Vitamins and Minerals


Article written in collaboration with Alina Tomoiaga, Nutrition Technician.

We continue our journey of discovering nutrition and healthy choices, and this time we are focusing on vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins and minerals are part of the microelements category. Carbs, fats and proteins are part of the macroelements category. 

All these are elements indispensable to life which every organism needs in order to survive, being essential organic compounds, required in minimal quantities, which come from the external environment and which have a functional role in metabolic processes. The development of an organism requires, per its genetic construct, certain vitamins in order to ensure the optimal nutritional needs. If these vitamins are lacking or are taken excessively, the organism is negatively impacted. Adults need to consume the necessary vitamins considering the daily intakes recommended to ensure their physical and mental health. 

Regarding the OD in vitamins that can lead to disorders, let us give an example on how too much Vitamin C can lead to diarrhea and kidney stones.


The category of Vitamins is divided as follows:

Fat-Soluble Vitamins – are the fat-soluble ones that are found in abundance in foods rich in fat and are recommended to be consumed during meals as they are absorbed much more easily in the body this way, especially if the food consumed is fatty. This class includes:

Vitamin A that can be absorbed from veggies and fruits carrying a dark green color, orange ones and yellow ones (spinach, carrots, oranges) and has the role to support a number of functions of the organism (the health of the eyes, immune functions, reproductive functions, health of skin, antioxidant activities).

Vitamin D is produced mainly by direct exposure to sun rays (for about 15 minutes) and supports the development of teeth and bones, as well as the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. There are a series of factors that may block the absorption of Vitamin D from foods (eg the Celiac Disease, the Crohn Disease, chronic pancreatitis), so the most efficient way to ensure the intake of Vitamin D is by sunlight. 

Vitamin E is found in various oils, wheat, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, olives, avocado, dried oleaginous fruits, cereal sprouts, whole cereals, brown rice, oats, chestnuts, greens, coconut, tomatoes. The Vitamin E deficiency causes neurological disorders such as muscular dystrophies, anaemias and liver necrosis.

Vitamin F is found in soy oil, rapeseed oil, poppyseed, sunflower seeds, nuts, leafy greens. Its role is to help absorb other vitamins, particularly to integrate Vitamin A into the tissues. It also acts as an antioxidant. 

Vitamin K is found in spinach, cabbage, nettles, peas, tomatoes, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnip, avocado, berries, rosehip, kiwi. It ensures the coagulation of blood, the health of bones, but also interferes with vascular biology.

Hidrosoluble Vitamins- are the ones that get dissolved in water, thus being quickly absorbed into the human tissue and are immediately used. Because no reserves are made of these elements, it is important to ensure the constant consumption of these vitamins, as any excess will be eliminated through urine. This class includes:

The Vitamin B Complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12)

Vitamin B1 is found in nuts, seeds, whole cereals, yeast, spinach, soy, green peas. Its role is to transform nutrients into energy for the body.

Vitamin B2 is found in leafy greens, soy, beer yeast, whole grains, and fruits. It plays a role in energetic metabolism, metabolism of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and ketone bodies. Supports the immune system, the nervous system, helps form red cells as well as the cellular reproduction.

Vitamin B3 is found in whole grains, green veggies, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, nuts, dates, avocado, mushrooms, beer yeast. Its role is to synthesize carbs, fats and proteins in order to produce energy, and it is also part of the process that removes chemical substances from the body.

Vitamin B5 is found in bread, whole grains, lentils, peas, soy, mushrooms, avocado, broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes. It is necessary in the process of synthesizing proteins, fats and carbs. It is involved in the process of releasing glucose from glycogen, it is necessary in the formation of coenzyme A which synthesizes fatty acids and amino acids.

Vitamin B6 is found in products made from whole grains, veggies, nuts, potatoes, bananas, mangoes, avocados. It is involved in the process of forming red cells in the organism as well as the white cells in the bloodstream. It is also involved in the activities that are part of synthesizing amino acids. 

Vitamin B7 is found in vegetables, leafy greens, cauliflower, nuts, mushrooms. It protects the skin, the hair and slows down the hair whitening process. Moreover, it contributes to the elimination of the toxic substances, thus supporting the functions of the liver and gallbladder. It is recommended for consumption for memory improvement, in treating alcoholism, hypertension, diabetes, stress of gastric ulcer. 

Vitamin B9 is found in spinach, kale, green turnip, dried beans, peas, sunflower seeds. It is necessary in producing and maintaining new cells in the organism.

Vitamin B12 is found in barley, sprouts, tempeh, mushrooms, vegetable milk, inactive yeast, as well as in algae such as spirulina, chlorella or Nori algae. This Vitamin is necessary to ensure the proper functions of the brain, the nervous system and also the production of red cells in the blood.

We will also look into Vitamin B17 which is found in almonds, cashews, eucalypt leaves, cabbage, green beans, apricot seeds, pear seeds, pumpkin seeds. This Vitamin is marketed as a helper in the prevention and treatment of cancer, but as studies in this regard are not conclusive, our recommendation is to reach out for specialized help because the overconsumption of Vitamin B17 is proven to be toxic.

Vitamin C is found in rosehip, plums, sea ​​buckthorn, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, lemon, broccoli, watermelon, garlic, cabbage, mango, pear, cucumber. Has an antioxidant effect and helps synthesize collagen. 

Vitamin P is found in kale, tomatoes, onions, green salad, apples, grape seeds, wild berries, tea, red wine, peaches, bananas, wheat. It is a compound of vegetable origin that has the role of maintaining the resistance of blood vessels.

The classification of vitamins according to the category they belong to (fat-soluble and water-soluble) helps to better understand how they act in the body – namely if they are stored in the body and used over time or if they are processed immediately without being stored. The most important thing is to pay attention to fat-soluble vitamins that can cause intoxication if the reserves in the body are too high.

The recommended daily intakes vary depending on age, body type, known health issues, and for women, also depends on pregnancies. The lack of vitamins in a diet is signaled by the body through a variety of symptoms. Disclaimer: these symptoms can also indicate other deficiencies and they should be medically checked out.

To make it easier to identify, please find below a list of such examples:
Weakened muscles- lack of Vitamin B1
Cracked lips- lack of Vitamins B2 and B3
Hair loss- lack of Vitamin B7
Visual disturbances- lack of Vitamin A
Frequent flu and colds- lack of Vitamin C
Acne- lack of Vitamin D


Represent 6% of body weight. Of the 100 known elements (also called bioelements), about 20 of them are necessary for the organism, and they are divided as follows:

macroelements: carbon, hydrogen oxygen, azote, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, sulfur

microelements: iron, copper, zinc, fluorine, iodine, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, chromium, selenium. 

All biogene mineral elements are essential because the organism cannot synthesize or replace them. Minerals are found in both saline solutions (phosphates, carbonates, chlorides), as well as part of organic molecules (phosphorus, iron, etc).

The role of minerals:
-they are part of the structure of all cells and interstitial fluids
-they jelp regulate of the amount of fluids in the body
-they are part of the structure of a large number of enzymes
-they help reanimate the nervous system.

Sources: salt, carrots, beetroot, artichoke
It helps prevent sunstroke, contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular systems and also increases resistance to physical or mental exertion
Recommended daily dose: 2-3 grams

Sources: grapefruit, pineapple, oranges, apples, grapes, bananas, cantaloupe, green leafy vegetables, mint leaves, tomatoes, potatoes, sunflower seeds.
It is an essential element for growth, stimulates diuresis, supplies the brain with oxygen, helps to eliminate organic residues, and is useful in treating allergies.
Recommended daily dose: 2-3 grams

Sources: table salt, mineral water, olives, brown algae (kelp).
It supports the activity of the muscles during physical exertion, aids the digestion process of food, contributes to the reduction of the glycemic index and cholesterol.
Recommended daily dose: 4-5 grams

Sources: beans, peas, carrots, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, radishes, garlic, apples, oranges, figs.
It maintains the health of the skeleton and teeth, intervenes in the blood coagulation process, helps in the treatment of insomnia.
Recommended daily dose: 0.84 grams

Sources: whole grains, nuts, lentils, seeds.
It has a role in regulating the heartbeat, ensures the health of the gums and teeth, and intervenes in the process of metabolizing fats and polysaccharides.
Recommended daily dose: 1-2 grams

Sources: whole grains, figs, bananas, almonds, walnuts, seeds, spinach, potatoes, beetroot, pollen.
One of the main elements that contribute to the proper functioning of nerves and muscles, preventing the occurrence and perpetuation of heart fluctuations.
Recommended daily dose: ⅓ of the calcium ratio

Sources: dried fruits, spinach, nettles, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, soy flour, cocoa powder, white beans, apricots, dates, hazelnuts, raisins, parsley.
Necessary in the formation of hemoglobin, increases resistance to illness, prevents fatigue, cures and prevents anemia.
Recommended daily dose: 18-20 mg in women, 12-14 mg in men

Sources: beans, peas, whole wheat, plums, grapes, nuts, leafy green vegetables.
It contributes to the iron absorption process, has anti-inflammatory effects, increases the body’s resistance to infections, and intervenes in maintaining the integrity of vascular walls.
Recommended daily dose: 2.5 mg

Sources: soybeans, peanuts, pears, strawberries, garlic, green onions, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, grapes, raspberries.
It plays a role in the formation of red blood cells in the blood.
Recommended daily dose: 10-20 mg

Sources: onions, garlic, leeks, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, algae
It helps burn excess fat, has an energizing effect, ensures the health of hair, nails, skin and teeth.
Recommended daily dose: 150 mg

Sources: fluoridated still water, algae, Russian tea, wheat, barley, rice, apricots, grapes, potatoes, radishes, tomatoes.
Decreases the incidence of dental caries, contributes to the formation and strengthening of bones.
Recommended daily dose: 3-4 mg

Sources: Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cereals, brewer’s yeast, wheat sprouts, mushrooms.
It stimulates tissue regeneration, stimulates digestion, maintains and improves vision.
Recommended daily dose: 8-11 mg

Sources: whole grains, nuts, green leafy vegetables, peas, beets.
It intervenes in the tissue collagen synthesis, stimulates memory and relieves fatigue.
Recommended daily dose: 2-2.3 mg

Sources: wheat sprouts, brewer’s yeast, corn oil.
It has a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, acts preventively against diabetes, ensures the process of synthesizing of proteins where necessary, and contributes to lowering blood pressure.
Recommended daily dose: 35 mg

Sources: wheat germ, bran, onions, broccoli tomatoes, yeast, radishes.
Neutralizes the effect of some carcinogenic substances, prevents and slows down tissue aging, and has hepato-protective effects.
Recommended daily dose: 55 mg

As with vitamins, mineral overdoses can be toxic and can block the absorption process of another mineral.

Regarding the signals that the body sends when there is a mineral deficiency, we list: muscle spasms, numbness of the extremities, tingling in the body, fatigue, difficulty in concentration.

Vitamins work together with minerals as an integral part of enzymes or as coenzymes. An enzyme that lacks the mineral element cannot function properly in processing a vitamin, regardless of the amount of vitamin ingested. Thus, a vitamin will be assimilated only when it is in the body at the same time as a compatible mineral element.

We can thus conclude that it is very important to have a diet as diverse as possible that contains mainly ingredients of plant origin in order to maintain the health of the body.


Where now?