This information was taken from the Harvard Medical School website
We hear it all. Vitamin B12, E, D etc. What does it all mean? What are they good for? Here is a list of the main vitamins and minerals found in our dips and an explanation of how they preform in the body.
VITAMIN A: Essential for vision Lycopene may lower prostate cancer risk. Keeps tissues and skin healthy. Plays an important role in bone growth. Diets rich in the carotenoids alpha carotene and lycopene seem to lower lung cancer risk carotenoids act as antioxidants foods rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against cataracts.
RIBOFLAVIN (vitamin B2): Helps convert food into energy needed for healthy skin, hair, blood, and brain.
VITAMIN B6: Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Helps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods. Helps make red blood cells. Influences cognitive abilities and immune function. Many people don’t get enough of this nutrient.
NIACIN (vitamin B3,): Helps convert food into energy essential for healthy skin, blood cells, brain, and nervous system.
VITAMIN C: Foods rich in vitamin C may lower the risk for some cancers, including those of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and breast. Vitamin C may protect against cataracts, helps make collagen, a connective tissue that knits together wounds and supports blood vessel walls, helps make the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Strengthens the immune system.
VITAMIN E: Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Protects vitamin A and certain lipids from damage. Diets rich in vitamin E may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
FOLIC ACID (folate, folacin): Vital for new cell creation. Helps prevent brain and spine birth defects when taken early in pregnancy; should be taken regularly by all women of child-bearing age since women may not know they are pregnant in the first weeks of pregnancy. Can lower levels of homocysteine and may reduce heart disease risk. May reduce risk for colon cancer, offsets breast cancer risk among women who consume alcohol.Many people don’t get enough of this nutrient.Occasionally, folic acid masks a B12 deficiency.
CALCIUM: Builds and protects bones and teeth. Helps with muscle contractions and relaxation, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission. Plays a role in hormone secretion and enzyme activation. Helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
IRON: Helps hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells ferry oxygen throughout the body. Needed for chemical reactions in the body and for making amino acids, collagen, neurotransmitters, and hormones.
MAGNESIUM: Needed for many chemical reactions in the body. Works with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and regulation of blood pressure. Helps build bones and teeth.
POTASSIUM: Balances fluids in the body. Helps maintain steady heartbeat and send nerve impulses. Needed for muscle contractions. A diet rich in potassium seems to lower blood pressure. Getting enough potassium from your diet may benefit bones.
SELENIUM: Acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells. Helps regulate thyroid hormone activity.
SODIUM: Balances fluids in the body, helps send nerve impulses. Needed for muscle contractions.
ZINC: Helps form many enzymes and proteins and create new cells. Frees vitamin A from storage in the liver. Needed for immune system, taste, smell, and wound healing. When taken with certain antioxidants, zinc may delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration.