Vitamins & Minerals
International Units (IU) are a measurement system for the activity of vitamins A, D and E.
1 IU vitamin A = 0.3 mcg (micrograms)
1 IU vitamin D = 0.025 mcg
1 IU vitamin E = 0.7 mcg
Other vitamins and minerals are measured by weight.
The milligram abbreviation is mg. It’s is a unit of mass in the SI system (metric system). One milligram is equal to one millionth of the kilogram (kg), which is the current SI (Metric system) base unit of mass.
1 milligram (mg) = 1000 microgram (mcg or µg) = 0.000001 kilogram (kg) = 0.001 grams (g) = 0.0000352739619 ounces (oz) = 0.00000220462262 pounds (lb).
1,000,000 mcg = 1 g
1000 mcg = 1 mg
1,000 mg = 1 g
10,000 IU/day (plant-derived) for adult males.
8,000 for adult females – 12,000 if lactating.
4,000 for children ages 1-3
5,000 for children ages 4-6
7,000 for children ages 7-10
Vitamin A helps cell reproduction. It also stimulates immunity and is needed for formation of some hormones. Vitamin A helps vision and promotes bone growth, tooth development, and helps maintain healthy skin, hair, and mucous membranes. It has been shown to be an effective preventive against measles.
Deficiency can cause night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth, and weak tooth enamel.
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
1.2 mg for adult males
1.1 mg for women or 1.5 mg if lactating
0.6 to 0.9 mg for children
Vitamin B1/thiamine is important in the production of energy. It helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system. Not getting enough thiamine can leave one fatigued and weak.
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
1.3 mg for adult males
1.1 mg for women or 1.5 mg if pregnant/lactating
0.6 to 0.9 mg for children
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is important for body growth, reproduction and red cell production. It also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.
Vitamin B3 – Niacin
16 mg for adult males
14 mg for women or 17-18 mg if pregnant/lactating
9 – 16 for children
Niacin assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid
5 mg for adults
6 – 7 mg for women who are pregnant or lactating
2 – 4 mg
Pantothenic acid is essential for the metabolism of food as well as in the formation of hormones and (good) cholesterol.
Vitamin B6- Pryidoxine
1.3 to 1.7 mg for adults
2 mg for women who are pregnant or lactating
0.6 to 1.3 mg for children
B6 plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system. It helps maintain normal nerve function and acts in the formation of red blood cells. It is also required for the chemical reactions of proteins. The higher the protein intake, the more need there is for vitamin B6. Too little B6 in the diet can cause dizziness, nausea, confusion, irritability and convulsions.
Vitamin B9 / Folate / Folic Acid
At least 400 mcgs for most adults
600 mcgs for pregnant women and 500 mcgs for breastfeeding women
150 to 300 mcg children
Folate and folic acid are both forms of B9. Folate occurs naturally in fresh foods, whereas folic acid is the synthetic form found in supplements. Your body needs folate to produce red blood cells, as well as components of the nervous system. It helps in the formation and creation of DNA and maintaining normal brain function, and is a critical part of spinal fluid. It has also been proven to reduce the risk for an NTD-affected (neural tube defect) pregnancy by 50 to 70 percent. Folic acid is vital for proper cell growth and development of the embryo. That is why it is important for a woman to have enough folate/folic acid in her body both before and during pregnancy.
2.4 mcg for adults
2.6 – 2.8 mcg for women who are pregnant or lactating.
0.9 – 2.4 mcg for children
Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B12 is important for metabolism. It helps in the formation of red blood cells and in the maintenance of the central nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is the one vitamin that is available only from fish, poultry, meat or dairy sources in food.
60 mg for adults
70 mg for women who are pregnant and 95 for those lactating
45 and 50 mg for children
Vitamin C is one of the most important of all vitamins. It plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. Antioxidants act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of the body’s metabolism. Free radicals can cause cell damage that may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin C has also been found by scientists to be an effective antiviral agent.
5 mcg (200 iu) for most adults
10 mcg (400 iu) for adults between 50 – 70 years
15 mcg (600 iu for adults over 70 years
5 mcg (200 iu) for children
Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" since it is manufactured by the body after being exposed to sunshine. Ten to fifteen minutes of good sunshine three times weekly is adequate to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D. This means that we don't need to obtain vitamin D from our diet unless we get very little sunlight – usually not a problem for children.
Vitamin D is vital to the human body as it promotes absorption of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for the normal development of healthy teeth and bones. It also helps maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
30 IU for most adults
6-11 mg for children
Like vitamin C, vitamin E plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is important in the formation of red blood cells and the use of vitamin K. Many women also use it to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and mothers use it to help heal minor wounds without scarring, as it is valued for its ability to soothe and heal broken or stressed skin tissue.
70-80 micrograms for adult males
60-65 micrograms for adult females
Half the amount based on their age
Vitamin K is fat soluble and plays a critical role in blood clotting. It regulates blood calcium levels and activates at least 3 proteins involved in bone health.
1000 mg for adults need
800 to 1300 mg for children
Calcium eases insomnia and helps regulate the passage of nutrients through cell walls. Without calcium, your muscles wouldn’t contract correctly, your blood wouldn’t clot and your nerves wouldn’t carry messages.
If you don’t get enough calcium from the food you eat, your body automatically takes the calcium needed from your bones. If your body continues to tear down more bone than it replaces over a period of years in order to get sufficient calcium, your bones will become weak and break easily.
Deficiency may result in muscle spasms and cramps in the short term and osteoporosis.
1.5 – 3.0 mg
Copper is involved in the absorption, storage and metabolism of iron and the formation of red blood cells. It also helps supply oxygen to the body. The symptoms of a copper deficiency are similar to iron-deficiency anemia.
150 mcgs for adults
70 to 150 mcg for children
Iodine helps regulate the rate of energy production and body weight and promotes proper growth. It also promotes healthy hair, nails, skin and teeth.
In countries where iodine is deficient in the soil, rates of hypothyroidism, goiter and retarded growth from iodine deficiency are very high.
In developed countries, however, because iodine is added to table salt, iodine deficiencies are rare.
10 mg for men
15 mg for women and teenage girls
10 to 12 mg for children
Breastfeeding is the best insurance against iron deficiency in babies
Most at risk of iron deficiency are infants, adolescent girls and pregnant women.
Iron deficiency in infants can result in impaired learning ability and behavioral problems. It can also affect the immune system and cause weakness and fatigue.
To aid in the absorption of iron, eat foods rich in vitamin C at the same time you eat the food containing iron. The tannin in non-herbal tea can hinder absorption of iron.
310 to 420 mg for adults needs 310 to 420 mg
130 to 240 mg for children
Magnesium is needed for bone, protein, making new cells, activating B vitamins, relaxing nerves and muscles, clotting blood, and in energy production.
Insulin secretion and function also requires magnesium. Magnesium also assists in the absorption of calcium, vitamin C and potassium.
Deficiency may result in fatigue, nervousness, insomnia, heart problems, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, muscle weakness and cramps.
2.0-5.0 mg for adults
2.0-3.0 mg for children 7 – 10
1.5-2.0 mg for children 4 – 6
1.0-1.5 mg for children 1 – 3
0.6-1.0 mg for children 6 months – 1yr
0.3-0.6 mg for infants 0-6 months
The functions of this mineral are not specific since other minerals can perform in its place. Manganese does function in enzyme reactions concerning blood sugar, metabolism, and thyroid hormone function. Deficiency is rare in humans.
700 mg for adults
500 to 1250 mg for children
In combination with calcium, phosphorus is necessary for the formation of bones and teeth and of the nerve cells.
Phosphorus is second to calcium in abundance in the body.
It is very widely distributed in both plant and animal foods so it is unlikely that deficiency would be a problem.
2000 mg for adults and adolescents
Potassium is essential for the body’s growth and maintenance. It is necessary to keep a normal water balance between the cells and body fluids.
Potassium plays an essential role in proper heart function.
Deficiency may cause muscular cramps, twitching and weakness, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, kidney and lung failure.
70 mcgs for men
55 mcgs for women
Selenium is a part of several enzymes necessary for the body to properly function. Generally, selenium functions as an antioxidant that works in conjunction with vitamin E.
Selenium deficiency is rare in humans.
500 mg for adults but no more than 2,400 to 3,000 mg
120 mg for infants
Sodium is required by the body to regulate blood pressure and blood volume. It helps regulate the fluid balance in your body. Sodium also helps in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
Many people get far more sodium than they need, which tends to cause health problems.
Different body types need different amounts of sodium.
15 mgs for men
12 mg for omen
Children need 10 to 15 mg/day
Vegetarians need about 50 percent more zinc in their diet than meat eaters.
This metal is important in a number of key activities, ranging from protein and carbohydrate metabolism to the immune system, wound healing, growth and vision.
Severe deficiency can contribute to stunted growth. Deficiency can sometimes be seen in white spots on the fingernails.