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Know your vitamins

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Here are some facts about each vitamin and mineral in Centrum multivitamins

  • Vitamin A
    Vitamin A

    Contributes to maintaining the integrity of the surfaces that defend against infection, including skin, and the linings of your urinary tract, lungs, and digestive system.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin A?

    • Liver
    • Fish
    • Egg yolk
    • Fortified dairy products
    • Cheese
    • Whole milk

     

    Vitamin A functions

    • Contributes to the process of cell specialisation/function of the immune system
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal vision
    • Contributes to normal iron metabolism
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
    Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

    Thiamin was the first of the B vitamins to be discovered and plays a leading role in many bodily functions.

    Thiamin supports the normal functioning of the nervous system and the heart. It helps produce energy from the food you eat.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin B1?

    • Whole grains
    • Enriched cereals and breads
    • Meats
    • Brown rice
    • Nuts
    • Green vegetables (especially peas)

     

    Vitamin B1 functions

    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to the normal function of the nervous system
    • Contributes to the normal function of the heart
    • Thiamin contributes to normal psychological functions
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
    Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

    Riboflavin supports energy production at the cellular level. Riboflavin also works to protect your cells against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are generated by everyday living and in response to cigarette smoke, pollution, and excessive exposure to sunshine, as well as other environmental factors.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin B2?

    • Milk and dairy products
    • Eggs
    • Liver
    • Whole grain

     

    Vitamin B2 functions

    • Riboflavin contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Riboflavin contributes to normal metabolism of iron in the body
    • Riboflavin contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes
    • Riboflavin contributes to the maintenance of normal vision
    • Riboflavin contributes to the maintenance of normal red blood cells
    • Riboflavin contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
    • Riboflavin can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
    • Riboflavin contributes to the maintenance of the normal function of the nervous system
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
    Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

    Pyridoxine plays a major role in supporting the nervous system

    It's easy for vitamin B6 to get lost in the crowd. The other B vitamins - niacin, vitamin B12, and folic acid - seem to make headlines more often than vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is not fully appreciated for all that it does to foster good health.

    Vitamin B6 is part of an enzyme (a protein that helps chemical reactions to take place) that facilitates the release of glucose, the cell's energy source, from glycogen; glycogen is the storage form of energy in your body. Vitamin B6 is involved in making heme, which is part of hemoglobin, the compound in red blood cells that's responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin B6?

    • Pork, Chicken and Turkey
    • Cod
    • Whole Cereals
    • Eggs
    • Potatoes
    • Soya Beans
    • Peanuts

     

    Vitamin B6 functions

    • Contributes to normal red blood cell formation
    • Contributes to normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity
    • Contributes to normal protein and glycogen metabolism
    • Contributes to normal function of the nervous system
    • Vitamin B6 contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
    • Vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Vitamin B6 contributes to normal psychological functions
    • Vitamin B6 can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
    • Vitamin B6 contributes to normal cysteine synthesis
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
    Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

    Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the nervous system, as well as in the formation of blood.

    Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal products, where it's bound to the protein in those foods. During digestion, vitamin B12 is released from food, allowing the body to absorb it. As you age, the risk of inadequate vitamin B12 absorption rises.

    Vitamin B12 is important for normal neurological functioning.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin B12?

    • Eggs
    • Meat
    • Milk
    • Salmon and Cod
    • Cheese

     

    Vitamin B12 functions

    • Contributes to normal energy metabolism
    • Contributes to normal red blood cell formation
    • Contributes to a normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to normal cell division
    • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
    • Vitamin B12 contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
    • Vitamin B12 can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Vitamin C
    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C contributes to the normal function of blood vessels and normal psychological function, as well as the repair and maintenance of cartilage, skin, bones, and teeth.

    Vitamin C supports the growth and repair of every cell. It is necessary for forming collagen, which serves as a structural component of blood vessels, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bone, and skin.

    Vitamin C offers protection, too. It's one of several antioxidants in the body that deflect some of the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen-based byproducts of normal metabolism, and are also formed when you're exposed to toxins such as cigarette smoke (including secondhand) and air pollution. Vitamin C helps to protect proteins, carbohydrates, and genetic material, including DNA, against oxidation from free radicals. Vitamin C also regenerates vitamin E, another antioxidant, after it takes a "hit" doing battle with free radicals. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant because it contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin C?

    • Peppers
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Oranges
    • Kiwi
    • Sweet Potato

     

    Vitamin C functions

    • Contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
    • Contributes to normal collagen formation and the normal function of bones, teeth, cartilage, bones, skin and blood vessels
    • Increases non-haem iron absorption
    • Contributes to the normal function of the nervous system
    • Contributes to a normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism
    • Vitamin C can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
    • Vitamin C contributes to normal psychological functions
    • Vitamin C contributes to the regeneration of the reduced form of vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
    Vitamin D

    As nutrients go, vitamin D is in a class by itself. That’s because vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the body in response to direct exposure of skin to ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Vitamin D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that the vitamin D you make and consume from foods and dietary supplements is stored in fat tissue for later use.

    Vitamin D contributes to normal growth and bone development. You can make the most of the Vitamin D you need for the year by exposure to the sun during the summer months

    Your liver and kidneys complete the conversion to vitamin D’s most active form, 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D, also called vitamin D3. You can make most of the vitamin D you need for the year by exposure to the sun during the summer months. In reality, many people in the UK do not produce the required vitamin D due to not being exposed to much sunlight, especially people who cover up their skin for cultural reasons, have darker skins who cannot synthesize sufficient vitamin D from our weaker northern sunlight, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin D?

    • Eggs
    • Beef liver
    • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
      • Fortified fat spreads
      • Fortified breakfast cereal

     

    Vitamin D functions

    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bone and teeth
    • Contributes to normal absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus and the maintenance of normal blood calcium concentrations
    • Contributes to normal cell division
    • Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system
    • Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function
  • Vitamin E
    Vitamin E

    Vitamin E functions in the body as an anti-oxidant because it helps protect cells against oxidative stress.

    As nutrients go, vitamin E is more complex than most: there are actually eight forms of vitamin E found naturally in foods, each with a different level of biological activity in the body. However, alpha-tocopherol is the only form that is known to meet the body’s requirement for vitamin E, and it is the form on which the nutrient reference value (NRV) is based.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin E?

    • Nuts
    • Sunflower oil
    • Wheat germ
    • green leafy vegetables

     

    Vitamin E functions

    • Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
  • Vitamin K
    Vitamin K

    In 1929, a Danish researcher discovered the compound that contributes to normal blood coagulation, which he called vitamin K. The “K” in vitamin K is derived from the German word koagulation, which means “coagulation” in English. Coagulation is the process of blood-clot formation.

    Vitamin K1, produced by plants, is the primary format of the vitamin in our diet. Vitamin K2 is made by bacteria, including the bacteria in your large intestine.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Vitamin K?

    • Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach)
    • Soybeans
    • Eggs
    • Milk

     

    Vitamin K functions

    • Contributes to maintenance of normal bone
  • Biotin
    Biotin

    Biotin is an important component of enzymes that allow you to use energy from fats and carbohydrates. It also supports the health of your skin and nervous system.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Biotin?

    • Egg yolk
    • Corn
    • Soybeans
    • Yeast
    • Liver
    • Milk

     

    Biotin functions

    • Contributes to normal macronutrient metabolism
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes
    • Contributes to the normal function of the nervous system
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal hair
    • Biotin contributes to normal psychological functions
  • Folic Acid
    Folic Acid

    Folic acid is the synthetic counterpart to folate, a B-vitamin that can be found naturally in certain plant foods. Of the two, folic acid is the most readily available – the body absorbs about twice as much folic acid than folate – but they play the same role in good health.

    When you're expecting a baby, adequate folic acid is important for the healthy development of the baby's spinal cord and contributes to normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. The UK’s Department of Health recommends 400 µg of folic acid supplementation for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and prior to conception.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Folic acid?

    • Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach)
    • Whole grain cereals
    • Liver

     

    Folic Acid functions

    • Contributes to normal blood formation
    • Contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
    • Contributes to a normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to normal cell division
    • Contributes to normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy
    • Folate contributes to normal psychological functions
    • Folate can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
    • Folate contributes to normal amino acid synthesis
  • Niacin
    Niacin

    Niacin contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism and helps to convert proteins, fats and carbohydrates into fuel.

    Enzymes incite chemical reactions in the body. Niacin is part of about 200 enzymes, which paints a clear picture of just how important this B vitamin, also called vitamin B3, is to your body.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Niacin?

    • Whole grain cereals
    • Chicken, beef
    • Oily fish (tuna, salmon)
    • Nuts, peanuts

     

    Niacin functions

    • Contributes to the normal function of the nervous system
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Niacin can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
    • Niacin contributes to normal psychological functions
  • Pantothenic Acid
    Pantothenic Acid

    Pantothenic acid helps generate energy from carbohydrates, fats and protein.

    Pantothenic acid is also helpful for the nervous system and brain because it helps produce a neurotransmitter that assists in nerve cell communication.

    You may wonder: Where do vitamins get their names? In the case of pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, its name is derived from the Greek word pantos, which means “everywhere.” That’s an apt description for this busy nutrient, whose duties include assisting an enzyme (a protein that helps chemical reactions to take place) that drives numerous reactions, including generating energy your body can use from carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

    Pantothenic acid further supports the nervous system and the brain by participating in the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps nerve cells communicate with each other.

    The friendly bacteria that live in your large intestine produce pantothenic acid, but experts are unsure whether our bodies can absorb enough pantothenic acid from the intestine to satisfy our daily needs. That’s why it’s important to consume pantothenic acid every day.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Pantothenic Acid?

    • Egg yolk
    • Liver
    • Whole grain cereals

     

    Pantothenic Acid functions

    • Contributes to normal energy yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to normal mental performance
    • Contributes to normal synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmitters
    • Pantothenic acid can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Calcium
    Calcium

    Your body can store calcium, but it can’t produce it. That’s why you must get the calcium you need from your diet. Calcium absorption is highest during periods of intense growth, such as childhood and pregnancy, as rapidly growing bones spur the high demand for the mineral. With the exception of pregnancy, calcium absorption starts decreasing during adulthood and continues to decrease with age.

    For women, the first few years after menopause begins, marks a rapid calcium loss from bones.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Food Sources

    • Milk
    • Cheese
    • Sardines
    • Dark green leafy vegetables
    • Dried beans
    • Nuts

     

    Calcium functions

    • Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth
    • Calcium contributes to normal muscle function and neurotransmission
    • Calcium contributes to normal blood clotting
    • Calcium contributes to normal energy metabolism
    • Calcium contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes
    • Calcium contributes to normal cell division and differentiation
  • Chromium
    Chromium

    Nutrition experts know that chromium is an essential nutrient, but they are not exactly sure of all the ways it works to support health.

    One thing is certain: Chromium helps maintain normal blood glucose levels.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where do you find Chromium?

    • Whole grains
    • Dairy product
    • Meat
    • Brewers yeast

     

    Chromium functions

    • Chromium contributes to normal macronutrient metabolism
    • Chromium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels
  • Copper
    Copper

    It may be considered a “trace” mineral, but copper’s role in supporting good health is formidable. In relation to other nutrients, your body only needs a tiny amount of copper—but that little dose accomplishes quite a bit.

    Copper supports the function of enzymes in energy production at the cellular level and supports the maintenance of normal connective tissue.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where do you find Copper?

    • Liver
    • Seafood
    • Nuts, almonds
    • Whole grain cereals
    • Dried peas and beans
    • Green vegetables

     

    Copper functions

    • Contributes to normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
    • Contributes to maintenance of normal connective tissues
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to normal function of the nervous system
    • Contributes to normal skin and hair pigmentation
    • Contributes to normal iron transport in the body
  • Iodine
    Iodine

    Iodine is important to help make thyroid hormones. These hormones help keep cells and metabolic rate healthy. Cells in the thyroid, a small gland weighing less than one ounce and located in the front of the neck, are the only cells capable of absorbing iodine. Thyroid cells capture iodine and combine it with tyrosine – an amino acid – to produce thyroid hormones that are then released into the bloodstream.

    Iodine contributes to the normal growth of children and contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Iodine?

    • Iodized table salt
    • Fish and shellfish

     

    Iodine functions

    • Contributes to normal thyroid function and normal production of thyroid hormones
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to maintenance of normal skin
    • Iodine contributes to normal cognitive function
  • Iron
    Iron

    Iron is important to help the production of hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that ferries oxygen to cells. Smaller amounts of iron are found in myoglobin, a protein that’s responsible for transporting oxygen and storing it on a short-term basis within the muscles.

    Iron has a role in the process of regulating cell growth and helps to support your immune system.

    Nearly two-thirds of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin, which explains iron’s key role in supporting health.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Iron?

    • Egg yolk
    • Red meat
    • Whole grains
    • Oysters
    • Fish
    • Leafy vegetables

     

    Iron functions

    • Contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin
    • Contributes to normal oxygen transport in the body
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to normal cognitive function
    • Contributes to normal cell division
    • Iron can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Magnesium
    Magnesium

    Magnesium plays an important role in normal metabolism, and contributes to the normal function of the nervous system and muscle function.

    Magnesium is needed for more than 300 reactions that take place on a constant basis. Magnesium is involved in making proteins and contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism.

    A mere 1% of the magnesium in your body circulates in the bloodstream, but that small fraction doesn’t accurately convey magnesium’s importance there, as the body makes maintaining blood magnesium levels a high priority.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Magnesium?

    • Whole grains
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Legumes
    • Green leafy vegetables

     

    Magnesium functions

    • Contributes to electrolyte balance
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bone/teeth
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
    • Contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system
    • Contributes to normal muscle function
    • Contributes to normal protein synthesis
    • Contributes to normal cell division
    • Magnesium can contribute to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
    • Magnesium contributes to normal psychological functions
    • Contributes to normal muscle function
  • Manganese
    Manganese

    Manganese is an essential mineral involved in the formation of bone and in the metabolism of amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, and cholesterol collagen, a connective tissue that helps to hold your body together, supports the maintenance of normal bones and foundation of connective tissue.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Manganese?

    • Egg yolk
    • Nuts
    • Beans
    • Whole grains
    • Green vegetables

     

    Manganese functions

    • Contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bone
    • Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • Molybdenum
    Molybdenum

    Molybdenum is abundant in legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas, as well as grains. Animal-based foods as well as fruits and vegetables tend to be low in molybdenum.

    Molybdenum assists a small number of enzymes, proteins that help chemical reactions to take place in the body. The most important of these enzymes for health is sulfite oxidase, which is involved in the metabolism of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that contain sulfur.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Molybdenum?

    • Legumes
    • Grains and cereals

     

    Molybdenum functions

    • Molybdenum contributes to normal sulphur amino acid metabolism.
  • Phosphorus
    Phosphorus

    As the major structural component of cell membranes, phosphorus protects cell function by acting as part of a barrier—the cell membrane—that separates what’s inside cells from their environment, as well as regulating what moves in and out of cells. Not only does phosphorus allow cells to function properly, it also lends strength to bones, making it a major structural component of the skeleton. About 85% of the body's phosphorus is found in bones and teeth.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Phosphorus?

    • Rice
    • Red meat
    • Fish
    • Poultry
    • Dairy products

     

    Phosphorus functions

    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bone and teeth
    • Contributes to energy metabolism
    • Contributes to normal function of cell membranes
  • Potassium
    Potassium

    Life would be impossible without potassium. It supports muscle health, brain health and is part of every cell in the body.

    Potassium supports muscle function and brain health and is part of every cell in the body. Potassium works with sodium to help allow for normal muscle contraction (including the heart) and communication between nerve cells.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Potassium?

    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Whole grains
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Beef, chicken and turkey
    • Potatoes
    • Fruit, such as bananas

     

    Potassium functions

    • Contributes to normal muscle function and the normal functioning of the nervous system
    • Potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure
  • Selenium
    Selenium

    Selenium functions in the body as an anti-oxidents because it helps protect cells against oxidative stress.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Selenium?

    • Tuna
    • Meat
    • Whole grains
    • Broccoli
    • Onions
    • Fish

     

    Selenium functions

    • Contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
    • Contributes to normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to normal thyroid function
    • Contributes to normal spermatogenesis
    • Contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage/normal thyroid function
    • Selenium contributes to the maintenance of normal hair
  • Zinc
    Zinc

    Zinc contributes to the normal functioning of nearly 100 different enzymes; proteins that initiate chemical reactions in the body, including those involved in skin repair and making DNA, the cells’ blueprint for replication. Zinc contributes to normal fertility and reproduction. It also plays a role in maintaining normal DNA synthesis and a role in cell division.

    Zinc also helps to support the normal function of the immune system.

    Nutrient Reference Value (NRV)

     

    Where can you find Zinc?

    • Shellfish
    • Liver and kidney
    • Whole grains
    • Green leafy vegetables
    • Nuts

     

    Zinc functions

    • Contributes to a normal function of the immune system
    • Contributes to normal DNA synthesis and cell division
    • Contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage
    • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bone
    • Contributes to normal cognitive function
    • Contributes to normal fertility and reproduction
    • Contributes to normal metabolism of fatty acids
    • Contributes to normal acid-base metabolism
    • Contributes to normal metabolism of vitamin A
    • Contributes to maintenance of normal vision
    • Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal skin
    • Zinc contributes to normal protein synthesis
    • Maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood
    • Zinc contributes to normal carbohydrate metabolism
    • Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal hair
    • Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal nails
    • Zinc contributes to normal macronutrient metabolism
  • Ginseng
    Ginseng

    Ginseng is a herbal preparation derived from the root of the Panax genus of plants. Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years.

    The root of Asian ginseng contains active chemical compounds called ginsenosides or panaxosides that are thought to be responsible for the herb’s purported beneficial properties. Panax ginseng is one of several types of true ginseng, as is American ginseng, (Panax quinquefolius) and Japanese ginseng (Panax japonicas). A herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Brazilian ginseng (Pfaffia paniculata) are not true ginsengs and have different effects on the body than the true ginsengs.

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