I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of my calories.  It also lets me know how much I am consuming when it comes to certain vitamins and minerals.  I was curious to see how much I really needed of these things (as well as the side-effects of taking too much).  So I set out on a mission to find the answers on the web.  This led me to putting together a comprehensive list for myself and now all you DietBetters out there.  

Vitamin or Mineral



Where to Find It

Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) M=Men


Vitamin A

Promotes good eyesight and normal functioning of the immune system.

Large amounts of supplemental vitamin A (but not beta carotene) can be harmful to bones.  This vitamin is fat-soluble and is stored in the body for a long time, especially in pregnancy. An overdose may be dangerous.

Food sources include:


Sources of retinoids: Beef, liver, eggs, shrimp, fish, fortified milk, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese

Sources of beta carotene: Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, squash, spinach, mangoes, turnip greens

M: 900 mcg (3,000 IU)W: 700 mcg (2,333IU)


Upper Limit:

3,000 mcg (about 10,000 IU)

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Helps the body process carbohydrates and some protein.

No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.

Food sources include: 

Enriched, fortified, or whole-grain products such as bread, pasta, and cereals

M: 1.2 mg, W: 1.1 mg


Upper Limit:

Not Known

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Supports many body processes, such as turning food into energy. It also helps your body make red blood cells.

No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.

Food sources include: 

Milk, breads, fortified cereals, almonds, asparagus, dark meat chicken, and cooked beef

M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.1 mg


Upper Limit:

Not Known

Vitamin B3


What it does: Helps with digestion and changing food into energy; helps make cholesterol.

Common side effects include: Mild dizziness, sweating or chills, nausea, burping or diarrhea.  Serious side effects include: severe allergic reaction, uneven or fast-pounding heartbeat, grayish stool color, skin itching or rash, severe stomach pain, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, muscle pain, yellowing of skin or eyes






Food sources include: 

Poultry, fish, meat, whole grains, and fortified cereals

M: 16 mg, W: 14 mg


Upper Limit:

35 mg

Vitamin B5

(Pantothenic Acid)

What it does: Helps convert food into energy. Helps make lipids (fats), neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and hemoglobin

Deficiency causes burning feet and other neurologic symptoms.

Food sources include: Wide variety of nutritious foods, including chicken, whole grains, broccoli, mushrooms, avocados, tomato products

M: 5 mg, W: 5 mg


Upper Limit:

Not Known

Vitamin B6

What it does: Supports your nervous system. Helps the body break down proteins. Helps the body break down stored sugar. Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Helps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods. Helps make red blood cells Influences cognitive abilities and immune function

May cause nerve problems in large doses. Evidence is conflicting about the maximum safe dose, so get medical advice before exceeding the RDA.

Food sources include: 

Fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, and spinach

31–50: M: 1.3 mg, W: 1.3 mg 51+: M: 1.7 mg, W: 1.5 mg


Upper Limit:

100 mg

Vitamin B12


What it does: Helps with cell division and helps make red blood cells.

A lack of vitamin B12 can cause memory loss, dementia, and numbness in the arms and legs.

Food sources include: 

Beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, soybeans, and fortified foods

M: 2.4 mcg, W: 2.4 mcg


Upper Limit:

Not Known

Vitamin C

(Ascorbic acid)

What it does: Promotes a healthy immune system and helps make collagen. It's also needed to make certain chemical messengers in the brain.

Large doses can cause diarrhea and nausea, eg 2g/day . Some scientists have argued that 1000-5000mg per day may damage your DNA.

Food sources include: 

Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach








M: 90 mg, W: 75 mg Smokers: Add 35 mg


Upper Limit:

2,000 mg

Vitamin D

What it does: Maintains bone health and helps the body process calcium; important for immune system function; may protect from cancer.


This vitamin is fat-soluble so can accumulate in the body. Overdoses are dangerous, but there is wide variability in the toxic level, eg 400IU for children.

Food sources include: 

Fortified milk, cheese, and cereals; egg yolks; salmon


31–50: 5 mcg (200 IU) 51–70: 10 mcg (400IU) 71+: 15 mcg (600 IU)


Upper Limit:

50 mcg (2,000 IU)




Vitamin E

What it does: As an antioxidant, it helps protect cells from damage.

Potential effect with warfarin increasing risk of bleeding, more than 400IU/day can increase risk of heart failure and death in long term illness.

Food sources include: Leafy green vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and soybean

M: 15 mg, W: 15 mg (15 mg equals about 22 IU from natural sources of vitamin E and 33 IU from synthetic vitamin E)


Upper Limit:

1,000 mg (nearly 1,500IU natural vitamin E; 2,200 IU synthetic)

Vitamin K

What it does: Helps blood clot and maintains bone health.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rashitching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Food sources include: 

Leafy green vegetables like parsley, chard, and kale; olive, canola, and soybean oils; and broccoli

M: 120 mcg, W: 90 mcg


Upper Limit:

Not Known


What it does: Helps convert food into energy and synthesize glucose Helps make and break down some fatty acid. Needed for healthy bones and hair

No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.

Food sources include: Many foods, including whole grains, organ meats, egg yolks, soybeans, and fish










M: 30 mcg, W: 30 mcg


Upper Limit:

Not Known



What it does: Helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Helps muscles work. Supports cell communication.

High doses can lead to headaches, stomach pain, high blood pressure and diarrhoea. Excess calcium can be deposited as kidney and gall bladder stones. It has been linked to an increased risk for heart attack in recent research.


Adults absorb roughly 30% of calcium ingested, but this can vary depending on the source. Diets very high in calcium may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Food sources include: 

Dairy products, broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach and rhubarb, and fortified products, such as orange juice, soy milk, and tofu

31–50: M: 1,000 mg, W: 1,000 mg 51+: M: 1,200 mg, W: 1,200 mg


Upper Limit:

2,500 mg


What it does: Balances fluids in the body A component of stomach acid, essential to digestion

New recommendations (DRIs) for chloride are under development by the Institute of Medicine.


Food sources include:

Salt (sodium chloride), soy sauce, processed foods

Food and Nutrition Board 1989 guidelines: M: 750 mg, W: 750 mg


Upper Limit:



What it does: Helps make and release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which aids in many nerve and brain activities Plays a role in metabolizing and transporting fats

Side Effects include: Body odor (a fishy body odor due to consuming too much), increased  body temperature, excessive sweating as well as increased salivation

Food sources include: Milk, eggs, liver, and peanuts

M: 550 mg, W: 425 mg


Upper Limit:

 3,500 mg


What it does: Helps maintain normal blood sugar (glucose) levels.

Stop using chromium picolinate and call your doctor is you have any of the following symptoms: thinking problems, trouble concentrating, problems with balance or coordination; liver problems-nausea, upper stomach pain, tiching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice


May also cause: headaches, sleep problems (insomnia), mood changes, or feeling irritable




Food sources include: 

Some cereals, beef, turkey, fish, broccoli, and grape juice


Unrefined foods such as brewer’s yeast, nuts, and cheeses are the best sources of chromium.

31–50: M: 35 mcg, W: 25 mcg 51+: M: 30 mcg, W: 20 mcg


Upper Limit:

Not Known


What it does: Helps break down iron, helps make red blood cells, and helps produce energy for cells.

Adults should consume no more than 10 mg of copper per day. Kidney failure and death can occur with as little as 1 gram of copper sulfate. Symptoms of copper overdose include nauseavomiting, bloody diarrhea, fever, stomach painlow blood pressure, anemia, and heart problems.

Food sources include: 

Organ meats (like liver), seafood, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole-grain products, and cocoa products

M: 900 mcg, W: 900 mcg


Upper Limit:

10,000 mcg


What it does: Prevents dental cavities and stimulates new bone formation.

Higher doses can weaken bones and ligaments, and cause muscle weakness and nervous system problems. High doses of fluoride in children before their permanent teeth come through the gums can cause tooth discoloration.

Toothpaste and fluoride rinses should not be swallowed routinely, particularly by children. It’s a good idea to make sure that children under six years of age use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride-containing toothpaste, just in case they swallow some.

Food sources include: 

Fluoridated water, teas, toothpaste with fluoride and some fish

M: 4 mg, W: 3 mg


Upper Limit:

10 mg

Folic Acid

What it does: Promotes cell development, prevents birth defects, promotes heart health, and helps red blood cells form.

No danger. It dissolves in water, so any excess is passed in urine.


Many people don’t get enough of this nutrient. Occasionally, folic acid masks a B12deficiency, which can lead to severe neurological complications. That’s not a reason to avoid folic acid; just be sure to get enough B12.

Food sources include: Fortified cereals and grain products; lima, lentil, and garbanzo beans; and dark leafy vegetables

M: 400 mcg, W: 400 mcg


Upper Limit:

1,000 mcg


What it does: Works to promote joint and cartilage health.  It protects cartilage and stops it from breaking down.

According to the Arthritis Research Campaign, these can include stomach upset, constipation, diarrhoea, headache and rash; glucosamine can also react with anti-diabetic treatments by increasing blood sugar levels. 

Food sources include:

Edible crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster, crab and crawfish can provide trace amounts of glucosamine in their shells and tails.


500 mg taken three times a day


What it does: Works to make thyroid hormones.

Iodine can cause significant side effects in some people. Common side effects include nausea and stomach pain, runny nose, headache, metallic taste, and diarrhea.

In sensitive people, iodine can cause side effects including swelling of the lips and face (angioedema), severe bleeding and bruising, fever, joint pain, lymph node enlargement, allergic reactions including hives, and death.


n both children and adults, there is concern that higher intake can increase the risk of side effects such as thyroid problems. Iodine in larger amounts can cause metallic taste, soreness of teeth and gums, burning in mouth and throat, increased saliva, throat inflammation, stomach upset, diarrhea, wasting, depression, skin problems, and many other side effects.

When iodine is used directly on the skin, it can cause skin irritation, stains, allergic reactions, and other side effects. Be careful not to bandage or tightly cover areas that have been treated with iodine to avoid iodine burn.






Food sources include: 

Iodized salt, some seafood, kelp, and seaweed

M: 150 mcg, W: 150 mcg


Upper Limit:

1,100 mcg



What it does: Carries oxygen to all parts of the body through red blood cells.

Iron is stored in the body and high doses (over 17mg) can lead to constipation, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Very high doses can be fatal.

Food sources include: 

Leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, eggs, poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods





31–50: M: 8 mg, W: 18 mg 51+: M: 8 mg, W: 8 mg


Upper Limit: 45 mg


What it does: Helps muscles and nerves work, steadies heart rhythm, maintains bone strength, and helps the body create energy.

High doses can cause diarrhea.



Food sources include: 

Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, almonds, Brazil nuts, soybeans, halibut, peanuts, hazelnuts, lima beans, black-eyed peas, avocados, bananas, kiwi, and shrimp

31+: M: 420 mg, W: 320 mg


Upper Limit:

350 mg (Note: This upper limit applies to supplements and medicines, such as laxatives, not to dietary magnesium.)


What it does: Supports bone formation and wound healing, and also helps break down proteins, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. It’s also an antioxidant.

If you take supplements or have manganese in your drinking water, be careful not to exceed the upper limit. Those with liver damage or whose diets supply abundant manganese should be especially vigilant.

Food sources include: 

Pecans, almonds, legumes, green and black tea, whole grains, and pineapple juice

M: 2.3 mg, W: 1.8 mg


Upper Limit:

11 mg


What it does: Helps to regulate sleep

Side effects include raised blood pressure, vivid dreams, headache, lower body temperature, fatigue, depression, decreased libido and reduced fertility. 

Food sources include:

Researchers found that pineapples, bananas, and oranges were able to increase melatonin presence significantly.

1-3 mg


What it does: Helps process proteins and other substances.

Molybdenum is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately by adults. Molybdenum is safe in amounts that do not exceed 2 mg per day, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level.

However, molybdenum is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses. Adults should avoid exceeding 2 mg daily. 



Food sources include: 

Legumes, grain products, and nuts

M: 45 mcg, W: 45 mcg


Upper Limit:

2,000 mcg


What it does: Helps cells work, helps the body make energy, helps red blood cells deliver oxygen, and helps make bone.

Certain drugs bind with phosphorus, making it unavailable and causing bone loss, weakness, and pain.

Food sources include: 

Dairy products, beef, chicken, halibut, salmon, eggs, and whole wheat breads



M: 700 mg, W: 700 mg


Upper Limit:

31–70: 4,000 mg 71+: 3,000 mg


What it does: Helps the nervous system and muscles; helps maintain a healthy balance of water.

New recommendations (DRIs) for potassium are under development by the Institute of Medicine. Food sources do not cause toxicity, but high-dose supplements might.


Taken in very high doses as a supplement, potassium can have serious side-effects such as arrhythmia (faulty heartbeat) - and it can even be fatal. 

Food sources include: 

Broccoli, potatoes with the skin, prune juice, orange juice, leafy green vegetables, bananas, raisins, and tomatoes

Food and Nutrition Board 1989 guidelines: M: 2,000 mg, W: 2,000 mg


Upper Limit:

Not Known


What it does: Helps protect cells from damage and regulates thyroid hormone.

No known side effects

Food sources include: 

Organ meats (like liver), shrimp, crabs, salmon, halibut, and Brazil nuts

M: 55 mcg, W: 55 mcg


Upper Limit:

400 mcg


What it does: Balances fluids in the body Helps send nerve impulses Needed for muscle contractions Impacts blood pressure; even modest reductions in salt consumption can lower blood pressure

While experts recommend that people limit sodium intake to 2,400 mg, most Americans consume 4,000–6,000 mg a day. New recommendations (DRIs) for sodium are being developed by the Institute of Medicine.

Food sources include:

Salt, soy sauce, processed foods, vegetables

Food and Nutrition Board 1989 guidelines: M: 500 mg, W: 500 mg


Upper Limit:

Not Determined


What it does: Helps form bridges that shape and stabilize some protein structures Needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails

Deficiencies occur only with a severe lack of protein.

Food sources include:

Protein-rich foods, such as meats, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes



Upper Limit:



What it does: Supports immune function, as well as the reproductive and nervous systems.

High doses can lead to stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting, 100mg a day is the current advised maximum daily limit

Food sources include: 

Red meat, fortified cereals, oysters, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, and dairy products

M: 11 mg, W: 8 mg


Upper Limit:

40 mg