Vitamin's And Their Natural Sources

All vitamins can be found in a bottle, but do we know where to look for them in their natural sources?

When most people think of vitamins they think of a pill, or several pills, as their source. If you asked about the "natural" source of specific vitamins you would probably hear that you can find vitamin C in an orange or vitamin D from the sun. To refresh our memories, or perhaps to learn this for the first time, let's take a look at the basic vitamins, what they do for us and where, in nature, they can be found.

Please note that this is provided as information only, and is in no way meant to help with any self-diagnosis. As

with everything health related, if you believe you may have a deficiency or wish to know how much of a vitamin you should be taking, see your physician.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene: Vitamin A aids in maintaining good vision, such as preventing night blindness and cataracts, as well as reducing the risk of heart attacks and some forms of cancer. Beta-carotene is a

compound that makes up the red, orange and yellow pigments in plants that, when in the body, is converted into vitamin A. Excellent natural sources of vitamin A are raw carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, spinach, and cantaloupe.

Vitamin B1 - thiamine: Helps convert blood sugar to energy, forms red blood cells, maintains skeletal muscle. Sources are pork, sunflower seeds, whole grains, beans, seafood.

Folate: A B vitamin called folic acid, aids in metabolism and all of the body's biological reactions. It has recently been found to be especially important in pregnancy, as it aids in development of the fetus while preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida and incomplete brain formation. sources are beans, spinach and other leafy greens, wheat germ, oranges, and mushrooms.

Vitamin B2 - Riboflavin: Aids in production of body energy. The more active you are the more B2 you need. It also protects against cancer and anemia. Sources of B2 are milk, yogurt, chicken, leafy green vegetables, fruit and almonds.

Vitamin B3 - Niacin: Required for proper metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein, as well as production of digestive acid. It is also essential for healthy skin, proper blood circulation and the functioning of the central nervous system. Sources are chicken breast, canned tuna, Brewer's yeast, peanut butter, beans, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B5 - pantothenic acid: Vitamin B5 has been found to help fight depression, reduce stress, metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and aid in the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Its presence is needed to produce healthy red blood cells, antibodies, cholesterol and Vitamin D. Sources are organ meats, fish, grains, egg, peanuts and peas.

Vitamin B6 - Pyroxidine: Often hailed as a wonder vitamin as it aids in the treatment of many disorders, such as: PMS, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, nervous disorders, hyperactivity, diabetes, kidney stones, asthma, skin problems, acne, schizophrenia, and maintains a strong immune system. Sources are bananas, chicken, baked potatoes, chick peas, fortified cereals, oats, and peanuts.

Vitamin B12: Increases energy, reduces stress, improves memory, and aids the digestive system and strengthens the immune system. Sources are fresh fish, dairy products, beef and pork, and eggs.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is known for fighting colds and cancer as well as enforcing strong teeth, healthy gums, and prevention of heart disease and cataracts. Sources of vitamin C are strawberries, melons, citrus fruit, broccoli, brussel sprouts, red peppers and cranberry juice.

Vitamin D: Builds and maintains strong bones and teeth as it aids in calcium absorption. It is also believed to aid in treatment of psoriasis, tuberculosis and cancers. Sources are the sun (5-10 minutes, 3 times per week), egg yolks, fatty fish, fortified milk, and liver.

Vitamin E - tocopherol: Protects cells from damage caused by destructive oxygen molecules (free radicals), aids in prevention of certain cancers, cataracts, and heart disease and improves the immune system. Sources are vegetable oil, mayonnaise, peants, whole grains, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes and yams.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K plays an important function in blood clotting, maintaining healthy bones as well as aiding in the healing of fractures. Sources are leafy green vegetables, fruits, beets, potatoes, eggs, seeds, dairy products, meats, and is also made by bacteria in stomach.

Vitamn P - bioflavinoids: Vitamin P is a group of bioflavinoids that includes hesperidin, citrin, rutin, quercetin, calechin, flavone, and flavonals. They protect the capellary lining which is made up of the tiniest blood vessels in the body, as well as aid in the absorption and processing of Vitamin C. Sources are fruits, as bioflavinoids are actually a group of colored substances that are found in fruit skin and the pulp of the fruit.

As you can see, eating a well balanced diet is the best way to ensure getting adequate vitamins. If you feel you may need to supplement, along with eating a healthy diet, please consult your physician for your recommended daily allowances.

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