Six Essential Vitamins & Minerals That You Need In Your Diet

*Vitamins A,K, E and D are fat soluble i.e they need to be taken with a fat to be absorbed

1. Vitamin D : The Sun Vitamin

  • Regulates the functions of over 200 genes and is essential for growth and development (31)

  • 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight (without sunblock) on the skin is enough to raise vitamin D levels (31)

  • Few foods (fatty fish/ fish oil) contain vitamin d, thus sunlight or supplementation (2000-4000 IUs) is recommended

  • Vitamin D3 is absorbed better and more effective than Vitamin D2 (32)


  • Regulates the circulating levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are the most important minerals for bone growth and maintenance

  • Regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses (33)
  • Regulates mood by controlling how much tryptophan is converted into serotonin (34)

What if you don't get enough Vitamin D? (33)

  • Over a billion people are deficient or have insufficient levels (31)

  • General tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
  • Severe bone or muscle pain or weakness
  • Stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis, and hips

What if you take too much Vitamin D?

  • Vitamin D toxicity is very rare and shouldn’t be a concern

  • Avoid supplementing passed 5000 IUs


2. Vitamin K1 / K2: The Most Underrated Vitamin

(For More Info)

  • Vitamin K1: kale, brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli (34)

  • Vitamin K2: meat, liver, butter, egg yolk, natto, cheese and curd cheese (34)


  • Responsible for blood clotting i.e without it you would bleed to death (35)
  • Help move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth (35)
  • Plays a role in removing calcium from areas where it shouldn't be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues (35)
  • Reduces inflammatory markers in the body and risk of prostate cancer (36, 37)

What if you don't get enough Vitamin K2 ?

  • Greater risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer (35)
  • Increased risk for low bone mineral density in women (38)
  • Increased risk for brain disease and decline in cognitive function

What if you take too much Vitamin K2?

  • Toxicity is rare

  • Most people are deficient in Vitamin K2


3.Vitamin E: A Powerful Antioxidant

A family of eight structurally similar antioxidants that are divided into two groups:

  • Tocopherols: Alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol and delta-tocopherol.

  • Tocotrienols: Alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol.


  • Powerful antioxidant that helps fight against inflammation, free radicals and oxidative damage (39)

  • Improves brain function and decreases risk of brain disease(40, 41)

What if you don't get enough Vitamin E?

  • Deficiency is very rare

  • Decreased cognitive function

  • Increased inflammation and oxidative damage

What if you take too much Vitamin E?

  • Toxicity can occur with supplementation, thus dietary intake is recommended
  • High dose supplementation can interfere with muscle growth if taken immediately after a workout due to its antioxidant effects (42)

  • Can cause excessive bleeding due to its anticoagulation effects (43)

Food Sources

  • Nuts (Hazelnuts, Almonds,Walnuts, Pecans)

  • Raw Seeds (Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin, Sesame)

  • Sunflower Oil

  • Olive Oil

  • Legumes

  • Green Vegetables (Spinach and Broccoli)

4.Vitamin A:  The Blindness Cure


  • Fat soluble compounds known as retinoids responsible for vision (44)

  • Supports both male and female reproduction as well as embryonic development (45)

  • Strengthens the immune system and decreases risk for infections (46, 47)

What if you don't get enough Vitamin A? (Rare In Developed Countries)

  • Vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness (44)

  • Vitamin A deficiency impairs immune function, increasing risk for infections (46, 47)

  • Vitamin A deficiency can lead to hair loss and lack of hair growth (48)

What if you take too much Vitamin A?

  • Toxicity is rare

  • Avoid taking past 10,000 IUs per day, especially if pregnant

  • Supplementation is not needed, dietary intake is recommended

Food Sources

  • Liver

  • Fish Liver oil

  • Grass Fed Butter.

  • Red, Yellow, Orange Vegetables (Sweet Potatoes and Carrots)

  • Dark Leafy Green Vegetables

5. Vitamin B12: The Anti-Vegan Vitamin

  • A water-soluble vitamin that is essential (i.e our body can’t produce it) for blood formation, brain and nerve function.
  • B12 is ONLY found in animal products

  • Vegans and vegetarians are at risk for B12 deficiency (49)


  • Every cell in the body uses B12 to function normally (50)
  • Maintains energy levels by converting carbohydrates into glucose

  • May help fight against depression (51)

  • Lowers fasting blood glucose, inflammation and oxidative damage in diabetics (52)

What if you don’t get enough Vitamin B12?

  • Shorter lifespan, infertility, delayed cell growth (53)

  • Low levels of vitamin B12 have been associated with neurocognitive disorders (54)

Food Sources

  • Grass-fed dairy products

  • Cage-free eggs

  • Grass-fed meat

  • Wild-caught fish

  • Free range poultry and organ meats

6. Magnesium: The Miracle Mineral

  • Magnesium is required for many of the major organs to function and plays a crucial role in human  physiology (55)

  • Magnesium is essential for the structure of bones and teeth, acts as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes in the body (55)

  • Almost half (48%) of the US population consumed less than the required amount of magnesium from food in 2005-2006 (56)


  • It is critical in energy-requiring metabolic processes, muscle contraction and protein synthesis (57)

  • Regulates cellular health, nervous tissue conduction, hormone secretion, and metabolism (57)

What if you don’t get enough magnesium?

  • Low magnesium intakes and blood levels have been associated with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elevated C-reactive protein, and hypertension (56)
  • Low magnesium status has been associated atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, osteoporosis, migraine headache, asthma, and colon cancer. (56)

  • Low magnesium status has been associated with numerous pathological conditions characterized as having a chronic inflammatory stress component (57)

Food Sources

  • Spinach

  • Chard

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Yogurt or Kefir

  • Almonds

  • Black Beans

  • Avocado

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Banana


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