Archive for the ‘Vitamin Deficiency’ Category

5 natural sources of vitamin B12 you need to include in your diet

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Why do we need vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 also known as cobalamin contains tons of benefits in it. It plays a vital role in body metabolism. It helps the body convert the carbohydrates in food into glucose to generate energy.  It also helps in the production of blood cells. Besides, it is also crucial in maintaining the central nervous system. In children, vitamin B12 helps combat asthma.

Although this type of vitamin is absorbed in small amounts by the body, it is important for us to get enough of this nutrient from our diet. Vitamin B12 supplements offer great health benefits, but it is always better to go by the natural way.

Vitamin B12 sources

Cereals

Commercial cereals are often fortified with this vitamin. Cereals such as oats and muesli can be a good alternate source of this vitamin for vegetarians and vegans. Do remember to pick up cereals with whole grains and skip the ones with added sugar.

Eggs

People who choose not to consume meat and seafood can now count on eggs for adequate vitamin B12 supply. Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet with a bit of all the nutrients in it.Eggs contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that are very important for eye health.

Dairy products

Include dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese in your diet to not run out of vitamin B12 in the body.Whole milk can be the healthiest choice as it raises good calories in the body and also prevents heart disease.

Seafood

Seafood is one of the richest sources of naturally occurring vitamin B12. They are packed with the goodness of vitamins and minerals.  Including a portion of seafood in your weekly diet may reduce the chances of suffering from a heart attack. You can choose from a wide variety of fishes such as trout, salmon, tuna, prawns and mackerel.

Meat

Meat is a rich source of this vitamin. The vitamins in meat not only promote good vision, stronger teeth and bones but also support the central nervous system promoting mental health as well.  Meat also being rich in protein is required for the overall health and well-being of the body.

Top 5 Vitamin Deficiencies

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Beriberi

Beriberi is a disease whose symptoms include weight loss, body weakness and pain, brain damage, irregular heart rate, heart failure, and death if left untreated.

Pellagra

Symptoms included diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and finally death.

Biotin Deficiency

Biotin deficiency is caused by a lack of vitamin B7 (biotin). It causes rashes, hair loss, anaemia, and mental conditions including hallucinations, drowsiness, and depression. Vitamin B7 itself is found in meat, liver, milk, peanuts, and some vegetables.

Scurvy

Scurvy causes lethargy, skin spots, bleeding gums, loss of teeth, fever, and death.

Rickets

Rickets causes muscles and bones to become soft, which can cause permanent deformities in children.Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D or of calcium. 

Guava nutrition facts

Monday, May 4th, 2015

 

Guava is another tropical fruit rich in high-profile nutrients. With its unique flavor, taste, and health-promoting qualities, the fruit easily fits in the new functional foods category, often called “super-fruits.”

It is an evergreen, tropical shrub or low-growing small tree probably originated in the central Americas. Guavas actually thrive in both humid and dry climates and can tolerate brief periods of cold spells, but can survive only a few degrees of frost. Adaptability makes it a favorite commercial crop in some tropical areas.

Botanically, this wonderful fruit belongs within the family of Myrtaceae, in the genus: Psidium. Scientific name: Psidium guajava.

During each season, the guava tree bears numerous round, ovoid or pear-shaped fruits that are about 5-10 cm long and weigh around 50–200 g. Different cultivar types of guava grown all over the world which, vary widely in flavor, pulp color, and seeds.

The fruit is soft when ripe with sweet musky aroma and creamy in texture. Internally, its flesh varies in color depending up on the cultivar and may be white, pink, yellow, or red. Ripe fruits have rich flavor with sweet-tart taste. Each fruit contains numerous tiny, semi-hard edible seeds, concentrated especially at its center.

 

Health benefits of guava fruit

  • Guava is low in calories and fats but contain several vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant poly-phenolic and flavonoid compounds that play a pivotal role in prevention of cancers, anti-aging, etc.
  • The fruit is very rich source of soluble dietary fiber (5.4 g per 100 g of fruit, about 14% of DRA), which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxins as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
  • Guava-fruit is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin-C. 100 g fresh fruit provides 228 mg of this vitamin, more than three times the DRI (daily-recommended intake). The flesh just underneath its outer thick rind contains exceptionally higher levels of vitamin C than its inner creamy pulp.
  • Scientific studies shown that regular consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge cancer causing harmful free radicals from the body. Further, it is required for collagen synthesis within the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the human body required for maintaining integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.
  • The fruit is a very good source of Vitamin-A, and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and cryptoxanthin. The compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and therefore essential for optimum health. Further, vitamin-A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotene is known to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • 100 g of pink guava fruit provides 5204 µg of lycopene, nearly twice the amount than in  tomatoes . (100 g tomato contains 2573 µg of lycopene). Studies suggest that lycopene in pink guavas prevents skin damage from UV rays and offers protection from prostate cancer.
  • Fresh fruit is a very rich source of potassium. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana weight per weight. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Further, the fruit is also a moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin E and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, and manganese. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells

True Vitamin A Foods

Saturday, March 21st, 2015
  1. Carrots
  2. Sweet potatoes
  3. Dark leafy greens
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Bell peppers

Although taken for granted as ideal vitamin A foods, these plants provide only the precursor to vitamin A, carotenoids. Interestingly, we need to be consuming true vitamin A foods, foods containing retinol, to meet our vitamin A requirements.

True Vitamin A Foods

Liver from any animal, enjoy pasture-raised liver 2-3 times per week or take desiccated liver capsules daily
Fermented Cod Liver Oil, which is higher in vitamins (I recommend the Cinnamon Tingle flavor).

Regular Cod Liver Oil,  if the fermented option cannot be purchased. (However, there is some controversy that this cod liver oil is now stripped of the naturally-occurring vitamins during processing.)

Egg yolks from hens foraging in pasture, ideally enjoy 2-4 egg yolks per day .

Butter from grassfed cows.

Heavy cream from grassfed cows.

Without a doubt, regular consumption of pasture-rasied liver is the most effective way to consume optimal levels of this vitamin. Men, women, children, and infants should consume liver on a bi-weekly basis. If you don’t enjoy eating liver or liver pate,  desiccated liver capsules are a nonnegotiable supplement for overall health and hormone balance.

Only certain vitamin A foods provide the body with useable vitamin A. And it’s not carrots!

Vitamin A Foods for Vegetarians and Vegans

As you can see, true vitamin A foods come from animal sources. A vegan diet simply does not provide the body with adequate vitamin A for optimal health. A vegan diet also reduces thyroid function and bile release, which drastically compromises the already poor carotene-to-cartenoid conversion.

A vegetarian may be able to meet daily vitamin A requirements by emphasizing pastured egg yolks and grassfed dairy products.Liver is the best source of vitamin A and, gram-for-gram, the most nutrient-dense food.

Retinoids vs. Carotenoids

Friday, March 20th, 2015

The most important fact about vitamin A is the difference between retinoids and cartenoids. The vitamin A from animal sources is retinoids, also called retinol, while plant source vitamin A is carotenoids, such as beta carotene.

Animal sources of retinol is bio-available, which means the body can utilize it. The vitamin A from plant sources, in contrast, must first be converted to retinol to be useful in the body. This poses two big problems.

First, when we are in pristine health, it requires at least six units of carotenes to convert into 1 unit of retinol (source). To put this in perspective, that means one must eat 4 1/2 pounds of carrots to potentially get the amount of useable A as in 3 oz. of beef liver (source). What happens if we have digestive issues, hormone imbalances, or other health problems? It requires even more units of carotene in the ratio.

Second, the carotene-to-retinol conversion is HIGHLY compromised. As a matter of fact, this conversion is negligible for many individuals. This conversion is virtually insignificant:

In infants
In those with poor thyroid function (hypothyroidism)
In those with diabetes
In those who are on a low fat diet or have a history of low fat dieting
In those who have compromised bile production

As with other orange veggies, sweet potatoes provide carotenes. Although beta carotene is an antioxidant, it is not true vitamin A. We must eat true vitamin A foods on a daily basis to meet our requirements for this essential nutritient.

Treatment & Prevention of Vitamin A deficiency

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Prevention

The diet should include dark green leafy vegetables, deep- or bright-colored fruits (eg, papayas, oranges), carrots, and yellow vegetables (eg, squash, pumpkin). Vitamin A–fortified milk and cereals, liver, egg yolks, and fish liver oils are helpful. Carotenoids are absorbed better when consumed with some dietary fat. If milk allergy is suspected in infants, they should be given adequate vitamin A in formula feedings.

Treatment

  • Vitamin A palmitate

Dietary deficiency is traditionally treated with vitamin A palmitate in oil 60,000 IU po once/day for 2 days, followed by 4500 IU po once/day. If vomiting or malabsorption is present or xerophthalmia is probable, a dose of 50,000 IU for infants < 6 mo, 100,000 IU for infants 6 to 12 mo, or 200,000 IU for children > 12 mo and adults should be given for 2 days, with a third dose at least 2 wk later. The same doses are recommended for infants and children with complicated measles. Infants born of HIV-positive mothers should receive 50,000 IU (15,000 RAE) within 48 h of birth. Prolonged daily administration of large doses, especially to infants, must be avoided because toxicity may result.

For pregnant or breastfeeding women, prophylactic or therapeutic doses should not exceed 10,000 IU (3000 RAE)/day to avoid possible damage to the fetus or infant.

Key Points

  • Vitamin A deficiency usually results from dietary deficiency, as occurs in areas where rice, devoid of ?-carotene, is the staple food, but it may result from disorders that interfere with the absorption, storage, or transport of vitamin A.
  • Ocular findings include impaired night vision (early), conjunctival deposits, and keratomalacia.
  • In children with severe deficiency, growth is slowed and risk of infection is increased.
  • Diagnose based on ocular findings and serum retinol levels.
  • Treat with vitamin A palmitate.

Vitamin A Deficiency – Causes & Symptoms

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

 

Vitamin A (retinol) is required for the formation of rhodopsin, a photoreceptor pigment in the retina. Vitamin A helps maintain epithelial tissues. Normally, the liver stores 80 to 90% of the body’s vitamin A. To use vitamin A, the body releases it into the circulation bound to prealbumin (transthyretin) and retinol-binding protein. ?-Carotene and other provitamin carotenoids, contained in green leafy and yellow vegetables and deep- or bright-colored fruits, are converted to vitamin A. Carotenoids are absorbed better from vegetables when they are cooked or homogenized and served with some fat (eg, oils).

VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY

Vitamin A deficiency can result from inadequate intake, fat malabsorption, or liver disorders. Deficiency impairs immunity and hematopoiesis and causes rashes and typical ocular effects (eg, xerophthalmia, night blindness). Diagnosis is based on typical ocular findings and low vitamin A levels. Treatment consists of vitamin A given orally or, if symptoms are severe or malabsorption is the cause, parenterally.

Causes

Primary vitamin A deficiency is usually caused by

  • Prolonged dietary deprivation

It is endemic in areas such as southern and eastern Asia, where rice, devoid of ?-carotene, is the staple food. Xerophthalmia due to primary deficiency is a common cause of blindness among young children in developing countries.

Secondary vitamin A deficiency may be due to

  • Decreased bioavailability of provitamin A carotenoids
  • Interference with absorption, storage, or transport of vitamin A

Interference with absorption or storage is likely in celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic insufficiency, duodenal bypass, chronic diarrhea, bile duct obstruction, giardiasis, and cirrhosis. Vitamin A deficiency is common in prolonged protein-energy undernutrition not only because the diet is deficient but also because vitamin A storage and transport is defective.

In children with complicated measles, vitamin A can shorten the duration of the disorder and reduce the severity of symptoms and risk of death.

Symptoms and Signs

Impaired dark adaptation of the eyes, which can lead to night blindness, is an early symptom. Xerophthalmia (which is nearly pathognomonic) results from keratinization of the eyes. It involves drying (xerosis) and thickening of the conjunctivae and corneas. Superficial foamy patches composed of epithelial debris and secretions on the exposed bulbar conjunctiva (Bitot spots) develop. In advanced deficiency, the cornea becomes hazy and can develop erosions, which can lead to its destruction (keratomalacia).

Keratinization of the skin and of the mucous membranes in the respiratory, GI, and urinary tracts can occur. Drying, scaling, and follicular thickening of the skin and respiratory infections can result. Immunity is generally impaired.

The younger the patient, the more severe are the effects of vitamin A deficiency. Growth retardation and infections are common among children. Mortality rate can exceed 50% in children with severe vitamin A deficiency.


				

Top 11 Vitamin Deficiencies

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Personality changes
  • Unsteady movements
  • Mental confusion or forgetfulness

Vitamin deficiencies usually develop slowly over several months to years. Vitamin deficiency symptoms may be subtle at first, but they increase as the deficiency worsens.