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Vitamin deficiency


>>What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic substances which are needed by our bodies in small quantities for proper function and metabolism. These micronutrients are essential because we cannot produce enough of them independently in our body. Different vitamins have different roles, and they are needed in different quantities.

  • There are 13 known vitamins.
  • Vitamins are either water-soluble or fat-soluble.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins are easier for the body to store than water-soluble.
  • Vitamins always contain carbon, so they are described as "organic."
  • Food is the best source of vitamins, but some people may be advised by a physician to use supplements.

>>What causes Vitamin deficiency?

Vitamin deficiency is the condition of a long-term lack of a vitamin.

Most common cause is poor dietary intake of vitamins and lack of adequate sunlight exposure.

Sometimes there may be defect in absorption of this vitamin from our digestive system. This can also lead to it's deficiency.

Other causes include lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol.

>>Different types of vitamins:

Vitamin A

Chemical names: Retinol, retinal, and four carotenoids, including beta carotene.

  • It is fat soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause night-blindness and keratomalacia, an eye disorder that results in a dry cornea.
  • Good sources include: Liver, cod liver oil, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, some cheeses, egg, apricot, cantaloupe melon, and milk.

Vitamin B

Chemical name: thiamine.

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
  • Good sources include: yeast, pork, cereal grains, sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole-grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.

Vitamin B2

Chemical name: Riboflavin

  • It is water soluble
  • Deficiency may cause ariboflavinosis
  • Good sources include: asparagus,bananas, persimmons, okra, chard, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fish, and green beans

Vitamin B3

Chemical names: Niacin, niacinamide

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause pellagra, with symptoms of diarrhea, dermatitis, and mental disturbance.
  • Good sources include: liver, heart, kidney, chicken, beef, fish (tuna, salmon), milk, eggs, avocados, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, whole-grains, legumes, mushrooms, and brewer's yeast.

Vitamin B5

Chemical name: Pantothenic acid

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause paresthesia, or "pins and needles."
  • Good sources include: meats, whole-grains (milling may remove it), broccoli, avocados, royal jelly, and fish ovaries.

Vitamin B6

Chemical names: Pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, pyridoxal

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause anemia, peripheral neuropathy, or damage to parts of the nervous system other than the brain and spinal cord.
  • Good sources include: meats, bananas, whole-grains, vegetables, and nuts. When milk is dried, it loses about half of its B6. Freezing and canning can also reduce content.

Vitamin B7

Chemical name: Biotin

  • it is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause dermatitis or enteritis, or inflammation of the intestine.
  • Good sources include: egg yolk, liver, some vegetables.

Vitamin B9

Chemical names: Folic acid, folinic acid

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency during pregnancy is linked to birth defects. Pregnant women are encouraged to supplement folic acid for the entire year before becoming pregnant.
  • Good sources include: leafy vegetables, legumes, liver, baker's yeast, some fortified grain products, and sunflower seeds. Several fruits have moderate amounts, as does beer.

Vitamin B12

Chemical names: Cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause megaloblastic anemia, a condition where bone marrow produces unusually large, abnormal, immature red blood cells.
  • Good sources include: fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, some fortified cereals and soy products, as well as fortified nutritional yeast.

Vegans are advised to take B12 supplements.

Vitamin C

Chemical name: Ascorbic acid

  • It is water soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause megaloblastic anemia.
  • Good sources include: fruit and vegetables. The Kakadu plum and the camu camu fruit have the highest vitamin C contents of all foods. Liver also has high levels. Cooking destroys vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Chemical names: Ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol.

  • It is fat soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause rickets and osteomalacia, or softening of the bones.
  • Good sources: Exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) through sunlight or other sources causes vitamin D to be produced in the skin. Also found in fatty fish, eggs, beef liver, and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Chemical names: Tocopherols, tocotrienols

  • It is fat soluble.
  • Deficiency is uncommon, but it may cause hemolytic anemia in newborns. This is a condition where blood cells are destroyed and removed from the blood too early.
  • Good sources include: Kiwi fruit, almonds, avocado, eggs, milk, nuts, leafy green vegetables, unheated vegetable oils, wheat germ, and whole-grains.

Vitamin K

Chemical names: Phylloquinone, menaquinones

  • It is fat soluble.
  • Deficiency may cause bleeding diathesis, an unusual susceptibility to bleeding.
  • Good sources include: leafy green vegetables, avocado, kiwi fruit. Parsley contains a lot of vitamin K.

 

>>Vitamin Deficiency: Problems.

Vitamin Deficiency is a cause of number of health problems around the world. Several countries promote intake of vitamin supplements.
India has a number of National health programmes for reducing diseases caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Common ones are Vitamin A fortification of food and Iodine fortification of salt.

 

Dr. Manoj Kumar Khemani has over 10 years’ experience in diagnosing and treating vitamin B12 deficiency.

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