Vitamins descriptions

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has several important functions. These include: • helping your body's natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system) work properly • helping vision in dim light • keeping skin and the lining of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy Good sources of vitamin A Good sources of vitamin A include: • cheese • eggs • oily fish • fortified low-fat spreads • milk and yoghurt • liver and liver products such as liver pâté – this is a particularly rich source of vitamin A, so you may be at risk of having too much vitamin A if you have it more than once a week (this is particularly important if you're pregnant) You can get vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet, as the body can change this into vitamin A. The main food sources of beta-carotene are: • yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers • yellow fruit, such as mango, papaya and apricots How much vitamin A do I need? The amount of vitamin A adults aged 19 to 64 need is: • 0.7mg a day for men • 0.6mg a day for women You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need from your diet. Any vitamin A your body doesn't need immediately is stored for future use. This means you don't need it every day.

 Vitamin B and Folic acid There are many different types of vitamin B. This section has information on: • thiamin (vitamin B1) • riboflavin (vitamin B2) • niacin (vitamin B3) • pantothenic acid • vitamin B6 • biotin (vitamin B7) • folate and folic acid • vitamin B12 Thiamin (vitamin B1) Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, helps: • break down and release energy from food • keep the nervous system healthy Good sources of thiamin Thiamin is found in many types of food. Good sources include: • peas • fresh and dried fruit • eggs • wholegrain breads • some fortified breakfast cereals • liver How much thiamin do I need? The amount of thiamin adults (aged 19 to 64) need is: • 1mg a day for men • 0.8mg a day for women You should be able to get all the thiamin you need from your daily diet. Thiamin cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, helps: • keep skin, eyes and the nervous system healthy • the body release energy from food Good sources of riboflavin Good sources of riboflavin include: • milk • eggs • fortified breakfast cereals • oats • cooked beef • mushrooms • plain, fat-free yoghurt • rice UV light can destroy riboflavin, so ideally these foods should be kept out of direct sunlight. How much riboflavin do I need? The amount of riboflavin adults (aged 19 to 64) need is about: • 1.3mg a day for men • 1.1mg a day for women You should be able to get all the riboflavin you need from your daily diet. Riboflavin cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. Niacin (vitamin B3) Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, helps: • release energy from the foods we eat • keep the nervous system and skin healthy Good sources of niacin There are 2 forms of niacin: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Both are found in food. Good sources of niacin include: • meat • fish • wheat flour • eggs • milk How much niacin do I need? The amount of niacin you need is about: • 16.5mg a day for men • 13.2mg a day for women You should be able to get all the niacin you need from your daily diet. Niacin cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. . Pantothenic acid Pantothenic acid has several functions, such as helping to release energy from food. Good sources of pantothenic acid Pantothenic acid is found in almost all meats and vegetables, including: • chicken • beef • potatoes • porridge • tomatoes • kidney • eggs • broccoli • wholegrains, such as brown rice and wholemeal bread Breakfast cereals are also a good source if they have been fortified with pantothenic acid. How much pantothenic acid do I need? You should be able to get all the pantothenic acid you need from your daily diet, as it's found in many foods. Pantothenic acid cannot be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day. Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps: • allow the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food • form haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body Good sources of vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 is found in a wide variety of foods, including: • pork • poultry, such as chicken or turkey • fish • bread • wholegrain cereals, such as oatmeal, wheatgerm and brown rice • eggs • vegetables • soya beans • peanuts • milk • potatoes • some fortified breakfast cereals How much vitamin B6 do I need? The amount of vitamin B6 adults (aged 19 to 64) need is about: • 1.4mg a day for men • 1.2mg a day for women You should be able to get all the vitamin B6 you need from your daily diet. Biotin (vitamin B7) Biotin is needed in very small amounts to help the body break down fat. The bacteria that live naturally in your bowel are able to make biotin, so it's not clear if you need any additional biotin from the diet. Biotin is also found in a wide range of foods, but only at very low levels. Folate and folic acid Folate is a B vitamin found in many foods. The manmade form of folate is called folic acid. Folate is also known as folacin and vitamin B9. Folate helps: • the body form healthy red blood cells • reduce the risk of central neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in unborn babies A lack of folate could lead to folate deficiency anaemia. Good sources of folate Folate is found in small amounts in many foods. Good sources include: • broccoli • brussels sprouts • liver (but avoid this during pregnancy) • leafy green vegetables, such as cabbage and spinach • peas • chickpeas • breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid How much folate do I need? Adults need 200 micrograms of folate a day. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg). There are no long-term stores in the body, so you need to eat folate-containing foods frequently. Most people should be able to get the amount they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is involved in: • making red blood cells and keeping the nervous system healthy • releasing energy from food • using folic acid • A lack of vitamin B12 could lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia. Good sources of vitamin B12 Good sources include: • meat • salmon • cod • milk • cheese • eggs • some fortified breakfast cereals How much vitamin B12 do I need? Adults (aged 19 to 64) need about 1.5 microgram a day of vitamin B12. If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet. But as vitamin B12 is not found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of it. Read about the vegan diet for nutrition information and advice. See the full government dietary recommendations (PDF, 148kb) for levels for children and older adults.

 Vitamin C Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has several important functions. These include: • helping to protect cells and keeps them healthy • maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage • helping with wound healing Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. Mild deficiencies may occur in infants given unsupplemented cows' milk and in people with poor or very restricted diets. Good sources of vitamin C Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. Good sources include: • oranges and orange juice • red and green peppers • strawberries • blackcurrants • broccoli • brussels sprouts • potatoes How much vitamin C do I need? Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day. You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet. Vitamin C can't be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.

 Vitamin D Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Good sources of vitamin D From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. But between October and early March we do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Read more about vitamin D and sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods. Sources include: • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel • red meat • liver • egg yolks • fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements. In the UK, cows' milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it is not fortified, as it is in some other countries. How much vitamin D do I need? Babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg). Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency. From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin. People at risk of vitamin D deficiency Some people will not get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure. The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if you: • are not often outdoors – for example, if you're frail or housebound • are in an institution like a care home • usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.

 Vitamin E Vitamin E helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, and strengthen the body's natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system). Good sources of vitamin E Vitamin E is found in a wide variety of foods. Good sources include: • plant oils – such as soya, corn and olive oil • nuts and seeds • wheatgerm – found in cereals and cereal products How much vitamin E do I need? The amount of vitamin E you need is: • 4mg a day for men • 3mg a day for women You should be able to get all the vitamin E you need from your diet. Any vitamin E your body doesn't need immediately is stored for future use, so you don't need it in your diet every day.

 Vitamin K Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting, which means it helps wounds heal properly. There's also some evidence vitamin K may help keep bones healthy. Good sources of vitamin K Vitamin K is found in: • green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and spinach • vegetable oils • cereal grains Small amounts can also be found in meat and dairy foods. How much vitamin K do I need? Adults need approximately 1 microgram a day of vitamin K for each kilogram of their body weight. For example, someone who weighs 65kg would need 65 micrograms a day of vitamin K, while a person who weighs 75kg would need 75 micrograms a day. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg). You should be able to get all the vitamin K you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. Any vitamin K your body doesn't need immediately is stored in the liver for future use, so you don't need it in your diet every day.

 None of the above information is intended to give advice.

You should consult your doctor if you have any doubt More information can be found https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/