Vitamins Minerals And Water

Vitamins, minerals, and water are nutrients that do not provide energy but are required for proper functioning of the body. Vitamins work as coenzymes to enhance enzyme activity. Minerals are necessary for making certain body structures, for normal nerve and muscle function, and for maintaining osmotic balance. Water transports gases, nutrients, and waste; is a reagent in some of the body's chemical reactions; and regulates body temperature. Table 48-1 summarizes the sources of vitamins and their functions.

TABLE 48-1 Food Sources of Vitamins


Best sources

Essential for

Deficiency diseases and symptoms

Vitamin A (carotene; fat soluble)

fish-liver oils, liver and kidney, green and yellow vegetables, yellow fruit, tomatoes, butter, egg yolk

growth, health of the eyes, and functioning of the cells of the skin and mucous membranes

retarded growth, night blindness, susceptibility to infections, changes in skin, defective tooth formation

Vitamin B, (thiamin; water soluble)

meat, soybeans, milk, whole grains, legumes

growth; carbohydrate metabolism; functioning of the heart, nerves, muscles

beriberi—loss of appetite and weight, nerve disorders, and faulty digestion

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin; water soluble)

meat, fowl, soybeans, milk, green vegetables, eggs, yeast

growth, health of the skin, eyes, and mouth, carbohydrate metabolism, red blood cell formation

retarded growth, dimness of vision, inflammation of the tongue, premature aging, intolerance to light

Vitamin B3 (niacin; water soluble)

meat, fowl, fish, peanut butter, potatoes, whole grains, tomatoes, leafy vegetables

growth; carbohydrate metabolism; functioning of the stomach, intestines, and nervous system

pellagra—smoothness of the tongue, skin eruptions, digestive disturbances, and mental disorders

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine; water soluble)

whole grains, liver, fish

protein metabolism, production of hemoglobin, health of the nervous system

dermatitis, nervous disorders

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin; water soluble)

liver, fish, beef, pork, milk, cheese

red blood cell formation, health of the nervous system

a reduction in number of red blood cells, pernicious anemia

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid; water soluble)

fruit (especially citrus), tomatoes, leafy vegetables

growth, strength of the blood vessels, development of teeth, health of gums

scurvy—sore gums, hemorrhages around the bones, and tendency to bruise easily

Vitamin D (calciferol; fat soluble)

fish-liver oil, liver, fortified milk, eggs, irradiated foods

growth, calcium and phosphorus metabolism, bones and teeth

rickets—soft bones, poor development of teeth, and dental decay

Vitamin E (tocopherol; fat soluble)

wheat-germ oil, leafy vegetables, milk, butter

normal reproduction

anemia in newborns

Vitamin K (naphthoquinone; fat soluble)

green vegetables, soybean oil, tomatoes

normal clotting of the blood, liver functions


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