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Patient Education

The ABC’s of Vitamins

Vitamin Rich FoodsHere’s our Cast List: Vitamin A; the “B’s” (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12); Vitamins C, D, E, K, and P.

Some, like Vitamin C, are old friends; others, like Vitamin P (bioflavonoids) are more mysterious. What they have in common: all can be found in one or another food source. And all can be taken as “Vitamin Supplements.”

Here’s where the ABC’s of vitamins begin to get fuzzy. Not everyone agrees on the merits of vitamin supplements. And vitamins appear to have a role in disease prevention, but researchers are still working to understand it.

We do know that a balanced diet of meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains, citrus and other fruits, and green leafy vegetables can provide virtually all necessary vitamins and minerals. But handfuls of vitamin supplements can’t turn a “junk food” diet into a healthy one.

Curious Vitamin Facts

  • Vitamin D, found in butter, fish liver, and milk, is the only vitamin that can also be absorbed into the body from sunshine. That’s why it’s called the “sunshine vitamin.”
  • Vitamin P can be found in citrus fruit rinds and rose hips. But we haven’t discovered what results from a “Vitamin P deficiency.”
  • Massive amounts of Vitamin C is believed by some—though by no means all—research physicians to be capable of combating the common cold.

“A” is for … Antioxidants

  • Antioxidants are molecules that appear to be closely involved in the prevention of cellular damage—the common pathway for cancer, aging, heart disease and more.
  • They’re found in Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and a Vitamin A precursor called Beta-carotene.
  • They’re found in green, leafy vegetables, carrots, and sweet potatoes. But curiously, high levels of antioxidants are in black coffee! So not only does Java help keep you awake, it may help keep you alive!

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