Vitamins A-Z

Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)

  • Food source: Dark green leafy vegetables, deep orange fruits, broccoli, and vegetables.
  • Functions: Necessary for growth & repair of body tissues; helps protect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose , throat & lungs, thereby reducing susceptibility to infections; helps maintain smooth, soft disease-free skin; protects against air pollutants; counteracts night-blindness & weak eyesight; aids in bone and teeth formation.
  • Deficiency: May result in increased susceptibility to infections, night blindness; rough, dry, scaly skin; loss of smell & appetite; frequent fatigue; lack of tearing; defective teeth & gums; retarded growth.
  • Toxicity: Joint pain, cracked lips, dry and itchy skin, nausea and vomiting, weight loss.

Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin)

  • Food source: Legumes, nuts, whole grains, enriched cereal.
  • Functions: Plays a key role in the body's metabolic cycle for generating energy; aids in the digestion of carbohydrates; essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system, muscles & heart; stabilizes the appetite; promotes growth & good muscle tone.
  • Deficiency: May lead to the loss of appetite; weakness & feeling tired; paralysis & nervous irritability; insomnia; loss of weight; vague aches & pains; mental depression & constipation; heart & gastrointestinal problems.
  • Toxicity: rapid pulse, weakness, headache, insomnia.

Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)

  • Food source: Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains and enriched bread and cereal
  • Functions: Necessary for carbohydrate, fat & protein metabolism; aids in the formation of antibodies and red blood cells; maintains cell respiration; necessary for the maintenance of good vision, skin, nails & hair; alleviates eye fatigue; promotes general health.
  • Deficiency: May result in itching and burning eyes; cracks and sores in the mouth & lips; bloodshot eyes; purplish tongue; dermatitis; retarded growth; digestive disturbances; trembling; sluggishness; oily skin.

Niacinamide (Niacin- vitamin B-3)

  • Food source: whole grains, enriched bread and cereal, nuts
  • Functions: Improves circulation and reduces the cholesterol level in the blood; maintains the nervous system; helps metabolize protein, sugar & fat; reduces high blood pressure; increases energy through proper utilization of food; prevents pellagra; helps maintain a healthy skin, tongue & digestive system.
  • Deficiency: May result in pellagra, gastrointestinal disturbance, nervousness, headaches, fatigue, mental depression, vague aches & pains, irritability, loss of appetite, insomnia, skin disorders, muscular weakness, indigestion, bad breath, canker sores.
  • Toxicity: swollen tongue, rash, low blood pressure, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting

Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine)

  • Food source: whole grains, enriched bread and cereal, legumes, green and leafy vegetables
  • Functions: Necessary for the synthesis & breakdown of amino acids, the building blocks of protein; aids in fat and carbohydrate metabolism; aids in the formation of antibodies; maintains the central nervous system; aids in the removal of excess fluid of premenstrual women; promotes healthy skin; reduces muscle spasms, leg cramps, hand numbness, nausea & stiffness of hands; helps maintain a proper balance of sodium & phosphorous in the body.
  • Deficiency: May result in nervousness, insomnia, skin eruptions, loss of muscular control, anemia, mouth disorders, muscular weakness, dermatitis, arm & leg cramps, loss of hair, slow learning, and water retention.
  • Toxicity: damages nerves, weakness, bloating

Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin)

  • Food source: B-12 itself is a whole food, Chlorella, micro-algaes, Red Star brand Vegetarian Support Formula Nutritional Yeast, B-12 fortitfied non-daily milks, meat analogs and cereals.
  • Functions: Helps in the formation & regeneration of red blood cells, thus helping prevent anemia; necessary for carbohydrate, protein & fat metabolism; maintains a healthy nervous system; promotes growth in children; increases energy; needed for calcium absorption.
  • Deficiency: May lead to pernicious anemia, growth failure in children, poor appetite, tiredness, brain damage, nervousness, neuritis, degeneration of spinal cord, depression, lack of balance.
  • Article: Confronting the B12 Conundrum - Vegans & Vitamin B12


  • Food source: Green vegetables, whole grains and cereals, yeast, breads, peanuts, almonds, legumes, molasses.
  • Functions: Promotes healthy hair; aids in the utilization of protein, Pantothenic acid, folic acid, and Vitamin B-12.
  • Deficiency: May lead to extreme exhaustion, drowsiness, loss of appetite, depression, muscle pain, grayish skin color.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

  • Food source: Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, melons, dark green leafy vegetables, brussel sprouts, cabbage, strawberries, papaya, potatoes
  • Functions: Essential for healthy teeth, gums & Bones; helps heal wounds, scar tissue, & Fractures; prevents scurvy; builds resistance to infection; aids in the prevention & treatment of the common cold; gives strength to blood vessels; aids in the absorption of iron. It is required for the synthesis of collagen, the intercellular "cement" which holds tissues together. It is also one of the major antioxidant nutrients. It prevents the conversion of nitrates (from tobacco smoke, & smog) into cancer-causing substances. According to Dr. Lines Pauling, the foremost authority on Vitamin C, Vitamin C will decrease the risk of getting certain cancers by 75%.
  • Deficiency: May lead to soft & bleeding gums, swollen or painful joints, slow-healing wounds & fractures, bruising, nosebleeds, tooth decay, loss of appetite, muscular weakness, skin haemorrhages, capillary weakness, anaemia, impaired digestion.
  • Toxicity: nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue

Vitamin D

  • Food source: synthesis with sunlight, mushroom extracts, also in fortified non-dairy milk & juices.
  • Functions: Improves absorption and utilization of Calcium and Phosphorous; required for bone and teeth formation; maintains a stable nervous system and normal heart action.
  • Deficiency: May lead to rickets, tooth decay, softening of bones, improper healing of fractures, lack of vigor, muscular weakness, inadequate absorption of calcium, retention of phosphorous in the kidneys.
  • Toxicity: kidney stones, fatigue, calcification of soft tissue
  • Vegan Product: Nature's Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3

Vitamin E

  • Food source: Sunflower seeds, raw wheat germ, nuts, peanuts, whole wheat flour, whole grains, spinach, vegetable oils, whole-grain products.
  • Functions: Major anti-oxidant nutrient; retards cellular aging due to oxidation; supplies oxygen to the blood which is then carried to the heart and other organs; thus alleviating fatigue; aids in bringing nourishment to cells; strengthens the capillary walls & prevents the red blood cells from destructive poisons; prevents & dissolves blood clots; has also been used by doctors in helping prevent sterility, muscular dystrophy, calcium deposits in blood walls and heart conditions.
  • Deficiency: May lead to a rupture of red blood cells, loss of reproductive powers, lack of sexual vitality, abnormal fat deposits in muscles, degenerative changes in the changes in the heart and other muscles; dry skin.
  • Toxicity: Dizziness, weakness, increase effect of anticlotting medications.

Folic Acid

  • Food source: Leafy green vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, lentils, whole grains, asparagus.
  • Functions: Necessary for DNA & RNA synthesis, which is essential for the growth and reproduction of all body cells; essential to the formation of red blood cells by its action on the bone marrow; aids in amino acid metabolism.
  • Deficiency: Anaemia, smooth red tongue, diarrhea, constipation, infections, weakness, confusion.
  • Toxicity: Diarrhea, sleeping problems, can mask a B12 deficiency

Pantothenic Acid

  • Food source: Whole grain cereals, peanuts, legumes, soybeans, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, baked potatoes, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cooked collard greens.
  • Functions: Involved in the release of energy from carbohydrates, protein & fats; aids in the utilization of vitamins; helps in cell building & the development of the central nervous system improves the body's resistance to stress; helps the adrenal glands; fights infections by building antibodies.
  • Deficiency: May lead to foot pain, skin abnormalities, dizzy spells, digestive disturbances, vomiting, retarded growth, stomach stress, muscle cramps, and restlessness.
  • Toxicity: Diarrhea.

Also see: Minerals A-Z

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