Vitamins & Their
Nutritional Friends

Just as an orchestra’s sections create beautiful music by playing together, vitamins
foster health in tandem with other nutrients.


September 2010

Most people know that vitamins are, as the word suggests, nutrients vital to well-being. But what’s not as well known is that no vitamin is capable of supporting health all by itself. Vitamins can only function properly in the presence of other nutrients, whether they are macronutrients such as fat and protein (including protein building blocks called amino acids) or micronutrients, which include minerals and other vitamins. That’s one reason nutrition authorities encourage people to consume a diet that primarily consists of whole foods, which naturally contain vitamins and their required cofactors. To learn which nutrients are required by each of the major vitamins, see below.

 

Vitamin Food Sources What It Does Works Best With
A Eggs, liver, milk; beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A: bell peppers, carrots, chard, collard greens, kale, spinach Supports immune health and low-light vision; required for normal cell growth and proper gene function Healthy fats, iron, magnesium, manganese,
phosphorus, potassium, protein, selenium,
zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E
B1 (thiamine) Asparagus, brussels sprouts, eggplant, mushrooms, peas, romaine lettuce, spinach, sunflower seeds, tuna Supports nervous system function; helps the body turn glucose into energy Magnesium, other Bs, especially B1,
B6, B12, folic acid
B2 (riboflavin) Almonds, eggs, liver, milk, mushrooms, spinach Supports energy production; recycles glutathione, a crucial antioxidant Folic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12
B3 (niacin) Asparagus, chicken, halibut, tuna, salmon Helps the body process fats and regulate blood sugar; promotes proper cellular functioning Tryptophan, vitamin B12
B5 (pantothenic acid) Avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, liver, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, sweet potatoes, whole grains Promotes the release of energy; used in making
coenzyme A, required for numerous bodily processes
Biotin, folic acid, vitamins B12, C
B6 (pyridoxine) Bananas, bell peppers, poultry, spinach, turnip greens
Needed for amino acid and red blood cell creation; helps control homocysteine (linked with heart disease) Folic acid, magnesium, vitamins B1,
B3, B12
B12 (cobalamin) Liver, sardines, salmon, shellfish, snapper Required for production of red blood cells; helps
control homocysteine
B-complex, especially B6 & B12, vitamin E
Choline 1 Eggs, liver, milk, peanuts Helps keep cell membranes healthy; required for fat metabolism and nerve impulse transmission Folic acid, methionine, vitamins B3, B6, B12
Folic Acid 2 Asparagus, beets, cauliflower, collard greens, lentils, parsley, romaine lettuce, spinach Supports cell formation and growth, especially red blood cells; helps control homocysteine Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 3
C Bell pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, lemons, oranges, parsley, strawberries Acts as an antioxidant; helps produce collagen, used in building skin, bone and connective tissue Bioflavonoids, iron, magnesium, vitamin E
D Cod, eggs, mackerel, milk (enriched), salmon, sardines, shrimp; also created in skin exposed to sunlight Needed to build healthy bones; helps regulate blood pressure, immune function and glucose usage Boron, calcium, lycopene, magnesium,
selenium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, K
E Almonds, chard, spinach, sunflower seeds, whole grains Acts as an antioxidant; supports cardiovascular health Glutathione, magnesium, selenium,
vitamins B3, C
K Asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, chard, green beans, kale,
parsley, spinach
Allows blood to clot properly; required for bone formation and healthy cell growth Bioflavonoids, calcium, copper,
vitamins B5 & D

1. Although technically not a B vitamin, choline is often classified as part of the B-complex
because it works closely with other compounds in this class

2. A member of the B vitamin family

3. Folic acid supplementation can mask B12 deficiency; see a practitioner for
appropriate testing before use

NOTE: Optimal dosages will vary from person to person; some people may need
dosages higher than the Recommended Daily Allowance.

Consult a nutritionally aware practitioner who can help you formulate an individualized
supplementation plan.

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