Vitamin A ~ Retinol
Vit B1 Thiamin
Vit B2 Riboflavin
Vit B3 Niacin
Vit B5 Pantothenic Acid
Vit B6 Pyridoxine
Vit B7 Biotin (Bw, coenzyme R, Vit H)
Vit B12 Cobalamin
Vit C Ascorbic Acid
Vit D Calciferol
Vit E Tocopherol & Tocotrienol Compounds
Vit K Phytonadione
Folic Acid

for the above links

Bland, Jeffrey S., et al, Clinical Nutrition, A Fucntional Approach, The Institute of Functional Medicine, Gig Harbor, WA; 2004:302.

Garrison, R. & Somer, E., Nutrition Desk Reference, Keats Publishing, New Caanan, CT; 1995:65

Groff, J.L., Gropper, S.S., Hunt, S.M., Advanced Nutrition and human Metabolism, West Publishing, Minneapolis, MN; 1995:222.

Pelton, R., et al, Drug Induced Nutrition Depletion Handbook. 2nd Edition, LexiComp, Inc. & Natural Resources; 2001:591.


Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients as is water. Micronutrients do not provide for any energy to the body. It is the macronutrients, primarily carbohydrates, but also fats and fatty acids, and proteins that are the fuel that the body uses to produce energy. One of the functions of the micronutrients is to assist in this process. The spectrum of essential and nonessential micro and macronutrients are available in a well-balanced, nutritionally sound, healthy diet. There continues to be much debate about what constitutes such a thing. All three macronutrient groups need to be present in good proportions to have optimal nutrition. It is best if the diet is predominated by unprocessed, "whole foods" from each of the categories. Unprocessed foods contain the highest availability of vitamins and minerals for the body. This is part of what is called Bioavailablity.


The term Bioavailablity attempts to include in a single concept the effect of a sequence of metabolic events that include digestibility, solubility, absorption, organ uptake and release, enzymatic transformation, secretion and excretion. [1] The Bioavailablity of a nutrient can be significantly influenced by the chemical form in which it appears in the diet and by the presence of other factors in food that may enhance or depress mineral absorption and utilization. [2]


While most vitamins and some minerals are well absorbed from food, most essential minerals are not. "Usual absorption of minerals ranges from less than 1% to over 90%. The Bioavailablity of dietary minerals must be considered when determining whether the diet contains enough, too little, or too much". [3]


There are two groups of minerals: Macrominerals & Microminerals; Macro (large) minerals and Micro (trace) minerals. The macrominerals include calcium, chlorine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur. Cells contain more potassium than any other mineral. Best known for its work in unison with sodium to regulate fluids in and out of the body, potassium is also closely associated with proper nerve transmission and cardiac functioning. The microminerals include arsenic, boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, silicon, tin, vanadium and zinc. These minerals are derived from the diet or dietary supplements. As the diet becomes refined and processed there is the risk of depletion of some of these elements. In more biodiverse diets, the risk of dietary deficiency is reduced.


Another consideration is the competition of nutrients for absorption. Certain vitamins and minerals will have more or less bioavailablity when other nutrients are present. Also the environment in the digestive tract will affect the amount of a micronutrient being absorbed and available for use by the body. Alcohol, antibiotics, chronic dehydration and stress can diminish the amount of helpful bacteria that live in and facilitate absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Taking PROBIOTICS can improve this situation except with certain genetic defects as even one's own genes can diminish the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. That requires medical workup and intervention. And then there are medications that can cause the depletion of micronutrients. See the lists of drugs that are responsible for this in the drug depletion table and outlined somewhat under each vitamin profile.


Fiber is neither a micronutrient nor a macronutrient, but is important for digestive health and ultimately the absorption of all nutrients. The two types of fiber are insoluble and soluble.



  • DAIRY - Primary source of naturally occurring calcium also contains iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • FISH, (fatty) - The omega-3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA]. Also iron.
  • FRUITS - Beta-carotene, folic acid, monoterpenes, pectin and other soluble fiber; Primary source for vitamin C.
  • GRAINS (whole/unprocessed) - B vitamins, cellulose and other insoluble fiber, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, magnesium, selenium, sodium, zinc.
  • LEGUMES - Fiber - insoluble and soluble.
  • MEAT - The primary source of iron, vitamin B12 and zinc. Also a source for copper, phosphorus, and selenium.
  • NUTS/SEEDS - Arginine, boron, copper, fatty acids (monosaturated and polyunsaturated omega-6), iodine (almonds), manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and predominant natural source for vitamin E and zinc.
  • VEGETABLES - B vitamins (B1-thiamin, B2-riboflavin, B3-niacin, B6-pyridoxine, and B7-biotin), calcium, carotenoids (which convert to vitamin A in the body) such as the carotenes and xanthophylls, fiber - insoluble and soluble, folic acid, iron, isoflavones, isothiocyanates, magnesium, pantothenic acid, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E (broccoli, spinach), vitamin K, and zinc.


For more than fifty years, nutrition experts have produced a set of nutrient and energy standards known as the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). A major revision is currently underway to replace the RDA. The revised recommendations are called Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) and reflect the collaborative efforts of the U.S. and Canada. Until 1997, the RDA were the only standards available and they continue to serve health care professionals and the public until the DRI can be established for all nutrients. (See more detail on this subject in RDA and DRI)



[1] Bronner, F. Nutrient bioavailability, with special reference to calcium. Journal of Nutrition. 1993;123(5): 797-802.

[2] Dreosti, I. E. Recommended dietary intakes of iron, zinc, and other inorganic nutrients and their chemical form and bioavailability. Nutrition. 1993;(6):542-5.

[3] Turnlund, J. R. Bioavailablity of dietary minerals to humans: the stable isotope approach. Critical Review of Food Science and Nutrition. 1991;30(4):387-96.


I found the above cited articles listed on The Natural Health Perspective website. The Northeast VT Regional Hospital medical librarian, Betsy Eccles, BA, was so kind as to find these articles and get copies for me. Much thanks to both. -ST

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