Table showing different micronutrients and their source





Vitamin A Makes white blood cells - essential for vision, healthy skin and mucosa, teeth and bone development. Protects against infection associated with accelerated HIV progression, increased adult mortality, increased mother to child transmission, higher infant mortality and child growth failure All yellow and orange fruit and vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, alfalfa, liver, oily fish, dairy products and egg yolks 


Vitamin B1

Important for energy metabolism, supports appetite and nervous, system functions Whole-grain cereals, beans, meat and poultry and fish


Vitamin B2

Important for energy metabolism, supports normal vision, health and integrity of skin Milk, yoghurt, meat, green leaves and whole-grain cereals 


Vitamin B3

Essential for energy metabolism, supports health and integrity of skin, nervous and digestive systems  Milk, fish, eggs, meat, poultry, peanuts, whole-grain cereals
Vitamin B6 Facilitates metabolism and absorption of fats and proteins, helps to make red blood cells Sweet potatoes, white beans, maize, avocados, cabbage, whole-grain cereals, seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, eggs, leafy green vegetables, alfalfa, bananas, legumes, meat and fish
Folate Required for building new cells, especially red blood cells and gastrointestinal cells Fish, oysters, legumes, groundnuts, oilseeds, whole-grain cereals, egg yolks and avocado
Vitamin B12 Important for new cell development and maintenance of the nerve cells Red meat, fish, poultry, seafood, sardines, cheese, eggs, milk, whole-grain cereals and seaweed 
Vitamin C Helps the body to use calcium and other nutrients to build bones and blood vessel walls. Increases non-heam iron absorption. Increases resistance to infection and acts as an antioxidant. Important for protein metabolism. Citrus fruits (such as baobab, guava, oranges and lemons), cabbage, green leaves, tomatoes, sweet peppers, potatoes, yams and cooking plantains. Vitamin C is lost when food is cut up, reheated or left standing after cooking.
Vitamin E Protects cell structures and facilitates resistance to disease peanuts, egg yolks, dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole-grain cereals
Calcium Builds strong teeth and bones Aids heart and muscle functions, blood clotting and pressure and immune defenses. Milk, green leaves, shrimps, dried fish (with bones), nuts, beans and peas.
Iodine Ensures the development and proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system  Fish, seafood, milk and salt with iodine.
Iron Transports oxygen to the blood, eliminates old red blood cells and builds new cells  Red meat, poultry, liver, fish, seafood, eggs, peanuts, beans, some cereals, green leafy vegetables, seeds, whole- grain cereals, dried fruit and alfalfa.
Magnesium Strengthens the muscles and is important for proper functioning of the nervous system. Involved in bone development and teeth maintenance  Cereals, dark green vegetables, seafood, nuts and legumes 
Selenium Prevents impairment of the heart muscle Seafood, liver, meat, carrots, onions, milk, garlic, alfalfa, mushrooms and whole-grain cereals
Zinc Reinforces the immune system, facilitates digestion and transports vitamin A  Meat, chicken, fish, cereals, leafy green vegetables, seafood, oysters, nuts, pumpkin seeds, milk, liver, whole-grain cereals, egg yolks, garlic and legumes.


Review Process

Document developed by; Alice Ndong February 2012

Information Source Links

  • Human Vitamins requirement; Report of Joint FAO - WHO expert Consultation 2002 ( Bangkok Thailand)
  • Phylis A. Balch, and James F Balch, Prescription fro Nutritional healing, 3rd Edition.
  • Lee V, Ahmed F, Wada S, et al. Extent of vitamin A deficiency among rural pregnant women in Bangladesh. PUBLIC HEALTH NUTR. Jun 12 2008;1-6.
  • D'Souza RM, D'Souza R. Vitamin A for treating measles in children. COCHRANE DATABASE SYST REV. 2002;(1):CD001479.

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