiredness or fatigue.

  • Weakness.

  • Constipation.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Weight loss.

  • Numbness and tingling on the hands and feet.

  • Balance problems.

  • Confusion.

  • Poor memory.

  • Soreness of the mouth or tongue.

Treatment: Treatment includes dietary changes or supplements.

Vitamin C:

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Also referred to as vitamin C, vitamin C boosts the system and increases iron absorption from plant-based foods and supplements. Being an antioxidant as the main property, vitamin C protects our cells from damaging free radicals. It has the property of wound healing by helping our body produce collagen. By smoking, you would like 35 more mg of vitamin C per day than non-smokers because it takes more vitamin C for your body to repair the cell damage caused by free radicals in tobacco smoke.


Citrus fruits and juices, kiwi, red and green peppers, strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, juice and baked potatoes (cooking it this manner, with the skin on, retains the folate, B6 and vitamin C). Vitamin C increases the absorption of Iron.

Deficiency: Lack of vitamin C causes Scurvy.


  • Rough, Bumpy Skin.

  • Corkscrew-Shaped hair.

  • Bright Red Hair Follicles.

  • Spoon-Shaped Fingernails with Red Spots or Lines.

  • Dry, Damaged Skin.

  • Easy Bruising.

  • Slowly Healing Wounds.

  • Painful, Swollen Joints.

Treatment: Treatment can be done by taking vitamin C supplements and eating citrus fruits, potatoes, broccoli and strawberries.

Vitamin D

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It aids in building strong bones with the help of absorbed calcium from food and supplements. It also boosts the functioning of the system. People who use sunscreen or avoid sun may have malabsorption disorders such as Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease.

Sources: We do not get vitamin D naturally in many foods and it is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” most of the vitamin D our body gets is absorbed from the sun through our skin. Vitamin D food sources include salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified dairy and nut milk and cereals.

Deficiency: In children, it can cause rickets and in adults’ osteoporosis.


  • Fatigue.

  • Bone pain.

  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.

  • Mood changes, like depression.


vitamin D supplementation is that the main treatment or exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin E

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vitamin E protects our cells from free radicals, boosts our system and helps prevent blood clots.


Sunflower, safflower and wheat germ oils, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, spinach, Swiss chard, avocados and butternut squash.


Regional enteritis, disease, CF, and a few rare genetic disorders.


• Nerve and muscle damage that leads to loss of feeling within the arms and legs.

• Loss of body movement control.

• Muscle weakness, and vision problems.

• Weakened system.

Treatment: Treatment of vitamin E deficiency can be done by taking vitamin E supplements orally.

Vitamin K

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Vitamin K is important for blood coagulation and healthy bones. You'll need more vitamin K if you've got had bariatric surgery to reduce or have a malabsorption disorder.

Sources: Spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, soybeans, blueberries, figs, meat, cheese, eggs, and vegetable oils.

Deficiency: Causes bleeding.


  • Easy bruising.

  • Oozing from nose or gums.

  • Excessive bleeding from wounds, punctures, and injection or surgical sites.

  • Heavy menstrual periods.

  • Bleeding from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

  • Blood within the urine and/or stool.


For a shorter duration treatment for vitamin K deficiency usually involves either oral supplementation or injections. Long-term or lifetime supplementation could even be necessary for those with underlying chronic conditions. The action of vitamin K typically requires 2 to five days after it's given to point out the treatment effect.


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Nearly about 99 per cent of calcium within the body is found in bones and teeth, where it's crucial for structural support. the rest is found within the blood, muscles and intracellular fluids, where it's a critical part of many metabolic, neurological and muscular functions.

Postmenopausal women (who have an elevated risk of osteoporosis) and other people who don’t consume dairy products (a primary source of calcium) are the most likely to need calcium supplements.


Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt), fortified non-dairy milk (such as almond, soy and rice milk), fortified fruit juice, sardines with bones, tofu (if we prepare it with calcium), collard green, kale, and broccoli.


Hypocalcaemia (Calcium Deficiency Disease) The deficiency of Calcium may affect all parts of the body, leading to weak nails, slower hair growth, and fragile, thin skin.


  • Confusion or amnesia.

  • Muscle spasms.

  • Numbness and tingling within the hands, feet, and face.

  • Depression.

  • Hallucinations.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Weak and brittle nails.

  • Easy fracturing of the bones.


Calcium deficiency is typically easy to treat by adding more calcium to your diet. Do not self-treat by taking tons of calcium supplements. Taking quite the recommended dose without your doctor’s approval can cause serious issues like kidney stones.


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Iron is an important part of building red blood cells, specifically haemoglobin, a protein that bonds with oxygen to oxygen through the blood from the lungs to the cells throughout your body. Vegetarians got to consume almost twice the maximum amount of iron daily because the iron in plant-based food is a smaller amount available to the body than the iron found in animal products. Pregnant women and other people with iron-deficient anaemia can also need supplements.


Meat (especially meat and liver), seafood, lentils, beans, tofu, cashews, and broccoli.

Deficiency: Causes Anaemia


  • Extreme fatigue.

  • Weakness.

  • Pale skin.

  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath.

  • Headache, dizziness.

  • Cold hands and feet.

  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue.

  • Brittle nails.

Treatment: Treatment includes iron supplements and attention on any underlying causes.


Magnesium plays a crucial role within the function of quite 300 enzymes that regulate various processes within the body, including muscle and nerve function, heart rhythms and glucose control. Older adults and other people with diabetes may have supplements.

Sources: Banana, salmon, spinach, cashews, peanuts, beans, potatoes, rice, dairy products, oats, chicken, beef and broccoli.

Deficiency: In medical terms, it is called hypomagnesemia.


  • Numbness.

  • Tingling.

  • Muscle cramps.

  • Seizures.

  • Muscle spasticity.

  • Personality changes.

  • Abnormal heart rhythms.


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Zinc may be a mineral that plays a crucial role in immune function and is important for normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood. Vegetarians can also need supplements since the zinc found in plant-based foods is a smaller amount available to the body than that found in meat and fish.


Meat, poultry, seafood (especially oysters, lobster and clams), dairy products, whole grains, beans and nuts. Reach out to your pharmacist to urge more information on supplements. Some vitamins (such as vitamin E) are dangerous in high doses, and a few may interact negatively with other medications or medical treatment.

Deficiency: Acrodermatitis enteropathy


  • Hair loss or thinning.

  • Delayed sexual maturation (in men).

  • Diarrhoea.

  • Dry skin.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Loss of eyesight or changes in vision.

  • Poor or stunted growth.

  • Recurring infections.

  • Reduced sense of smell or taste.

  • Slow-healing of wounds or bruises, or other conditions.

  • Unexplained weight loss.


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Deficiency disease is treated by supplementation to revive amounts of zinc in your diet. this might include zinc supplements also as increasing or introducing foods that are rich in zinc and following recommended dietary guidelines.