Vitamins and Minerals

Comments Off on Vitamins and Minerals | Last Update: April 18, 2012

There is increasing evidence multivitamins do not protect against cancer, heart disease and premature death. Researchers from the government funded Women’s Heath Imitative studying more than 161,000 women found found no disease preventing benefits between women who took a multivitamin and those who did not.

Consumer Reports on Health – May 2009


Vitamin and mineral supplements are a multi-billion dollar a year business. Some health and nutrition specialists say they are essential for good health while others claim they are unnecessary for a healthy person eating a balanced diet. The key words here arehealthy and balanced diet. Vitamins and minerals sold over-the-counter are classified as dietary supplements. It is possible to eat a diet with the right proportions of carbohydrates, protein and fat and still not get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. For example, citrus, broccoli, bell peppers and Brussel sprouts are high in vitamin C. You can develop vitamin C deficiency by not eating enough foods high in vitamin C. Hundreds of years ago sailors on long voyages developed scurry which was linked to a vitamin C deficiency. Limes and other citrus became a necessity on long voyages. The term limey originated when British sailors on long voyages carried limes on board to prevent scurvy. Vitamin D deficiency causes pernicious anemia and reduced calcium absorption. Diets high in processed foods and fast foods can cause a vitamin or mineral deficiency.

Taking supplements can prevent diseases associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. But obtaining a majority of your vitamins and minerals from supplements or taking too high a dose can cause series health problems and in some cases death. Vitamins and minerals can be toxic in high doses. The table below lists vitamins and minerals your body needs and their primary roles. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is based on scientific research and presented by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Science. To make matters more confusing, in 1993 the FDA establish the U.S. Recommended DAILY Allowance (US RDA) as a reference for nutrition labeling. The US RDA includes a safety factor which exceeds the actual requirement for most individuals. When it comes to vitamins and minerals the saying if a little is good for you a lot must be better does not apply. Ongoing research continues to refine the appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals required by men, women, children and adults.

While supplements are a convenient way of obtaining vitamins and minerals, they are a poor substitute for bad dietary habits. Taking a vitamin C supplement is not the same as eating broccoli, peppers, oranges or grapefruit. Vegetables and citrus fruits provide vitamin C, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Vitamin C supplements provide zero energy and fiber. Another popular supplement is omega-3 fatty acids which is abundant in fatty fish. Eating fish provides omega-3 fatty acids and protein; the supplement provides zero protein. Vitamin and mineral supplements do not provide carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber and micronutrients your body needs. Groups requiring supplements:

  • Are on a doctor supervised very low calorie diet
  • Can not or do not eat foods containing the vitamins and minerals they need
  • Do not eat enough of the foods containing the vitamins and minerals they need
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin/Mineral RDA Men RDA Women Function
Vitamin A 5000IU 4000 IU Vision. Teeth. Skin
Vitamin B Complex Helps convert food into energy. Red blood cell production. Heart. Muscles. Nervous system. Skin. Eyes. Liver.
Vitamin C 60 mg 60 mg Blood vessels. Connective tissues. Teeth and gums. Aids absorption of iron.
Vitamin D 400 IU 400 IU Aids absorption of calcium and phosphorous. Bones and teeth.
Vitamin E 30 IU 30 IU Formation of red blood cells. Healthy skin & hair.
Vitamin K 100 mcg 100 mcg Clotting Bone formation & repair.
Calcium 800 mg 800 mg Bones and muscle action.
Iodine 150 mcg 150 mcg Thyroid hormones. Converting food to energy.
Iron 10 mg 18 mg Hemoglobin
Magnesium 250 mg 400 mg Muscles action
Phosphorous 800 mg 800 mg Bones
Potassium 2500 mg* 2500 mg* Heart and muscles.
Sodium 2300 mg 2300 mg Heart, Nerves, Muscles
Zinc 11 mg 8 mg Vision. Teeth. Skin
Selenium 70 mcg 55 mcg Red blood cell formation. Skin. Teeth. Hair.

* There is no RDA for potassium. Mayo Clinic daily recommendation.

Vitamin Soluble RDA Sources Amount (100g)
Vitamin A Fat 5000 IU (men) 4000 IU (women) Tomatoes 900 IU
Eggs 1200 IU
White Fish 2000 IU
Red Bell Peppers 4400 IU
Spinach 8100 IU
Carrots 11000 IU
Thiamin (B1) Water 1500 mcg Mushrooms 100 mcg
Avocado 110 mcg
eggs 170 mcg
Walnuts 330 mcg
Lentils 370 mcg
Beans 680 mcg
Sotbeans 1100 mcg
Wheat Germ 2000 mcg
Riboflavin (B2) Water 1.7 mg Vegetables 0.12 mg
Fish 0.12 mg
Oates 0.14 mg
Broccoli 0.20 mg
Chicken 0.36 mg
Almonds 0.92 mg
Niacin (B3) Water 20 mg Eggs 0.20 mg
Fruit 0.60 mg
Vegetables 0.65 mg
Peaches 0.87 mg
Lentils 2.0 mg
Beans 2.4 mg
Rice 4.3 mg
Halibut 9.2 mg
Chicken 12.8 mg
Peanuts 17 mg
Pantothenic Acid (B5) Water 10 mg Blackberries 0.25 mg
Cheeses 0.5 mg
Tuna 0.5 mg
Salmon 0.8 mg
Chicken 0.9 mg
Peas 3.6 mg
Lentils 4.8 mg
Rice 8.9 mg
Pyridoxine (B6) Water 2.0 mg Spinach 0.28 mg
Pork 0.32 mg
Spinach 0.40 mg
Beans 0.57 mg
Tuna 0.9 mg
Lentils 1.7 mg
Rice 3.6 mg
Cobalamin (B12) Water 6.0 mcg Beef 2 mcg
Eggs 2 mcg
Lamb 3 mcg
Salmon 5 mcg
Snapper 9 mcg
Folic Acid Water 400 mcg Bananas 30 mcg
Beef 40 mcg
Broccoli 50 mcg
Spinach 80 mcg
Rice 170 mcg
Beans 310 mcg
Oats 390 mcg
Biotin Water 500 mcg Halibut 100 mcg
Turkey 100 mcg
Chicken 110 mcg
Salmon 150 mcg
Beans 170 mcg
Eggs 200 mcg
Pecans 300 mcg
Lentils 420 mcg
Green Peas 420 mcg
Rice 700 mcg
Lipoic Acid Made by your body
Amygdalin (B17) Water 300 mg Almonds 15 mg
Navy Beans 34 mg
White Lima Beans 180 mg
Green Lima Beans 1700 mg
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Water 60 mg Apricots 10 mg
Bananas 10 mg
Onions 10 mg
Squash 20 mg
Tomatoes 23 mg
Canteloupe 33 mg
Spinach 50 mg
Green Bell Peppers 110 mg
Parsley 170 mg
Vitamin D Fat 400 IU Exposure to Sun. Supplements. Fortified Foods Varies
Mineral RDA (men) RDA (women) Sources Amount (100g) Absorbed Amount
Iron 10 mg 18 mg Potatoes 1.1 mg 6%
Eggs 2.2 mg
Beans 2.7 mg
Barley 2.7 mg
Pork 2.9 mg
Spinach 3.1 mg
Beef 3.1 mg
Wheat 3.5 mg
Oats 4.5 mg
Almonds 4.7 mg
Walnuts 6.0 mg
Lentils 6.7 mg
Garbanzo 6.9 mg
Calcium 800 mg 800 mg Pork 10 mg Greater than 90%
Great Peas 70 mg
Spinach 95 mg
Walnuts 100 mg
Cow's Milk 120 mg
Lentils 130 mg
Almonds 230 mg
Cheese 700 mg
Magnesium 350 mg 400 mg Tomatoes 15 mg 50%
Potaoes 25 mg
Tuna 30 mg
Salmon 40 mg
Spinach 55 mg
Rice 120 mg
Oats 140 mg
Phosphorous 800 mg 800 mg Plums 60 mg Greater than 90%
Rice 220 mg
Pork 230 mg
Halibut 250 mg
Chicken 290 mg
Garbanzo 330 mg
Tuna 350 mg
Wheat 380 mg
Lentils 380 mg
Salmon 400 mg
Peas/Beans 400 mg
Oats 400 mg
Pine Nuts 600 mg
Potassium* 2500 mg 2500 mg Yogurt 200 mg 90%
Eggs 130 mg
Cow's Milk 140 mg
Tuna 180 mg
Fruit 200 mg
Cabbage 230 mg
Cantaloupe 250 mg
Corn 280 mg
Pork 290 mg
Vegetables 300 mg
Oats 350 mg
Banana 370 mg
Beef 370 mg
Potatoes 410 mg
Chicken 430 mg
Walnuts 460 mg
Salmon 510 mg
Sodium 2300 mg 2300 mg Rock Salt 2400 mg (tsp) Greater than 90%
Tomatoes 3 mg
Lentils 30 mg
Green Peas 35 mg
Fish 50 mg
Cow's Milk 50 mg (cup)
Yogurt 50 mg
Iodine 150 mcg 150 mcg Corn 1 mcg Greater than 95%
Cow's Milk 7 mcg
Spinach 9 mcg
Cheese 10 mcg
Potatoes 2 mcg
Halibut 4 mcg
Beans 10 mcg
Shrimp 13 mcg
Cod 14 mcg
Selenium 70 mcg 55 mcg Tomatoes 60 mcg 60%
Wheat 130 mcg
Corn 400 mcg
Zinc 11 mg 8 mg Salmon 1.5 mg 40%
Corn 3 mg
Wheat 3.2 mg
Pork 3.5 mg
Oats 4 mg
Chicken 5 mg

* There is no RDA for potassium. Mayo Clinic daily recommendation.