The ABC’s of Vitamins

You have the sniffles? Take vitamin C! Feeling blah? Get out in the sun for some vitamin D. Or is it vitamin B? Wait, what does vitamin E actually do for our skin? And why is it in so many products? And what the heck is vitamin B6?

Vitamins are everywhere these days. Everyone tells us over and over what we should and shouldn’t be taking for each and every like health issues that pops up in our lives. But what exactly DO these vitamins do? And what exactly should we be taking them for?


Vitamin A

Also known as retinal, vitamin A is an essential vitamin in the health of your eyes, as well as assisting in growth, appetite, and taste. The recommended 800 micrograms can be achieved by noshing down on carrots, green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, or taking a cod liver oil supplement.

Vitamin B1

Primarily responsible for the normal functioning of your nervous and digestive systems, vitamin B1 (or thiamine) also helps maintain your muscles and heart. Red meat, nuts, cereal, liver, and egg yolks are ideal ways to get your recommended 1.4mg. Tingling in your toes and fingers, as well as extreme exhaustion and confusion are signs that you may be suffering from a B1 deficiency.

Vitamin B2

An essential vitamin in the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as in the growth of your skin, nails, and hair, vitamin B2 (or riboflavin as it is also called) is one of the most important vitamins for your overall health and wellness. Milk, liver, yeast, cheese, fish, and leafy green vegetables are all great sources of vitamin B2 and can help you obtain your recommended 1.6mg daily.

Vitamin B6

One of the lesser promoted vitamins, B6 is one of the most important for women in their teens through menopause. Why you ask? Because the use of the birth control pill can actually deplete vitamin B6. Used to prevent skin conditions and help the body absorb protein and carbohydrate, eating fish, bananas, chicken, pork, wholegrains, and beans, can help you reach the recommended 2mg, but women who are on the pill should still be taking an additional supplement.

Vitamin B12

Essential for making red blood and in the formation of nerves, vitamin B12 is probably one of easiest vitamins to come by, being that it is found in common everyday foods such as eggs, shellfish, poultry, meat, cheese, and cereal. Tingling in the hands and feet, as well as fatigue and memory problems are signs that you may be suffering from a B12 deficiency.

Vitamin C

Probably the best known of all the vitamins, ascorbic acid (or vitamin C) is the stronghold that helps protect your immune system, protecting it from bacteria and viruses. The recommended 60mg per day is easily achieved by eating citrus fruits, and vegetables such as tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, and peppers. And for all you smokers out there, know that it is one of the most common ways to deplete your body of vitamin C!

Vitamin D

Love strong bones and teeth? Love them more by getting an added vitamin D boost each day. Found in most fish products (particularly salmon and tuna) and milk products, the easiest way to get your recommended 5 micrograms of vitamin D is actually to have a short stint in the sun! When touched by the golden rays, sunshine actually helps our bodies manufacture vitamin D on its own. Just keep in mind, too much sunshine can lead to a whole slew of new problems, so be smart about it!

Vitamin E

Another well known vitamin, also known as tocopherol, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen the body and skin and protect it from environmental damages. Nuts, soya beans, vegetable oil, broccoli, sprouts, spinach, and eggs are all great sources of vitamin E, and an easy way to achieve your recommended 10mg. A vitamin E deficiency is probably one of the most serious and can lead to muscle breakdown and fertility problems.

Tags: Health, vitamin, vitamins

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