Vitamins- All you need to know
Arko Provo Ghosh
Vitamins- All you need to know While preparing a diet plan, we always take care of the ratios of macronutrients, but do we always consider the micronutrients which are vitamins and minerals? Vitamins and minerals are equally important for our different bodily functions. In this article we will discuss about the importance of Micronutrients, what is the RDA of each vitamin and different sources. Vitamins can be divided into two categories. 1. Fat soluble – Fat soluble vitamins are soluble in fats. They are absorbed by fat globules that travel through the small intestine and into the blood circulation within the body. Any excess amount of vitamins which are not in use, simply get stored in body, mostly in liver and fat tissues. Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamin. 2. Water soluble – water soluble vitamins are soluble in water which means they get dissolve quickly. Once absorbed, they get sent to the tissues but body cannot store any. Excess amount of vitamins simply passes through the body. Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) and Vitamin C are water soluble. Now let’s discuss every vitamin in brief. Vitamin – A Vitamin A is the first vitamin that was discovered. It is required for the proper development and functioning of our vision, growth, skin, immune system regulation of gene expression and differentiation of tissues. Sources: Animal liver (preformed vitamin A also known as Retinol), fruits, milk, vegetables, margarine and other milk product. Deficiency: Vitamin A deficiency is found in vast people around the world. The first sign of deficiency will be impaired vision. It starts with loss of sensitivity to green lights then inefficiency in adaptation to dim lights and then complete inability to see the dim lights which is called Night Blindness. The deficiency also increases the chances of occurrence of infectious disease since Vitamin A plays a major role in development of immune system cells. High Dosage: There is only so much Vitamin A, our body can metabolize. As Excess vitamin gets stored in liver and other tissues, it can lead to liver damage, hair loss, vomiting and headache. One will face skin problems like excessive dryness, chapping and scaling of the skin, alopecia. These symptoms were found in adults having closely 7.5-9 mg/day regularly. RDA: The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men and women is 900 and 700 μg retinol activity equivalents (RAE)/day, respectively. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults is set at 3,000 μg/day of preformed vitamin A. Vitamin – D Vitamin D can be synthesized in skin and in most conditions endogenous synthesis is the major source of vitamin D. An exogenous consumption of Vitamin D is only required where there is not enough exposure to sun light. Vitamin D is absorbed by the fat molecules, the main function of vitamin D is to maintain the homeostasis of calcium which in turn regulates the concentrations of calcium and phosphate. Sources: There are few dietary sources for Vitamin D. They are mainly found in oily fishes, eggs, liver and butter. Deficiency: Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets for children and osteomalacia for adults. Rickets is a disease of toddlers where their bones are under mineralized because of poor absorption of calcium in bones which is the result for vitamin D deficiency. Osteomalacia can be called as rickets for adults. High Dosage: Toxicity or overconsumption of vitamin D is also harmful. When not in use, vitamin D gets stored in cells which can increase concentration of calcium which can be resulting into contraction of blood vessels which can lead to blood pressure and accumulation of calcium salts in soft tissues, kidney, lungs, heart and blood vessel walls. Vitamin D toxicity can only be caused by overconsumption of dietary vitamin D and not by excessive exposure to sun lights. RDA: Vitamin D intake is recommended at 400–800 IU/day, or 10–20 micrograms. However, some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels. Vitamin E Vitamin E is another vitamin absorbed in fat molecules. The main role of this vitamin is of antioxidant. In the course of various processes in the body, free radicals get created. These free radicals have capabilities to start different reactions in our body which gets prevented by Vitamin E. Sources: Different vegetable oil, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and fish. Deficiency: Vitamin E deficiency can cause blindness in older population, cataract and age related macular degeneration. High Dosage: Toxicity due to dosage of vitamin E has been rarely seen. RDA: The recommended dietary allowance (RDA ) of vitamin E for people aged 14 years and over, including pregnant women, is 15 mg/d of alpha-tocopherol. This is equivalent to 22 IU (International Units) of natural source vitamin E per day, or 33 IU from synthetic sources. Vitamin K Vitamin K is the generic term for a group of fat soluble vitamins, it plays a key role in helping blood clotting, prevent excessive bleeding due to any injuries. It also assists in transport of calcium throughout the body and also in bone metabolism. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin K is not directly used as dietary supplement. Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds. The most important of these compounds appears to be vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is obtained from leafy greens and some other vegetables. Vitamin K2 is a group of compounds largely obtained from meats, cheeses, and eggs, and synthesized by bacteria. B- Complex Vitamins B complex vitamins are a group of vitamins with similar functionalities. The B vitamins are co-enzymes and help metabolize carbs, fats and protein. Those are, · B1 or Thiamine - process carbs into energy and it’s necessary for nerve cell functions. Sources: Whole grain cereals, whole grain pulses, eggs, lean meat. · B2 or Riboflavin – Helps in production of red blood cells and important for growth. It’s also a key source for energy production. Sources: Milk, liver, whole grain cereals, eggs, green leafy vegetables and pulses. · B3 or Niacin – Helps to convert food into glucose which helps to produce energy. Sources: Nuts, eggs, potato, lean meat, fish (tuna and salt water) · B5 or Pantothenic – plays a key role in breakdown of fats and carbs for energy and synthesizing cholesterol. It helps in manufacture of red blood cells and also sex and stress related hormones in adrenalin gland. Sources: Milk, eggs, lentils, whole grain cereals. · B6 or pyridoxine – helps the body to make several neurotransmitters(chemicals) that carries signal from one nerve cell to another. It is also needed for normal brain development and function and helps the body make hormones serotonin, norepinephrine (influences mood) and melatonin (regulates sleep) Sources: Nuts, meat, banana, whole grains. · B7 or biotin - Biotin is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that helps the body metabolize proteins and process glucose. It is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. The human body cannot synthesize biotin. Only bacteria, molds, yeasts, algae, and certain plants can make it, so the diet needs to supply it. Unused biotin is eliminated in urine, so the body does not build up reserves. It must be consumed daily. Sources: Peanuts, whole wheat bread, bananas, mushroom, cauliflower, egg yolk. · B9 or folic acid – it is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. This also plays an important role in making of nucleic acid. Sources: Spinach, Lentils. · B12 or cobalamin – it is important for keeping healthy nerve cells and helps in protection of DNA and RNA, the body’s genetic material. B12 works closely with B9 to help make red blood cells and to help work iron better in the body. Sources: Salmon, tuna, liver, low fat dairy products. Vitamin C Vitamin C also named as Ascorbic acid needed for growth and repair of tissues in all parts of our bodies. the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. RDA: 75-90 milligrams a day for adults but recent studies have proven that consuming 500 mgs is also safe. Sources: Strawberries, broccoli, melons, peppers, onions, Radishes Due to our food habits, we often ignore variety of food sources which are proven to be quite beneficial for us as those are rich in some vitamins. Always keep in mind that you might fall sort of some vitamins which is beneficial for you. Try to include more natural food sources rather than relying on one sort of food items.