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What Vitamins Do I Take?
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What Vitamins Do I Take?

Our Guide to Vitamins

It just doesn’t make any sense.
The guy at the end of the office ended up on the receiving end of a Greenpeace whale rescue the last time he was on the beach. But he is always on a diet. Ask a waif what she eats and it’s along the lines of, “Burgers, junk food in general. Oh! and lots and lots of yummy chocolate. Got one of those metabolisms, I never exercise darling.” Right, but you still have to wear wide shoes to stop you falling down drains.
Life is not fair…and people lie.
But even if some people’s metabolisms seem to process anything that’s thrown at them while others among us put on weight just talking about food there is far more to diet than calorie counting and weight loss.
Console yourself with the fact that the waif with a bulk discount deal from Cadbury’s may well have all kinds of disasters waiting to happen as her body lacks nutrients that will keep her fit and healthy down the line. It may be that if she did try to exercise she’d find out that being inshape is different to being the right shape.
Of course you need to be sure you are not eating too much. But it is not just quantity that matters. Quality matters too. In terms of your diet that means you need the vital nutrients – that means vitamins and minerals. These will help you to fight illness and can increase life expectancy. They help your body carry out all the chemical processes necessary for it to stay healthy.

A key source of vitamins and minerals are fruit and vegetables. You should aim to eat five to nine portions each day. Roughly speaking a portion is a piece of fruit, glass of fruit juice or handful of vegetables. But some nutrients are present elsewhere to. Other foods also contain vital nutrients, such as dairy products being rich in calcium, so a varied and balanced diet is important.

Here are some of the nutrients you need to ensure you are taking on board. The recommended daily allowance figures come from the European Union RDA levels. These figures indicate the minimum levels necessary for the average person to prevent the diseases commonly associated with deficiency in the vitamin or mineral. For optimal health and to help prevent other diseases it may well be necessary to have more than this amount each day. This is why you may see some supplements having far higher levels than these RDAs.

Vitamin A

Good levels of Vitamin A will help your sense of taste, appetite control, eyesight, growth and your cells with reproducing.  Good sources of Vitamin A include liver, fish-liver oil, carrots, green leafy vegetables, and dairy produce. An early sign of deficiency can be poor night vision. The recommended daily intake is a minimum of 800 micrograms (mcg).

Vitamin B1

The vitamin is good for your nervous and digestive systems, for your muscles and heart. Every cell of your body needs B1 to function properly.

Good sources of Vitamin B12 are liver, yeast, rice, wholemeal products, peanuts, peas, beans, fish, meat and milk. This is also called Thiamin or Thiamine and the recommended minimum intake is 1.4 milligrams (mg).

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is good for your skin, nails, hair and eyesight and it is needed to help process amino acids, fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B2 is found in milk, liver, cheese, green leafy vegetables, fish and . If you don’t get enough B2 the the skin around your nose and mouth can deteriorate. Vitamin B2 is also called Riboflavin. The recommended daily allowance is 1.6 milligrams.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is used in turning food into energy and the production of red blood cells. Good sources of Niacin are liver, whole grains, eggs, avocado, peanuts, fish and meat.

In rare case insufficient Niacin can lead to pellagra; sufferers may have dermatitis, diarrhoea and some mental health problems. This vitamin is also called Niacin. The recommended daily intake is 18 milligrams.

Pantothenic acid

This vitamin has a strong relevance for modern life as it is useful for fighting stress, fatigue, allergies and asthma. It also helps your body get the energy from the food you eat and process cholesterol. Foods that are good sources of Pantothenic acid are fresh fish, liver and chicken, mushrooms, cauliflower and potatoes, whole grains, yeast, dried beans and peas, avocado, oranges and bananas, peanuts, salmon, pecans and hazelnuts, milk, cheese and eggs. This is also called Vitamin B5 and it is recommended you have at least six milligrams a day.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is good for your skin and nerves. It is also key processing amino acids and allowing your body to utilise carbohydrates. You can get your Vitamin B6 from fish, bananas, chicken, pork, whole grains, dried beans, potatoes, lentils, and tuna. It is thought to be rare but Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause impaired immunity, skin lesions, and mental confusion. This is also called Pyridoxine. The recommended intake of this is a minimum of two milligrams.


It helps your body metabolise protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Good sources of Biotin are organ meats, oatmeal, egg yolk, mushrooms, bananas and peanuts. This used to be called Vitamin B8 and it is recommended you have 150 micrograms each day.

Folic acid

This is best known for being taken by pregnant women as it helps to prevent birth defects it is particularly important for pregnant women. This is partly because it helps form building blocks of DNA, the body’s genetic information. But Folic acid also is important for production of red blood cells. Good dietary sources include carrots, yeast, liver, egg yolks, melon, apricots, pumpkin, avocado, beans, rye and whole wheat, green leafy vegetables. This used to be called Vitamin B9. The recommended daily intake is 200 micrograms.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is useful in red blood cell production, DNA replication and for the nervous system. Good sources include fish, liver, beef, pork, milk, cheese and eggs. If you don’t get enough B12 it can cause fatigue and contribute to pernicious anaemia. Also known as Colbalamin the recommended daily intake is one microgram a day. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known to help your immune system. It helps your body to fight off bacterial and viral infections. It also is valuable for fighting the effects of cigarette smoke, healing wounds, reducing cholesterol, increasing cell lifespan and it also prevents scurvy. Good sources are citrus fruits as well as tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, peppers. If you don’t get enough Vitamin C you will be fatigued, find cuts take longer to heal and that you are prone to bleeding gums. This is also known as Ascorbic acid. The recommended daily intake is 60 milligrams.


There is around two to three pounds of calcium in your body. Almost all of this is in your bones and teeth. It is needed to form bones and teeth. But it is also important for processes such as blood clotting, sending signals in nerve cells, and muscle contraction. Calcium is found in dairy foods, sardines, salmon and green leafy vegetables. Inadequate calcium can lead to osteoporosis. The recommended daily intake of calcium is 800 milligrams.


Chromium helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. It can be found in brewers yeast as well as in grains and cereals and in some brands of beer. There is no given recommended daily allowance.

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