5 a Day and your daily vitamins and minerals

With the current climate, environmental issues, supply chain problems, and price rises you may be struggling to get your 5 a day. Supermarkets are experiencing shortages today due to supply chain disruptions, boycotts and the war in Ukraine has imposed sanctions on Russia. This in turn will be creating additional shortages outside of the problems the Covid-19 pandemic created.

Supermarkets are running short often on many items - it all started with toilet paper which hoarders were cleaning off the shelves in 2020 and now, anywhere from baby food in the USA, to some fruit and veg in the UK, there are gaps in the supply chain. If you have an allotment or a garden you at least have a supply, but this is dependent on the weather and the season. Here in the UK, we will have to count on something more than baked beans on toast for your five a day.

Here is a recap of your 5 a day

- Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to remain as healthy as possible

- Fruit and vegetables are full of fibre to maintain a healthy gut

- The vitamins and minerals from your 5-a day aid in reducing the risk of various health problems.

- They contribute to a healthy diet.

If you struggle to get your 5 a day your body will benefit from supplements to fill in the gaps in your diet. Fresh fruit when available are an excellent source of your 5 a day, root vegetables round off your nutritional needs. 5 a day nutrition points to "Water-soluble vitamins" which release energy from foods as well as help keeps your tissues healthy - these water-soluble vitamins are listed below.

9 water-soluble vitamins

  1. Biotin ( vitamin B7 )
  2. Folic acid ( folate, vitamin B3 )
  3. Niacin ( vitamin B9 )
  4. Pantothenic acid ( vitamin B5 )
  5. Riboflavin ( vitamin B2 )
  6. Thiamin ( vitamin B1 )
  7. Vitamin B6
  8. Vitamin B12
  9. Vitamin C

Water-soluble vitamins are generally not stored in the body so for best results they should be consumed daily. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can have various adverse effects on your body and well-being. They are needed for energy release, energy production, building protein and cells, and making collagen.

Energy release - several B vitamins are a key component of certain enzymes that help release energy from food.

Energy production - Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, and Biotin aid in energy production.

Protein and Cells - Vitamins B12 and B6 as well as Folic acid aid in metabolizing amino acids and helping cells multiply. If you are deficient in these Vitamins your body will not process and absorb proteins.

Making collagen - of the many roles vitamin C plays one of them is to help make collagen, this knits together wounds, supports blood vessel walls, and forms a base for bones and healthy teeth.

Background on these 9 Water-soluble Vitamins and Minerals

* Biotin ( vitamin B7 ) nourishes hair nails and skin, found in cauliflower, legumes, leafy greens, mushrooms, and nuts. Deficiency can cause neurological symptoms

* Folic acid (folate, vitamin B3) is required for red and white blood cell formation and is very important during rapid cell division and growth such as during infancy and pregnancy, found in legumes and leafy greens, deficiency can cause anemia.

* Niacin ( vitamin B9 ) The important role is to drive the metabolic process known as glycolysis, the extraction of energy from sucrose (sugar ). Found in sunflower seeds, peanuts, breakfast cereals, avocados, mushrooms, green peas, and potatoes. Deficiency can be avoided with a high protein diet.

* Pantothenic acid ( vitamin B5 ) plays a key role in a wide range of metabolic functions required for the formation of coenzyme A which is necessary for the synthesis of fatty acids, amino acids, steroid hormones, and various other important compounds, found in root vegetables, whole grains, tomatoes, and broccoli. Deficiency can lead to digestive problems, sleep disturbance, and irritability.

* Riboflavin ( vitamin B2 ) functions as a coenzyme in various chemical reactions, like Thiamine it is involved in the conversion of B6 to its active form, found in broccoli, spinach, leafy veg, eggs, and milk but its highest concentrate is in yeast extract spread. Deficiency can lead to anemia, and skin and eye problems.

* Thiamin ( vitamin B1 ) helps the body’s cells change carbohydrates into energy, it also plays a role in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals. Found in asparagus, cauliflower, kale, oranges, and potatoes. Deficiency can lead to fatigue, weight loss, nerve damage, nausea, and blurry vision.

* Vitamin B6 aids in red cell formation, energy, and release of glucose. Vitamin B6 supports the formation of white blood cells. Found in papaya, bananas, oranges, and dark leafy greens. Deficiencies are rare.

* Vitamin B12 helps maintain brain function and development and converts proteins and fat to energy. Found in spinach, alfalfa, beetroot, and mushrooms. Deficiencies pernicious anemia which is an autoimmune disease.

* Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, and proper functioning of your immune system, cooking or drying out foods drastically reduces the vitamin C content, Found in oranges, grapefruit, yellow peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, and parsley. Deficiencies can be scurvy, inflamed gums, fatigue, joint problems, and weakness.


All water-soluble vitamins are found in the human diet, however, it is important to replace your missing vitamins and minerals when considering the unfortunate current global issues - our diets are going to change based on availability. The water-soluble vitamins are a daily necessity and only last in your bloodstream for about 24hrs. Keeping on top of your 5 a day to maintain the levels of your water-soluble vitamins is key in keeping a healthy diet.