Vitamins – Little Wonders

Vitamins are nutrients required by the body in small amounts, for a variety of essential processes.

Most vitamins cannot be made by the body, so need to be provided in the diet.

Vitamin D can be made by the body in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamins are grouped into fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins.

Requirements for vitamins change across life stages.

Modern diets often cause vitamin deficiencies causing such effects as depression, neuralgia, irregular heartbeat, mental confusion and many other difficulties, Unfortunately the medical profession often treats the symptoms using drugs, and so the cause still exists.

To quickly go to particular vitamins click ok:

Vitamin A

Vitamin B

My Experiences With The Vitamin B Group

Vitamin C

 

  Vitamin A

The total vitamin A content of the diet (from both animal and plant sources) is normally expressed as retinol equivalents (RE).

Vitamin A is essential to the normal structure and function of the skin and mucous membranes such as in the eyes, lungs and digestive system. Therefore, it is vital for vision, embryonic development, growth and cellular differentiation, and the immune system.

Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is a serious public health problem worldwide,. It can lead to night blindness (impaired adaptation to low-intensity light) and an eye condition called xerophthalmia (dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea) and eventually total blindness. Marginal deficiency contributes to childhood susceptibility to infection, and therefore morbidity and mortality, in both developing and developed countries. Vitamin A deficiency is common in many developing countries especially among young children.

In the UK, frank deficiency is rare but low intakes are relatively common. For example, depending on age and sex between 6% and 20% of children have intakes that are unlikely to be adequate (below the Lower Reference Nutrient intake, LRNI). In adults, intakes tend to be higher although 16% of men aged 19-24 have intakes below the LRNI. In the UK, supplements containing 233µg of vitamin A are recommended for infants and young children from age 1 to 5 years (from 6 months for infants that receive breast milk as their main drink).

Toxicity

Excess retinol during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects. As a precautionary measure, women who are pregnant, or who might become pregnant, are advised not to consume high dose vitamin A supplements (>2800-3300 μg/day). Liver and liver products may contain a large amount of vitamin A, so these should also be avoided in pregnancy.

Large amounts of retinol can also cause liver and bone damage. To prevent adverse effects on bones, intakes above 1500 µgrams of retinol equivalents from food or supplements should be avoided. The Food Standards Agency advises that, as a precaution, regular consumers of liver (once a week or more) should not increase their intake of liver or take supplements containing retinol (for example, cod liver oil).

Food sources

Liver, whole milk, cheese, butter and many reduced fat spreads are dietary sources of retinol. Carrots, dark green leafy vegetables and orange-coloured fruits, e.g. mangoes and apricots are dietary sources of carotenoids. Vitamin A is also often voluntarily added to reduced fat spreads, as is vitamin D.

My Experience With Vitamin A

In my thirties I suffered many ‘cold sores’ on my lips, also I had started wearing reading glasses. I read that when exposed to cold as when swimming in the sea or cold water, the body uses great amounts of vitamin A – also vitamin A, because it is used keeping healthy all of the mucous membranes, which  includes the mouth, the nose, digestive tract, the eyes and the skin, problems in those areas might be due to low intake of vitamin A. While is Australia I learnt that many of the native aborigines living inland suffered eye problems but he aborigines living along the coastline didn’t have eye problems. This was because those living along the coastline ate a lot of fish oils containing vitamin A. Taking fish such as cod liver oil my mouth ulcers and eyesight improved. So that now at 82 I do not need glasses even to read.

My mouth before taking vitamin A. Most links for moth ulcers advertise treatment for symptoms, but vitamin A treats the cause. People do not realise that the diet of processed foods such as all white flour products, white rice and sugary drinks are often the cause of cancer and other diseases.

  Vitamins B

There are eight B vitamins — collectively called B complex vitamins. They are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12).

B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Though these vitamins share similar names, they are chemically distinct compounds that often coexist in the same foods. In general, dietary supplements containing all eight are referred to as a vitamin B complex. Individual B vitamin supplements are referred to by the specific number or name of each vitamin: B1 = thiamine, B2 = riboflavin, B3 = niacin, etc. Some are better known by name than number: niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin and folate.

Each B vitamin is either a cofactor (generally a coenzyme) for key metabolic processes or is a precursor needed to make one.

Vitamin Name Structure Molecular Function
Vitamin B1 thiamine Thiamin.svg Thiamine plays a central role in the release of energy from carbohydrates. It is involved in RNA and DNA production, as well as nerve function. Its active form is a coenzyme called thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), which takes part in the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl coenzyme A in metabolism.[1]
Vitamin B2 riboflavin Riboflavin.svg Riboflavin is involved in release of energy in the electron transport chain, the citric acid cycle, as well as the catabolism of fatty acids (beta oxidation).[2][unreliable medical source?]
Vitamin B3 niacin
Niacin structure.svg
Niacin is composed of two structures: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. There are two co-enzyme forms of niacin: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). Both play an important role in energy transfer reactions in the metabolism of glucose, fat and alcohol.[3]NAD carries hydrogens and their electrons during metabolic reactions, including the pathway from the citric acid cycle to the electron transport chain. NADP is a coenzyme in lipid and nucleic acid synthesis.[4]
Vitamin B5 pantothenic acid (R)-Pantothenic acid Formula V.1.svg Pantothenic acid is involved in the oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates. Coenzyme A, which can be synthesised from pantothenic acid, is involved in the synthesis of amino acids, fatty acids, ketone bodies, cholesterol,[5] phospholipids, steroid hormones, neurotransmitters (such as acetylcholine), and antibodies.[6]
Vitamin B6 pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine Pyridoxal-phosphate.svg The active form pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) (depicted) serves as a cofactor in many enzyme reactions mainly in amino acid metabolism including biosynthesis of neurotransmitters.
Vitamin B7 biotin Biotin structure JA.png Biotin plays a key role in the metabolism of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. It is a critical co-enzyme of four carboxylases: acetyl CoA carboxylase, which is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids from acetate; pyruvate CoA carboxylase, involved in gluconeogenesis; β-methylcrotonyl CoA carboxylase, involved in the metabolism of leucine; and propionyl CoA carboxylase, which is involved in the metabolism of energy, amino acids and cholesterol.[7]

 

Vitamin B9 folate Folic acid.svg Folate acts as a co-enzyme in the form of tetrahydrofolate (THF), which is involved in the transfer of single-carbon units in the metabolism of nucleic acids and amino acids. THF is involved in pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis, so is needed for normal cell division, especially during pregnancy and infancy, which are times of rapid growth. Folate also aids in erythropoiesis, the production of red blood cells.[8]
Vitamin B12 cobalamin Cobalamin.png Vitamin B12 is involved in the cellular metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. It is essential in the production of blood cells in bone marrow, and for nerve sheaths and proteins.[9] Vitamin B12 functions as a co-enzyme in intermediary metabolism for the methionine synthase reaction with methylcobalamin, and the methylmalonyl CoA mutase reaction with adenosylcobalamin.[10][failed verification]

Deficiencies

Several named vitamin deficiency diseases may result from the lack of sufficient B vitamins. Deficiencies of other B vitamins result in symptoms that are not part of a named deficiency disease.

Vitamin Name Deficiency effects
Vitamin B1 thiamine Deficiency causes beriberi. Symptoms of this disease of the nervous system include weight loss, emotional disturbances, Wernicke encephalopathy (impaired sensory perception), weakness and pain in the limbs, periods of irregular heartbeat, and edema (swelling of bodily tissues). Heart failure and death may occur in advanced cases. Chronic thiamin deficiency can also cause alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome, an irreversible dementia characterized by amnesia and compensatory confabulation.
Vitamin B2 riboflavin Riboflavin deficiency can cause ariboflavinosis, which may result in cheilosis (cracks in the lips), high sensitivity to sunlight, angular cheilitis, glossitis (inflammation of the tongue), seborrheic dermatitis or pseudo-syphilis (particularly affecting the scrotum or labia majora and the mouth), pharyngitis (sore throat), hyperemia, and edema of the pharyngeal and oral mucosa.
Vitamin B3 niacin Deficiency, along with a deficiency of tryptophan causes pellagra. Symptoms include aggression, dermatitis, insomnia, weakness, mental confusion, and diarrhea. In advanced cases, pellagra may lead to dementia and death (the 3(+1) D’s: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia, and death).
Vitamin B5 pantothenic acid Deficiency can result in acne and paresthesia, although it is uncommon.
Vitamin B6 pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine Vitamin B6 deficiency causes seborrhoeic dermatitis-like eruptions, pink eye and neurological symptoms (e.g. epilepsy).
Vitamin B7 biotin Deficiency does not typically cause symptoms in adults but may lead to impaired growth and neurological disorders in infants. Multiple carboxylase deficiency, an inborn error of metabolism, can lead to biotin deficiency even when dietary biotin intake is normal.
Vitamin B9 folic acid Deficiency results in a macrocytic anemia, and elevated levels of homocysteine. Deficiency in pregnant women can lead to birth defects.
Vitamin B12 cobalamin Deficiency results in a macrocytic anemia, elevated methylmalonic acid and homocysteine, peripheral neuropathy, memory loss and other cognitive deficits. It is most likely to occur among elderly people, as absorption through the gut declines with age; the autoimmune disease pernicious anemia is another common cause. It can also cause symptoms of mania and psychosis. In rare extreme cases, paralysis can result.

Food Sources for the B Vitamins:

B vitamins are found in highest abundance in meat. They are also found in small quantities in whole unprocessed carbohydrate based foods. Processed carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour tend to have lower B vitamin than their unprocessed counterparts. For this reason, it is required by law in many countries (including the United States) that the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid be added back to white flour after processing. This is sometimes called “Enriched Flour” on food labels. B vitamins are particularly concentrated in meat such as turkey, tuna and liver. Good sources for B vitamins include legumes (pulses or beans), whole grains, potatoes, bananas, chili peppers, tempeh, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, and molasses. Although the yeast used to make beer – Brewers Yeast – results in beers and the yeast being a source of B vitamins, their bioavailability ranges from poor to negative as drinking ethanol – alcohol inhibits absorption of thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin (B7), and folic acid (B9). In addition, each of the preceding studies further emphasizes that elevated consumption of beer and other alcoholic beverages results in a net deficit of those B vitamins and the health risks associated with such deficiencies. Alcohol is a known poison so alcohol is also a powerful drug that kills someone nearly every hour in the UK, the vast majority of them men. Alcohol poisoning is a leading cause of poisoning especially among young people.

The B12 vitamin is not abundantly available from plant products, making B12 deficiency a legitimate concern for vegans. Manufacturers of plant-based foods will sometimes report B12 content, leading to confusion about what sources yield B12. The confusion arises because the standard US Pharmacopeia (USP) method for measuring the B12 content does not measure the B12 directly. Instead, it measures a bacterial response to the food. Chemical variants of the B12 vitamin found in plant sources are active for bacteria, but cannot be used by the human body. This same phenomenon can cause significant over-reporting of B12 content in other types of foods as well.

Example: I know what I am about to say will be taken as stupidity by people who suffer depression, but it is largely a matter of imprinted habits. Having suffered depression for years and having found a way out of the dark place, I know the route out. It is not a route for people who are in the habit of believing there is no cure, that drugs are the only way to deal with it, or suffer enormous fear about change or meeting new aspects of self. Some people actually believe that depression is normal, and so it is our real nature to be depressed. But having found my way out without antidepressants and am on stable ground – much more so that normal – I know that we are not destined to feel pain and despair. Life is not all about pain as Buddhism states. It is all about a stable emotional life with so much to offer us. But it takes work and consistency to remove all the rubbish put into us, and to clear all the dark debris that is the cause of depression – debris that block the light of our being. See Opening to Life

Example: Since she was 11, Sara’s life had been a nightmare of mental and physical suffering. Her history included chronic insomnia, episodic loss of reality, attempted suicide by hanging, amnesia, partial seizures, nausea, vomiting and loss of periods. Her knees were so painful (X-rays showed poor cartilages) and her mind so disperceptive that she walked slowly with her feet wide apart like a peasant following a hand plough drawn by tired oxen. Psychiatrists at three different hospitals gave the dubious waste-basket labels of ‘schizophrenia’, ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ and ‘schizophrenia with convulsive disorder’. At times her left side went into spasms with foot clawed and fist doubled up. Both arm and leg had a wild flaying motion. Restraints were needed at these times. Psychotherapy was ineffective. Most tranquillisers accentuated the muscle symptoms. She tested positive for pyroluria and was given B6 and zinc. Urinary kryptopyrrole was at times as high as 1000mcg%, the normal range being less than 15. She was diagnosed as B6 and zinc deficient and treatment was started. Over three months her knees became normal, the depression subsided, as did the seizures, her periods returned, the nausea vanished and so did the abdominal pain. She has had no recurrence of her grave illness, finished college and now works in New York. She takes zinc and B6 daily. When under stress of any kind, she increases her intake of vitamin B6.

Perhaps the most significant discovery in the nutritional treatment of mental illness is that many depressed and mentally ill people are deficient in vitamin B6 and zinc. But this deficiency is no ordinary deficiency that is simply corrected by eating more foods that are rich in zinc and B6. It is connected with the abnormal production of Kryptopyrroles.

People with depression or other mental health disorders often have high levels of Kryptopyrroles in their urine when tested. Kryptopyrroles rob the body of vitamin B6 and zinc, causing these nutrients to be excreted in the urine, this results in a deficiency of B6 and zinc that requires supplementation to correct.

Symptoms of pyroluria – High Kryptopyrroles

  • Disperceptions
  • Depression
  • Intolerance to some protein foods, drugs or alcohol
  • Definite body odour and breath
  • Morning nausea and constipation
  • Difficulty remembering dreams
  • Crowded upper front teeth.
  • White spots on finger nails
  • Pale skin which does not tolerate sunlight
  • Frequent upper abdominal pain
  • Frequent head colds and infections
  • Stretch marks in the skin
  • Irregular cycle or impotency
  • Any of the above when stressed
  • Belong to all-girl family with look-alike sisters
  • A family history of mental illness
  • A history of miscarried boys

  My Experiences With The Vitamin B Group

I experienced neuralgia in the left side of my face and it spread down my left arm. It was so painful I couldn’t sleep for three nights. On the third night I was pacing up and down in the kitchen feeling desperate and searching my mind and I remembered reading years ago that a lack of vitamin B’s can lead to neuralgia. Apparently the nerves have a coating that can be eaten away when we lack the B vitamins, this exposes the nerve to attack causing pain. I realised I had an unused bottle of Brewers Yeast tablets and quickly opened it and took a handful of the tablets. But I then felt hungry for more and ate another handful, then another – Brewers Yeast is a food , not a drug, and so there was no harm in eating so many. In fact, in about a quarter hour the pain began to decrease and that night I slept soundly.

Sciatica has several causes but it is worth trying taking the Vitamin B’s because the sciatic nerve can also be exposed by lack of vitamin B.

I had been working hard building a balcony extension and been hammering to knock a door hole in a house with old thick walls. In doing that I had developed a pain in the centre of my chest that went straight through to my back. My doctor identified it as something Japanese doctors had defined as a nerve problem. As soon as he said that and suggested pain killers, I said, “It’s okay I’ve got it.” I went home and dosed myself with Brewers Yeast again. The pain disappeared. (Brewers Yeast contains Vitamins of the groups B1, B2, B3, B6, E, PP, choline).

 

  Vitamin C

Put in about miscarriages.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved