The ABCs of Vitamins and Minerals – E, K, Folic Acid

With so many vitamins and minerals to keep track of, how do you know what you need? These essential nutrients perform hundreds of roles in the body and often interplay for maximum effectiveness.

Our first post in this series featured vitamins A, B, C, and D. All of these posts will feature key vitamins and nutrients we all need. They address what each nutrient does and good sources for each.

This post focuses on vitamins E and K and Folic Acid (vitamin B9). Keep an eye out for additional posts featuring key vitamins and for minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a family of eight fat-soluble vitamins known for their antioxidant benefits. They are found in liver, eggs, nuts, wheat germ, greens, sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, and more.

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize unstable molecules that can damage cells which may provide protection against serious diseases. It’s also important in helping your body make red blood cells.

This essential nutrient also helps your body use vitamin K.

Vitamin K

Speaking of vitamin K…

This fat-soluble vitamin is stored in fat tissue and the liver. Best known for helping blood clot (or coagulate) properly by activating essential proteins and calcium. The K comes from its German name, Koagulationsvitamin.

Vitamin K deficiency is rare because bacteria in your intestines can make vitamin K. In addition, it is found in green leafy foods like kale, spinach, parsley, and romaine lettuce. Other vegetable sources are Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. There are smaller amounts in liver, fish, eggs, and meat.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Your body does not store this water-soluble vitamin so you need a regular supply in the foods you eat. These include fortified grains and cereals, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, tomato juice, and legumes like black-eyed peas and chickpeas.

This vital nutrient is responsible for many functions:

  • Vital for new cell creation.
  • It’s crucial for proper brain function.
  • Plays an important role in mental and emotional health.
  • Helps prevent anemia.
  • Helps tissues grow and cells work.
  • Aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material.