Monday, 8 July 2013

Are you lacking vitamins? Are vitamin pills harmful?

There are health problems which might be relief by what you put on your plate. Check out what some symptoms could mean and what can do to at least alleviate them.

Not being myself a nutritionist you may wonder why am I talking about vitamins. Well... from a young age and possibly because there is a doctor in the family, I was always told that a lot of symptoms in our body are the consequence of what we eat. This post aims to inform others on how to tackle specific health symptoms.

Symptoms...  you may be lacking

Symptoms: Thrush, fatigue and migraines  
May be lacking: Vitamin B2The mouth sores may form in the body express a lack of vitamin B2 - The recommended amount is 1.3 for men and for women mg 1.1 mg - which allows the body to renew the skin and cells quickly enough. Deficiency of this vitamin can also be seen through fatigue and migraines.Generally, men are less affected by the lack of this vitamin simply because they consume more calories and more food. With respect to women have one in eight lack of vitamin B2 
Recommendations: The solution may be to eat dairy products. A glass of milk with 2.5 dl per day may help suppress the symptoms.

Symptoms: Lack of taste, frequent infections, colds and scarring consuming  
May be lacking: ZincFrom a study of the University of Ulster, UK, it was found that people with lower zinc levels in red blood cells have a lower ability to detect savory flavors. The effect of low levels of zinc are in taste is not clear, but it is assumed that this nutrient is essential to the enzyme production and development and maintenance of taste. Zinc also plays a very important role in the functioning of the immune system and the renovation and repair of cells, so the lack of this nutrient can also be expressed in colds, frequent infections and scarring consuming. 
Recommendations: To increase levels of zinc can consume red meat, with beef and lamb are the most amounts of this nutrient have. One or two portions of 230 grams per week makes the nutrient levels increase. Zinc is also found in nuts, peanuts and grains. 

Symptoms: Stomach Problems, keratosis (rough and dry skin), xerophthalmia (dry eyes and difficulty in vision especially at night) 
May be lacking: Vitamin AThe lack of vitamin favors the stomach problems because the nutrient is essential to protecting the mucosal surfaces of the respiratory tract and intestine. In addition to this vitamin is essential for the metabolic processes is also important for the maintenance of epithelial tissues and the lack thereof causes keratosis - rough and dry skin. However, the failure of this vitamin in the body can not only cause these problems. The xerophthalmia, or dry eyes or difficulty in vision, especially at night, are also caused by lack of vitamin A - the absence of the nutrient causes the optical glands fail to produce the lacrimal responsible for ocular lubrication. The recommended amount of vitamin A is 0.7 mg for men and 0.6 mg for women. 
Recommendations: Vitamin A is found in vegetables with yellow tones, the darker greens with leaves, carrots, peaches, nectarines on, egg yolk, butter and liver. To increase the level of vitamin A in the body can eat a meal with liver every two weeks or a carrot every day. However pregnant women should pay special attention, since too much vitamin A can harm the fetus. 

Symptoms: Bad mood, paleness, dizziness, spoon-shaped nails, lack of appetite 
May be lacking: IronWhen the body lacks this nutrient, oxygen carried to the brain decreases causing you to feel dizzy, have little appetite, spoon-shaped nails (a deformity in which the nails are thin and concave), a pale face and moodiness. This is because iron is essential for the body to be able to capture oxygen and transport it throughout the body. The recommended amount of this nutrient is 8.7 milligrams for men and 14.8 milligrams for women. 
Recommendations: The solution may be the consumption of red meat, eggs and sardines, sources of iron the body absorbs easily. However, one can also opt for the consumption of nuts, vegetables and cereals, which along with a source of vitamin C - such as orange juice - increases the ease of absorption. 

Symptoms: Swollen ankles 
May be lacking: PotassiumPotassium helps regulate the water balance in the body, however, the absence of this nutrient feed together with a high salt causes the body to retain excess water, which causes rise in blood pressure. For both men and women, the recommended amount of potassium is 3,500 milligrams.   
Recommendations: If you want to increase the level of potassium in the body can make it through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Five servings of fruit or vegetables per day ensure a balance in the body of water, and the banana is particularly rich in potassium. 

Symptoms: Pain in the body 
May be lacking: Vitamin DThis vitamin helps to regulate the minerals calcium and phosphorus which are essential to the development and maintenance of bones and muscles. Thus, their lack can cause the body aches, weakness and constant fatigue. However, we must pay special attention to the fact that the lack of this vitamin in the long run makes the bones weak. In addition to maintaining strong bones, vitamin D also increases the protection against cancer. The recommended amount of vitamin D is 5 micrograms for both men and women. 
Recommendations: If you eat two servings a week of salmon, sardines or other oily fish is unlikely that lacks vitamin D. If you prefer, stroll on sunny days on the street for about 20 minutes because sun exposure triggers the production of this vitamin.

NOTE: None of these suggestions food substitute for consulting a doctor if any of these symptoms

Vitamin pills versus food

To make up the vitamin shortfall, a multivitamin may seem like the obvious answer. The fact is that the health benefits of vitamin pills are increasingly being brought into question. While some studies show that vitamin supplementations have a range of benefits from enhanced energy to better fertility, others suggest supplements are harmful. In 2011, the Iowa Women's Health Study of over 38,000 women found the use of multivitamins was associated with a 2.4 per cent increased risk of death. Despite being labelled 'natural', over 90 per cent of vitamin supplements on sale are synthetic.
New evidence is emerging that these unnatural forms of vitamin could do more harm than good. According to the Organic Consumers Association in the USA, man-made vitamins cannot be used by the body in the same way as natural versions. 'In nature, vitamins come packaged with many other molecules including minerals and cofactors,' explains Dr Phillip Maffetone, nutritional researcher and author of 'The Big Book of Health and Fitness'. 'These enable the body to use them. Since synthetic vitamins are isolated and are not recognised by the body, they are often excreted in urine or stored in fat.'

In addition, synthetic vitamins may produce harmful side-effects. The synthetic version of vitamin A, retinol palmitate, for example, is significantly more toxic than the natural form. In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008, adults taking 1000mg of synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) each day developed problems with energy metabolism.

When should we take supplements?

It is recommend to take vitamin or mineral supplements if the patient's lifestyle, food preferences, state of health, or allergies make it improbable that they will meet their nutritional requirements just with diet. It is the dietitian's job to help the patient determine the best form of that particular vitamin, what time of day it should be taken to optimize absorption, as well as making sure there is no interaction with any medications the patient might be on.
If somebody has a good, well balanced, nutritious diet, there should be no need for any multivitamin supplements. Several factors should be excluded first, some people need supplements because they might have problems absorbing nutrients, pregnant women need certain supplements, your age may be a factor in some cases, some patients with chronic diseases require supplements. Women who are at risk of pre-eclampsia should take a dietary supplement containing L-arginine and antioxidant vitamins from their 20th week of pregnancy.

If you exercise a lot, take part in endurance sports, such as marathons, you should see a health care professional and get advise on your dietary and possibly supplement requirements. Some scientists say supplements will not do you any harm, and may do you some good. Research has been contradictory and confusing for lay people. 

Adapted from:,

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Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.