Dear students, do you remember the first days of your school life when your parents were coming to school with you in order to give support? Nowadays, your parents are surely not coming to your school with you as they used to do in those days. You are in a completely new environment with your friends and teachers. Besides, you are rapidly growing up and learning new things. And you are also eating
outside your home much more
than you did before you
go to school.
At this point let me ask you a question: Do you know what and how much you have to eat to get a healthy nutrition, or do you just eat because you feel hungry and you want to taste your favourite dishes? Are all dishes healthy and helpful for you? How many times a day you eat something? What are the nutrients in your foods and why are they necessary for you? Does your eating habit affect your happiness, your health and your strength and success?
Scientific research has proven more than 600 uses for this amazing 6000 year old spice. What’s more astonishing is that this herb’s power to cure is enhanced when combined with common household condiments like black pepper. You will learn how our research found that Turmeric reduces inflammation, relieves radiation symptoms, reduces cancer cells and prevents Alzheimer’s and associated diseases.
600 Reasons Why Turmeric Is Super
We are always looking for great sources to share about natural health remedies, recipes, solutions and information.
Lactobacteria are integral to maintaining proper pH necessary to digest foodstuffs, and efficiently extract minerals and vitamins from the food eaten. We can’t have a healthy existence – and possibly any existence – without them.
In Some Areas, Soil Is Consumed As A Dietary Supplement Because Many Soils Contain Organisms That Colonize In The Human Gut. They Provide Our System With Much Needed Lactobacteria, A Bacterial Aid For Normal Digestive Function.
An increasingly common complaint is digestive distress and/or stomach pain after eating. We certainly see these symptom featured more in commercials for over-the-counter and prescription medications. Some recent research indicates that the eating of genetically modified foods is causing gut inflammation and digestive allergic responses. Whatever the cause, more of us are being affected by stomach and intestinal pain and discomfort.
Remedies are available from the natural kingdoms that relieve symptoms and correct the digestive imbalances without producing unwanted side effects or new conditions of poor health. Like nature’s 3 kingdoms, relief can be found from mineral, herbal and animal sources:
Vitamin, Minerals proteins and their functions for the body
While plants and micro-organisms can themselves produce the vitamins necessary for the metabolism, humans and animals lost this ability during the course of evolution. Because they lack the enzymes necessary to make vitamins in the body, humans and animals have to ingest them via the diet (with the exception of vitamin D, which is synthesized via the action of sunlight). Choline is the most recent addition to the group of essential nutrients. It was recognized more than 3,500 years ago that foods containing vitamins are essential for health and well-being. The earliest records to have come down to us on this subject relate to the use of specific foods like liver – which contains vitamin A – to prevent diseases such as night blindness. Nevertheless, the concept of vitamins per se was quite unknown until very recently. Since the beginning of the 20th century, our knowledge of the function of vitamins and minerals in our bodies has increased significantly. This understanding is reflected in the award of 20 Nobel Prizes in the vitamin field between 1928 and 1967. Only five percent of the weight of a human being is mineral matter. Yet minerals are vital for many bodily functions such as building bones, making hormones and regulating heartbeat. Minerals are indispensable for healthy growth and development. Most of the minerals in our diets come from plant or animal sources. Plants obtain minerals from the soil. Because soil mineral content varies geographically, the mineral content of plants will depend on where the plant grew and how much fertilizer it received. Minerals may also be present in the water we drink, and this also varies with geographic location.
Vitamins and associated body functions
Vitamin A Eyes, immune system, skin, genes, growth Vitamin D Skin (formed in), intestines, kidneys, bones Vitamin E Antioxidant, blood cells, stored in liver Vitamin K Blood (clotting) Vitamin B1 Energy metabolism, nerve and muscle activity Vitamin B2 Energy metabolism, growth and reproduction, vision Vitamin B3 Energy metabolism, neurological processes Vitamin B5 Skin and hair, wound healing, blood lipid profile Vitamin B6 Nerve activity, blood formation, DNA Vitamin B7 Hair, nails, skin Vitamin B9 DNA synthesis Vitamin B12 Nerve activity, neurotransmitters Vitamin C Antioxidant, iron absorption, immune system Choline Nerve activity, gene expression
Vitamin A Retinol | Carotenoids Vitamin A plays a central role in our vision, skin, genes, growth, and immune system. It is especially important during the early stages of pregnancy in supporting the developing embryo. Infections and fevers increase the requirement for vitamin A. Three different forms of vitamin A are active in the body: retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. These are known as retinoids. The cells of the body can convert retinol and retinal to the other active forms of vitamin A as needed. Each form of vitamin A performs specific tasks. Retinol supports reproduction and is the major transport form of the vitamin. Retinal is active in vision and is also an intermediate in the conversion of retinol to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid acts like a hormone, regulating cell differentiation, growth, and embryonic development. Foods derived from animals provide retinol in a form that is easily digested and absorbed. Foods derived from plants provide carotenoids, some of which have vitamin A activity. The body can convert carotenoids like β-carotene, α-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin into vitamin A. The conversion rates from dietary carotene sources to vitamin A are 12:1 for β-carotene and 24: 1 for β-cryptoxanthin. The primary sources of vitamin A Retinol is found in liver, egg yolk, butter, whole milk, and cheese. Carotenoids are found in orange-flesh sweet potatoes, orange-flesh fruits (i.e., melon, mangoes, and persimmons), green leafy vegetables (i.e., spinach, broccoli), carrots, pumpkins, and red palm oil. Bioavailability of vitamin A The bioavailability of vitamin A derived from animal sources is high – about 70–90% of the vitamin A ingested is absorbed by the body. Carotenoids from plant sources are absorbed at much lower rates – between 9% and 22% – and the proportion absorbed decreases as more carotenoids are consumed. Dietary fat enhances the absorption of vitamin A. Absorption of β-carotene is influenced by the food matrix. β-carotene from supplements is more readily absorbed than β-carotene from foods, while cooking carrots and spinach enhances the absorption of β-carotene. Diarrhea or parasite infections of the gut are associated with vitamin A malabsorption. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin A About 90% of vitamin A is stored in the liver. Vegetarians can meet their vitamin A requirements with sufficient intakes of deeply colored fruits and vegetables, with fortified foods, or both. Vitamin A deficiency is a major problem when diets consist of starchy staples, which are not good sources of retinol or β-carotene, and when the consumption of deeply colored fruits and vegetables, animal-source foods, or fortified foods is low. Vitamin A plays a role in mobilizing iron from liver stores, so vitamin A deficiency may also compromise iron status. Excessive intakes of pre-formed vitamin A can result in high levels of the vitamin in the liver – a condition known as hypervitaminosis A. No such risk has been observed with high β-carotene intakes.
Vitamin D Calciferol With the help of sunlight, vitamin D is synthesized by the body from a precursor derived from cholesterol. Vitamin D is therefore not an essential micronutrient, given the right season and enough time in the sun. The active from of vitamin D is actually a hormone that targets organs – most notably the intestines, kidneys, and bones. In the intestine, vitamin D is involved in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. In the bone, it assists in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, helping bones grow denser and stronger as they absorb and deposit these minerals. The primary sources of vitamin D Sunlight – exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is necessary for the body to synthesize vitamin D from the precursor in the skin. There are a few foods that are natural sources of vitamin D. These sources are oily fish, egg yolk, veal, beef, and mushrooms. Bioavailability of vitamin D There is very little information on the bioavailability of vitamin D. It is assumed that the food matrix has little effect on absorption. Bioavailability also varies among individuals and depends on the level of circulating vitamin-D-binding protein. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin D Inadequate exposure to sunlight is the primary risk factor for poor vitamin D status. The use of sunscreen, higher levels of melanin in skin (i.e., dark skin), skin coverings (clothes, veils), and time of day are factors that decrease exposure to UVB rays. The distance from the equator is also a factor for UVB exposure; people living in latitudes above or below 40 degrees from the equator will be unable to form vitamin D from the skin precursor during the winter months. Breast milk is a poor source of vitamin D. Children who are exclusively breastfed and have no or little sun exposure require vitamin D supplements to meet their vitamin D requirements. One of the main roles of vitamin D is to facilitate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Consequently, a vitamin D deficiency creates a calcium deficiency, with significant consequences to bone health. Among children and adolescents, it may cause rickets and adversely affect peak bone mass. In adults, vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
Vitamin E α-Tocopherol The most active form of vitamin E is α-tocopherol, which acts as an antioxidant (i.e., stops the chain reaction of free radicals producing more free radicals). Vitamin E protects cell membranes, proteins, and DNA from oxidation and thereby contributes to cellular health. It prevents oxidation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids and lipids in the cells. Vitamin E is stored in the liver and is safe even at high intakes. The primary sources of vitamin E Vitamin E in the α-tocopherol form is found in edible vegetable oils, especially wheat germ, and sunflower and rapeseed oil. Other good sources of vitamin E are leafy green vegetables (i.e., spinach, chard), nuts (almonds, peanuts) and nut spreads, avocados, sunflower seeds, mango and kiwifruit. Bioavailability of vitamin E Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient. As such, absorption of this vitamin is enhanced in the presence of fat in a meal. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin E Individuals whose diets consist mostly of starchy staples – with inconsistent intake of edible oils or other vegetable sources of vitamin E – are at a higher risk of inadequate vitamin E intake. Vitamin E deficiency leads to red blood cell breakage and nerve damage. Recent studies from Bangladesh link low vitamin E blood levels to an increased risk of miscarriage. In other studies vitamin E supplementation has been successfully used for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition widespread in overweight and obese people. Excessive intake of vitamin E from food is very rare.
Vitamin K Phylloquinone | Menaquinones Vitamin K acts primarily in blood clotting, where its presence can make the difference between life and death. More than a dozen different proteins and the mineral calcium are involved in making a blood clot. Vitamin K is essential for the activation of several of these proteins. When any of the blood clotting factors is lacking, hemorrhagic disease (uncontrolled bleeding) results. Vitamin K also participates in the metabolism of bone proteins, most notably osteocalcin. Without vitamin K, osteocalcin cannot bind to the minerals that normally form bones, resulting in poor bone mineralization. Vitamin K is stored in the liver. The primary sources of vitamin K Vitamin K is found in plant foods as phylloquinone (K1). Bacteria in the lower intestine can synthesize vitamin K as menaquinone (K2), which is absorbed by the body. Sources of phylloquinone are green leafy vegetables (i.e., parsley, spinach, collard greens, and salad greens), cabbage, and vegetables oils (soybean, canola, olive). Menaquinones are also found in fermented foods such as fermented cheese, curds, and natto (fermented soybeans). Bioavailability of vitamin K Absorption of vitamin K from food sources is about 20%, and dietary fat enhances absorption. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin K Vitamin K is poorly transferred via the placenta and is not found in significant quantities in breast milk, so newborn infants are especially at risk for bleeding. This innate vitamin K deficiency is treated with intramuscular injection or oral administrationof phylloquinone. Supplementation with vitamin K has been found to be beneficial for improving bone density among adults with osteoporosis because it drives synthesis of a special protein called matrix Gla protein.
Vitamin B1 Thiamin Thiamin is a sulfur-containing vitamin that participates in energy metabolism, converting carbohydrates, lipids and proteins into energy. Thiamin also plays a key role in nerve and muscle activity. The primary sources of vitamin B1 Offal (liver, kidneys, heart), fish, meat (pork), whole grain cereals, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, eggplant, fruits , legumes (beans and lentils), nuts, soymilk, squash, brewer’s yeast. Bioavailability of vitamin B1 There is no data on bioavailability of vitamin B1, but we know that levels in foods are very susceptible to heat, cooking times, and length of storage. Vitamin B1 is also lost in the milling process, where the bran layer and some of the germ layer that contain vitamins are removed from grains. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin B1 People who consume diets consisting of primarily refined grains (mostly milled flours and polished rice) are at risk for thiamin deficiency. The risk of inadequacy is less when food manufacturers fortify refined grains with vitamin B1. Clinical vitamin B1 deficiency is called beriberi, a condition which still occurs in South-East Asia. In beriberi, there is damage to the nervous system characterized by muscle weakness in the arms and legs, or damage to the cardiovascular system which is characterized by dilated blood vessels, causing the heart to work harder and the kidneys to retain salt and water, resulting in edema. No adverse effects have been associated with excessive thiamin intakes.
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin Vitamin B2 participates in oxidation-reduction reactions, by accepting and then donating two hydrogen molecules, which are necessary for releasing energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Vitamin B2 stimulates growth and reproduction, plays a role in vision, and in the conversion of vitamins B6, folic acid, and niacin into their active coenzyme forms. The primary sources of vitamin B2 Vitamin B2 is found in offal (liver, kidneys, heart), eggs, meat, milk, yogurt, cheeses, whole grain cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, and brewer’s yeast. Bioavailability of vitamin B2 Vitamin B2 from foods is highly available; bile salts, which are released when we consume fats, increase the rate of absorption of vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is sensitive to light but remains stable under heat and refrigeration. The milling process reduces the content of vitamin B2 in cereal grains. Risks related to inadequate intake of vitamin B2 Individuals whose food intake relies primarily on refined cereals, the elderly, chronic dieters, and individuals who exclude milk products from their diet are at risk for inadequate intakes. Vitamin B2 requirements are increased during periods of strong growth, such as in pregnancy and lactation. Vitamin B2 deficiency co-occurs with other nutrient deficiencies and it may precipitate deficiencies in vitamin B6 and niacin. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer are at risk for vitamin B2 deficiency
Vitamin B3 Niacin Niacin acts as coenzyme in energy-transfer reactions, especially the metabolism of glucose, fat, and alcohol. Niacin is similar to the riboflavin coenzymes in that it carries hydrogen molecules (and their electrons) during metabolic reactions. It also protects against neurological degeneration. Niacin is unique in that it can also be synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan. It occurs in two forms: niacinamide and nicotinic acid. The primary sources of vitamin B3 Primary sources are offal (liver), fish, meat, milk, eggs, whole grain cereals, legumes, fruit (avocados, figs, dates, prunes), and nuts. Other: Synthesized from tryptophan Bioavailability of vitamin B3 Absorption of niacin depends on the food source. Niacin from meat, liver, beans and fortified products is highly bioavailable. About 30% of the niacin in grains is bioavailable, though additional niacin can be released if the food undergoes alkali treatment (limewater/calcium hydroxide). Compared to other water-soluble vitamins, niacin is less susceptible to losses during food storage. It is fairly heat resistant, so it can withstand reasonable cooking times. However, like other water-soluble vitamins, it will leach into cooking water. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin B3 Individuals whose diets to not meet their energy needs are therefore at risk of deficiency, as are individuals whose staple diet relies primarily on (untreated) maize or barley, and chronic alcoholics. Severe niacin deficiency results in a disease called pellagra and its symptoms are dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and eventually death. Risk of excessive intake is unlikely if niacin is consumed from food sources. However consumption of niacin in the form of nicotinic acid from multiple sources at high levels, including dietary supplements, pharmaceutical doses, and fortified foods, may result in adverse effects such as flushing, nausea and vomiting, liver toxicity, blurred vision and impaired glucose tolerance.
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic Acid Vitamin B5 is part of the structure of coenzyme A, the “crossroads” compound in several metabolic pathways, and is involved in more than 100 different steps in the synthesis of lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, and hemoglobin. Vitamin B5 is important for maintenance and repair of tissues and cells of the skin and hair, helps in healing of wounds and lesions, and pantethine, which is a form of vitamin B5, normalizes blood lipid profiles. The primary sources of vitamin B5 Vitamin B5 is found in offal (liver, kidneys), meat (chicken, beef), egg yolk, milk, fish, whole grain cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms. Other: synthesized by intestinal microorganisms but the contribution of this to nutrient status is unknown. Bioavailability of vitamin B5 Bioavailability of pantothenic acid from food sources is about 50%. Although vitamin B5 is quite stable if heated, extended cooking times and prolonged high temperatures (such as boiling temperatures) can cause greater loss of the vitamin. Pantothenic acid is also destroyed in the process of freezing, canning, or refining. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin B5 Vitamin B5 deficiency is very rare and symptoms involve a general failure of all the body’s systems. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, tingling sensations (“burning feet” syndrome). No adverse effects have been reported with high intakes of vitamin B5.
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 is required for the majority of biological reactions (i.e., amino acid metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, red blood cell formation). It occurs in three forms: pyridoxal, pyridoxine, and pyridoxamine. All can be converted to the coenzyme PLP (pyridoxal phosphate), that transfers amino groups from an amino acid to make nonessential amino acids, an action that is valuable in protein and urea metabolism. The conversions of the amino acid tryptophan to niacin or to the neurotransmitter serotonin also depend on PLP. In addition, PLP participates in the synthesis of the heme compound in hemoglobin, of nucleic acids in DNA and of lecithin, a fatty compound (phospholipid) that provides structures to our cells. Vitamin B6 is stored in muscle tissue. The primary sources of vitamin B6 There are many good sources of vitamin B6, including chicken, liver (cattle, pig), fish (salmon, tuna). Nuts (walnut, peanut), chickpeas, maize and whole grain cereals, and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), bananas, potatoes and other starchy vegetables are also good sources. Bioavailability of vitamin B6 If consuming a mixed diet, the bioavailability of vitamin B6 is about 75%. Vitamin B6 is destroyed by heat but it remains stable during storage. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin B6 Deficiency of vitamin B6 alone is uncommon; usually it occurs in combination with a deficit in other B-vitamins. Individuals at risk for poor intakes are alcoholics and those taking tuberculosis medication. Signs of vitamin B6 deficiency include microcytic anemia due to inadequate synthesis of hemoglobin, depression, nerve problems, and irritability. No adverse events have been observed with high intakes of vitamin B6 (from food or supplements).
Vitamin B7 Biotin | Vitamin H Biotin plays an important role in metabolism as a coenzyme that transfers carbon dioxide. This role is critical in the breakdown of food (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) into energy. Biotin is involved in many cellular reactions, particularly in fat and protein metabolism of hair roots, finger nails, and skin. The primary sources of vitamin B7 Eggs, milk, vegetables, cereals, nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts), liver, kidney, yeast, soybeans. Other: synthesized by intestinal bacteria. Bioavailability of vitamin B7 In foods, biotin is found as the free form or bound to dietary proteins. The bioavailability of biotin depends on the ability of protein enzymes in the stomach to convert protein-bound biotin to free biotin. Biotin is not sensitive to light, heat, or humidity. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin B7 Experts have yet to quantify the amount of biotin in natural foods. Deficiency due to lack of dietary intake is rare in healthy populations. Symptoms of deficiency include general fatigue, nausea, neurological problems, poor skin and hair quality. No adverse effects have been reported with excessive intakes of biotin.
Vitamin B9 Folate Folate refers to the naturally occurring forms (pteroylglutamic acid) as well as the forms found in fortified foods and supplements (folic acid). Folic acid is the most stable form of folate. The primary function of folate is as a coenzyme, THF (tetrahydrofolate), that transfers single-carbon compounds for DNA synthesis and repair and in energy and amino acid metabolism. Folate and vitamin B12 are interconnected in their capacity to donate and receive these single-carbon compounds, which are called methyl groups. For example, THF with a methyl group donates its carbon compound to vitamin B12. This action transforms vitamin B12 into an active coenzyme, which will in turn catalyze the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Without vitamin B12, folate in its methyl form becomes trapped inside cells, unavailable to support cell growth. Folate is essential for brain development and function. The primary sources of folate Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, asparagus, wheat germ, yeast, peanuts, oranges, strawberries. Bioavailability of folate Folic acid from supplements is 100% bioavailable, if taken without food, and 85% bioavailable when taken with food. Naturally occurring folates in food are 50% bioavailable, but the natural forms are highly unstable. Folate is easily destroyed by heat and oxygen. Risks related to inadequate intake of folate Individuals with diets that lack sufficient quantity and variety of green leafy vegetables and legumes are at risk for inadequate folate intake. Folate requirements are increased during pregnancy, especially in the first couple of weeks of gestation. Folate deficiency is highly associated with the risk for neural tube defects in the growing fetus. Thus, women of child-bearing age and pregnant women are advised to meet folate requirements using a combination of natural foods (folate forms) and fortified foods or supplements (folic acid). In many western countries, governments have mandated flours to be fortified with folate. Because folate is critical for cell growth and repair, especially for cells with a short life span, such as cells in the mouth and digestive tract, visible signs of folate deficiency include digestive problems. Other symptoms are tiredness, loss of appetite, fewer but larger red blood cells (megaloblastic or macrocytic anemia), and neurological problems. A vitamin B12 deficiency will provoke a folate deficiency because it means vitamin B12 is not available to donate its methyl group to convert folate into its active form.
Vitamin B12 Cobalamin Vitamin B12 functions as a coenzyme in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, in the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids, and in the production of neurotransmitters. It also maintains a special lining that surrounds and protects nerve fibers, and bone cell activity depends on vitamin B12. Folate and vitamin B12 are closely related. When folate gives up its methyl group to B12, it activates this vitamin. The primary sources of vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is found only in foods of animal origin, except where plant-based foods have been fortified. Rich sources of vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, game meat (venison and rabbit), some fish (herring, sardines, salmon, trout), milk and milk products. Bioavailability of vitamin B12 While there is insufficient data on the absorption of vitamin B12, experts assume that about 50% of vitamin B12 is absorbed by adults with a healthy digestive tract. Inadequate absorption occurs when there is not enough acid in the stomach, or when a protein called intrinsic factor is not produced in the stomach. Conventional cooking methods involving high heat (e.g. microwave) and long cooking times may result in some vitamin B12 losses. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of vitamin B12 About 10–30% of older adults are estimated to have chronic inflammation of the stomach, a condition that impairs the absorption of vitamin B12. It is advised that older adults consume fortified foods or supplements to meet their vitamin B12 requirements. Vegans (individuals who do not consume animal-source foods), who do not take fortified foods or supplements, will develop vitamin B12 deficiency. However, it can take several years to develop a vitamin B12 deficiency because the body recycles much of its vitamin B12 by reabsorbing it over and over again. Infants born to vegan mothers are also at risk for deficiency if their mother’s vitamin B12 status was low during pregnancy. Vitamin B12 requirements are increased for individuals who are HIV-positive with chronic diarrhea. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, general fatigue, loss of appetite, gastric atrophy, neuromuscular pain, neurological problems (gait, memory loss). No adverse effects with excessive intakes of vitamin B12 have been reported.
Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C parts company with the B-vitamins in its mode of action. It acts as an antioxidant or as a cofactor, helping a specific enzyme perform its job. High levels of vitamin C are found in pituitary and adrenal glands, eyes, white blood cells, and the brain. Vitamin C has multiple roles - in the synthesis of collagen, absorption of iron, free radical scavenging, and defense against infections and inflammation The primary sources of vitamin C Fruits (especially citrus fruits), cabbage-type vegetables, green leafy vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and liver (ox /calf). Bioavailability of vitamin C Levels of vitamin C in foods depend on the growing conditions, season, stage of maturity, cooking practices, and storage time prior to consumption. Vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat and oxygen. Absorption levels depend on the amounts consumed. About 70–90% of vitamin C is absorbed. If intakes exceed 1000 mg/day, absorption levels drop to 50%. Risks related to inadequate intake of vitamin C Individuals who do not consume sufficient quantities of fruits and vegetables are at risk for inadequate intakes of vitamin C. Because smoking generates free radicals, individuals who smoke have elevated requirements for vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy; signs of scurvy are bleeding gums, small hemorrhages below the skin, fatigue, loss of appetite and weight, and lowered resistance to infections.
Choline Strictly speaking, choline is not a vitamin, but an essential nutrient that is often grouped under the B-vitamins. Although the body can make choline, dietary intake of choline is necessary to meet the body’s needs for this nutrient. Choline also acts as a methyl donor. Choline has several functions, including fat and cholesterol metabolism, cell structure and cell integrity, cellular signaling, neurotransmission, and gene expression. In pregnancy, choline is important for brain development of the growing fetus. The primary sources of choline Choline can be found in many foods, mainly in milk, eggs and peanuts. It is also part of lecithin, which is used as an emulsifier in food processing. Bioavailability of choline There is no information on bioavailability. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of choline A varied diet should provide enough choline for most people, but strict vegetarians (who consume no milk or eggs) may be at risk of inadequate choline intake. Inadequate intake of choline can lead to liver dysfunction and muscle damage. During pregnancy choline is especially important as it is involved in fetal brain development. There is some data to suggest that maternal choline status might be related to neural tube defects. Choline biosynthesis declines in women during the menopause. Recent research has linked low choline blood levels to an increased risk of stunting (short-for-age) in children from Malawi. Choline and folate interact at the level where homocysteine is converted to methionine. If the metabolism of one of these methyl donors is disturbed, it disrupts the metabolism of choline. Excess intake of choline is rare but can result in a fishy body odor, vomiting, salivation, hypotension and liver toxicity.
Calcium Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium is in the bones and teeth. Calcium is an integral part of bone structure, necessary to create a rigid frame to hold the body upright and for movement. Calcium in the bones also serves as a bank from which the body can withdraw calcium to compensate for low intakes. The remaining 1% of the body’s calcium is in the body fluids, where it helps regulate blood pressure and muscle movement. The body needs calcium for healthy bones. Bones are gaining and losing minerals continuously in an ongoing process of remodeling. Calcium forms crystals on a matrix of the protein collagen. This process is called mineralization. During mineralization, as the crystals become denser, they give strength and rigidity to the bones. Most people achieve a peak bone mass by their late 20s, and dense bones best protect against age-related bone loss and fractures. Calcium is important at all life stages, and most especially during periods of linear growth, infancy, childhood and puberty, as well as pregnancy and lactation. Calcium in the blood helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Calcium is also involved in the regulation of muscle contraction, transmission of nerve impulses, secretion of hormones and activation of some enzyme reactions. The primary sources of calcium Milk and milk products, small fish (with bones), calcium-set tofu (bean curd), and legumes, spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale, broccoli. Bioavailability of calcium Calcium absorption by the body is enhanced by the presence of vitamin D and decreased in the presence of oxalic and phytic acid in foods. Thus, foods with high content of calcium that are also rich in oxalic acid (e.g., spinach, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans) or phytic acid (e.g., seeds, nuts, grains) will result in a lower absorption of calcium compared to foods with no inhibitors, such as milk and milk products. Diets high in sodium or phosphorus (e.g., cola beverages) also negatively affect calcium levels in the bone. Risks related to inadequate intake of calcium Because calcium is critical to muscle contraction and nerve impulses, the body tightly regulates blood calcium levels. If calcium intake is low, the body will draw on calcium in the bones. Poor chronic intake in calcium results in osteomalacia, in which bones become weak owing to lack of calcium. Insufficient calcium in bones can also result from an inadequate supply of vitamin D, which is essential for absorption of calcium and its deposition in the bones. Thus, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake is vital for bone integrity and for bone growth.
Magnesium More than half the body’s magnesium is found in the bones, where it plays an important role in development and maintenance of bone. Much of the rest of the mineral is found in the muscles and soft tissues, with only 1% in the extracellular fluid. Bone magnesium serves as a reservoir for magnesium to ensure normal magnesium blood concentrations. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions such as synthesis of our genetic material (DNA/RNA) and proteins, in cell growth and reproduction, and in energy production and storage. Magnesium is important for the formation of the body’s main energy compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Our cells need ATP for all their processes. The primary sources of magnesium Nuts, legumes, whole grains, dark green vegetables, and seafood. Bioavailability of magnesium Magnesium absorption will decrease in diets with low intakes of protein. As with calcium, foods high in fiber that contain phytic acid will also decrease absorption of magnesium. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of magnesium Magnesium deficiency in healthy individuals who are consuming a balanced diet is quite rare because magnesium is abundant in both plant and animal foods and the kidneys are able to limit urinary excretion of magnesium when intake is low. Severe magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) can impede vitamin D and calcium homeostasis. Certain individuals are more susceptible to magnesium deficiency, especially those with gastrointestinal or renal disorders, those suffering from chronic alcoholism, and older people. Magnesium toxicity is rare. The upper limit of magnesium can only be exceeded with non-food sources such as supplements or magnesium salts.
Phosphorus About 85% of phosphorus in the body is combined with calcium in the bones and teeth. In all body cells, phosphorus is part of a major buffer system (phosphoric acid and its salts). Phosphorus is also part of DNA and RNA, which are essential components of all cells. Phosphorus assists in energy metabolism in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The ATP molecule uses three phosphate groups to do its work. Many enzymes and the B-vitamins become active only when a phosphate group is attached. Lipids found in the cell walls also use phosphorus. These phospholipids give cells their fluid structure, which is necessary for the transport of compounds into and out of cells. The primary sources of phosphorus Phosphorus is found naturally in many foods. Animal-source foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk are excellent sources, as are sunflower seeds. Bioavailability of phosphorus Phosphorous is absorbed well from most foods, especially animal-source foods. In plant seeds containing phytic acid/phytate, only 50% of the phosphorus is available for humans. Individuals who consume large amounts of dairy products or cola beverages have higher intakes of phosphorus, which may interfere with calcium metabolism. Risks related to inadequate intake of phosphorus Because phosphorus is so widespread in food, dietary phosphorus deficiency is seen mostly in cases of malnutrition, anorexic individuals, or alcoholics. Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are poor appetite, anxiety, and irritability. In children, phosphorus deficiency may manifest as decreased growth and poor bone and tooth development.
Potassium is the body’s principal positively charged ion (cation) inside our cells. Its major role is to keep us alive. Potassium is essential for maintenance of normal fluid and electrolyte balance, enzyme reactions, cell integrity, and muscle contraction. Potassium and sodium are pumped across the cell membrane, a process that drives nerve impulse transmission. The potassium found in natural, unprocessed foods is often linked to an organic anion (e.g. citrate). Organic anions play an important role in buffering the acids produced by the body in metabolizing meats or protein-rich foods. These acids can demineralize the bone and increase the risk of kidney stones. The primary sources of potassium Fruits and vegetables, especially vine fruits (tomato, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin), leafy greens and root vegetables, grains, meat, legumes. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of potassium Moderate potassium deficiency is linked to increases in blood pressure, increased risk of kidney stones, bone demineralization, and stroke. Certain types of diuretics (e.g., thiazide diuretics or furosemide), alcoholism, severe vomiting or diarrhea, overuse or abuse of laxatives, anorexia nervosa or bulimia, magnesium depletion, and congestive heart failure (CHF) are associated with a higher risk for potassium deficiency. Potassium toxicity does not result from overeating foods high in potassium but can result from overconsumption of potassium salts or supplements (including some protein shakes and energy drinks) and from certain diseases or treatments.
Chromium is an essential mineral that participates in the metabolism of glucose and fats. Like iron, chromium assumes different charges. Cr3+ is the most stable form and is commonly found in foods; other Cr charges, like Cr6+, are toxic. Chromium helps maintain blood glucose levels by enhancing the activity of the hormone insulin. The primary sources of chromium Chromium is found in egg yolk, whole grains, high-bran cereals, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and brewer’s yeast. Diets rich in simple sugars may actually increase urinary excretion of chromium due to enhanced insulin secretion. Bioavailability of chromium The low pH of the stomach enhances chromium availability. Vitamin C enhances chromium absorption. Risks related to inadequate intake of chromium Chromium deficiency in humans is very rare. Cases of chromium deficiency have been described in a few patients on long-term intravenous feeding who did not receive supplemental chromium in their intravenous solutions.
Copper is a constituent of several enzymes. Copper-dependent enzymes transport iron and load it into hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen through the blood. Copper-dependent enzymes release energy from glucose; provide a natural defense against free radicals that damage the body; manufacture collagen (required by skin and bone); inactivate histamine, which is responsible for allergic reactions; and degrade dopamine into a neurotransmitter so cells can “talk” to each other. The primary sources of copper Seafood, nuts, whole grains, seeds and legumes, and organ meats (offal). Bioavailability of copper Copper absorption depends on copper intake; absorption rates are approximately 50% when intakes <1 mg/day (which is about the recommended intake for adult males). High iron intake may lower the absorption of copper. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of copper Copper deficiency in healthy humans is very rare. However, those at risk for copper deficiency are individuals with a rare genetic disorder, Menke’s disease, and children who are malnourished, those with prolonged diarrhea, or who are fed only cow’s milk. Because copper is needed to transport iron, clinical signs of copper deficiency include anemia. Other clinical signs are osteoporosis and other abnormalities of bone development, loss of pigmentation, neurological symptoms, and impaired growth. Excessive intakes of copper from foods are unlikely
Iron’s main role is to accept, carry and release oxygen. Most of the body’s iron is found in two oxygen-carrying proteins – hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, and myoglobin, which is found in the muscle cells. Iron also serves as a cofactor to enzymes in oxidation/reduction reactions (i.e., accepts or donates electrons). These reactions are vital to cells’ energy metabolism. Iron requirements fluctuate throughout the life course. Iron needs increase during menstruation, pregnancy, and periods of rapid growth such as early childhood and adolescence. The primary sources of iron Red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, legumes, grains, dried fruits. Bioavailability of iron Iron is carefully regulated by the body and absorption rates vary by the size of a person’s iron stores. The more iron-deficient a person is, the better the absorption rates. Conversely, in healthy individuals iron absorption shuts down when iron stores have been maximized. Many factors affect the absorption of iron. Heme iron from animal-source foods is absorbed, on average, twice as well as inorganic iron (from plant sources). The absorption rates for inorganic iron are also influenced by the meal composition and the solubility of the iron form. Factors that enhance absorption of inorganic iron are vitamin C and animal protein. Factors that inhibit inorganic iron absorption include phytates (found in grains), polyphenols (found in teas and red wine), vegetable protein, and calcium (which also affects the absorption of heme iron). Food processing techniques to reduce the phytate content of plant-based foods, such as thermal processing, milling, soaking, fermentation, and germination, improve the bioavailability of inorganic iron from these foods. Risks related to inadequate intake of iron A lack of dietary iron depletes iron stores in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Severe depletion or exhaustion of iron stores can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Certain life-stages require greater iron intake and if these are not met, the risk for iron deficiency is increased. For example, pregnancy demands additional iron to support the added blood volume, growth of the fetus and blood loss during childbirth. Infants and young children need extra iron to support their rapid growth and brain development. Because breast milk is low in iron, infants exclusively fed breastmilk may also be at risk for iron deficiency. Similarly, the rapid growth of adolescence also demands extra iron. Because of iron’s role in energy metabolism, depletion of body iron stores may result in reductions of the available energy in the cell. The physical signs of iron deficiency include fatigue, weakness, headaches, apathy, susceptibility to infections, and poor resistance to cold temperatures.
Selenium is one of the body’s antioxidant nutrients, protecting the body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a natural by-product of the body’s metabolism. Selenium also regulates thyroid hormone and oxidative reduction reactions of vitamin C. Selenium, along with vitamin E, works to reduce the free radicals that are generated through cellular processes. The primary sources of selenium Selenium is found in seafood, meat, whole grains, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. The selenium content in plant food varies according to selenium soil content. Animal-source foods are reliable sources of selenium because selenium is required by animals and thus added to their feed. Bioavailability of selenium Selenium from food sources is highly bioavailable. Risks related to inadequate or excess intake of selenium Overt selenium deficiency is very rare. Some endemic diseases in parts of Russia and China such as Keshan and Kashin-Beck disease are related to low selenium intakes. Individuals at risk for low selenium intakes are vegans who eat foods grown in low-selenium areas. Selenium is toxic in high doses and causes loss and brittleness of hair and nails, garlic breath odor and nervous system abnormalities.
Zinc Almost all cells contain zinc and it is a vital nutrient for growth and development. The highest concentrations are found in muscle and bone. The body tightly regulates zinc levels. Stress and infections cause plasma zinc levels to fall. Zinc participates in a variety of catalytic, regulatory, and structural functions. Zinc is a catalyst for about 100 enzymes. It is important in the structure of cell transport proteins such as vitamins A and D. Zinc regulates gene expression; stabilizes cell membranes, helping to strengthen their defense against oxidative stress; assists in immune function; participates in the synthesis, storage, and release of insulin; interacts with platelets in blood clotting; and influences thyroid hormone function. It is necessary for visual pigments; normal taste perception; wound healing; sperm production; fetal development; and behavior and learning performance. The primary sources of zinc Meats, some shellfish, legumes, whole grains, and some fortified cereals. Bioavailability of zinc Like iron, zinc absorption will depend on the zinc body pool, with those having poorer zinc status able to absorb zinc more efficiently in the gut. Foods rich in phytate lead to previously absorbed zinc being lost in the feces. High intakes of calcium, phosphorus, or iron also decrease the absorption of zinc. Protein may enhance absorption of zinc. Risks related to inadequate intake of zinc Individuals consuming unprocessed or minimally processed diets consisting of unrefined whole grains or unleavened whole bread and little animal-source foods are at greater risk for zinc deficiency. Zinc needs are higher in periods of growth and development, such as infancy, childhood, pregnancy and lactation. Zinc deficiency can occur even with only modest restrictions to zinc intake. Impaired growth velocity is the main clinical feature of zinc deficiency. Immune system functions and pregnancy outcomes improve with zinc supplementation. For example, zinc is often given as an adjunct therapy for diarrhea.