Facts about Vitamins
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ ( Publisher's URL )
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00000878/00001
 Material Information
Title: Facts about Vitamins
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Turner, R. Elaine
Dahl, Wendy J.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012
Abstract: Vitamins are chemical compounds that the body uses in a variety of ways. We need to get vitamins from our diet because we can’t make them in the body. There are 13 different vitamins that have been identified as important nutrients for humans.
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Diana Hagan.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Publication #FCS8808"
General Note: "First published: December 2006. Revised: April 2012."
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00000878:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text


FCS8808 Facts About Vitamins1R. Elaine Turner and Wendy J. Dahl2 1. This document is FCS8808, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agr icultural Sciences, University of Florida. First published: December 2006. Revised: April 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http:// edis.ifas.u.edu 2. R. Elaine Turner, PhD, RD associate dean and professor, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Wendy J. Dahl, PhD, assistant professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or aliations. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A&M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Millie Ferrer-Chancy, Interim DeanWhat are vitamins?Vitamins are chemical compounds that the body uses in a variety of ways. We need to get vitamins from our diet because we cant make them in the body. ere are 13 dierent vitamins that have been identied as important nutrients for humans. What are the dierent types of vitamins?Vitamins are grouped as water-soluble and fat-soluble e water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the B vitamins. e fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins dier in how easily they dissolve in water. is mainly aects how the dierent types of vitamins are absorbed and carried in the body. Most vitamins have both a chemical name and a letter name. Water-Soluble Vitamins Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) iamin (Vitamin B1) Riboavin (Vitamin B2) Niacin (Vitamin B3) Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) Folate Pantothenic Acid Biotin Fat-Soluble Vitamins Retinol (Vitamin A) Calciferol (Vitamin D) Tocopherol (Vitamin E) Phylloand Menaquinones (Vitamin K)What do vitamins do in the body?Vitamins work in many reactions that regulate body processes. e following list gives examples of some vitamins and their specic functions: Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) act as antioxidants. ey prevent cells from being damaged by oxygen. Figure 1. Credits: Photo by Lisa Brewster. CC BY-SA 2.0. http://ic.kr/p/5CAsdv


2 Vitamin A is important for normal vision and immune function. Vitamin D is needed for bone health. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. Where are vitamins found in foods?All of the food groups have foods rich in vitamins. Milk naturally contains riboavin and is fortied with vitamins A and D. Enriched grain products contain added thiamin, riboavin, niacin, and folic acid. Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables, while only animal foods naturally contain vitamin B12. Some high-fat foods, such as vegetable oil, salad dressing, nuts, seeds, and mayonnaise, are rich in vitamin E. Its important to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups to get all the vitamins you need. For information about nutrients found in the various food groups, see http:// ChooseMyPlate.gov or contact your local Extension oce.Do fresh foods have the most vitamins?Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of many vitamins. e fresher they are, the more vitamins they contain. Farmers markets are great sources of fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh produce. When produce is canned or frozen, it is processed quickly and then sealed in a package to reduce further loss of vitamins.How can I get the most out of the foods I eat?Vitamins, especially water-soluble vitamins, can be lost from foods when exposed to heat, light, and/or air. Cooking foods, especially if they are chopped up and cooked for a long time in large amounts of water, reduces their vitamin content. Here are some cooking tips to help preserve the vitamin content of your foods: Use as little water as necessary. Keep the pieces of food as large as possible. Cook for a short period of time. Microwave, stir-fry, or steam vegetables. Use water to make soups or stews (use within a couple of days, or freeze).How much of each vitamin do I need each day?e amount of vitamins we need is actually very small much smaller than the amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fats required for a healthy diet. For example, we need only a few micrograms of vitamin B12 per day. To give you an idea of how little this is, a teaspoon of vitamin B12 is enough to meet the daily needs of over 2 million adults! e % Daily Value (%DV) for a vitamin on a food label shows you what percent of a typical healthy adults daily need for that vitamin is provided by a serving of the food. For example, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice provides 120% of the Daily Value for vitamin C, and 15% of the Daily Value for folate. Table 1. 100% Orange Juice Calcium-Fortied Nutrition Facts Serving Size 8 oz (240 ml) Servings Per Container 8 Amount Per Serving Calories 110 Calories from fat 0 % Daily Value Total Fat 0g 0% Sodium 0mg 0% Potassium 450 mg 13% Total Carbohydrate 26g Sugars 22g Protein 2g Vitamin C 120% Thiamin 10% Niacin 4% Folate 15% Calcium 35% Riboavin 6% Vitamin B6 5% Magnesium 6% Not a signicant source of saturated fat, cholesterol, dietary ber, vitamin A, or iron. *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


3 Should I take supplements to get the vitamins I need?While its possible to get all the vitamins you need by making healthy food choices, people sometimes need supplements. For example, All women of childbearing age should get 400 micrograms of folic acid each day from fortied foods or a supplement, in addition to folate from a varied diet. Older adults may have diculty absorbing vitamin B12 from foods. ey also need more vitamin D as they age. Most of their B12 intake should come from fortied foods or supplements. Pregnant women should ask their physician about the supplements that are right for them. Can large amounts of vitamins be harmful?With vitamins, as with many things in life, more is not necessarily better. Some vitamins can be toxic in large doses (see Table 2 below). Side eects range from stomach upset or diarrhea to liver damage or birth defects. Excessive intakes of vitamins usually come from high-dose supplements. ats why most people should choose supplements that contain no more than 100 to 150% of the Daily Value for each vitamin. Where can I get more information?e Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) agent at your county Extension oce may have written information and nutrition classes for you to attend. Also, a registered dietitian (RD) can provide reliable information to you. Reliable nutrition information may be found on the Internet at the following sites: http://fycs.ifas.u.edu http://solutionsforyourlife.u.edu http://choosemyplate.gov http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic http://www.nutrition.govTable 2. Maximum Suggested Intake: Do NOT consume more than these amounts! Niacin 35 mg (from supplements) Vitamin B6100 mg (from supplements) Folate 1,000 mcg (as folic acid) Vitamin C 2,000 mg Vitamin A 3,000 mcg (10,000 IU) Vitamin D 50 mcg (2,000 IU) Vitamin E 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) mg = milligrams mcg = microgramsIU = International UnitsTable 3. Typical label for multivitamin Supplement Facts Serving Size 1 Tablet Each Tablet Contains %DV Vitamin A (20% as Beta Carotene) 5,000 IU100% Vitamin C 60 mg 100% Vitamin D 400 IU 100% Vitamin E 30 IU 100% Vitamin K 25 mg 31% Thiamin 1.5 mg 100% Riboavin 1.7 mg 100% Niacin 20 mg 100% Vitamin B62 mg 100% Folic Acid 400 mcg100% Vitamin B126 mcg 100% Biotin 30 mcg10% Pantothenic Acid 10 mcg100%