Know Your Vitamins (continued)

Why Do We Need Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

If you eat large amounts of vitamin C such as fruits and juices there is less chance of you being at the risk of various diseases. It does no good to take it in large doses when you find yourself down with a cold, chill, ect. it just does not work like that. If you are looking for a cold/flu remedy vitamin C will help toward your cold, but only if you make sure to get recommended amounts daily it is a miss conception taking large amounts of vitamin C when you have a cold will help cure a cold. The only thing you will get from high doses of vitamin C is most likely to be diarrhoea.

Other areas it can help us is to protect our arteries by fighting against clogging, high blood pressure and cholesterol damage. It will also certainly boost the immune system. Vitamin C is most important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to our teeth and gums, bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. This particular vitamin also gives us our resistance to fight infectious and immune related diseases as well as being necessary for normal immune responses to infection and wound healing. Vitamin C is also considered to be an important antioxidant protecting the body against cell damage.

Sodium Ascorbate (another name for vitamin c) can be given by injection. However, this would only be carried out under medical supervision.

Recognised Deficiency Effects

Apple

Apple: one source of vitamin C

  • Infirm bones
  • Poor recovery from infection
  • Low resistance to infection
  • Slowed tissue regeneration
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Tender joints
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Shortness of breath
  • Scurvy

Sources Of Vitamin C

Citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, blackcurrants, melon and kiwi fruit, rose hips (including rose-hip syrup), green vegetables, potatoes, chillies and peppers. Not forgetting the humble apple which not only contains Vitamin C it also contains a host of other vitamins and minerals. such as: Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (thiamine) and Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) to name a few.

Water soluble vitamins C and B (B complex) need to be taken on a day to day basis this is because the body does not store this kind of vitamin and any excess is passed out in the urine. Caution when cooking water soluble vitamins is needed as they can easily be lost in the cooking. To avoid this happening leave vegetables a little hard after cooking.

Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)

The RNI guide is part of the Dietary Reference Values (DRV) and is used to give an estimated value of the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals that should meet the needs of most of the groups to which they apply, ensuring that the needs of nearly all the group (97.5%) are being met to maintain a healthy life style. However, having said that there would be many individuals within their group who would need far less because of eating a variety of healthy foods that would provide their daily needs.

Those groups who may suffer from a deficiency, and may benefit from supplements, could be smokers, the elderly, sufferers of serious illness, those who have under gone major surgery, burns and extreme temperatures. Vitamin C would be given with other vitamins in pregnancy, mothers that intend to breast-feed and children under the age of 5 who are not good eaters may need to take a supplement containing vitamins A, D & C.

Children who have a good appetite and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruit and vegetables, may not need supplements. Women taking the contraception pill with the ingredient oestrogen may also benefit from this vitamin.

Daily Vitamin C RNI requirements for those who may be at risk are:

  • For children up to the age of 1 year would be 25mg.
  • For those between 1 – 10 years of age 30mg.
  • Children between 11 – 14 years of age 35mg
  • Teenagers 15 years and over 40mg.

If you become pregnant an estimated RNI would be 50mg; and breast-feeding mothers an estimate of 70mg is advised.

Excess Intake

Excessive daily doses of vitamin C have been known to cause diarrhoea, nausea and stomach pains in some people. In other cases it is possible to experience a slight case of jaundice and kidney stones may develop over a period of time. If you have any medical conditions always consult your doctor before taking any form of vitamins/mineral supplements.

Severe lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy. If left untreated it can prove fatal.

Why Do We Need Vitamin D (cholecalciferol)

Vitamin D is essential for development bone growth and density and for functioning of the nervous system. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in various forms and is usually obtained when cholesterol in the skin is exposed to sunlight. It needs bare skin and direct sunlight (not through a window). People with darker skins will need more sun to get the same amount of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important for strong bones and muscles and for functioning of the nervous system. Possibly, it may also help to prevent other diseases such as diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, as well as possible protection against heart disease, it also plays a role in calcium metabolism. Growing children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women and their babies, will all benefit from the D vitamin. The sun also contributes significantly to the daily production of vitamin D, and as little as 10 minutes of exposure is thought to be enough to prevent deficiencies.

Do you take heart medication check with your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements.

Recognised Deficiency Effects

Vitamin D deficiency is common, particularly in children, pregnant women, breastfed babies, and anyone who stays indoors or covers their skin. It is important to treat and prevent a deficiency to ensure good health, growth and strong bones. Some symptoms include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cramp
  • Muscle weakness

Other symptoms may show as muscle pains, or muscle weakness. In more severe cases of deficiency, this may cause difficulty standing up or climbing stairs. It is also possible to suffer rickets and osteomalacia (softening of the bones).

Sources Of Vitamin D

Liver, some fish (mainly oily fish such as herring, sardines, pilchards, trout, salmon, tuna and mackerel), egg yolk, and ‘fortified’ foods which have vitamin D added such as some margarine’s and breakfast cereals.

Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)

The RNI guide is part of the Dietary Reference Values (DRV) and is used to give an estimated value of the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals that should meet the needs of most of the groups to which they apply, ensuring that the needs of nearly all the group (97.5%) are being met to maintain a healthy life style. However, having said that there would be many individuals within their group who would need far less because of eating a variety of healthy foods that would provide their daily needs.

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Daily Vitamin D RNI requirements for those who may be at risk are:

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency does not recommend a specific daily dose of vitamin D unless you are elderly, pregnant, Asian, get little sun exposure, night-shift workers, keep the body well covered in the sun, eat no meat or oily fish, in which case 10mcg is advised.

If you are on certain types of medication you may need more than the usual dose of vitamin D. Medication includes the likes of carbamezepine, phenytoin, primidone (anticonvulsant medication) and barbiturates (phenobarbital).

Sources Of Vitamin D

Liver, some fish (mainly oily fish such as herring, sardines, pilchards, trout, salmon, tuna and mackerel), egg yolk, and ‘fortified’ foods which have vitamin D added such as some margarine’s and breakfast cereals.

Excess Intake

Too much vitamin D can make the intestines absorb too much calcium. This may cause high levels of calcium to be present in the blood and can lead to calcium deposits in soft tissues such as the heart and lungs, reducing their ability to function. If you take heart mediction and vitamin D supplements you may make your situation worse. This is the reason why you shold speak with your doctor before you take vitamin D supplements. Excess symptoms would include: thirst, passing a lot of urine, dizziness and headaches, nausea or vomiting. However, It would be unusual to get side effects from a prescribed dosage.

Vitamin capsules/tablets should be kept in a cool dry place and preferably away from daylight. A kitchen cupboard is one place however, do not put them in a cupboard that is above an area where cooking, or boiling takes place especially during colder months where cooking/boiling may cause condensation.

Why Do We Need Vitamin E (tocopherol)

If there is one thing most all researchers agree with it is the taking of vitamin E ( fat soluble antioxidant ) This antioxidant vitamin is a super defense against the onset of ageing problems. It helps fight against the gradual clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It is also reported to help unblock arteries clogged by high-fat diet, preventing heart attacks and strokes as well as boosting a weak immune system. In the elderly it can boost a weakened immune system. It can also help arthritis suffers and research shows it could help delay age related loss of mental faculties including that from Alzheimer’s. It does not stop there research shows vitamin E can protect against Parkinson’s disease and a possible plus for fertility. Cooking foods at high temperatures however destroys vitamin E.

Some scientists believe high doses of vitamin E supplements could shorten people’s lives.

Recognised Deficiency Effects

Although a deficiency is very rare, there are three specific situations when a vitamin E deficiency is likely to occur. It is seen in persons who cannot absorb dietary fat, has been found in premature, very low birth weight infants (birth weights less than 1500 grams, or 3.5 pounds), and is seen in individuals with rare disorders of fat metabolism. if a lack of vitamin E was suspected then you may suffer from:

Avocado

Avocado one source of vitamin E: See below

  • Premature ageing
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Easily fatigued
  • Dull hair
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Vulnerability to infection

There is also a chance you may suffer from an enlarged prostrate gland and possibly miscarriage. A diet of processed foods that’s very low in fat might also cause a deficiency.

Excess Intake

Harmful effects of overdose are rare. However, there is a risk of abdominal pain, weakness, blurred vision, headache, and flatulence (wind) and diarrhoea.

Prolonged use of over 250mg daily may lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrheoa. High doses of Vitamin E (Hypervitaminosis E) may also act as an anticoagulant and may increase the risk of bleeding problems, in much the same way aspirin does when given to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot formation in people at high risk of developing blood clots.

Hypervitaminosis (refers to a condition of high storage levels in the body of vitamins, which can lead to toxic symptoms.) E may also counteract vitamin K, leading to a vitamin K deficiency.

Although vitamin E is hailed as a wonder vitamin scientists now suggest high doses of vitamin E supplements could shorten people’s lives. If you want to know more, this article in the Guardian about Vitamin E supplements may be of interest to you.

If you are taking anticoagulant drugs, expecting to under-go surgery, or you have any form of bleeding complaint, then check with your GP before taking vitamin E.

Sources Of Vitamin E

Fresh and lightly processed foods. You can also find it in large concentrations in fatty foods; vegetable oils (corn, soya bean, and sunflower), sunflower seeds, avocados, berries, egg yolks, fortified cereals, wheat germ oil, some green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts), peanuts and peanut butter.

Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)

The RNI guide is part of the Dietary Reference Values (DRV) and is used to give an estimated value of the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals that should meet the needs of most of the groups to which they apply, ensuring that the needs of nearly all the group (97.5%) are being met to maintain a healthy life style. However, having said that there would be many individuals within their group who would need far less because of eating a variety of healthy foods that would provide their daily needs.

As far as the information on this vitamin goes I do believe there are no UK guide lines as to the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI). Vitamin E requirement depends on the intake of polyunsaturated fatty acid, which varies widely.

For those of us here in the UK our National Health Service (NHS) do not give a detailed list like that of the USA, but do tell us that we should be able to get the amount of vitamin E we need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If some of us do take vitamin E supplements, then not to take too much.

Although There is not enough evidence to know what the effects might be of taking high doses of vitamin E supplements each day. they do suggest 4mg daily for men and 3mg daily for women.

Intake recommendations for vitamin E are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies (formerly National Academy of Sciences) USA.

Vitamin E is measured in milligrams of alpha-tocopherol (another name for Vitamin E) equivalents (mg alpha-TE)

Recommended Daily Allowance for individuals in the USA are referenced below:

  • For children under 6 months of age 3mg alpha-TE.
  • For those aged 7-12 months of age 4mg alpha-TE.
  • Children 1 – 6 years of age 6mg alpha-TE.
  • For children 4 – 10 years of age 10mg alpha-TE.
  • For male children aged 11 years and older 10mg alpha-TE.
  • For female children aged 11 years and older 8mg alpha-TE. If you become pregnant 10mg alpha-TE would be recommended.
  • If you choose to breast feed after giving birth to your baby then 12mg alpha-TE would be recommended in the first 6 months, and 11mg alpha-TE in the second 6 months of breast-feeding.

Why Do We Need Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

The body uses vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin, to control blood clotting and is also essential for producing the liver protein that controls the clotting. It is involved in creating a glycoprotein a precursor of thrombin that is produced in the liver and is necessary for the coagulation of blood, and is a very important factor in blood clotting. It is also involved in bone formation and repair, vitamin K is thought to decrease the severity of osteoporosis and slow bone loss. In the intestines it also assists in converting glucose to glycogen, this can then be stored in the liver. If you would like a more in-depth look at this vitamin then this link to Wikipedia will do just that.

Recognised Deficiency Effects

Average diets are usually not lacking in vitamin K and primary vitamin K deficiency is rare in healthy adults. If a deficiency was present it may show as internal bleeding (haemorrhaging) such as a nose bleed, blood in the urine, or extremely heavy menstrual bleeding. Vitamin K is essential for the synthesis of prothrombin. Groups with an increased prevalence of vitamin K deficiency include individuals who suffer from liver damage, or disease (i.e. alcoholics), people with cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, or those who have recently had abdominal surgeries. Other groups which may suffer from secondary vitamin K deficiency include bulimics, those on stringent diets and those taking anticoagulants, barbiturates.

Excess Intake

Harmfull effects of excess dietary intake by mouth are rare. However, menadione also known as vitamin K3 (synthetic vitamin K) may cause a rupter of the red blood cells, this is known as haemolysis, in people who suffer glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Adverse effects could be more likely when taken by injection such as; possible redness, itchiness, swelling and pain at the site of injection. It is also possible for hypo-tension (low blood pressure) to occur.

If you take medication you should always seek the advice of your doctor before taking supplements.

Sources Of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is found chiefly in cows milk and yougurt, root vegetables and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, swiss chard, and Brassica (e.g. cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts); seeds, fruits such as avocado and kiwifruit are also high in Vitamin K. Some vegetable oils, notably soybean; and green tea contain vitamin K. Alfalfa (also known as lucerne) is also a rich source of this vitamin A. It is also a source of protein and calcium, plus vitamins in the B group, vitamin C, vitamin E.

Note:

Alfalfa should be avoided during pregnancy this also applies to women suffering from estrogen-sensitive cancers or when using blood thinning or anticoagulant medication (an example would be warfarin). It may also affect those who suffer from autoimmune disorders. Diabetics should also avoid the use of Alfalfa.

The bottom line for anyone taking medication would be not to include supplements in your daily diet with-out first speaking with your doctor or health care professional.

Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI)

The RNI guide is part of the Dietary Reference Values (DRV) and is used to give an estimated value of the amount of protein, vitamins and minerals that should meet the needs of most of the groups to which they apply, ensuring that the needs of nearly all the groups (97.5%) are being met to maintain a healthy life style. However, having said that there would be many individuals within their group who would need no supplements or far less because of eating a variety of healthy foods that would provide their daily needs.

Those groups who may suffer from a deficiency, and may benefit from supplements, could be those suffering from low levels of prothrombin (a clotting factor that is needed for the normal clotting of blood). and other clotting factors, leading to a delay in blood clotting causing prolonged bleeding. This may cause nosebleeds as well as bruising easily. Gums, intestine and urinary tract would also be at risk of bleeding.

Daily Vitamin K RNI Requirements for those who may be at risk are:

  • Apart from the need of newly born infants no RNI has been set for other age groups here in the UK.
  • The dosage for an individual suffering from a deficiency would be depended on the nature and severity of the disorder.

Recommended Daily Allowance for individuals in the USA are referenced below:

Vitamin K

  • For children aged 6 months – 1 year 10mcg.
  • For those between 1 – 3 years of age 15mcg.
  • Children between 4 – 6 years of age 20mcg.
  • for those between 7 – 10 years 30mcg.
  • for children 11 – 14 years 45mcg.
  • Male teenagers 15 – 18 years 65mcg.
  • Female teenagers 15 – 18 years 55mcg
  • Male adults 19 – 24 years 70mcg.
  • Female adults 19 – 24 years 60mcg.
  • Male adults 25 and older 80mcg
  • Female adults 25 years and older 65mcg.

Note:

Vitamin capsules/tablets should be kept in a cool dry place and preferably away from daylight. A kitchen cupboard is one place however, do not put them in a cupboard that is above an area where cooking, or boiling takes place especially during colder months where cooking/boiling may cause condensation.

Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct we make no assurances. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Please read our terms and conditions. Updated June 2014

Apple a source of vitamin C: Andy Newson FreeDigitalPhotos.netAvocado a source of vitamin E: Admin FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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