The A-Z Guide to Vitamins and Minerals and their health benefits.

Categories: Diet Gut Health

A Deep Dive into the World of Vitamins and Minerals we use with our clients and why.

Welcome to a journey of nourishment and vitality, where we delve into the world of vitamins and minerals that lay the foundation for your optimal well-being. From the intriguing realm of Vitamin A, offering a spectrum of benefits from enhanced night vision to immune resilience, to the intricate dance of B vitamins fueling your energy and cognitive prowess, we embark on a captivating exploration. Discover the power of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E, guarding your cells against the rigors of life, and the essential minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc that harmonize the symphony of your body.

As you delve into each nutrient’s story, remember that nature’s wisdom is balanced and multifaceted. Whether it’s the sun’s embrace for Vitamin D or the vibrant colours of fruits and vegetables delivering essential vitamins, the choices you make contribute to your wellness canvas. Let moderation guide you, for within these pages lie the keys to unlocking your vitality. Embrace the journey, empower your choices, and embark on the path towards a vibrant life.


Vitamin A

There are two primary categories of this essential nutrient: one derived from animal sources in your diet, and the other sourced from plants. The first variant aids in enhancing night vision, boosting red blood cell production, and bolstering your immune system to ward off infections. Conversely, the second type, found in plant-based foods, plays a crucial role in shielding cells from harm and safeguarding against age-related macular degeneration, an eye condition. However, it’s important to maintain moderation, as an excessive intake of this vitamin can potentially harm your liver. To ensure a balanced intake, consider incorporating vibrant orange vegetables and fruits like sweet potatoes and rockmelons, green options such as spinach and leafy greens, along with dairy products, seafood selections like prawns and salmon, liver and cod liver oil.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Cod liver oil has been used to keep people’s immune systems strong and healthy for centuries and one of the main reasons it is so effective is because it contains vitamin A.


Vitamin B1Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Empower your body’s conversion of food into vital energy with the essential support of thiamin. This crucial nutrient plays a central role in shaping the architecture of brain cells, and fostering cognitive well-being. Nourish yourself with nature’s bounty through legumes such as black beans and lentils, as well as nutrient-rich seeds. Elevate your intake with wholesome options like pork and whole grains, each contributing to your overall vitality. While thiamin is readily obtained from everyday diets, it’s important to note that pregnant and breastfeeding women require a slightly augmented supply. Additionally, individuals dealing with diabetes often experience lower thiamin levels, underscoring the nutrient’s significance in optimal health.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Our modern diet contains way too much sugar and alcohol, both of which deplete thiamin. So, to maintain good thiamin levels, keep your intake of processed foods, refined sugar and alcohol to a minimum.


Vitamin B2Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Achieving your daily quota could be as simple as indulging in a nourishing breakfast! This essential nutrient graces numerous fortified bread and grain offerings, while also making its natural appearance in items like eggs, asparagus, green vegetables, and milk. Functioning as a fundamental building block for your cells, it’s integral for optimal cellular performance, potentially even offering relief from migraines. Curiously named after the Latin term “flavus,” signifying yellow, when you increase your intake of B2 it will make your urine a vivid yellow hue. But don’t panic, it’s harmless.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Sufficient vitamin B2 is crucial for your cells to turn fat into energy. When your body doesn’t have enough, it slows down fat burning and makes it difficult to lose weight.



Vitamin B3Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 is a vital group of compounds essential for your body’s dynamic transformation of food into precious energy, as well as efficient storage. Beyond its energy-boosting prowess, this family of nutrients also acts as a guardian for your skin and tissues, potentially enhancing your cholesterol profile. Animal proteins are rich in vitamin B3 and you can meet your basic daily requirements effortlessly with just 90g of canned tuna, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or salmon. If your dietary preference aligns with vegan choices, mushrooms, peanuts, and peanut butter are good sources.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Beware of taking high doses of niacin as it can cause an uncomfortable skin flush. Niacinamide is a better supplemental form of vitamin B3.


Vitamin B6Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 orchestrates over a hundred diverse reactions within your body. Emerging studies suggest that B6 might act as a shield against memory decline, colorectal cancer, and reduce PMS. You can embrace its benefits through a wide spectrum of foods: from leafy greens and root vegetables to the sweetness of non-citrus fruits like bananas, avocados, and watermelon. As well as legumes, fish, poultry, and lean meats.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

You do need to be careful when supplementing with vitamin B6. The pyridoxine form can cause nerve damage when taken in excess. For this reason, it’s important to work with someone with expertise in supplements, like a naturopath.


Vitamin B12Vitamin B12

B12 assists your body in efficiently processing food to amp up your energy. While some athletes and trainers opt for pre-workout supplements, it’s crucial to note that these won’t significantly boost your energy if your meals don’t provide sufficient B12 intake. Optimal performance begins with balanced nutrition. Vitamin B12 is also a crucial nutrient required for detoxification, renewal of your DNA and red blood cell division.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

If you feel tired and sluggish, don’t just get your iron checked, also check your vitamin B12 levels.


Vitamin CVitamin C

While certain over-the-counter solutions may boast cold-prevention abilities, nothing beats a big refreshing glass of orange or grapefruit juice to keep a cold in check. Beyond cold care, vitamin C also plays a pivotal role in nurturing your bones, maintaining the elasticity of your skin, and muscle growth. Enhance your intake by consuming a vibrant array of capsicums/bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, rockmelon, leafy greens, and a medley of other fruits and vegetables. This ensures you’ll get a holistic supply of this essential nutrient.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Heat destroys vitamin C, so consume foods rich in vitamin C in their raw state as much as possible.


Vitamin DVitamin D

Much like its calcium counterpart, this essential nutrient acts as a steadfast guardian of bone strength while facilitating the smooth transmission of nerve signals. Vitamin D also bolsters the body’s immune defences against germs. The simplest way to get vitamin D is to bask in the sunshine for 10 to 15 minutes on clear days, without sunscreen (in summer do this in the late morning or late afternoon). Alternatively, you can get vitamin D from foods such as egg yolks, butter from the milk of grass fed cows, liver and cod liver oil. However, the sun is nature’s vitamin D gift.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

If you work inside and follow sun safety guidelines then you probably won’t have adequate vitamin D levels so get your levels checked and supplement if they are low or the lower end of normal.


Vitamin EVitamin E

This potent antioxidant, safeguards your cells against the perils of pollution and the sun’s rays. Vitamin E’s influence also extends beyond mere protection, it allows seamless communication among your cells while ensuring the unobstructed flow of blood through the blood vessels and heart. You can unlock its benefits through nature’s gems such as sunflower seeds and most tree nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts. If you have nut allergies then you can turn to wheat germ oil. Elevate your well-being by embracing the innate power of vitamin E.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

If you use a vitamin E supplement then use one that is naturally derived and contains mixed tocopherols so that you get the full spectrum of vitamin E.



Folic AcidFolic Acid

An indispensable nutrient on the journey to motherhood, folic acid takes centre stage. Its role in DNA synthesis and safeguarding against neural tube defects like spina bifida underscores its significance. There is an abundance of folic acid-rich foods, including asparagus, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, and legumes like beans, peas, and lentils.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Folic acid is part of the folate family however it it is a synthetic folate and doesn’t occur naturally in food. Many people have gene mutations that prevent them from converting folic acid into its biologically active form. For this reason, when supplementing, use folinic acid or methyl-folate rather than folic acid.



Vitamin KVitamin K

This nutrient promotes robust blood clotting (vitamin K1) and maintains sturdy bones (vitamin K2). So anyone on blood-thinning medication like warfarin, beware of taking supplemental vitamin K1 or increasing your intake of vitamin K1 rich foods as they have the potential to interfere with its efficacy. To boost your vitamin K1 intake consume vibrant leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or broccoli. To boost vitamin K2 consume butter from grass-fed cows or indule in natto, a traditional Japanese dish crafted from fermented soybeans.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Vitamin K2 is the often forgotten bone building nutrient. Vitamin D works synergistically with Vitamin K2 to calcium into the bones.




Fortifies your bones and teeth, endowing them with strength and resilience. However, calcium is not confined to skeletal strength alone, it orchestrates contraction of your muscles, including the rhythmic throb of your heart. Boost your calcium levels by embracing greens like parsley, kale and broccoli. As well as the nutty pleasure of sesame seeds and tahini.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

As much as you constantly hear that you need to consume dairy to get your calcium, the truth is you don’t. Asian cultures have done just fine for thousands of years without dairy and they have lower rates of hip fracture and osteoporosis.



Harness the power of this mineral to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Nourish your body by incorporating foods like broccoli, nutritional yeast and garlic into your diet.


Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Being a trace mineral your body only needs a very small amount of chromium. However, because of food refining, many people still don’t get enough.




Iodine is a foundational element for your thyroid’s hormone production, which determines the speed of your metabolism. A telltale sign of deficiency is a goitre (a swollen thyroid gland). Fortunately, overt iodine deficiency is now rare thanks to the widespread addition of iodine to table salt. Iodine also helps the body regulate cellular sensitivity to oestrogen. Insufficient iodine can lead to oestrogen dominance which can cause heavy periods, breast lumps and weight gain. To boost your iodine intake consume ocean foods such as fish but particularly seaweed. However, tread cautiously, as an excess of iodine can be detrimental, and it’s noteworthy that supplements might interact unfavorably with specific medications. Balance and awareness lead the path to harmonious well-being.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Iodine intake is notoriously insufficient nowadays because of the replacement of iodine-based disinfectants in the food industry by chlorine-based ones.



To sustain your body’s vitality you need to maintain optimal iron levels. When iron dips, the production of vital red blood cells wanes, compromising the crucial task of delivering oxygen to your tissues. Anemia, the condition characterized by inadequate iron in the blood, often affects women with heavy menstrual cycles or during pregnancy. Boost your iron levels with red meat, liver and oysters and for vegetarians, beans, lentils and spinach. Surprisingly, dark chocolate of at least 45% cacao content is a delectable way to also enhance your iron intake.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Many premenopausal women will need to supplement with iron to keep their levels optimal.


This mineral has a profound influence on the rhythmic dance of your muscles and guides the steady rhythm of your heartbeats. But magnesium is not just required by muscles, it’s critical for optimal blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, protein and DNA synthesis, as well as the transformation of nourishment into vital energy. Boost your magnesium by consuming animal proteins (beef, chicken, pork, lamb), crunchy almonds, buttery cashews, spinach, and creamy avocado. Whole grains are another great source of magnesium too.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Our modern diets and lifestyles have increased our need for magnesium so a supplement may be necessary.



While bananas might come to mind, it’s the vibrant green leafy vegetables that shine as a superior source of this essential mineral. A guardian of optimal well-being, potassium plays a pivotal role in maintaining healthy blood pressure and facilitating efficient kidney function. Striking a delicate equilibrium is crucial, as both deficiency and excess can potentially disrupt the harmony of your heart and nervous system. Embracing a wholefood diet is the easiest way to strike this balance.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

The more salt you eat the potassium you need as sodium and potassium regulate each other.




A super powerful antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage, bolsters your immune system against infections and aids the optimal function of your thyroid gland. The best source of selenium is Brazil nuts and you only need up to half a dozen to meet your daily requirement.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

When it comes to boosting thyroid function most of the attention goes to iodine but without sufficient selenium thyroid hormone is unable to be activated.




This mineral is the guardian of your senses—bestowing upon you the precious abilities to taste and smell. Beyond sensory delight, your immune system thrives upon its presence, utilizing its power to speedily heal wounds, cuts, and sores. Zinc is important throughout life as it safeguards you from hormone overload. The richest sources of zinc are red meat and oysters but sesame and pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, and cashews are also great sources.

Hayden’s expert tip/takeaway:

Zinc exists in the body in balance with copper. Because of copper water piping in our homes, it can lead to an excess of copper in the body which displaces zinc.




On your journey towards vibrant well-being, diet is the centrepiece for meeting your nutritional needs. However, because of intensive farming practices and the use of synthetic fertilisers our fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and animals aren’t supplying us with the nutrition they once were. The depleted soils are not providing the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals to replenish our body’s building blocks to maintain optimal functioning. And so while we aren’t strictly deficient many people have insufficient levels of vitamin A, vitamin B’s, vitamin C and E and essential minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc to foster harmony with the body.

As a result, chronic diseases are increasing.

But the good news is many chronic diseases can be significantly improved by replenishing the body’s nutrient levels. But how do you know what vitamins and minerals your body needs?

The answer is through testing. But not with regular blood tests, but with functional tests.

And we can help you with these as we have the experience and expertise to pinpoint what functional test will be the best for your individual needs.

To get started is easy, all you need to do is call, 02 9524 2471, or click here to schedule an initial consultation with one of our naturopaths at a time that is convenient for you.

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