School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Water Soluble Vitamins

Thiamin

What it does:

  • helps convert the food we eat to the energy we need

Foods that have thiamin:

  • spinach, tomato juice, watermelon, sunflower seeds, ham

Deficiency problems:

  • weakness, tingling in feet and hands, poor coordination
Thiamin

Riboflavin - named for its yellow color (flavus means yellow in Latin)

What it does:

  • helps convert the food we eat to the energy we need

Foods that have riboflavin:

  • milk, cheese, liver, broccoli, asparagus, spinach

Deficiency problems:

  • eye disorders, cracks at corners of mouth, swollen tongue
riboflavin

Niacin

What it does:

  • helps our body use the fat and sugar we eat for energy
  • helps keep our skin healthy

Foods that have niacin:

  • mushrooms, tuna, green beans, broccoli, spinach, breakfast cereals

Deficiency problems:

  • diarrhea, skin problems, mental disorientation
niacin

Vitamin B6

What it does:

  • helps make red blood cells
  • helps our body use the fat and protein we eat for energy

Foods that have vitamin B6:

  • spinach, broccoli, tomato juice, banana, watermelon, chicken breast

Deficiency problems:

  • headache, convulsions, vomiting, flaky skin, sore tongue
b6

Folate

What it does:

  • helps to make new cells
  • helps prevent heart disease

Foods that have folate:

  • asparagus, broccoli, corn flakes, green beans, tomato juice, beans

Deficiency problems:

  • diarrhea, mental disorders, poor growth
folate

Vitamin B12

What it does:

  • helps to make new cells

Foods that have vitamin B12:

  • meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, eggs

Deficiency problems:

  • anemia, poor nerve function
b12

Vitamin C- almost all animals make vitamin C in their bodies (only humans, guinea pigs, some bats, and some fish don't)

What it does:

  • protects cells from damage
  • helps keep bones and skin healthy
  • may help prevent cancer and heart disease

Foods that have vitamin C:

  • oranges, strawberries, peppers, kiwi, brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach

Deficiency problems:

  • bleeding gums, tiredness, weakness, sore muscles
vitamin c

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Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.