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  • Natural AlternativesOf Vitamin Supplements

    Published on January 8, 2019

    Vitamins are required by human body for normal cell growth, development and functioning. There are two types of Vitamins- fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in the body’s fat tissues and water-soluble vitamins that are used immediately by the body. Vitamin A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins and Vitamin C and B complex (B1, B2, B6,B12) are water-soluble vitamins.

    VITAMIN A

     This is required by the body to keep the immune system healthy. Vitamin A keeps the eyes healthy and boosts the immune system helps in cell development and also keeps the skin healthy.

    There are a lot of supplements available in the market which a taken for retinol deficiency. Vitamin A’s natural sources are eggs, milk, green vegetables, liver, darkly coloured orange, and other fruits such as peaches, cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes,and papaya. It helpsto form and maintains teeth, bones, soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin.

    Deficiency of Vitamin A causes night blindness.

    It should be noted that excessive consumption of Vitamin A can prove to be toxic if taken via supplements. Therefore the best way to avoid its deficiency or toxicity is to consume it in the required quantity from foods which contain it in the required quantity.

    VITAMIN C

    Chemically known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is one of the nutrients which is required to maintain good health.

    It helps in the formation of collagen (which is an essential component of connective tissue). It plays an important role in healing wounds as collagen is required for it and Vitamin C helps in its production.

    Vitamin C also plays a vital role in producing antioxidants in the body and limits free radicals. It boosts the immunity of the body, prevent and delay certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

    Natural substitutes of Vitamin C supplements are

    1. Citrus fruits: One of the most widely available and effective sources of Vitamin C is lemon plus citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, pomelo,and They contain ample amount of ascorbic acid. In the case of Vitamin C deficiency, the person can recover very quickly with sufficient intake of these food items. It is used to treat scurvy which is a deficiency disease caused due to deficiency of Vitamin C in the body.
    2. Tomatoes: Technically a fruit, tomato,and tomato juice are a great source of Vitamin C. Consuming a couple of raw tomatoes,or its juice helps ward off any health issues that could be the result ofa deficiency of Vitamin C in the diet. Its regular used is advisable for better health effects. Since Vitamin C is necessary for wound healing and healthy skin, it should be a part of your diet.

    It is not necessary to consume only one type of food item containing Vitamin C. A mix of foods can be inculcated in the diet to get the best results.

    In case someone has developed scurvy due to deficiency of Vitamin C in their diet, symptoms can show up within a month or so. Delayed wound healing, purpura, hyperkeratosis, bleeding gums,and corkscrew hair are some of the signs and symptoms that one should be waryof. In case any of these symptoms are observed, treatment should be started on an immediate basis. In case children develop scurvy, it can prove to be fatal. Therefore caution should be taken,and a balanced diet should be followed.

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    VITAMIN B12

    If you think that you suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin B12, you should look out for symptoms such as fatigue, depression, confusion, memory issues,etc.; you should get checked for Vitamin B12 deficiency. Other related symptoms are unexplained weight loss, constipation, reflex problems, irritable behaviour and loss of appetite.

    If the problem lingers on for longer, it can spiral into mental problems such as dementia and psychosis.

    Another symptom isthe development of anemia. It can be diagnosed by observing symptoms such as fatigue, sore mouth or tongue, shortness of breath, yellowing of the skin, diarrhea and menstrual problems.

    Vitamin B12 is present in ample amount in animal-derived products. For someone who is strictly vegan, the chances of developing B12 deficiency are higher.

    Dietary sources of Vitamin B12 are

    1. Eggs- Considered as a great source of protein, eggs also contain Vitamin B12 and B2 in sufficient amounts. Egg whites co(two large eggs) contain 1.3 mcg of vitamin B12. That’s 28% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).

     

    1. Milk and Dairy Products- Packed with several vitamins and minerals, milk and its products are a great source of Vitamin B12. Yogurt /curd and cheese are other superb sources of Vitamin B12.

     

    1. Fortified Non-Dairy Milk- It is a vegan replacement for dairy milk. Soy milk is one such nondairy milk with the potential of providing 45% of RDI from 240 ml of the product.

     

    1. Trout- Amongst fish, trout is considered to be the healthiest and best options for Vitamin B12 intake through natural food. It also contains Omega 3 fatty acid.
    2. Tuna- Widely consumed and full of nutritional value, Tuna is one food substitute to those bottles of Vitamin B12 pills. Both fresh and canned tuna can be consumed. However, the nutritional value of fresh Tuna surpasses that of the canned one any day.

     

    VITAMIN B6

    Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. This vitamin helps your body process fats, proteins,and carbs. Its intake ensures healthy functioning of the immune system and the central nervous system. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help in keeping cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancers at bay.

    As our dietary choices have disrupted and are getting altered, the need to switch from a nutrient deficient diet should be made. Natural substitutes for Vitamin B6 are tuna, nuts, chickpeas, cooked skinless chicken breast, prunes, avocado, boiled lentils, cooked wild caught coho salmon, boiled frozen Brussel sprouts,etc.

    Its deficiency shows symptoms such as cracked lip corners, nerve pain, skin rashes, tiredness, seizures, glossy tongue,etc.

    Healthy and balanced diet can prevent any deficiency of Vitamin B6.

    VITAMIN E

    Vitamin E is a popular vitamin which is known for having antioxidant properties. It protects the body cells from free radicals. It tackles inflammation and boosts the immune system. It is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it gets stored in liver and fat cells in the body. They do not eliminate from the body the way water-soluble vitamins get removed by excretion. They remain in the body for long periods and consuming them in a higher amount than required can lead to toxicity.

    Natural sources of Vitamin E are

    • Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts
    • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
    • Fruits and fruit juices
    • Vegetable oils such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils

    It is advised to take Vitamin E from natural sources and not supplements as the risk of toxicity. However, its low intake can lead to hemolytic anemia.

    Vitamin E is crucial in maintaining healthy hair and skin; It is a popular supplement given by dermatologists. The most commonly prescribed vitamin supplement is Evion 400 for hair growth.

    VITAMIN D

    Vitamin D is naturally produced by your body when exposed to sunlight. It is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it gets stored in the liver and fat cells of the body. It occurs in a limited number of foods,and the easiest way of overcoming its deficiency is, of course, basking under the sun.

    Apart from being an important nutrient, it also promotes absorption of calcium in the gut.

    Deficiency of Vitamin D makes bones brittle, thin and weak. Amongst children. It can lead to the development of rickets whereas in adults it gives rise to a condition called osteomalacia.

     

    • Egg Yolks- Eggs are a source of lots of nutrients that are required for healthy living. They contain Vitamin D along with other vitamins. They help in containing deficiency of vitamin D (which leads to the development of rickets).

     

    • Mushrooms- For vegans and vegetarians, mushrooms are a great option as they are the only plant source of Vitamin D. Mushrooms can also synthesise Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. They are an excellent and safe source of Vitamin D.

     

    • Orange juice- It is a good substitute for the population that is lactose intolerance. One cup of orange juice can give 24% of RDI of Vitamin D.

     

    • Oysters- Having oysters is not everyone’s cup of tea. It could be for its peculiar taste or one’s lifestyle choice. But it is a rich source of Vitamin D. They are low in calories and high in nutrients. It is such a rich source that one serving gives two to six times of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI).

     

    • Shrimp- Another seafood that is highly nutritious is shrimp- a type of shellfish. Along with Vitamin D, it contains Omega 3 fatty acids. They do contain cholesterol but have low-fat

     

    The best way to lead a healthy life without depending on supplements is to take a balanced diet. Include all the foods that are necessary and appropriate for your age and built. It should not be a task but a breeze to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

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