Vitamin A within plants consists of the carotenoids; which includes; beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and gamma-carotene, all of which are dependent upon the presence of Fats in the diet for absorption. Excess daly requirement of Vitamin A is stored within the liver.
Sources: carrots, green leafy vegetables, mint, kohlrabi, squash, yams, sweet potato, apricots, mangos, peach, barley grass,
Function; Immune system, vision, bone development and repair, cellular differentiation, growth and reproduction, detoxification, maintenance of epithelial tissue, adrenal hormone synthesis, increases iron utilisation for haemoglobin formation.
Function; Calcium and phosphate absorption and regulation, increases bone strength. Also believed to play a significant role within the immune system. Recommended levels of Vitamin D are being revised as new research into its role is identified. Now considered to be hormone-like in its actions rather that a true vitamin.
Sources: (synthesised by the action of sunlight on skin) sprouted seeds. people with poor fat absorption may be deficient in Vitamin D, as will as in individuals not receiving adequate sunlight stimulation.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
The most bioactive form is Alpha tocopherol, and requires lipids in the diet in order to aid absorption. Plays an important role in cells which, due to their high concentration of fatty acids, are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. These include erythrocytes, neutrons and lung epithelium. It acts as an antioxidant and has the ability to regenerate Vitamin C. Protects other fatty substances. Involved in protection from Free radicals, pollution, radiation, DNA regulation, and reproduction. In the cardiovascular system, protects heart muscle, arteries, and inhibits clotting. Involved in Wound/scar tissue healing, and Thyroid hormone production.
Sources: green leafy vegetables, avocado, almonds, corn, hazelnuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, apricot oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, olive oil. Found in the oils of seeds and nuts.
Requires fat in the diet to aid absorption, but around 50% is produced by intestinal bacteria. It is not known how the Vitamin K produced within the intestinal flora is absorbed.
Function; Blood clotting, bone mineralisation, calcium metabolism, improves brain and tissue repair, promotes the breakdown of clots by activating anti-coagulant proteins when required.
Sources: Bacterial synthesis in the gut, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, kelp, lettuce, oats, soy beans, spinach, soybean oil.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin B1 Thiamin
Plays an important role in energy production and a deficiency may manifest as fatigue, weight loss and gastrointestinal disturbances. Thiamine also plays a significant role the synthesis of Acetylcholine. A diet high in fats and sugars may contribute to Thiamine deficiency as they create greater demands upon thiamine stores in order them to be metabolised. Promotes growth, aids digestion especially of carbohydrates, keeps nervous system, muscles, and heart functioning normally, neurotransmitter metabolism (serotonin and acetylcholine).
Sources: soybeans, spirulina, legumes, asparagus, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, rye, whole grains, brewer’s yeast
Vitamin B2 Riboflavin (it is not completely water-soluble)
Riboflavin plays an important role in energy metabolism normal growth and reproduction. Provides antioxidant support and is a cofactor in the regeneration of Glutathione. Plays a significant role in folic acid, Vitamin K, Niacin, and pyridoxine B6 metabolism. Tissue maintenance of mucosa, eyes and epithelium. Involved in Lipid metabolism, growth and development of the foetus, myelin sheath maintenance, Red blood cell and steroid synthesis, Antioxidant protection, and Iron absorption. Excess caffeine consumption can reduce its absorption. Deficiency may be indicated by general fatigue.
Sources: asparagus, beans, broccoli, avocados, almonds, barley, sprouts, brewer’s yeast, rice bran, wheat bran, peanuts.
Vitamin B3 Niacin
Plays an important role in energy production, hormone and lipid synthesis. Also involved in the Metabolism of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and cholesterol. Maintains healthy skin and mucus membranes, nervous and digestive systems. DNA replication and repair, and Blood sugar regulation. It has shown to lower Low Density Lipoproteins LDL, and increase High Density Lipoproteins HDL. It can also be synthesised by the body from Tryptophan. Deficiency results in Pellagra (dermatitis, dementia, diarrhoea, and death)
Sources: legumes, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, yeast, wheat flower, maize flower, all types of bran.
,Vitamin B5 Pantothenic acid
Involved in energy production. It is contained in a number of food sources and deficiency is rare. Involved in Protein metabolism, synthesis of acetylcholine, Co enzyme A in energy production. It is Essential in lipid synthesis, including cholesterol and Fatty Acids. Also plays a role in steroid synthesis, Antibody production, and Improves the body’s resistance to stress, through strengthening the body’s immune system. Maintains normal uric acid levels.
Sources: green vegetables, beans, lentils, mushrooms, peas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, avocado, oranges, whole grain cereals, oatmeal, hazelnuts, baker’s yeast, yeast.
Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine
Involved in numerous enzyme reactions, over 80% is found in the muscle. Plays a significant role, along with Vitamin B12, and Folic acid in reducing homocysteine levels in the body, high levels of which has been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic heart disease. Maintaining healthy brain function, the formation of red blood cells, the breakdown of protein and the synthesis of antibodies in support of the immune system. Use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates, hormone synthesis.
Sources: carrots, legumes, navy beans avocado, bananas, cereal, lentils, oatmeal, peanuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, walnuts, wheat germ brewer’s yeast
Vitamin B9 Folic Acid
Folic acid works in conjunction with Vitamin B12, and excess folic acid intake can mask deficiency in B12, therefore both would need to be supplemented. Plays a significant role, along with Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6 in reducing homocysteine levels in the body. High levels of which have been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic heart disease. Folic acid is required for all rapid dividing cells. Deficiency has also been associated with mood disorders. It is essential for RBC formation, normal growth-synthesis of structural and functional proteins. Prevention of neural tube defects (Spina Bifida) in pregnancy. Important for digestive function, DNA and RNA synthesis and repair.
Sources: beans, endive, green leafy vegetables, soy beans, sprouts, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, peas, chickpeas eggs citrus fruits and juices, bananas, barley, lentils, brown rice, yeast
Vitamin B12 Cobalamin
A very important Vitamin for the body as it plays a role in various systems, in particular erythrocytes. Also plays major role along with Folic acid, and Vitamin B6 in reducing homocysteine levels in the body. Involved in the maintenance of the nervous system, metabolism and formation of red blood cells. Also involved in the maintenance of growth, metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrate. It is essential for the integrity of cell membranes, and the production of epithelial cells. Increases energy. Is needed to process folic acid
Sources: bacterial synthesis in the gut. However it is not known if the body is able to assimilate any produced in this way. The best sources are found in meat products and vegans will need to supplement their diet through fortified foods. However if an individual is low on Intrinsic factor, even supplementing orally would still lead to a deficiency. In these cases it will need to be administered in an injectable form.
To be able to be absorb B12 (Cobalamin) it needs to be bound to a carrier protein, known as R-binder or Transcobalamin 1. If it is in a free state this will occur within the saliva, or if released from protein it will bind within the stomach. The stomach also produces Intrinsic factor which is required for B12 to be assimilated into the body, It is within the duodenum that B12 binds with Intrinsic factor. Lack of B12 may be due to a deficiency within the diet or an inability for it to be absorbed due to a lack of Intrinsic Factor. Transcobalamin 11 is the career protein that then delivers the cobalamin to the tissues of the body. It s important not to mix up B12 with the other B Vitamins as while the B vitamins are water soluble and are not stored within the body, B12 deficiency may not manifest itself for a while, due to its ability to be stored by the liver. However Vegans need to ensure that they are getting B12 in their diet, usually in the form of fortified foods.
Similar to Vitamin B12, Biotin requires a specific transport molecule for its absorption. There is a significant relationship with Biotin and fatty acids, and deficiency can exhibit as seborrheic dermatitis. Intestinal bacteria plays a role in the production of Biotin but excess animal products and low vegetables and fruit in the diet can easily disrupt this. Biotin, as well as playing a major role in healthy hair and nails, plays an important role in energy metabolism. metabolism of fat, protein and sugars, bone marrow and sex glands
Sources: soy beans, bulgar wheat, cashews, oats, peanuts, wholegrain cereals, rice polish, peanuts, walnuts yeast
Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid
Plays an important role as an antioxidant, particularly with lipids. It helps form strong connective tissues and plays a significant role in wound healing. Improves gum health and reduces bruising. Plays a significant role in regenerating Vitamin E. The Vitamin C content of food declines once they have been picked and are best eaten fresh. Stress can lead to the excretion of Vitamin C. Has Antiseptic properties. Is an Antioxidant. Involved in Energy metabolism, Maintenance of cell membranes, adrenals and ovaries. Promotes healing. Helps the body absorb iron from food.
Sources: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, peppers, potatoes, raw cabbage, sweet potatoes, cauliflower blackcurrant, citrus fruit, guava, pawpaw, pineapple, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, berries sprouted seeds and grain aloe vera juice, rose-hip.
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