Vitamins and minerals are not direct sources of energy, but they help generate energy from
carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Acting as coenzymes, nutrients, such as the B vitamins, assist
enzymes in metabolizing nutrients to produce energy. Minerals, such as chromium and iodine,
assist with nutrient uptake into cells and with regulating energy production and cell growth.
The B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate, vitamin B12
(cobalamin), pantothenic acid, and biotin. These vitamins primarily act as coenzymes in the
metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. They are commonly found in whole grains,
enriched breads, enriched ready to eat cereals, meats, dairy products and some fruits and
vegetables. B-vitamins toxicity is rare unless a person consumes large doses as supplements.
Thiamin deficiency causes beriberi, niacin deficiency causes pellagra, folate deficiency causes
macrocytic (large cell) anemia and can lead to neural tube defects in a fetus, and vitamin B12
deficiency leads to pernicious anemia and nervous system damage.
Choline is a vitamin-like substance that assists in homocysteine metabolism and production of
acetylcholine. Iodine is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which regulate
metabolic rate and body temperature. Chromium enhances the transport of glucose into the cell,
is important in the metabolism of RNA and DNA, and plays a role in immune function and
growth. Manganese is involved in energy metabolism, the formation of urea, the synthesis of
bone protein matrix and cartilage, and protection against free radicals. Sulphur is part of the B
vitamins thiamin and biotin and also part of the amino acids methionine and cysteine.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and coenzyme that is important for blood clotting and bone
metabolism. Bacteria manufacture vitamin K in our large intestine. The AIs for adult men and
adult women are 120 µg per