Vitamins and Supplements You Need to Talk to Help with Heart Disease

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • Generally speaking, those who consistently eat a varied, healthy diet should be able to obtain all the vitamins and minerals they require. However, for some groups in the population supplements may prove beneficial.


    In the US the requirements for vitamins and minerals are expressed as Dietary Reference Intakes, or DRIs. These guideline amounts are designed to enhance health and lower the risk for chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.


    The fact is that few people in westernized society are deficient in nutrients, however many die from major diseases that could have been prevented with better diets.

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    There are 13 vitamins, and 16 minerals. While it is true that most nutrients are only needed in tiny amounts, not having them in your diet virtually guarantees disease. Think of vitamin C deficiency leading to scurvy, vitamin A deficiency leading to blindness, and vitamin D deficiency leading to rickets.


    Vitamins or minerals – what’s the difference?


    ü  Vitamins can be broken down by heat, air, or acid.

    ü  Minerals are chemical elements that do not change.


    Lets take a closer look at our 13 vitamins:




    Necessary for


    Vitamin A (retinol, carotene)


    • Growth and repair
    • Good night vision
    • Immune function

    Dairy products, eggs, fatty fish, dark green and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits

    Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

    • Supplying energy to tissues
    • Nervous system
    • Carbohydrate metabolism

    Fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains, wheat germ, legumes, pork

    Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

    • Carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism
    • Involved in making Vitamin B6 active in the body
    • Production of red blood cells

    Dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, fortified breads, fortified breakfast cereals, green leafy vegetables, eggs

    Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

    • Carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism
    • Maintaining healthy skin and nerves
    • Blood circulation

    Meat, fish, legumes, wholegrain cereals, eggs, nuts

    Pantothenic acid

    • Vitamin utilization
    • Making new fats and proteins in the body
    • Nerve function

    Lean meat, wholegrains, legumes, oat-based cereals, tomatoes, eggs

    Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)


    • Formation of antibodies and red blood cells
    • Cognitive ability
    • Carbohydrate and protein metabolism

    Fish, poultry, lean meat, fortified breakfast cereals, legumes, wholegrains, potatoes, tofu and other soy products

    Vitamin B12 (Cyano-cobalamin)


    • Formation of new cells
    • Normal nerve function
    • Red blood cell formation

    Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fortified cereals, fortified soy milk

    Folic Acid (folate)


    • Preventing brain and spinal birth defects
    • Protein metabolism
    • Maintaining good heart health

    Green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, orange juice, tomato juice, nuts, legumes


    • Carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism
    • Fatty acid production
    • Ridding the body of wastes from breakdown of proteins


    Meat, dairy products, wholegrains, egg yolk, dark green vegetables.

    Note: eating raw egg whites prevents absorption of biotin.

    Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

    • Protects against oxidative damage
    • Wound healing
    • Infection resistance
    • Aids absorption of iron and copper 
    • Helps stabilise vitamins, such as vitamin E or folate

    Citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, peppers, sweet peppers, broccoli, sprouts

    Vitamin D (calciferol)



    • Maintenance of calcium and phosphorus – bone strengthening
    • Helps form teeth and bones


    Vitamin D is synthesised under skin in response to sunlight. Small amounts found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel), fortified margarine, fortified cereals, eggs

    Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

    • Acts as antioxidant
    • Possible role in immune function
    • Maintains heart, circulation, skin and nervous system in good condition

    Vegetable oil, margarine, wheat germ, wholegrains, nuts, dark green vegetables, beans

    Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

    • Normal blood clotting
    • Bone formation

    Green leafy vegetables, soybean oil, canola oil, margarines



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    As already noted, for most of the population it is much better to get your vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, rather than rely on supplements. This is because food contains other beneficial components, besides the necessary nutrients.


    If you do decide to take a supplement, please avoid mega dose vitamin and mineral supplements - check the label carefully prior to purchase, and opt for those stating 100% of the DRIs.


    Next week we’ll take a look at the 16 minerals, including some of their properties and sources.

    Related posts:

    Combat High Blood Pressure with Essential Herbs and Vitamins

    Vitamin D + You: Not a Vitamin, and Not One Size Fits All

    B Vitamins and Folic Acid: Take Them, but Not for Your Heart 


    Melanie Thomassian is a professional dietitian and author of the award winning

Published On: September 01, 2008