Nutrition: What Is It, Why It Is Important, Symptoms Of Deficiency/Excess, Recommended Dosage

Posted on 14 Sep 11:05 by Diana N Ahuche

 

Nutrition or nourishment is the supply of food materials required by organisms and cells to stay alive. In science and human medicine, nutrition is the science or practice of consuming and utilizing foods. 
Nutritional science studies how the body breaks food down (catabolism) and how it repairs and creates cells and tissue (anabolism). Catabolism and anabolism combined is referred to as metabolism. Nutritional science also examines how the body responds to food with regards to deficiency and excess.
 

Quick facts on nutrition

  • The human body requires seven major types of nutrients on a regular basis.
  • Not all nutrients provide energy but are still important.
  • Micronutrients are important but required in smaller amount on a regular basis.
  • Vitamins are essential organic compounds that the human body cannot synthesize.

 

What is nutrition?

As molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics advance, nutrition has become more focused on metabolism and metabolic pathways - biochemical steps through which substances inside us are transformed from one form to another.

Biochemical Processes: Anabolic reactions involve the synthesis of complex molecules from simpler ones and usually require energy to form new bonds (endergonic) Catabolic reactions involve the breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones and usually release energy from breaking bonds (exergonic). 

Nutrition also focuses on how diseases, medical conditions, and other health issues can be prevented, reduced, or treated with a healthy diet.

Nutrition now looks to identify how certain diseases and conditions may be caused by dietary factors, such as poor diet (malnutrition), food in tolerances, and food allergies.

 

Types

A nutrient is a major source of nourishment, a component of food, including fat, protein, and carbohydrate, vitamin, mineral, fiber, and water.

  • Macronutrients are nutrients our body requires in relatively large quantities.
  • Micronutrients are nutrients our body requires in relatively small quantities.

Macronutrients can be further split into energy macronutrients (that provide energy), and macronutrients that do not provide energy, such as, water and fiber. 

 

Energy macronutrients

Energy macronutrients supply energy, which is measured either in kilocalories (kcal) or calories or Joules. 1 kilocalorie (calorie) = 4185.8 joules.

 

Energy macronutrients include:

Carbohydrates - 4 kcal per gram
Carbohydrate molecules are monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides, and polysaccharides (starch).
Polysaccharides are favored over monosaccharides because they are more complex and therefore take longer to break down and be absorbed into the bloodstream; this means that they do not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels. Look to polysaccharides foods for stable and long lasting energy supply.
 
Proteins - 4 kcal per gram
There are 20 amino acids - organic compounds found in nature that combine to form proteins. Some amino acids are essential, meaning they must be consumed enough and regularly. Other amino acids are non-essential because the body can produce them.

Fats - 9 kcal per gram
Fats are triglycerides - three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of the alcohol glycerol. Fatty acids are simple compounds (monomers) while triglycerides are complex molecules (polymers).
Fats (good fats) are required in the diet for health as they serve many functions, including lubricating joints, aiding organs produce hormones, assisting in absorption of certain vitamins, reducing inflammation, and preserving brain health.

 

Macronutrients that do not provide energy

These macronutrients do not provide energy, but they are still important:

 

Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber, in particular, cannot be broken down into sugar molecules; instead it passes through the body undigested. Because fiber is not easily absorbed by the body, not much of its sugars and starches get into the blood stream. Fiber, in fact, helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.


According to Harvard School of Public Health, children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health. Great sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
Fiber is a very crucial part of nutrition, health, and fuel for gut bacteria.

 

Here are some tips for increasing fiber intake:

  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices.
  • Substitute white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  • For breakfast, choose cereals that are mainly whole grain.
  • Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips or chocolate bars.

    Substitute beans or legumes for meat, at least, two to three times per week.

     

    Water

    About 70 percent of the non-fat mass of the human body consist of water. Water is vital for facilitating many processes in the human body.

    Nobody is completely sure how much water the human body needs - claims vary from 7-10 cups per day to avoid dehydration. To determine the right amount of water requirements, factors as body size, age, environmental temperatures, physical activity, different states of health, and dietary habits have to be taken into account. For example, somebody who consumes a lot of salt will require more water than another similar person, likewise, somebody who is has a much bigger body size will require more water than one who is built of a smaller body size of the same age.

     

    Claims that 'the more water you drink, the healthier you are' are not scientifically backed. The variables that influence water requirements are so vast that accurate advice on water intake would only be valid after evaluating each person individually. But one thing is for sure, you need constant and enough water consumption (hydration) to maintain good health, especially, given that most of the body is made up of water.
      

    Potassium

    What it does - a systemic (affects entire body) electrolyte essential in co-regulating ATP (an important carrier of energy in cells in the body).
    Potassium is a vital mineral and electrolyte for your body. Potassium helps to maintain normal blood pressure, transport nutrients into your cells and support healthy nerve and muscle function.

    Deficiency - hypokalemia - can profoundly affect the nervous system and heart. The symptoms depend on the severity of the deficiency but can include high blood pressure, digestive problems, constipation, kidney problems, muscle weakness and stiffness, fatigue, mood changes, heart issues, and breathing difficulties.

    Excess - hyperkalemia - can also profoundly affect the nervous system and heart. If your potassium levelsare high enough to cause symptoms, you may experience tiredness or weakness, a feeling of numbness or tingling, nausea or vomiting, trouble breathing, chest pain, palpitations or irregular heartbeats.

    Recommended Dosage

    National Institute of Health: The adequate intake (AI) for potassium is 4,700 mg in healthy individuals.
     

    Here’s a list of some foods that are rich in potassium:

    • Avocado
    • Spinach
    • Sweet potato
    • Water melon
    • Coconut water
    • White beans
    • Black beans
    • Pumpkin
    • Butter squash
    • Tomato

     

    Chloride

    What it does - important in the transport of molecules between cells and vital for the proper functioning of nerves. Chloride is needed to maintain the proper balance of body fluids. It is an essential part of digestive (stomach) juices.

    Chloride is an electrolyte, and changes in electrolyte levels can cause dehydration, which often present a host of health issues, including muscle weakness and fatigue. Chloride is a major dietary mineral that your body needs to make digestive juices for proper digestion in order to promote good health and to keep body fluids balanced. Chloride is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate the pH (acid-alkali / acid-base) balance of body fluids and transmitting nerve impulses. Chloride works to keep the amount of fluid within and around cells balanced, maintains proper blood volume and pressure, and may help conserve potassium.

     

    Deficiency - hypochloremia - low salt levels, which, if severe, can threaten health severely. Deficiency of chloride can lead to extreme dehydration, which leads to muscle weakness. Deficiency of chloride also leads to alkalosis (a condition in which body fluids have excess base (alkali), that can result in dangerously high blood pH and excessive loss of potassium in urine). Alkalosis symptoms include loss of control of muscle function which might lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties.

     

    Excess - hyperchloremia - usually no symptoms, linked with excessive fluid loss. When chloride levels are moderately high, a person may not notice any symptoms.

    However, long-term hyperchloremia can cause a range of symptoms.

    They include:

    • muscle weakness, spasms or twitches
    • irregular heart rate
    • high blood pressure
    • confusion, difficulty concentrating, and personality changes
    • numbness or tingling
    • seizures and convulsions

    The severity of symptoms depends on how high chloride levels are and how long they have remained that high.

    The symptoms of hyperchloremia and electrolyte imbalances are so general that it is impossible to diagnose this syndrome based on symptoms alone. A simple blood test by a trained physician can detect hyperchloremia.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The Institute of Medicine:

    The tolerable upper intake for chloride is 3.6 grams per day for adults.  There's no reason to take chloride as a dietary supplement, the foods we eat are more than sufficient; if you think you need it, take it. 

     

    Here are some chloride rich food sources: 

    • Lettuce
    • Seaweed
    • Celery
    • Olives

     

    Sodium

    What it does - a systemic electrolyte essential, along with potassium regulates ATP (cell energy carrier). Sodium is one of the body's electrolytes, which are minerals that the body needs in large amounts. Electrolytes carry an electric charge when they are dissolved in body fluids such as blood. Sodium helps the body maintain fluids in a normal balance. Sodium plays a key role in normal nerve and muscle function. Potassium and sodium are major electrolytes needed for the body to function normally and help maintain fluid and blood volume in the body.
     
    Deficiency - hyponatremia - causes cells to malfunction; extremely low sodium can be fatal. A low sodium level may be caused by consumption of too many fluids, kidney failure, heart failure, cirrhosis, and use of diuretics. Symptoms of hyponatremia causes people become sluggish and confused, and if hyponatremia worsens, they may have muscle twitches and seizures and become progressively unresponsive.
     
    Excess - hypernatremia - can also cause cells to malfunction, extremely high levels can also be fatal. Hypernatremia involves dehydration, which may be caused by not drinking enough fluids, diarrhea, kidney dysfunction, and diuretics. People are mainly thirsty, and if hypernatremia worsens, they may become confused or have muscle twitches and seizures.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The Food and Drug Administration(FDA):

    The Daily Values are reference amounts of nutrients required to consume or not to exceed each day for adults and children 4 year of age and older. The Daily Value requirement fo sodium is less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.

     

    Here are some sources of sodium that are OK to eat:

    • Beets
    • Cantaloupe
    • Celery
    • Carrots
    • Seaweed
    • Meat                   
    • Shrimp
    • Spinach
    • Swiss chard
    • Artichokes

     

    Calcium

    What it does - supports muscle, heart, and digestive health. Builds strong bone, assists in the synthesis and function of blood cells. Maintaining a proper level of calcium in the body over a lifetime can help prevent osteoporosis in the later years of your life. Calcium helps your body regulate clotting blood. Calcium also supports with maintaining healthy communication between the brain and other parts of the body.

     

    Deficiency - hypocalcaemia - muscle cramps, abdominal cramps, muscle spasms, and hyperactive deep tendon reflexes. Confusion or memory loss, numbness and tingling (in the hands, feet, and face), depression, hallucinations, weak and brittle nails, easy fracturing of the bones are all signs of calcium shortage.

     

    Excess - hypercalcemia - muscle weakness, constipation, undermined conduction of electrical impulses in the heart, calcium stones in the urinary tract, impaired kidney function, and poor absorption of iron, which leads to iron deficiency. Excess calcium level in the blood can cause nausea, poor appetite, vomiting and constipation. Moderate high levels of hypercalcemia may produce fatigue or excessive tiredness. Heart rhythm abnormalities, increased urinary frequency, and kidney stones may also be associated with too much calcium level in the body.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is 1,000 mg per day for most adults, though women over 50 and everyone over 70 should get 1,200 mg per day, while children aged 4–18 are advised to consume 1,300 mg – healtline.com.

     

    Here are some calcium-rich food sources:

    • Milk
    • Yogurt
    • Legumes
    • Leafy greens
    • Nuts/seeds
    • Sardines
    • Salmon
    • Beans and lentils
    • Whey protein

    Calcium is an important mineral that you may not be getting enough of and that you should be getting enough of.
    While dairy products tend to pack the highest amounts of this calcium, plenty of other good sources exist — many of which are plant-based.

     

    Phosphorus

    What it does - important for the structure of DNA, transporter of energy (ATP), component of cellular membrane, helps strengthen bones up. Phosphorus is the second most plentiful mineral in your body. The first is calcium. Your body needs phosphorus for many functions, such as filtering waste and repairing tissue and cells.


    Phosphorus is a very important mineral that is part of every cell in the body. Phosphorus works with calcium along with other nutrients to build healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus also helps maintain normal body’s acid/base balance, supports human growth, and is responsible for the storage and use of energy.


    Phosphorus works together with vitamin B to support kidney function, muscles contraction, reduce muscle pain after exercise, normal heartbeat, and nerve communication and signaling. It balances and uses vitamins such as vitamins B and D, as well as other minerals like iodine, magnesium, and zinc to grow, maintain, and repair tissue and cells, and produce DNA and RNA.

     

    Deficiency - hypophosphatemia, an example is fatigue, joint or bone pain, irritability or anxiety, loss of appetite, poor bone development in children.

     

    Excess - hyperphosphatemia, often a result of kidney failure, diarrhea, as well as a hardening of organs and soft tissue. High levels of phosphorus can terribly affect your body’s ability to effectively use other minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The amount of phosphorus one needs in their diet generally depends on their age.

    The Linus Pauling Institute recommends the following daily intake:

    • adults (19 years +): 700 mg per day
    • children (9 - 18 years): 1,250 mg per day
    • children (4 - 8 years): 500 mg per day
    • children (1 - 3 years): 460 mg per day
    • infants (7 - 12 months): 275 mg per day
    • infants (0 - 6 months): 100 mg per day

    Few people need to take phosphorus supplements while most people can get the necessary amount of phosphorus through the foods they eat.

     

    Here's a list of good food sources of phosphorus:

    • Milk products
    • Veal (sheep meat)
    • Beef
    • Chicken or turkey
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Pumpkin or squash
    • Sunflower seed
    • Beans and lentils
    • Chickpeas
    • Tofu
    • Egg
    • Oatmeal
    • Quinoa

     

    Magnesium

    What it does – involved in the processes of ATP; required for good bones and management of proper muscle movement. Hundreds of enzymes rely on magnesium to do their work properly. Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a strong immune system, keeps the heartbeat at a steady rhythm. Magnesium is also needed to adjust blood glucose levels. It aids in the production of protein and energy. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is very important to proper nerve function. Magnesium is majorly contributes to a good nigh sleep.

     

    Deficiency - hypomagnesemia – can cause irritability of the nervous system with spasms of the hands and feet, muscular twitching and cramps, and even constipation. Reportedly, 80% of people are deficient of magnesium, the effects range from mild to serious.

    Here are the most common signs of low magnesium:

    • Fatigue
    • Aches and pains
    • Mood problems
    • Muscle cramps
    • Migraines
    • PMS
    • Irregular sleep patterns and insomnia
    • Heart irregularities
    • Depression
    • Muscle twitches and spasms
    • Anxiety
    • Digestive trouble
    • Lack of appetite
    • Constipation
    • Brain fog
    • Memory problems
    • ADHD
    The tricky thing is, you can have a magnesium deficiency and display some of these symptoms or no noticeable symptoms at all. Making sure you get enough magnesium is vital for your well-being.

     

    Excess - hypermagnesemia - nausea, vomiting, impaired breathing (irregular heart beat rhythm), low blood pressure.

    If the body has absorbed too much magnesium, a person may notice any of the following symptoms, which can range from mild to very severe:

    • Lethargy (a lack of energy and enthusiasm)
    • Depression
    • Facial flushing
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Stomach cramps
    • Vomiting
    • muscle weakness
    • an irregular heartbeat
    • low blood pressure
    • urine retention
    • breathing difficulties
    • cardiac arrest

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements:

    Healthy adult men are recommended to generally consume 400 to 420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium daily. Healthy adult women should consume 310 to 320 mg daily. Pregnant women are recommended to consume a higher dose than women who are not pregnant.

     

    Here’s a list of rich sources of magnesium:

    • Dark chocolate
    • Avocados
    • Nuts
    • Legumes
    • Whole grains
    • Fatty fish
    • Leafy greens

     

    Foods that contain magnesium along with tryptophan offer a dual-angle approach to enhancing your mood and mental clarity. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel happy, focused, and calm.

     

    Foods that contain both magnesium and tryptophan include:

    • Dark chocolate
    • Spirulina
    • Moringa
    • Salmon

     

    Zinc

    What it does - required by many enzymes to function normally. Zinc is important for the growth of reproductive organs. Also, zinc is important in gene expression and regulating the nervous and immune systems.

    Zinc mineral aids in nutrient absorption as well. It is needed for the body's defensive (immune) system to properly and effectively work. Zinc plays a big role in cell division, cell growth, and wound healing. Zinc is also needed to maintain senses of smell and taste. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood the body needs adequate amount of zinc to grow and develop properly.


    Eating enough zinc foods is necessary for your eye health, to reduce inflammation, to fight oxidative stress, to boost the health of your heart and skin, to promote muscle growth, and to help balance your hormones.


    This essential mineral is needed in small amounts every day in order to maintain your health and perform important bodily functions.Zinc deficiency now known to be a major malnutrition problem on a global scale, and inadequate intake of foods high in zinc is one of the main causes.

    According to the World Health Organization, millions of people around the world may have inadequate levels of zinc in their diets. Zinc deficiency is now ranked the fifth-leading risk factor in causing disease worldwide. It occurs when the body doesn’t get enough foods containing zinc in your diet, or you have trouble absorbing zinc from foods due to digestive disorders or very poor gut health.

     

    Deficiency – short stature or depressed growth, anemia, enlarged liver and spleen, increased pigmentation of skin, impaired reproductive function, slow wound healing, abnormal taste and smell, hair loss, impaired cognition function,  immune deficiency, loss of appetite. Zinc deficiency during pregnancy may increase the chances of difficult or prolonged child birth.

     

    Excess – suppresses copper and iron absorption, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, stomach pains, headaches, and diarrhea.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The recommended intake for children 1-8 years old ranges from 3-5 milligrams, increase as the child gets older. 

    Males 9-13 years old require 8 milligrams of zinc a day. After the age of 14, the requirement increases to the 11 milligrams per day that is required for every adult male.

    For females over the age of 8 years old, the requirement stays stable at 8 milligrams per day, except for ages 14-18, where the recommendation increases up to 9 milligrams per day.

    Pregnant and lactating women have an increased need for zinc at 11-13 milligrams per day, depending on age. - medicalnewstoday.com

     

    Here’s a list high zinc food sources:

    • Lamb
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Hemp seeds
    • Grass-fed beef
    • Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
    • Lentils
    • Cocoa Powder
    • Cashews
    • Cheese
    • Mushroom
    • Spinach
    • Chicken
    • Almonds
    • Green peas
    • Peanuts
    • Wild rice
    • Lobster
    • Crab
    • Oyster

     

    Iron

    What it does - required for proteins and enzymes, especially hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying compound in the blood. Iron is an essential element for almost all living organisms as it participates in a wide variety of metabolic processes, including oxygen transport, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis, and electron transport. Iron helps to form and oxygenate our blood cells and hemoglobin, converts food to energy, maintains a normal immune system, and contributes to normal cognitive function.

    “Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails," says Elaine Chottiner, MD, clinical assistant professor and director of General Hematology Clinics at the University of Michigan Medical Center. 

     

    Deficiency - anemia. Feel of short of breath, have a fast heartbeat, crave strange substances such dirt or clay, have cold hands and feet, have brittle spoon shaped nails, hair loss, sores at the corner of mouth, sore tongue. Severe iron deficiency can cause pain in throat and difficulty in swallowing.

     

    Excess - iron overload disorder; iron deposits can form in organs, particularly the heart, which can be very dangerous to one’s health. Excess iron can deposit in organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas, which can lead to conditions like heart failure, cirrhosis, and diabetes.

    If your iron is low, eating a diet that is high in iron-rich foods such as fortified cereals, red meat, dried fruit, and beans may not be enough to give you what you need. Your doctor might recommend that you take an iron supplement in a case of extreme iron deficiency.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health: 

     

    Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Iron 

    Age

    Male

    Female

    Pregnancy

    Lactation

    Birth to 6 months

    0.27 mg*

    0.27 mg*

    7–12 months

    11 mg

    11 mg

    1–3 years

    7 mg

    7 mg

    4–8 years

    10 mg

    10 mg

    9–13 years

    8 mg

    8 mg

    14–18 years

    11 mg

    15 mg

    27 mg

    10 mg

    19–50 years

    8 mg

    18 mg

    27 mg

    9 mg

    51+ years

    8 mg

    8 mg

    * Adequate Intake (AI)

     

    Here’s a list of iron-rich foods:

    • Shellfish
    • Red meat
    • Liver and other organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys, brain)
    • Spinach
    • Legumes
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Quinoa
    • Turkey
    • Dark chocolate

     

    Manganese

    What it does - a cofactor in enzyme functions. Manganese plays a role in the Metabolism of Nutrients. It may aid wound healing by encouraging collagen production. It also contributes to good thyroid health. Manganese is a cofactor that helps with protein and amino acid digestion and utilization, as well as the metabolism of cholesterol and carbohydrates in the body. Manganese helps your body utilize a number of vitamins, such as choline, thiamine, and vitamins C and E, and ensures proper liver function. It is involved with normal functioning of your brain, nervous system and many of your body’s enzyme systems. In combination with other nutrients, manganese many improve bone health.

     

    Deficiency - fainting, hearing loss, weak tendons and ligaments, and wobbliness. Less commonly known symptoms of manganese deficiency can be diabetes. Poor bone growth or skeletal defects can result from deficiency of this important mineral. Slow or impaired growth of natural growth, low fertility issues, abnormal metabolism of carbohydrate and fat.

     

    Excess - interferes with the absorption of dietary iron. Despite being essential for many important bodily functions, manganese can be toxic when taken in large amounts.

    Inhaled manganese toxicity is an occupational hazard for some workers. This is especially true for welders and smelters who are constantly exposed to dusts or aerosols that contain manganese.

    Inhaled manganese can cause inflammation of the lungs. Symptoms may include cough and bronchitis. Manganese can also have a neurotoxic effect when it’s taken in large amounts.  Other symptoms of manganese deficiency include psychological disturbances and a reduction in physiological motor function.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    While there is no firm Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for manganese, the Adequate Intake (AI) recommendation is 1.8–2.3 mg per day.AI for children depends on their age, check with a doctor. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 11 mg per day for adults 19 and older. - healthline.com

     

    Here’s a list of best food sources of Manganese:

    • Oatmeal and bran cereals
    • Whole wheat bread
    • Brown rice
    • Beans and legumes, such as lima and pinto
    • Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach
    • Fruits, such as pineapple and acai
    • Nuts, such as almonds and pecans

     

    Copper

    What it does - component of many enzymes. Copper is an essential nutrient for the body. In combination with iron, copper enables the body to form red blood cells. Copper helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, immune function, and it helps the body absorb iron more efficiently. Sufficient copper in diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, too. It also helps the body to form collagen, which is needed to maintain strong ligaments and cartilages.

     

    Deficiency - anemia (reduction in the number of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets) and neurodegeneration. Deficiency of copper is rare, but it can lead to cardiovascular disease and other problems. Without sufficient copper, the body cannot replace or make damaged connective tissue or the collagen that makes up the scaffolding for bone. This can lead to a range of problems, such as joint dysfunction, as bodily tissues begin to break down.

     

    Excess - can interfere with body's formation of blood cellular components; in severe cases, convulsions, palsy, and eventually death – similar to arsenic poisoning.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    It’s recommended that adults get 900 mcg of copper per day.

    However, pregnant or breastfeeding women should get slightly more — about 1 mg or 1.3 mg per day, respectively. – healthline.com

     

    Here’s a list of food sources of Copper:

    • Copper is found in a wide variety of foods.
    • Liver
    • Oysters and other shellfish
    • Lobster
    • Whole grains
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Spirulina
    • Shiitake mushrooms
    • Beans
    • Potatoes
    • Yeast
    • Dark leafy greens
    • Cocoa
    • Dried fruits
    • Black pepper
    • Meat organs, such as kidneys and liver

    Most fruits and vegetables are low in copper, but it is present in wholegrains, and it is added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods.

     

    Iodine

    What it does - required for the normal biosynthesis of thyroxine (one type of thyroid hormone). Iodine is an essential mineral commonly found in seafood. Your thyroid gland uses it to make thyroid hormones, which helps control growth, repairs damaged cells and supports a healthy metabolism.
    Unfortunately, up to a third of people worldwide are at risk of an iodine deficiency.

     

    Deficiency - developmental delays, enlarged thyroid gland (in the neck), fatigue and weakness, unexpected weight gain, hair loss, dry, flaky skin, feeling colder than usual, change in heartbeat rhythm, trouble in learning and remembering, heavy or irregular menstrual periods.

     

    Excess - can affect the function of the thyroid gland.

     
    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health:

     

    Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Iodine 

    Age

    Male

    Female

    Pregnancy

    Lactation

    Birth to 6 months

    110 mcg*

    110 mcg*

    7–12 months

    130 mcg*

    130 mcg*

    1–3 years

    90 mcg

    90 mcg

    4–8 years

    90 mcg

    90 mcg

    9–13 years

    120 mcg

    120 mcg

    14–18 years

    150 mcg

    150 mcg

    220 mcg

    290 mcg

    19+ years

    150 mcg

    150 mcg

    220 mcg

    290 mcg

    * Adequate Intake (AI)

     

    Here’s a list of excellent sources of Iodine:

    • Seaweed, one whole sheet dried
    • Cod fish, 3 ounces (85 grams)
    • Yogurt, plain, 1 cup
    • Iodized salt, 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams)
    • Shrimp, 3 ounces (85 grams)
    • Egg, 1 large
    • Tuna, canned, 3 ounces (85 grams)
    • Dried prunes, 5 prune

    Seaweed is usually a great source of iodine, but where it comes determines how good it is. Seaweed from some countries like Japan is richer in iodine.

     

    Selenium

    What it does - essential cofactor for antioxidant enzymes. Selenium is an essential mineral, meaning it must be obtained through your diet. It acts as a powerful antioxidant. May protect against heart disease, boost your immune system, may help reduce asthma symptoms, prevent mental decline, important for thyroid health.

     

    Deficiency - Keshan disease - myocardial necrosis (tissue death in the heart) leading to weakening of the heart; Kashin-Beck disease -a  break down of cartilage.

     

    Excess - garlic-smelling breath, gastrointestinal disorders, hair loss, fatigue, irritability, and neurological damage.

    Signs of selenium toxicity include:

    • hair loss
    • dizziness
    • nausea
    vomiting
    • facial flushing
    • tremors
    • muscle soreness

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health:

    While too little selenium can cause serious health problems, too much selenium can also be toxic. Here are guidelines from the  to determine how much selenium is right for you:

    Age

    Recommended daily amount of selenium

    Over 14 years

    55 mcg

    9 to 13 years

    40 mcg

    4 to 8 years

    30 mcg

    7 months to 3 years

    20 mcg

    Birth to 6 months

    15 mcg

     

    Women who are pregnant or lactating need up to 60 mcg of selenium per day.

     

    Here’s a list of great sources of selenium:

    Fortunately, many healthy foods are high in selenium.

    • Oysters
    • Brazil nuts
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Oatmeal
    • Brown rice
    • Baked beans
    • Lentils
    • Cashews
    • Bananas
    • Yellowfin tuna
    • Eggs
    • Sardines
    • Cottage cheese
    • Beef
    • Turkey
    • Halibut
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Chicken breast
    • Shiitake mushrooms

     

    Molybdenum

    What it does - crucial part of three important enzyme systems, xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase, and sulfite oxidase. Molybdenum has a vital role in uric acid formation, in carbohydrate metabolism, and sulfite detoxification. Though your body only needs tiny amounts, it's a key component of many vital functions. Without it, deadly sulfites and toxins would build up in your body which can cause have an adverse effect.

     

    Deficiency - may affect metabolism and blood counts, but as this deficiency often occurs at the same time as other mineral deficiencies, it is hard to detect which deficiency caused which health problem; closer assessment with a trained physician is needed.

     

    Excess - there is very little data on toxicity of molybdenum. In animal studies, excess molybdenum can cause reduced growth, kidney failure, and infertility problems.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health:

    The tolerable upper intake level (UL) is the highest daily intake of a nutrient that is unlikely to cause harm for almost all people.

    Children

    • 1–3 years: 17 mcg per day
    • 4–8 years: 22 mcg per day
    • 9–13 years: 34 mcg per day
    • 14–18 years: 43 mcg per day

    Adults

    Adults over 19 years old: 45 mcg per day.

    Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women

    Pregnant or breastfeeding women of any age: 50 mcg per day.

     

    Here’s a list of richest sources of Molybdenum:

    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Grains
    • Meat organs (kidney and liver)

    It is called a vitamin when our bodies cannot synthesize (produce) enough or any of it, so we need to get it from our food sources.

    Vitamins are classified as water soluble (can be dissolved in water) or fat soluble (can be dissolved in fat). For humans, there are four known fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and nine water-soluble vitamins (eight B vitamins and vitamin C).

     

    Water-soluble vitamins need to be consumed more regularly because they are eliminated faster (through urine) and are not easily stored.

    Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestines with the help of healthy fats (lipids). They are more likely to accumulate and store in the body because they are harder to get rid of quickly. If too many vitamins build up in the body, it is called hypervitaminosis. A very low-fat diet can affect the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

     

    Vitamins have many different functions. Below is a list of vitamins, and some of their roles. Note that most often vitamin overdose symptoms are related to supplementation or impaired metabolism or excretion, not usual vitamin intake from foods.

     

    Vitamin A

    Chemical names - (retinol, retinoids, and carotenoids). What it does - helps form and maintain skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. Vitamin A is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye. One of the best –known functions of vitamin A is its role in promoting good vision and eye health.
     
    Vitamin A is potent antioxidant and an essential for eye health and prevents macular degeneration. Vitamin A also supports immune function by supporting the growth and distribution of T-cells, a type of white blood cell that protects your body from infection.
     
    A research on Vitamin A, Cancer Treatment and Prevention: The New Role of Cellular Retinol Binding Proteins shows that retinoid may inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, such as bladder, breast and ovarian cancer.
    Vitamin A is vital for fertility and fetal development, essential for both male and female reproduction because it plays a role in sperm and egg development.
    Additionally, vitamin A helps maintain surface tissues such as the skin, intestines, lungs, bladder and inner ear.

     

    Solubility - fat.

     

    Deficiency - Night-blindness.  According to the WHO, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide. Vitamin A deficiency also increases the severity and risk of dying from infections like measles and diarrhea.

    Additionally, vitamin A deficiency raises the risk of anemia and death in pregnant women and negatively impacts the fetus by slowing growth and development.

     

    Excess - Keratomalacia (degeneration of the cornea). The most common side effects of chronic vitamin A toxicity — often referred to as hypervitaminosis A — include:

    • Vision disturbances
    • Joint and bone pain
    • Poor appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Sunlight sensitivity
    • Headache
    • Hair loss
    • Dry skin
    • Liver damage
    • Jaundice
    • Delayed growth
    • Decreased appetite
    • Confusion
    • Itchy skin

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institute of Health:

    Just as vitamin A deficiency can significantly and negatively impact health, getting too much can also be dangerous.

    The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 900 mcg and 700 mcg per day for men and women, respectively — which can be easily reached by following a whole-foods diet 

    However, it's important not to exceed the tolerable upper limit (UL) of 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg) for adults to prevent toxicity.

     

    Food sources highest in preformed vitamin A are:

    • Egg yolks
    • Beef liver
    • Liverwurst
    • Butter
    • Chicken liver
    • Cod liver oil
    • Salmon
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Liver sausage
    • King mackerel

    Foods high in provitamin A carotenoids like beta-carotene include:

    • Sweet potatoes
    • Pumpkin
    • Carrots
    • Kale
    • Spinach
    • Dandelion greens
    • Cabbage
    • Swiss chard
    • Red peppers
    • Collard greens
    • Parsley
    • Butternut squash

     

    Vitamin B1

    Chemical name – (thiamine).  What it does - Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps the body's cells convert carbohydrates into energy. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially to the brain and nervous system. Thiamin also plays a role in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals and activities. Since the human body is unable to produce thiamine, it must be consumed through various thiamine-rich foods.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - beriberi, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Thiamine deficiency is fairly uncommon in developed countries. However, various factors may increase your risk, including:

    • Alcohol dependence
    • Loss of appetite or anorexia
    • Fatigue or tiredness
    • Irritability
    • Reduced reflexes in (knees, ankle, other joints)
    • Muscle weakness
    • Blurring vision
    • Old age
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Diabetes
    • Bariatric surgery
    • Dialysis
    • High-dose diuretic use

     

    Excess - rare hypersensitive. As the NIH points out, thiamine overdose is unlikely to cause any side effects. If you consume too much of it, the excess will be eliminated in urine. In fact, there is no upper limit for vitamin B1. Doses of up to 50 milligrams appear to be safe.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health:

    The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. 

     

    Here’s a list of good sources of Thiamine:

    Below is a list of good sources of thiamine, as well as the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) found in 100 grams:

    • Beef liver: 13% of the RDI
    • Black beans, cooked: 16% of the RDI
    • Lentils, cooked: 15% of the RDI
    • Macadamia nuts, raw: 80% of the RDI
    • Edamame, cooked: 13% of the RDI
    • Pork loin, cooked: 37% of the RDI
    • Asparagus: 10% of the RDI

     

    Vitamin B2

    Chemical name - (riboflavin). What it does - helps break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Vitamin B2 or riboflavin plays a vital role in maintaining the body's energy supply. Riboflavin is naturally present in some foods, often added to some food products, and available as a dietary supplement. This vitamin is an essential component of two major coenzymes, flavin mononucleotide (FMN; also known as riboflavin-5’-phosphate) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD).

    These coenzymes play major roles in energy production; cellular function, growth, and development; and metabolism of fats, drugs, and steroids. Vitamin B-2 and the other B vitamins are generally known to help your body build red blood cells and support other cellular functions that give you energy.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - ariboflavinosis (mouth lesions, seborrhea, and vascularization of the cornea). Having a riboflavin deficiency can lead to other nutritional deficiencies because riboflavin is involved with processing nutrients. The primary concern associated with other deficiencies is anemia, which also happens when you don’t get enough iron.

    It’s especially important to make sure you get enough vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in your diet if you’re pregnant. A riboflavin deficiency could endanger your baby’s growth and increase your chances of preeclampsia, which involves dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is a serious condition that can be life threatening.

     

    Excess - no known complications. Excess is excreted in urine.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institute of Health:

    Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Riboflavin 

    Age

    Male

    Female

    Pregnancy

    Lactation

    Birth to 6 months*

    0.3 mg

    0.3 mg

     

     

    7–12 months*

    0.4 mg

    0.4 mg

     

     

    1–3 years

    0.5 mg

    0.5 mg

     

     

    4–8 years

    0.6 mg

    0.6 mg

     

     

    9–13 years

    0.9 mg

    0.9 mg

     

     

    14–18 years

    1.3 mg

    1.0 mg

    1.4 mg

    1.6 mg

    19-50 years

    1.3 mg

    1.1 mg

    1.4 mg

    1.6 mg

    51+ years

    1.3 mg

    1.1 mg

     

     

    * AI

     

    Here’s a list of top food sources of vitamin B2:

    • egg yolks
    • red meat
    • dark meat
    • salmon
    • tuna
    • soybeans
    • almonds
    • grains, such as wheat

     

    Vitamin B3

    Chemical name - (nacin). What it does: part of your body needs vitamin B3 (niacin) to function properly. Niacin is an essential vitamin that helps the digestive system, skin and nervous system to function well. Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, plays a key role in skin, digestive, and mental health (i.e. Dementia), and supports the functions of more than 200 enzymes 

    As a supplement, niacin may help lower cholesterol, ease arthritis and boost brain function, among other benefits.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - pellagra. These are some of the symptoms of niacin deficiency and they include:

    • Memory loss and mental confusion
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Depression
    • Diarrhea
    • Skin problems

    That said, deficiency is very rare in most Western countries.

     

    Excess - liver damage, skin problems, and gastrointestinal complaints, plus other problems.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institute of Health:

    Infants

    • –6 months: 2 mg/day
    • 7–12 months: 4 mg/day

    Children

    • 12–3 years: 6 mg/day
    • 4–8 years: 8 mg/day
    • 9–13 years: 12 mg/day

    Adult

    • Men 14 years and older: 16 mg/day
    • Women 14 years and older: 14 mg/day
    • Pregnant women: 18 mg/day

    Breastfeeding women: 17 mg/day

     

    Here’s a list of good food sources of vitamin B3:

    • Chicken breast
    • Lentils
    • Liver
    • Turkey
    • Tuna fish
    • Salmon fish
    • Ground beef
    • Peanuts
    • Avocado
    • Brown rice
    • Whole wheat
    • Mushrooms
    • Green peas
    • Potatoes
    • Fortified and enriched vitamin B3 foods

     

    Vitamin B5

    Chemical name – (pantothenic acid). What it does – Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin from the B group of vitamins. Vitamin B5 helps produce energy by breaking down fats and carbohydrates. It also promotes healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. People need vitamin B5 to synthesize and metabolize fats, proteins, and coenzyme A. Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is responsible for proper functioning of the nervous system, liver, digestive tract. B5 vitamin is also known for making red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Pantothenic acid is also involved for making sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands.

     

    Solubility - water

     

    Deficiency - paresthesia (tingling, pricking, or numbness of the skin with no apparent long-term physical effect).

     

    Excess - There is no known toxic level for B5. but very high doses of vitamin B5, of 10 to 20 grams per day, have been found to cause diarrhea, though, according to Oregon State University.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    Institute of Medicine in the United States:

    Life Stage Group

    Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin B5

    Infants 6 months and younger

    1.7 mg

    Infants 7 to 12 months

    1.8 mg

    Children 1-3 years

    2 mg

    Children 4-8 years

    3 mg

    Children 9-13 years

    4 mg

    14 years or older

    5 mg

    Pregnant or breast-feeding women

    7 mg

     

     

    Here’s a list of high sources of vitamin B5:

    The best way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B5 is to eat a healthy, balanced diet every day.

    Vitamin B5 is an easy vitamin to incorporate into a good diet. It’s found in most vegetables, including:

    • broccoli
    • members of the cabbage family
    • white and sweet potatoes
    • whole-grain cereals

    Other healthy sources of B5 include:

    • mushrooms
    • nuts
    • beans
    • peas
    • lentils
    • meats
    • poultry
    • dairy products
    • eggs

     

    Vitamin B6

    Chemical names - (pyridoxamine, pyridoxal). What it does - Vitamin B6 is one of the B vitamins that benefits the central nervous system. It is involved in the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, and in forming myelin. Vitamin B6 promotes mental concentration and memory function. It protects against environmental air pollution. Vitamin B6 is important for many reasons. One is to ensure the normal functioning of digestive enzymes that break down food, keep the skin healthy, and produce blood products such as red blood cells. B6 vitamin or pyridoxamine reduces or prevents nausea during pregnancy.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - anemia, peripheral neuropathy. Deficiencies are rare, but they may occur if the individual has poor intestinal absorption or is taking estrogens, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and some other medications.

    Long-term, excessive alcohol consumption may eventually result in a B6 deficiency. Hypothyroidism can present vitamin B6 deficiency as well as diabetes.

    Other signs and symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include:

    • Peripheral neuropathy that comes with tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet
    • Anemia
    • Depression
    • Seizures
    • Confusion
    • Weakened immune system

     

    Excess - nerve damage, proprioception is impaired (the ability to sense where parts of the body are in space).
     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements:

    Age

    Male

    Female

    0 to 6 months

    0.1 mg

    0.1 mg

    7 to 12 months

    0.3 mg

    0.3 mg

    1 to 3 years

    0.5 mg

    0.5 mg

    4 to 8 years

    0.6 mg

    0.6 mg

    9 to 13 years

    1.0 mg

    1.0 mg

    14 to 18 years

    1.3 mg

    1.3 mg

    19 to 50 years

    1.3 mg

    1.3 mg

    51+ years

    1.7 mg

    1.5 mg

    During pregnancy

    -

    1.9 mg

    During lactation

    -

    2.0 mg

     

     

    Here’s a list of vitamin B6 rich food sources:

    Most foods have some vitamin B6. A person with a well-balanced diet should not have a deficiency, unless they have a physical problem, or are taking certain medications.

    • Chick peas
    • Beef liver
    • Yellowfin tuna
    • Roasted chicken breast
    • One medium banana
    • Tofu

     Other sources of Vitamin B6 include:

    • Avocados
    • Brown rice
    • Carrots
    • Fish
    • Fortified cereal
    • Hazelnuts
    • Milk
    • Turkey
    • Pork
    • Potato
    • Seeds
    • Soybeans
    • Spinach
    • Vegetable juice cocktail
    • Whole grains

    Most foods contain some vitamin B6.

     

     

    Vitamin B7

    Chemical name - (biotin). What it does: Biotin is commonly advised as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair and nails, as well as in skin care. It is suggested that biotin aids with cell growth and the maintenance of mucous membranes. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) explain that biotin is important in helping the body to process glucose and to metabolize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It also helps to transport carbon dioxide into the blood in order to work with oxygen.

    According to the European Food Safety Authority, biotin contributes to:

    • Metabolism of nutrients
    • Psychological function
    • Energy-producing metabolism
    • Maintaining hair, skin and mucous membranes
    • Nervous system function

    Biotin contributes to healthy nails, skin and hair, so it features in many cosmetic and health products for the skin and hair.

     

    Solubility - water

     

    Deficiency - dermatitis, enteritis. Biotin deficiency is extremely rare because the vitamin B is widespread in many foods and it can be produced by beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. However, a significant deficiency of vitamin B7 can lead to:

    • Hair loss
    • Dry eyes
    • A scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals
    • Cracks in the corner of the mouth
    • Sore tongue that may be magenta in color
    • Loss of appetite 

    Other symptoms may include:

    • Lethargy (lack of motivation) and fatigue
    • Depression
    • Insomnia
    • Hallucinations
    • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
    • Impaired immune function and increased susceptibility to infections

    Pregnant women appear to break down biotin quicker, and this may lead to a marginal deficiency of B7. Symptoms have not been observed, but such a deficiency could lead to developmental problems for the fetus.

    Just as women are advised to take increased amount of folic acid, or B9, during pregnancy, it may be beneficial to add B7 to this supplement.

    Other groups who may benefit from supplements B7 vitamin are:

    • People on anticonvulsant medications
    • People with some types of liver disease
    • People who are fed intravenously for a long time

    Biotinidase deficiency is a rare vitamin deficiency symptom, hereditary disorder that impairs biotin absorption, resulting in a deficiency of biotin. Biotin supplements can help people with biotinidase condition.

    Those who have difficulty absorbing biotin and other nutrients due to chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease may benefit from taking biotin supplements as well.

     

    Excess - none reported. Some symptoms of biotin overdose include insomnia, lower vitamin C and B6 levels, and excessive thirst and/or urination. In rare cases, extreme excess levels of biotin can result in eosinophilic pleuropericardial effusion, a life-threatening condition that occurs when blood and air enter the pleural cavity space around the lungs. This often results in a chronic pulmonary infection.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    United States Food and Nutrition Board:

    The United States Food and Nutrition Board suggest that infants of 0 to 6 months should have 6 micrograms a day, 30 micrograms a day for adults of 19 years and older, and 35 micrograms for breastfeeding women.
    In Europe, surveys have shown that on average, people consume 36 micrograms of biotin per day.

     

    Here’s a list of high food sources of vitamin B7:

    Foods that have slightly higher amounts Vitamin B7 (biotin) include:

    • Liver
    • Peanuts
    • Yeast
    • Whole-wheat bread
    • Cheddar cheese
    • Salmon
    • Sardines
    • Avocado
    • Bananas
    • Raspberries
    • Mushrooms
    • Cauliflower
    • Egg yolk

     

    Vitamin B9

    Chemical name – (folinic acid). What it does:  British Dietetic Association (BDA), folic acid is vital for making red blood cells, as well as:

    • aiding in rapid cell division and growth
    • the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA
    • reversing age-related hearing loss

    It is particularly important for pregnant women to consume enough folic acid as this will help prevent the fetus from developing major congenital deformities of the brain or spine, including neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

    Women planning to get pregnant should consume folic acid supplements for a full year before conception to reduce the risk of these developments.

    Every woman capable of getting pregnant should be taking daily folic acid supplements ahead of time to better cushion from birth defects. Women over the age of 14 years should take up to 400 micrograms (mcg) per day, and this should be increased to 600 mcg during a pregnancy.

    Lactating women should maintain a daily intake of 500 mcg.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - birth defects. Signs and symptoms of folate deficiency include elevated homocysteine levels in the blood, megaloblastic anemia - a type of anemia with enlarged red blood cells, fatigue, weakness, sores around the mouth, irritability, shortness of breath, memory loss and cognition difficulties, weight loss, loss of appetite, and irritable mood.

    Folate deficiency can be tested by measuring the amount of folate stored within your red blood cells or that is circulating in your blood.

     

    Excess – possible increased risk of seizures. Even if a person takes more folate than needed, there is no cause for concern. Because folic acid is water-soluble, any excess will be naturally passed in urine.

     

    Recommended Dosage: 

    Harvard School of Public Health:

    RDAThe Recommended Dietary Allowance for folate is shown as micrograms (mcg) of dietary folate equivalents (DFE). Men and women ages 19 years and older should aim for 400 mcg DFE. Pregnant and lactating women require 600 mcg DFE and 500 mcg DFE, respectively. People who drink alcohol regularly should aim for at least 600 mcg DFE of folate daily since alcohol can impair its absorption.

    ULA Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily dose, which is unlikely to cause adverse side effects in the general population. The UL for adults for folic acid from fortified food or supplements (not including folate from food) is set at 1,000 mcg a day. 

     

    Here’s a list of natural sources of vitamin B9:

    Dark green vegetables are good sources of folic acid. Be careful not to overcook them, as the folic acid content can lose their active nutrients when exposed to heat.

    The following foods are known to be rich in folic acid:

    • Lentils
    • asparagus
    • baker's yeast
    • broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • cabbage
    • cauliflower
    • egg yolk
    • jacket potato
    • kidney
    • lettuce
    • liver, although women should not consume this during pregnancy
    • many fruits, especially papaya and kiwi
    • milk
    • oranges
    • parsnips
    • peas
    • spinach
    • sunflower seeds
    • whole wheat bread, as it is usually fortified with vitamin B9

    It is always better to get your nutrients from natural food sources rather than supplements. Seek out some of these food options and work them into your diet.

     

    Vitamin B12

    Chemical names – (cyanocobalamin, hydroxycobalamin, methylcobalamin). What it does: Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic, anemia that makes people tired and weak. B12 vitamin helps with red blood cell formation and anemia prevention, may support bone health and prevent osteoporosis, may reduce risk of macular degeneration (central vision), prevent serious child birth defects, may improve mood and alleviate symptoms of depression. The cyanocobalamin vitamin benefits your brain by preventing the loss of neurons.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - megaloblastic anemia (a defect in the production of red blood cells). Vitamin B12 deficiency can present symptoms such as weakness, tiredness, or lightheaded. The deficiency of B12 can cause heart palpitations and shortness of breath, pale skin, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas. Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking are some of the symptoms of vitamin B12. Vision loss is also a known sign of inadequate intake of B12.

     

    Excess - High doses of vitamin B-12 may cause headache, nausea, anxiety, or vomiting.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institute of Health:

    The recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 for people over 14 years of age is 2.4 mcg

    When taken at appropriate doses, vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe. While the recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms, you can take higher doses, safely, when needed. Your body absorbs only as much as it needs and passes any excess through urine.

    Older people are more susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency. 

    As you age, your body naturally makes less stomach acid, which can affect the absorption of vitamin B12.

     

    Here’s a list of high Vitamin B12 foods:

    To increase the amount of vitamin B12 in your diet, eat more of foods that contain it, such as:

    • Beef, liver, and chicken
    • Fish and shellfish such as trout, salmon, tuna fish, and clams
    • Low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
    • Eggs
    • Fortified breakfast cereal

     

    Vitamin C

    Chemical name (ascorbic acid). What it does: Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It's involved in many body functions, including formation of collagen, absorption of iron, strengthening of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. Free radicals may play a flaring up health conditions like cancer, heart disease, and conditions like arthritis. The body is not able to make vitamin C on its own, so it has to be consumed.

     

    Solubility - water.

     

    Deficiency - scurvy, which can lead to a large number of health complications. Vitamin C deficiency can cause chronic fatigue, depression, and connective tissue defects (eg, gingivitis, rash, internal bleeding, slow wound healing). It can also  show as dry, damaged skin, painful swollen joints, bone weakness, bleeding gums, poor immunity,  persistent iron deficiency anemia. Chronic inflammation, oxidative tress, constant fatigue, poor mood or low energy can all be symptms of low dose of vitamin C.

     

    Excess - vitamin C megadose  can cause diarrhea, nausea, skin irritation, burning upon urination, depletion of copper in the body, and higher risk of kidney problems.

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The Office of Dietary Supplements:
     

    Daily allowance of vitamin C for adults is:

    • 90 milligrams (mg) for males
    • 75 mg for females
    • 85 mg when pregnant
    • 120 mg when breastfeeding
    • an additional 35 mg for people who smoke

    Some experts believe that people should consume much more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C to maintain good health. A scientific editorial suggests that 200 mg a day is an optimal amount for most adults.

     

    National Institutes of Health:

    Smokers are advised to consume an additional 35 mg per day, as tobacco reduces the absorption of vitamin C and increases the body’s use of the nutrient.

    Vitamin C rapidly breaks down when exposed to heat, so raw fruits and vegetables are better sources.

    Since the body does not store large amounts of vitamin C, it is recommended to eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

    Supplementing with vitamin C has not been found to be toxic, but taking more than 2,000 mg per day may cause uneasy abdominal cramps, diarrhea and nausea.

     

    Here’s a list of richest vitamin C food sources:

    • Raw guava
    • Raw sweet green pepper
    • Raw sweet red pepper
    • Hot chili pepper
    • Tomato juice
    • Orange juice and orange
    • Strawberries
    • Papaya
    • Pink grapefruit juice
    • Pineapple
    • Potato
    • Kiwifruit
    • Cantaloupe
    • Cauliflower
    • Lemon and lime
    • Mango

     

    Vitamin D

    Chemical names – (ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol). What it does - Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital of them are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth. It is also known to improve resistance against certain diseases. Frequent consumption of Vitamin D can reduce depression, improve mood, and promote weight loss.

     

    Solubility - fat.

    Deficiency - rickets, osteomalacia (softening of bone), recent studies indicate higher risk of some cancers, autoimmune disorders, and chronic diseases. Many factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:

    • using sunscreen
    • spending more time indoors
    • being in an area with high pollution
    • living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
    • having darker skin. (The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)

    These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people lately.

    The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include:
    • tiredness and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well 
    • severe muscle or bone pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk waddling
    • stress fractures in your legs, pelvis, and hips

     

    Excess - hypervitaminosis D (weakness, disturbed digestion, increased blood pressure, and tissue calcification).

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health:

    One IU is not the same for each type of vitamin. An IU is determined by how much of a substance produces an effect in the body. The recommended IUs for vitamin D in different age groups are:

    • children and teens: 600 IU
    • adults up to age 70: 600 IU
    • adults over age 70: 800 IU
    • pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU

     

    Here’s a list of food sources of vitamin D

    Few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Because of this, some foods are fortified with vitamin D, this means that vitamin D has been added. Foods that contain vitamin D naturally and fortified include:

    • salmon
    • sardines
    • egg yolk
    • shrimp
    • milk (fortified)
    • cereal (fortified)
    • yogurt (fortified)
    • orange juice (fortified)

    It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help.

     

    Vitamin E

    Chemical name – (tocotrienols). What it does:  Vitamin E has the following functions in the body: It is an antioxidant. This means vitamin E protects body tissue from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals are harmful toxins released inside of the body during food processing and must be removed from the body's system or they can harm cells, tissues, and organs. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in various food products. In the body, vitamin E or tocotrienols  acts as powerful antioxidant that serves to protect cells from free radical damage. People are also exposed to free radicals in the environment from cigarette smoke, air pollution, and ultraviolet light from the sun.
    The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading infections and diseases. Vitamin E helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood clotting from forming. In addition, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out many of their important functions.

     

    Solubility - fat.

    Deficiency - very rare, may include hemolytic anemia in newborn babies. Severe deficiency of vitamin E, may occur in persons with abetalipoproteinemia or fat malabsorption, profoundly affects the central nervous system.

     

    Excess - dehydration, vomiting, irritability, constipation, buildup of excess calcium. 

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    National Institutes of Health:

    The amount of vitamin E you need daily is based on your age.

    Teens, adults, and pregnant women should consume around 15 milligrams (mg) each day. Breastfeeding women need around 19 milligrams. Infants, babies, and children require less vitamin E.

     


    Here’s a list of rich sources of vitamin E:

    Vitamin E can be found in many different foods, including:
    • some commercially processed foods, such as cereal, juice, and margarine
    • abalone, salmon, and other seafood
    • broccoli, spinach, and other green vegetables
    • nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts
    • vegetable oils, including sunflower, wheat germ, and safflower oil
    Natural vitamin E is more potent than its synthetic.
    Vitamin E can be absorbed better when combined with vitamin C.

    Vitamin K     

    Chemical names – (phylloquinone, menaquinones). What it does: Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play major role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels. The body needs sufficient amount of vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism. Vitamin K contains potent antioxidant properties. Blood thinning medication, such as warfarin, can lower the antioxidative potential of vitamin K.

    Solubility - fat.

     

    Deficiency - main symptom of a vitamin K deficiency is excessive bleeding caused by an inability to form healthy blood clots.

    Other signs and symptoms associated with vitamin K deficiency may include:

    • Bleeding from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
    • Blood in the urine and/or stool
    • Easy bruising
    • Oozing from nose or gums
    • Excessive bleeding from wounds, punctures, and injection or surgical sites
    • Heavy menstrual periods

     

    Excess - may undermine or counter the effects of anticoagulants (blood thinner) medication like Wafarin. It can cause jaundice in newborns, hemolytic anemia, and hyperbilirubinemia. 

     

     

    Recommended Dosage:

    The Office of Dietary Supplements:

    It is recommended to maintain a daily intake of 120 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K for adult males and 90 mcg for adult females. There is no specific recommendation for vitamin K-2.

     

    Here’s a list of food sources of vitamin K:

    The vitamin comes in two main forms:
    • Vitamin K-1, or phylloquinone, occurs naturally in dark leafy green vegetables and is the main food source of vitamin K.
    • Vitamin K-2, or menaquinone, is present in small quantities in meat organs and fermented foods. Gut bacteria also produce vitamin K-2.
     
    Dietary sources of vitamin K-1 include:
    • dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and collards
    • lettuce
    • turnips
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    • blueberries
    • grapes
     
    Dietary sources of vitamin K-2 include:
    • natto (a traditional Japanese dish of fermented soybeans)
    • sauerkraut
    • dairy products
    • liver and other meat organs
    • beef
    • pork
    • egg yolks
    • chicken
    • fatty fish, such as salmon
    Most foods contain a combination of some or all of the seven main nutrient classes. We require some nutrients on a regular basis, and others are required less frequently.
    If you want to buy some multivitamins supplements or some quality food products to maintain optimal nutritional supply and sound well-being check out the product page here.