VITAMIN A appears in the body in three forms retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. They are all referred to as retinoid. Retinol is found in animal products and can be converted to retinal and retinoic acid in the body. Carotenoids, pigment (yellow, red, green color) in the plant are converted into retinol or retinal in the body.
Health Benefits of Vitamin A:
- Beneficial for the eyes health.
- Important for healthy skin.
- Helps treat pimples, emphysema and hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of Deficiency: Dry coarse skin, Night blindness, Inflamed eyelids, Dull lusterless hair
Food Rich in Vitamin A: Fish liver oils, Liver, Milk, Egg yolk and Margarine.
THIAMIN – VITAMIN B1
- Pork is an excellent source of thiamin.
- Alcoholics are the biggest risk of having a B1 deficiency; because alcohol reduces the absorption of B1 through the intestines.
- People with epilepsy who use the seizure medication Dilantin are prone to B1 deficiency.
- Antibiotic are known to deplete thiamine.
Health Benefits of Thiamine:
- Prevents beriberi, a nervous system ailment that is cause by vitamin B1 deficiency.
- Important for carbohydrate metabolism and for the release of energy from food.
- Prevents premature aging and senility (physical and mental debility).
- It is anti-stress.
- A good adjunct in the treatment of enlarged heart, and congestive heart failure.
- A high dietary intake of thiamine can help prevent cataracts.
Symptoms of Thiamine Deficiency: Depression, Fatigue, Insomnia, Burning sensation in the hands and feet, Intolerance to pain, Edema, Low metabolism, Shortness of breath.
Food Rich in Thiamin: Unpolished rice (brown rice), Wheat germ, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts, Oatmeal, Bran, Beans, Liver, Egg yolk (contained high cholesterol)
RIBOFLAVIN – VITAMIN B2 helps the body cells to use oxygen. It is essential for healthy skin and for building and maintaining body tissues.
Health Benefits of Riboflavin:
- Decreases the cancer potentials of some carcinogens.
- Necessary for the formation of red blood cells.
- Beneficial for a healthy vision
- Necessary for a healthy nervous system.
- It is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Helpful for the prevention of migraine headaches.
- May help prevent cataract.
Note: Several antibiotics and drugs that treat migraines, can lead to B2 deficiency.
Symptoms of Riboflavin Deficiency: Tongue has purplish-reddish color, Scaly areas on the skin, Eyes highly sensitive to light, Mental sluggishness
Food Sources : Green leafy vegetables, Nuts, Beans, Meat Organs, Milk Products
NIACIN – VITAMIN B3
Other Name: Nicotinic Acid
Niacin is one of the cheapest and most effective cholesterol-lowering substances. Studies show that it can help reduced LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) by 5% -25%; increased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) by 15% – 35%; triglycerides decreased by 20% – 50%.
Niacinamide (derivative of niacin) can help in the treatment of osteoarthritis (3g daily) and acne (applied topically in cream form); it can also help reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in high-risk children, and helps improve insulin secretion in those with type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Deficiency: Red, swollen, sore tongue, Rashes on the body, Excessive gas, constipation or diarrhea
- Niacin supplement is best taken half-way your meal to avoid gastric discomfort.
- May slow blood clotting and may need to be discontinued before surgery.
- Time released niacin supplement may be toxic to the liver.
Food Rich in Niacin: Meat, Poultry, Liver, and Fish.
PANTOTHENIC ACID – VITAMIN B5 is important in the proper functioning of the adrenal gland. This gland needs pantothenic acid to produce stress hormones. When the adrenal gland has adequate B5 it can help handle stress successfully.
Health Benefits of Pantothenic Acid:
- Helps the body convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy.
- Helps in cell building, maintaining normal growth.
- Helps in the healing of wounds.
- Helpful in reducing allergy symptoms.
- A different form of pantothenic acid called pantethine has proven to be effective in lowering total cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride levels while increasing the good HDL.
- Many nutritional adrenal support formulas contain pantothenic acid in combination with other adrenal support supplements such as vitamin C, ginseng.
Symptoms of Pantothenic Acid Deficiency: Headache, Insomnia, Depression, Burning feet restlessness, Premature graying of hair and hair tend to fall out.
Food Rich in Pantothenic Acid: Whole grains, Brewer’s yeast, Peanuts, Egg, Liver, Chicken, Meat organs (contain high cholesterol).
PYRODOXIN – VITAMIN B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that exists in three major chemical forms: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine.
Health Benefits of Pyrodoxin:
- Helps in the metabolism of fats and proteins
- Needed for healthy teeth and gums.
- Used to make red blood cells.
- Helps depression and migraine headaches.
- Helps in the maintenance of muscle tone and the heart.
- Used to break down glycogen to glucose, keeping your blood sugar level steady.
- Help alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome..
Symptoms and Signs of Pyrodoxin Deficiency: “Epileptic-like” nervous symptoms, Depression, Low blood sugar, Excessive weight due to water retention, Numbness and cramping of the legs.
Food Rich in Pyrodoxin: Meat, Poultry, Fish.
- Drugs that can cause B6 deficiency include birth-control pills and antibiotics. Smoking contributes to B6 deficiency as well.
BIOTIN – VITAMIN B7
- Biotin is manufactured by Bifidobacterium bifidus, a group of friendly bacteria that reside in the intestines. You can therefore treat a biotin deficiency in an infant or adult with probiotic supplements containing these helpful bacteria.
- Antibiotic can kill the good bacteria in the intestine and can also deplete the body stores of biotin.
- Raw eggs destroy biotin. Cooking deactivates the avidin (compound that destroys and inhibit the absorption of biotin) in the white of an egg.
Health Benefits of Biotin:
- Helps reduce and prevent hair loss or thinning hair.
- Helps improve the thickness of nails of those with brittle nails.
- Helpful for cradle cap, also known as seborrheic dermatitis.
- Helps ease muscle pain.
- Helps improve blood-sugar level in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Biotin Deficiency Symptoms: Psoriasis, Drowsiness, Muscle pain, High cholesterol in the blood
Foods Rich in Biotin: Brewer’s yeast, Peanut, Bean sprouts, Egg yolk, Soybean, Yogurt.
INOSITOL – VITAMIN B8 is stored largely in the brain, muscles, liver, and kidneys.
Health Benefits of Inositol:
- Prevents accumulation of fat in the liver; helps prevent the development of cirrhosis and degenerative changes on the kidneys.
- Aids in the metabolism of cholesterol.
- Important for the production of healthy cells in the bone marrow, eye membranes and intestines.
Symptoms of Inositol Deficiency: Alopecia, Dermatitis, Retarded growth, Fatty liver
Food Rich in Inositol: Soybeans, Milk, Brown rice (unpolished), Nuts especially peanuts, fresh fruits especially citrus, Beef brain, Heart, Liver (contain high saturated fats).
FOLIC ACID – VITAMIN B9 helps prevent neural tube defects in an unborn infant (the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or the brain) as well as cleft palate.
These problems can be prevented with daily folic acid supplementation. Taking folic acid supplement one month before; and during the first trimester of pregnancy can help reduce the neural tube defect by 60%.
Other Names: Folacin, Folate
Health Benefits of Folic Acid:
- Essential for the formation of red blood cells and prevention of anemia (megaloblastic).
- Important for maintaining normal brain function; it is especially beneficial for older people who suffer from poor memory.
- Dietary intake and supplementation of folic acid can reduce the risk of colon cancer, particularly with women. It can also reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.
- Dietary intake of folic acid has a protective effect against pancreatic cancer.
- Folic acid supplement can help slow the rate of age related hearing loss.
- Folic acid supplement can help reduce the symptoms of vitiligo.
Symptoms of Folic Acid Deficiency: Anemia, Poor memory.
Note: Many drugs and medicine can lead to folic acid deficiency these include; barbiturates, corticosteroids, estrogen, chemotherapy medications, birth control pills, antacid medications, many others. Commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, taken in large doses may also cause folic acid deficiency.
Food Rich in Folic Acid: Legumes, Soybeans, Green leafy vegetables, Dairy products, Whole grain, Fish, Meat and Poultry Organ
COBALAMINE OR VITAMIN B12 is a group of related compounds that contain the mineral cobalt; it is present in all body cells. It works in tandem with folic acid for many biochemical processes such as cell division and formation of the myelin sheath (the covering of nerve cells).
Other Names: Cobalamine, Cobalamin, Red Vitamin, Cyanocobalamine
Health Benefits of Cobalamine:
- Helps iron to function better in the body and helps deposit vitamin A in the body tissues
- Important for the formation, regeneration and maturation of red blood cell.
- Help prevent memory loss because it helps in the normal functioning of the nervous system.
- Helps improves appetite.
- Helps promote growth and development.
Vitamin B12 Facts:
- Plant foods do not naturally contain any vitamin B12.
- Vegetarian who do not eat meat are at high risk of developing B12 deficiency.
- Children and Breast-fed infants of women who follow a strict vegetarian diet often show severe symptoms of B12 deficiency, which is poor neurological development.
- Unlike other B vitamins, vitamin B12 is easily destroyed when foods containing it are microwaved.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency in the body is usually due not to poor intake, but rather to a problem with absorption. Absorption problem is often due to lack of hydrochloric acid. The ability to absorb this vitamin also diminishes as people age. When vitamin b12 is deficient due to an absorption problem, injection of the vitamins must be given.
- Drug known to deplete B12 stores in the body include birth-control pills, stomach acid blockers, antibiotics, and some seizure medications.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Anemia, Spinal Cord degeneration, Numbness, Falling of Hair
Food Rich in Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 differs from other vitamins in that it is found only in animal foods such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, and milk products.
PARA AMINO BENZOIC – PABA is formerly classified with vitamin B complex. Today it is not considered as vitamin anymore, although it plays an indirect role as a component of folic acid.
Health Benefits of PABA:
- Helps maintain the natural color of hair.
- Help prevent premature graying of hair.
- Helps maintain healthy skin and intestines.
- Beneficial for normal growth.
- Help in the maintenance of healthy skin and intestines
Food Rich in PABA: Brewer’s yeast, Wheat germ, Legumes, Nuts, Brown rice, Liver, Egg (high cholesterol).
- Included in the vitamin B complex as
- Can be made in the body in small amounts.
- Considered an essential nutrient, because when the diet contains no choline, the body can’t make enough of it and liver damage can result.
- A pharmacologic dose of choline seems to alleviate dyskinesia (disorder resulting in involuntary, repetitive body movements).
Health Benefits of Choline:
- Choline, along with vitamin A, is beneficial for asthmatics, as it helps to repair the surface of the lung.
- Prevents accumulation of fats in the liver.
- Prevents degenerative changes in the kidneys.
- Important for normal function of the muscles.
Symptoms of Choline Deficiency: Neurologic Disease, Fatty Liver, Hemorrhagic degeneration of the kidneys, adrenals, heart and lungs.
Food Rich in Choline: Brewer’s yeast, Fish, Soybeans, Peanuts, Wheat germ, Milk, Egg yolk, Beef, Liver (contain high cholesterol).
VITAMIN C, chemical name Ascorbic Acid is a powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin C Facts:
- Vitamin C is water soluble; meaning that we have to take it at least twice a day because it gets excreted when we urinate.
- Has diuretic effect so it is important to drink plenty of water.
- Vitamin C is sensitive to light, air, and heat, so it is best to eat fruits and vegetables raw or minimally cooked in order to retain their full vitamin C content.
- Smoking depletes vitamin C.
- Scurvy is the name of the Vitamin C deficiency disease.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C:
- The white blood cells which defend our body against bad elements, like bacterial invasion, need a huge amount of vitamin C to do its work.
- Vitamins C are good in the treatment for urinary tract infection, respiratory system infection like asthma, bronchitis, and chest colds. Study shows that Vitamin C deficiency increases risk of lung cancer.
- Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is related to the lack of Vitamin C. A good dose will help lower cholesterol level in the blood.
- Important in the formation of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Abnormal functioning of collagen can produce; premature aging (sagging of skin), muscular pain, gout, and inflammation of the blood vessels. This condition can be stop if collagen has the ability to regenerate itself quickly.
- Generous dose of vitamin C can lighten you complexion, because it works to clean our body of toxic materials.
- Help makes some hormones, such as thyroxine, which regulates the metabolic rate.
- Prevents the oxidation of Vitamin A and iron in the intestine so these nutrients can be absorbed.
- Prevent degenerative diseases of the eyes, many people who supplements with Vitamin. C has fewer eye problems; Doctors recommend 500mg – 1000mg daily.
Who needs more Vitamin C: Pregnant and nursing women, growing children, those who are sick and smokers.
Food Rich in Vitamin C: Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C Side Effects: Excessive intake can cause diarrhea.
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency: Low resistance to certain diseases, Slow healing of wound, Constant desire to sleep, Pain in joints and limbs especially the legs.
Vitamin D Facts:
- Vitamin D is a water soluble vitamin.
- Vitamin D differs from most other nutrients in that is can be made in the body.
- Vitamin D is produced in the skin by ultraviolet rays from the sun. Those with fair skin can get enough by spending 10 to 15 minutes outdoors daily in the summer sun, while people with darker complexion likely need 30 to 40 minutes, because melanin (dark brown to black pigments in the skin) acts as sunscree
- Vitamin D is stored in the body, which is helpful during winter months when the sun is not as strong.
- Vitamin D deficiency in children causes rickets, a disease in which bones do not grow normally, resulting in soft bones and bowed legs.
- Vitamin D deficiency in adult causes osteomalacia, a disease in which leg and spinal bones soften and may bend and break.
- As you get older your body makes less vitamin D. Studies show that people over 60 years old produce only one-fourth the amount of vitamin D from ultraviolet rays, compared to people under 30 years old.
- Since liver and kidneys are involved in the activation of vitamin D, diseases of these organs can cause vitamin D deficiency-related diseases.
- Drugs that can cause vitamin D deficiency includes; anticonvulsant, corticosteroids, heparin, and diuretics.
- People, who have hyperparathyroidism or sarcoidosis, should not take vitamin D.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D:
- Promotes calcium absorption and enhances bone mineralization.
- Important for the formation and maintenance of a healthy bones and teeth.
- Important for the formation of collagen.
- It has been shown that breast-fed infants who received vitamin D supplements during the first year of life had increased bone density in later childhood.
Different Kinds of Vitamin D:
- Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is the naturally occurring form of vitamin D. It is activated when sunlight hits the skin.
- Calcidiol is known as prehormone in the blood. It is made from cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) in the liver. When being tested for vitamin D deficiency, they measure the calcidiol in your blood, known as the 25-hydroxyvitamin D level.
- Calcitriol is made from calcidiol in both the kidneys and other tissues. It is also derived from cholecalciferol and known as the active form of vitamin D3. Calcitriol has potent anticancer properties. It is sometimes referred to as the active form of vitamin D.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency: Soft bones (rickets), Rheumatic pains, Exhaustion, Menopausal symptoms, Nails are thin with ridges and easily break
Individuals who need more Vitamin D: Pregnant and lactating women and children require a higher amount than others.
Food Rich in Vitamin D: Fish liver oil, Sardines, Tuna, Nuts, Seeds, Exposure to sunlight, Milk, Eggs, Liver.
VITAMIN E is a strong antioxidant that protects our cell from free radicals.
Vitamin E Facts:
- The body cannot produce Vitamin E on its own. Therefore we have to eat food that are rich in vitamin E
- Vitamin E is also called Tocopherol.
- The RDA for vitamin E is expressed in milligrams of alpha-tocopherol (the most active form of vitamin E).
- D-alpha tocopherol is a natural vitamin E and DL-alphatocopherol is a synthetic vitamin E. Natural vitamin E is more potent by 30% to 36% than the synthetic.
- This vitamin is stored in the liver, fat tissues, the heart, muscles, testicles, the uterus, the blood and in the adrenal and pituitary glands.
- In oils, vitamin E acts like an antioxidant, thereby preventing the oil from going rancid or bad.
Health Benefits of Vitamin E:
- Strengthens the capillary walls.
- Helps in fertility problems and male potency.
- Prevents and dissolves blood clots.
- Prevent spontaneous abortions.
- Alleviate leg cramps.
- Promotes cell and tissue renewal.
- Supplies oxygen to the body giving it stronger resistance.
- Supplies oxygen to all cells therefore improves stamina and energy level.
- Plays a vital role in keeping our skin healthy and glowing because it prevents free radicals from causing dry, dull, wrinkled skin.
- Protects vitamin A from oxidation.
Recommended Dosage according to the weight of the person:
- 400 I.U. 150 lbs. and above
- 200 I.U. 100 lbs and below
- 300 I.U. if you are between 100 lbs. and 150 lbs.
Note: Should be taken halfway in your meal to prevent stomach distress.
Food Rich in Vitamin E: Fish, Fish liver oil, Kidney beans, Green leafy vegetables, Whole grains, Nuts, Seeds, Eggs.
Side Effects of Vitamin E: Too much Vitamin E supplement may cause bleeding.
VITAMIN K is important in the production of prothrombin, substance in the blood that is involved in the formation of blood clots.
Vitamin K Facts:
- Vitamin K is found in certain foods and is also produced in the body.
- Some bacteria that live in the intestine can make a form of vitamin K. It is thought that the amount of vitamin K produced by the bacteria is significant enough to meet about half of the body’s needs.
- A newly born is usually given this vitamin to prevent bleeding because the intestine does not yet have the bacteria to produce vitamin K
Health Benefits of Vitamin K:
- Responsible for maintenance of the circulatory system.
- Has blood-clotting factor which prevents excessive blood loss when the skin is broken.
- Helps in the prevention of internal bleeding and hemorrhages.
- Helps heal bruises.
- Essential for the normal functioning of the liver.
- Vitamin K is needed to make an important protein used to form bone.
Food Rich in Vitamin K: Green leafy vegetables, Seaweed, Dark molasses, Egg yolk, Soybeans, Yogurt.
Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency: Bleeding Disorders
- Synthetic vitamin K can damage infant liver; natural vitamin K is not toxic.
- Vitamin K toxicity is rare because it is normally excreted through urine. However excessive supplementation of a synthetic version of vitamin K (water-soluble) can be toxic. So you should only take vitamin K supplement upon the advised of your doctor.