Are you on synthetic vitamins supplementing your natures vitamins in food?
By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer
In addition to the macronutrients we consume in the form of carbs, fats and proteins, we need micronutrients like the vitamins, and minerals. These are essential parts of the food you eat. The question you should ask yourself is, “Should you take synthetic vitamin supplements when the natural ones are available sufficiently in the food you eat. If you eat a variety of foods from the 5 groups and have a balanced diet, you’ll get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Healthy people don’t need additional vitamin supplements and high doses of supplements have their own problems. Older people may need supplements because of poor absorption of natural food vitamins, low acidity in the stomach, and those having gastro-intestinal issues.
Individuals living below poverty line may need vitamin supplements in addition to the natural foods they consume which may be insufficient, but unfortunately, they may not have the means to purchase supplement vitamins.
On the contrary, the rich folk seems to gulp down many vitamins which they don’t require as they can afford to purchase the best of nutrient foods.
The role of vitamins is that they participate in thousands of chemical reactions going on in each cell. Each cell processes the proteins, fats and carbs from the food you eat. And vitamins and minerals are essential parts of those chemical reactions, within each cell.
This article is all about whether you should purchase synthetic vitamins or go for the natural food vitamins.
There is no question that the best foods for an individual to consume are the ones in their natural state, and so are the vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are man-made like trans-fats (margarine)
Christine Rosenbloom, a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, provides the following answer:
The synthetic forms appear to be absorbed from the gut just like the natural forms. One exception mentioned is vitamin E is that the natural form is better absorbed than the synthetic form. So, in most synthetic vitamin E contains more natural vitamin E for better absorption.
Let’s discuss the natural form of vitamins found in our daily foods.
Vitamin A is required for eye health and vision, including macular degeneration (AMD). It is a fat-soluble vitamin found as either preformed vitamin A or provitamin A carotenoids. Plays an important role in the growth and development of several systems in the body, including immune system. It acts as an antioxidant in cells and assists repair damage in the cells.
If you need to avoid the synthetic form, eating liver, meat, fish and dairy products provide enough vitamin A requirement. Eggs, for example, are rich in a form of vitamin A called retinol.
There are veggies rich in vitamin A includes onions, carrots, peas, spinach and squash,
There is evidence that smokers who take beta-carotene in high doses may have an increased risk of lung cancer.
Studies have revealed that an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease of 20%, when beta-carotene consumption exceeded the recommended dose.
Studies have revealed that a significant increase in hip fracture risk in postmenopausal women taking vitamin A supplements and retinol fortified food. This is due to osteoporosis of bone due to long term taking of vitamin A supplements. This is what researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found in a recent study.
We advise that healthy people get enough vitamin A from the food and as such it is best to avoid vitamin A and carotenoid supplements.
BCO1 Genes and vitamin A
Vegans seems to lack this genotype and may not have the optimum levels of vitamin A. They may need to take vitamin A supplement to fill the deficiency.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
This vitamin is required as energy for metabolism and cell growth and development It is also required for the proper function of the brain. Pregnant or lactating women seem to require greater amounts of vitamin B1.
Alcoholics do have a lower levels of vitamin B1, including those who undergo weight reduction surgery (bariatric), and those having HIV.
The country town ‘Beriberi’ was named after Sri Lankan workers during the earlier century in Australia were found they were so weak to work. The Sinhalese word is really ‘barry barry- implying can’t work anymore.
Foods sources that have thiamine are: soybean sprouts cooked, green peas, lima beans, sunflower seeds, barley, lentils, oats, breakfast cereals (fortified with B1), meat, fish and other whole grains.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
You do not need to take this vitamin as supplements as it is present in most of the foods you consume: beef liver, lean meat, legumes, fish, leafy greens and potatoes and fruits (excluding citrus fruits).
Deficiency of this vitamin may cause muscle weakness, irritability, depression, nervousness, and loss of short-term memory.
Deficiency in this vitamin may result in weakness, constipation, weight loss, loss of appetite depression and memory problems and many others. You may have gastrointestinal disorders that affect nutrient absorption, includes celiac disease, pernicious anemia
Foods containing vitamin B12 are clams, liver, fortified cereals, fish, meat, dairy and eggs.
Vitamin C-Ascorbic acid)
Deficiency in the past caused scurvy quite common among the sea travelers and sailors by boat. The gums get swollen and start bleeding, teeth become loose.
The current daily requirement is about 400ug. It is advisable to take synthetic supplements of this vitamin (fefol) as the folic acid in natural foods may not be enough especially for athletes and pregnant women
Going back to synthetic supplements, it is better to avoid artificial, unnatural and synthetic chemicals that are available in the chemist outlets. The labels will not reveal that they are synthetics and may be misleading and confused when you read the labels.
We do not know how the synthetics react within the body and mostly may be ineffective in preventing diseases.
Sticking to natural foods to provide your vitamin quota stands to reason. Do not spend big money to purchase these synthetics but prefer to spend money on fresh fruits and veggies for your vitamin requirements.
Some reference to Medicine.net
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