Nutrients Guide

Overview of micro-nutrients, their sources, and their health benefits.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that serves important roles in modulating skin health, vision, gene transcription, and immune system functioning. Retinol and beta-carotene are some of the most common forms of vitamin A.

Vitamin A plays a vital role in immune function by supporting the growth and distribution of T-cells, a type of white blood cell that protects your body from infection[1]. It is implicated in preventing the development of night blindness[2] and may help slow the age-related decline of eyesight[3]. Vitamin A is essential to maintain skin health, it prevents dryness and improves wound healing. It may play a role in treating acne by regulating the production of the protein keratin in hair follicles[4,5]. It is essential for maintaining a healthy reproductive system in both men and women, as well as ensuring the normal growth and development of embryos during pregnancy[6,7].

Sources: Salmon, Cheese, Squash, Carrots, Kale, Red Pepper

Vitamin B's

The B vitamin family including, Folate, B6, Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), and Biotin (B7), are antioxidants that are essential for the creation and maintenance of healthy skin and help support overall immune function. Optimal levels of Folate are essential in pregnant and lactating women to support fetal development and prevent neurological damage in the fetus/infant[1]. B- complex vitamins may reduce stress, fatigue and improve cognitive performance[2]. They are also associated with improving general mental health by reducing the symptoms of depression[3].

Sources: Whole grains, meat, eggs and dairy, beans, lentils, almonds

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble essential vitamin with antioxidant properties. Vitamin C plays a vital role in boosting the immune system by reducing oxidative stress[1] and protecting cells from free-radical damage[2]. It is associated with promoting cardiovascular health by regulating the levels of blood pressure and triglyceride and maintaining high levels of bad LDL cholesterol, low levels of good HDL cholesterol[3,4]. Vitamin C’s structure allows it to act on neurology and depression, as well as interact with the pancreas and modulate cortisol. It is thought to help with boosting cognitive function by improving memory and thinking due to its anti-oxidant properties[5,6].

It plays an active role in supporting skin health[7] by stimulating collagen synthesis[8] and assisting in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage, wrinkles, aging, and sun damage.

Sources: Oranges, lemon, kiwi, Broccoli, cauliflowers

vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble essential vitamin that our skin synthesizes when exposed to the sun. It benefits us in many ways, from bone health to mood. The body produces vitamin D from cholesterol, provided there is an adequate amount of UV light from sun exposure. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the body and boosts bone development[1,2]. Optimal levels of vitamin D are essential to prevent soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia).

Vitamin D is also implicated in reducing inflammation and modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function[3]. It plays an essential role in regulating mood and preventing depressive symptoms[4,5]. It may be associated with reducing cardiovascular disease risk[6]. It is thought to help with sleep quality[7] as well as play a role in reducing the risk of several types of cancer[8,9]. Vitamin D promotes skin health by contributing to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism.

Sources: Salmon, Cheese, Egg yolk / The Sun

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a group of eight different compounds which, collectively, help support antioxidation in the body. Vitamin E is essential to maintain a strong immune system, for cell signaling, regulation of gene expression, and other metabolic processes. Your body must have Vitamin E to confer neuroprotection against glutamate-induced cell death[1,2].

Vitamin E is vital for maintaining healthy skin[3], it protects the skin against aging, dryness, inflammation, and sun damage by preventing the skin from exposure to environmental oxidant pollutants. It is associated with promoting hair health by reducing oxidative stress in the scalp[4].

Sources: Almonds, Peanuts, Sunflower seeds, Avocado

vitamine K

Vitamin K is an essential vitamin found in plants or produced from intestinal bacteria. There are two forms: K1 (found in plant foods) and K2 (found in animal and fermented foods). Vitamin K plays an essential role in bone health and regulates blood clotting.

Optimal levels of vitamin K are associated with improved bone circumference and diameter. It has a positive effect on bone mineral density, prevents osteoporosis and decreases fracture risk[1]. Vitamin K promotes cardiovascular health by reducing the calcification[2] and the stiffening of arteries[3]. It may also help with regulating insulin sensitivity[4] by promoting pancreatic beta-cell proliferation. Vitamin K is thought to help with certain skin conditions such as wrinkles, bruising, dark circles under the eyes [5] due to its anticoagulant property which prevents dark circles by strengthening blood vessels.

Sources: Kale, Spinach, Brussel sprouts, Meet, Eggs


Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral and the second most prevalent electrolyte in the human body. Magnesium serves an electrolyte to maintain fluid balance and a mineral cofactor for enzymes in over 300 enzyme systems. Magnesium may improve the quality of sleep[1] due to its sedative-like actions. Optimal levels of Magnesium are associated with promoting mental health by reducing the risk of depression[2] and ADHD[3]. It may have a role in promoting cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and other heart ailments[4].

Sources: Spinach and Kale, Velvet Bean, Figs, Avocado, Broccoli, Cabbage, Banana and Raspberries


Iron is an essential dietary mineral present in a wide variety of foods. Iron is essential for heme synthesis, a protein found in red blood cells[1]. The primary role of heme is to transport oxygen from the lungs to body tissues. A deficiency in iron leads to anemia. Iron can also exist in iron-sulfur clusters (ISCs), which are part of over 200 different proteins, including many enzymes[2]. Iron plays a vital role in energy production by acting as a cofactor for the functions of enzymes. Among the most significant of these are enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic pathway that converts nutrients to energy. Iron intake may reduce the risk of depression[3].

Optimal levels of iron are associated with improving cardiovascular health. Iron is necessary for immune cell proliferation and maturation, particularly lymphocytes, which are associated with helping us to keep healthy. Iron supplementation promotes healthy pregnancy by reducing the risk of anemia[4].

Sources: Red meat, Seafood, Beans, Spinach, Broccoli, Nuts, Soy, and Fortified grains


Zinc is an essential mineral found in animal tissues and eggs, legumes, and fish; it is exceptionally high in shellfish such as oysters. Zinc is an essential cofactor in over 300 enzymes involved in gene expression, cell proliferation, and signal transduction. Optimal levels of Zinc is necessary for numerous functions and reactions in the body, including immune system function, synthesis of DNA and protein, cell metabolism, wound healing, and proper growth.

Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, not only does it promotes healthy skin by reducing the risk of rash, warts[1][2] but it also plays a vital role in treating acne[3,4]. It can decrease oil production in the skin and protects the skin against bacterial infection and inflammation[5]. Zinc is associated with promoting mental health by reducing the risk of depression[6] and also implicated in treating OCD[7]. It may have a role in maintaining cardiovascular health by protecting against coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy[8].  

Sources: Eggs, Legumes, Fish, Oyster, Nuts, Seeds, and Soy products.


Copper is an essential mineral for antioxidative enzymes in the human body. The body needs dietary copper for cognitive development during infancy, as well as for optimal immune[1] and bone health. Copper is an important cofactor for several enzymes in the body that catalyze redox reactions. It plays a vital role in skin synthesis and stabilization of extracellular matrix skin proteins which promotes healthy skin. Copper enhances the well-being of the skin by reducing pigmentation[2, 3], facial fine lines and wrinkles[4].

Source: Oysters, whole grains, Beans, Nuts, Potatoes, Organ meats (kidneys, liver), Water


Selenium is an essential trace mineral that has antioxidant capabilities. It forms a part of some anti-oxidant enzymes such as glutathione to confer protective effects. Selenium is incorporated into selenoproteins that have a wide range of pleiotropic effects, ranging from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to the production of active thyroid hormone. It is a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress, protects cells from damage.

Optimal levels of selenium may promote cardiovascular health[1] by reducing inflammation which is linked to atherosclerosis. A diet rich in selenium can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases[2] and improve cognitive performance[3].

Sources: Brazil nuts, Chicken, Eggs, Sunflower seeds, Wheat, Cheese, Lentils

Green Tea Catechins

Green Tea, or Camellia Sinensis, is a plant steeped in hot water and drunk as tea. Green tea has the most active water-soluble compound called catechins that have extensive benefits for us. It boosts the metabolic rate and increases fat burning in the short term [1, 2] which may aid in the role of weight loss.

The catechin compounds in Green tea may prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s [3] and Parkinson’s [4]. Green tea consumption inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth which may lead to improved dental health[5] and it may improve insulin sensitivity which lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes[6]. Green tea increases the antioxidant capacity of the blood, which protects the LDL particles from oxidation thereby reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Green tea is thought to help with acne due to not only its anti-inflammatory effects but also by being implicated in reducing sebum production and overgrowth of a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes[7]both of which are heavily involved in the production of acne.

Sources: Tea from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis


Theanine, also known as L-Theanine, is an amino acid that is not common in the diet. It is one of the main active ingredients found in green tea, alongside caffeine and green tea catechins. It promotes sleep quality[1] and lowers fatigue by reducing the effects of ADHD which is commonly associated with symptoms such as restless leg syndrome or disturbed sleep.

Theanine is associated with improving cardiovascular health by enhancing vascular responsiveness[2] and regulating nitric oxide production[3]. It may have a role in reducing anxiety[4][5] and stress due to its role in stimulating the production of the relaxing neurotransmitter GABA[6]. It may also reduce cognitive impairment by increasing memory and attention[7].

Sources: Green tea, Bay bolete (Xerocomus badius) , C. sasanqua, C. japonica