Vitamins — the essential molecules of the human body. Without them, we succumb to diseases like rickets, anemia, blindness, brittle bones, and high blood pressure. Except for Vitamin D, all vitamins are only available through diet and supplementation, so it's paramount that we are aware of our intake of these crucial molecules.
I will be writing about Vitamin D, E, and K in the article next week, so stay tuned!
Let's start off with vitamin A, which is the name for a group of fat-soluble (dissolve in water) compounds, such as retinol and retinoic acid. Vitamin A is critical for vision, and people who are deficient in this crucial vitamin are prone to night blindess, skin flaking and other skin conditions. Provitamin A carotenoids, the most famous one being beta-carotene, are common in plant foods, whereas preformed vitamin A is abundant in animal products. Despite carotenoids being hyped as a great source of vitamin A, in reality only a small percent of them get converted by the body to usable vitamin A - 'conversion efficiency of dietary β-carotene to retinol is in the range of 3.6–28:1 by weight.'(https://nutritionofpower.com/nutrition/beta-carotene-conversion-to-retinol/).
This is why I do my best to get my vitamin A mostly from animal foods.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 3,000 IU (900 mcg) https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/. Don't worry if you consume more than the recommended amount, toxicity is only seen in excessive dosages of long-term supplementation. To achieve a healthy intake, I consume the highest food sources of vitamin A:
Chicken liver - 4900 mcg per 100g (liver is by far the best!)
Tuna - 757 mcg per 100g
Butter - 684 mcg per 100g
B vitamins are class of vitamins that share similar structures and functions. There are many B vitamins:
Vitamin B1 Thiamine
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin
Vitamin B7 Biotin
Vitamin B3 Niacin
Vitamin B9 Folate
Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid
Vitamin B12 Cobalamin
All B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that our body doesn't store them and instead excretes any excess. That is why we should consume them on a regular basis, or insufficiencies can develop rapidly. For example, a deficiency in B12 is correlated with cognitive issues (https://www.b12-vitamin.com/deficiency/).
B vitamins are present in many different foods however the highest food sources for them all are:
Liver (any animal)
vegetarian: citrus fruits
A broad-spectrum vitamin B complex is a good idea to have for many reasons, such as boosting brain function. (https://www.amazon.in/Doctors-Best-Complex-Nutritional-Supplement/dp/B00DWDZPBG/ref=sr_1_17?dchild=1&keywords=b+complex&qid=1618730020&sr=8-17)
For example, the recommended intake for Vitamin B12 is 2.8 mcg per day. However many people don't absorb enough into their body from the food they eat. That is why taking a vitamin B12 supplement may be a good idea for you. You can take up to 5 grams (1000 mcg) of B12 and face no problems at all since your body will dump the excess. If you choose to do so, use the form called methylcobalamin, not the cheaper form called cyanocobalamin. M-cobalamin is a naturally occuring form, common in foods, whereas C-cobalamin is synthetic and only made in the lab.
There are many methylcobalamin supplements available, like this one. https://www.amazon.in/Jarrow-Formulas-Methyl-B-12-Lozenges/dp/B002FJW3ZY/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=jarrow+b12&qid=1618731280&sr=8-5
Vitamin C is the common name for a molecule called ascorbic acid. Known as the immunity vitamin, it helps fight off inflammation and build collagen & connective tissue in the body.
Vitamin C's recommended intake is only 90 mg. However, it is safe and beneficial to occasionally take at high dosages over 1-2 grams (1000-2000 mg) in order to aid IMMUNITY. The only occasional side effect from higher intake is stomach discomfort.
Here are some high food sources of Vitamin C:
Amla - 600mg of Vitamin C per 100g (https://www.ayurtimes.com/nutrition-facts-analysis-of-amla-amalaki-indian-gooseberry-emblica-officinalis-phyllanthus-emblica/)
Coriander - 500mg of Vitamin C per 100g (https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts/170921/100g)
Guava - 200 mg of Vitamin C per 100g (https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/guava.html)
Even though an effort should be made to consume vitamin C food sources, I think it's a good idea to keep a vitamin C supplement handy in case you fall sick. (https://www.amazon.in/Now-Foods-VitaminC-1000-Sustained-Release/dp/B00FIITUDC/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=now+foods+vitamin+c&qid=1618729892&sr=8-5)
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