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Vitamins – February 2003

"Let food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food". – Hippocrates

Customers frequently ask for food ideas that are good sources of particular vitamins or minerals. This newsletter will offer some information and suggestions of the essential vitamins (without getting too detailed) that our
body requires. Next month's newsletter will follow up with information and suggestions of the essential minerals. We wholeheartedly support the concept of gaining your daily nutritional requirements from food and encourage you to do so. So let's eat to our old mate Hippocrates!

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Chief functions: part of energy metabolism
Significant sources: whole-grains (e.g. brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats), pork

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Chief functions: part of energy metabolism
Significant sources: dairy products (e.g. yogurt, cheese), wholegrains, liver

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Chief functions: part of energy metabolism
Significant sources: milk, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, whole-grains, nuts, all protein-containing foods

Biotin (in the B vitamin "family")
Chief functions: part of energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and glycogen synthesis
Significant sources: widespread in foods: organ meats, egg yolks, soybeans, fish, wholegrains, also produced by bacteria within the gut (but not enough upon which to depend)

Pantothenic Acid (B5)
Chief functions: part of energy metabolism
Significant sources: widespread in foods, organ meats, mushrooms, avocados, broccoli, wholegrains

Vitamin B6
Chief functions: part of amino acid & fatty acid metabolism; aids conversion of tryptophan (amino acid) to niacin and to serotonin (neurotransmitter in the brain); aids production of red blood cells
Significant sources: meats, fish, poultry, potatoes, legumes, non-citrus fruits, soy foods

Folate or Folic Acid (a B Vitamin)
Chief functions: part of DNA synthesis, therefore important in new cell formation, *
Significant sources: leafy green vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli), legumes (particularly good-pinto, kidney, chickpeas, black-eyed, lentils), seeds, liver

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Chief functions: part of new cell synthesis, help maintain nerve cells, help break down some fatty and amino acids, *
Significant sources: animal products (meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, milk, cheese, eggs)
ANIMAL PRODUCTS are the only significant daily source of B12, supplementation is recommended for vegans.

*Note-Folate and B12 are closely related and depend upon one another for activation.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Chief functions: collagen (part of tendons, ligaments and muscles) synthesis, antioxidant, thyroxin (thyroid hormone) synthesis, amino acid metabolism, infection resistance strenthening, aids iron absorption
Significant sources: citrus, brassicas (brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli), dark green vege (e.g. capsicum, spinach), rock melon, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, papaya, mango

Vitamin A & precursor Beta-carotene
Chief functions: vision; maintenance of cornea, epithelial cells, mucous membranes, skin; bone & tooth growth; reproduction; immunity; antioxidant
Significant sources: eggs, liver, dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach, broccoli), deep orange fruits (apricots, rock melon) & vege (pumpkin, carrots, kumara)

Vitamin D
Chief functions: mineralization of bones
Significant sources: SUNSHINE!it aids the synthesis of Vit. D by the body (10 minutes a day on the arms and face is enough!)
No food is considered a significant source, however, a few foods provide some Vitamin D such as egg yolks or sunflower seeds.

Vitamin E
Chief functions: antioxidant
Significant sources: polyunsaturated plant oils (e.g. sunflower, flax, olive), wheat germ & wheat germ oil, leafy green vege, whole-grains, liver, egg yolks, nuts, seed

Vitamin K
Chief functions: synthesis of blood-clotting proteins and bone proteins that regulate calcium
Significant sources: synthesized by digestive bacteria (although needs CANNOT be met alone by this), liver, leafy green vege, brassicas, milk, alfalfa sprouts

Are you aware of a major difference between some of the vitamins? The B vitamins (B1,B2, B3, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, B6, Folate, B12) and vitamin C are water-soluble vitamins. This implies they are needed in frequent doses,
preferably daily since they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, travel freely throughout the body, and therefore excesses are excreted readily into the urine. Do the stories of sailors and scurvy make more sense?

But, they probably didn't get night blindness from a lack of Vitamin A. Why? Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. They can be stored in fat-associated cells (unlike watersoluble vitamins B's & C) and therefore are less
readily excreted. They are first absorbed into lymph and then into the bloodstream, and require protein molecules for transport throughout the body. Therefore, they are not required so much on a daily basis, but obviously not to be ignored to retain a good storage.

References: Whitney & Rolfes (2002) UnderstandingNutrition. Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, Belsmont.

Piko notes: Thanks to Rebecca for her time and knowledge to collate a well-researched informational sheet about candida, including anti-candida dietary guides. This will be available soon for any interested, at the minimal cost of the copying (~$1).

We'd like to extend an extra thanks to Nadine for her hard work and time writing The Piko Cookbook. It was well worth the wait!

A quote we recently heard and thought was pretty funny... "Sarcasm is just one more service we offer."  hee hee

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