What is Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid / Folate
Folic Acid (man-made) or Folate (found naturally in foods) is a water soluble B complex Vitamin, and as with all water soluble vitamins it is not stored in the human body and must be replenished on a daily basis. Deriving its name from the Latin ‘leaf’, it is found mainly in leafy vegetables.
Folic Acid is important to the human body as it synthesizes and repairs our DNA, and as a cofactor in our biological functions, primarily in cell division and our growth. It is especially important in infancy and during pregnancy to aid in the healthy production of red blood cells and in preventing a deficiency in red blood cells, known as anemia.
According to a study, published in The Lancet, Folic Acid supplementation aids in such brain functions as memory and information processing speed.
Naturally, Vitamin B9 (Folate) is found in leafy vegetables; spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, asparagus, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and lettuce. Lentils (beans), citrus fruits, sunflower seeds are, also, good sources.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a directive released in March 1996 mandated that, by January 1998, all flour and grain products labeled as “enriched” would contain folic acid, such foods would be cereals, rice and all flours. Each serving of these “enriched” foods would contain 100mcg of Folic Acid.
Daily Recommended Intake
- Infants 0 – 6 months: 65 mcg (adequate intake)
- Infants 7 – 12 months: 80 mcg (adequate intake)
- Children 1 – 3 years: 150 mcg
- Children 4 – 8 years: 200 mcg
- Children 9 – 13 years: 300 mcg
- Teens 14 – 18 years: 400 mcg
- 19 years and older: 400 mcg
- Pregnant women: 600 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 500 mcg
Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid / Folate) each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin, which usually contains 400mcg of Folic Acid, you will be ingesting a sufficient amount for your daily recommended intake.
The Teratology Society recommends all women who are capable of having babies should take 0.4mg folic acid, or make sure they consume enough fortified cereal grain products to reach 0.4mg of folic acid per day.
PLOS Medicine, a peer review online journal, wrote in 2009 that females who take folic acid supplements for at least 12 months before becoming pregnant could cut their risk of having a premature baby by about half.
The following are potential signs of Vitamin B9 deficiency: anemia, confusion, diarrhea, depression, glossitis and fetal neural tube defects and brain defects (during pregnancy). Alcohol consumption accelerates Vitamin B9 deficiency.
Toxicity from Vitamin B9 are low risk, as it is water-soluble and regularly removed from our body through our urine. High doses, over 1000mcg, may hide Vitamin B12 defiency diagnosis.
Other Potential Benefits
May lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, may reduce potential defects in sperm, may reduce depression and age-related macular degeneration, may, also, reduce chances of malaria in children under the age of 5.
What is Vitamin B7 – Biotin
Biotin is a water soluble complex B vitamin, also know as Vitamin H (from the German for hair – Haar) and coenzyme R. As with all water-soluble vitamins it is not stored in the body, and must be replaced on a daily basis.
Biotin is a part of many of our bodies natural processes, and is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids (the bodies building blocks). It is a vitamin important in the conversion of carbohydrates in to energy.
Biotin assists in various metabolic reactions involving the transfer of carbon dioxide, which is important for the regulation of the bloods pH, it, also, helps in maintaining a steady blood sugar level.
Furthermore, Biotin is important for normal embryonic growth, making it a critical nutrient during pregnancy. Eating more of the foods that contain Biotin during pregnancy and while breast-feeding is the best way to more biotin.
Biotin is found in liver, pork, salmon, sardines, avocado, swiss chard, raspberries, and raw cauliflower, in legumes such as beans and blackeye peas, in whole grains, bananas and mushrooms. Nuts are, also, a good source of biotin, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.
Biotin may, also, be found in cooked eggs, particulary egg yolks.
Finally, biotin is naturally produced in our intestines via the bacteria that naturally occurs there, making it easier for us to maintain our biotin levels.
Avoiding raw egg whites is a key to maintaining Biotin levels in the body, raw egg whites contain avidin, a substance that counters the effects of biotin
Recommended Daily Intake
- Infants birth – 6 months: 5 mcg
- Infants 7 – 12 months: 6 mcg
- Children 1 – 3 years: 8 mcg
- Children 4 – 8 years: 12 mcg
- Children 9 – 13 years: 20 mcg
- Adolescents 14 – 18 years: 25 mcg
- 19 years and older: 30 mcg
- Pregnant women: 30 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 35 mcg
Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Vitamin B7 (Biotin) each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.
Biotin is often recommended as a dietary supplement for strengthening hair and nails, though there is minimal scientific data to support this. Nevertheless, biotin is found in many cosmetics and health products for the hair and skin.
Incidence of Vitamin B7 deficiency is rare. Some symptoms are hair loss, dry scaly skin and eyes, cracking in the corners of the mouth (called cheilitis), swollen and painful tongue that is magenta in color (glossitis), loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, and depression. People who have been on parenteral nutrition — nutrition given through an IV — for a long period of time, those taking antiseizure medication or antibiotics long-term, and people with conditions like Crohn’s disease that make it hard to absorb nutrients are more likely to be deficient in biotin.
Animal studies have indicated few, if any, effects due to high level doses of biotin.
What is Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine?
Pyridoxine is a water-soluble B complex vitamin, there are many forms of Vitamin B6, Pyridoxal Phosphate (PLP) being the active form. Pyridoxine is a non-protein that is bound to a protein, it is known as a ‘helper molecule’ and is required for the protein’s biological activity.
Vitamin B6 is a molecule(s) that is found in most every chemical aspect in our bodies and is important for over 100 enzymatic processes. Our protein building blocks (amino acids) require it for synthesis, as does our DNA for it’s creation and regeneration.
Some of our bodies basic requirements that need Vitamin B6 are for the processing of carbohydrates for energy, as a neurotransmitter for our nervous system, for hormonal balance, for elimination of toxic waste and to help prevent unwanted inflammation in our bodies.
Good sources of Vitamin B6 include meats, whole grain products, vegetables, nuts and bananas.
Most every type of processing decreases the availability of Vitamin B6, some up to 70%. Cooking and storage will, also, decrease the availability, so eating fresh and quick cooked foods are the best ways to get your Vitamin B6.
Recommended Daily Intake
- 0-6 months: 100 micrograms
- 6-12 months: 300 micrograms
- 1-3 years: 500 micrograms
- 4-8 years: 600 micrograms
- Males 9-13 years: 1.0 milligram
- Males 14-50 years: 1.3 milligrams
- Males 51 years and older: 1.7 milligrams
- Females 9-13 years: 1.0 milligram
- Females 14-50: 1.2 milligrams
- Females 51 years and older: 1.5 milligrams
- Pregnant females of any age: 1.9 milligrams
- Lactating females of any age: 2.0 milligrams
Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Vitamin B6 each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.
The primary sign of a Vitamin B6 deficiency is seborrhea (“seborrheic eczema”), an inflammatory skin disorder affecting the scalp, face, and torso. Typically, seborrheic dermatitis causes scaly, flaky, itchy, and red skin. Other deficiences in adults are effects to the peripheral nerves, skin, mucous membranes, and the circulatory (blood cell) system. In children, the central nervous system (CNS) may be effected. Deficiency can occur in people with uremia, alcoholism, cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption syndromes, and congestive heart failure (CHF), and in those taking certain medications.
Mild deficiency of vitamin B6 is common, primarily in underdeveloped countries.
There are no documented cases of Vitamin B6 toxicity for food ingestion. Whereas doses of pyridoxine in excess of the RDI over long periods of time result in painful and ultimately irreversible neurological problems.
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What is Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid
By: Robert J Banach | Sept. 2, 2013
Pantothenic Acid is an essential nutrient for humans, it is required to synthesize coenzyme-A (CoA), it is, also, important in metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates for energy, and insures the production of healthy fat in the body.
Pantothenic Acid is critical to the manufacture of red blood cells, as well as sex and stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands. Also, it is important in maintaining a healthy digestive tract, and it helps the body use other vitamins, particularly B2 (Riboflavin). It is sometimes called the “anti-stress” vitamin, though there is no real evidence whether it helps the body withstand stress.
Other Possible Benefits (Current Studies)
- May help reduce triglycerides, or fats, in the blood in people who have high cholesterol. In some of these studies, pantethine has also helped lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
- May speed wound healing, especially following surgery. This may be particularly true if vitamin B5 is combined with vitamin C.
- May help with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but the evidence is weak.
Most foods are sources of Pantothenic Acid, and it is thought that the human body may even produce its own.
Foods high in Pantothenic Acid are:
Avocados | Brocolli | Meats | Whole Grains | Mushrooms | Sweet Potatoes | Cold water fish ovaries | Royal Jelly
Recommended Daily Intake
- Infants birth – 6 months: 1.7 mg
- Infants 7 months – 1 year: 1.8 mg
- Children 1 – 3 years: 2 mg
- Children 4 – 8 years: 3 mg
- Children 9 – 13 years: 4 mg
- Teens 14 – 18 years: 5 mg
- 19 years and older: 5 mg
- Pregnant women: 6 mg
- Breastfeeding women: 7 mg
Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Pantothenic Acid each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.
Note: Taking too much Pantothenic Acid will cause diarrhea, eating a healthy diet is the key.
As Pantothenic Acid helps in the release of energy, a deficiency causes lethargy, fatigue, listlessness and sensations of weakness.
What is Vitamin B4 – Adenine?
By: Robert J Banach | Sept. 2, 2013
Well, first off, Adenine is no longer considered a true vitamin, so it is no longer a part of the Vitamin B complex. The important thing to know is that it is still essential to your well-being, as Adenine binds with other chemical components in our RNA and DNA.
So, if it is not a vitamin, what is it?
Adenine is one of four chemical bases in DNA. Within the DNA molecule, adenine bases located on one strand form chemical bonds with thymine bases on the opposite strand. The sequence of four DNA bases encodes the cell’s genetic instructions.
A form of adenine called ATP serves as an energy storage molecule and is used to power many chemical reactions within the cell. The cellular respiration are metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into ATP, one of the key ways a cell gains useful energy to fuel cellular activity.
Sources of Adenine
Adenine is biologically synthesized in our bodies.
Recommended Daily Intake
From an article from NASA, ‘NASA Researchers: DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space’
NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives support to the theory that a “kit” of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life.
The researchers have found adenine and guanine, they are part of the code that tells the cellular machinery which proteins to make, in meteorites.
What is Vitamin B3 – Niacin
By: Robert J Banach | Sept. 1, 2013
Vitamin B3 is one of 8 B vitamins, it is known as Niacin (nicotinic acid).
All B vitamins help the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, help the body use fats and proteins. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver and to maintain nervous system functionality.
In particular, Niacin helps the body make various sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body, it is important in improving circulation and as a cholesterol treatment there is strong evidence that it boosts HDL, the good cholesterol, and assists in lowering triglycerides.
As a treatment plan for HDL, it must be taken in high doses, and could be detrimental to one’s health, thus must be taken under your medical practitioners supervision.
Niacin is important for our DNA as it assists in its production, and a deficiency is thought to be the cause of some cancers.
Other possible benefits of Niacin are to help reduce atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes, research is ongoing.
Sources of Niacin
Excellent sources of Niacin include chicken, turkey, lamb, grass-fed beef, tuna, salmon, sardines, spelt, swordfish, sunflower seeds, peanuts, crimini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and asparagus.
Bread and cereals are usually fortified with niacin, and foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid the body coverts into niacin, include poultry, red meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Recommended Daily Intake
- Children: between 2-16 milligrams daily, depending on age
- Men: 16 milligrams daily
- Women: 14 milligrams daily
- Women (pregnant): 18 milligrams daily
- Women (breastfeeding): 17 milligrams daily
NOTE: Maximum daily intake for adults of all ages: 35 milligrams daily
Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Niacin each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.
Higher doses for treatment of HDL should only be taken under the supervision of your medical practitioner.
Also, as higher doses of Niacin may react with medications, again, consult your medical practitioner.
Niacin deficiency may affect your energy production causing general weakness, muscular weakness and lack of appetite. Skin infections and digestive problems can also be associated with niacin deficiency.
What is Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin?
By: Robert J Banach | August 30, 2013
Riboflavin (vitamin B 2) is needed by humans and animals to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is important for body growth, red blood cell production, releasing energy from carbohydrates, and makes it possible for oxygen to be used by your body.
Sources of Riboflavin
Milk, cheese, leaf vegetables, liver, kidneys, legumes, yeast, mushrooms, and almonds.
It is, also, added to many processed foods, such as baby foods, breakfast cereals, pastas, sauces, processed cheese, fruit drinks, vitamin-enriched milk products, and some energy drinks.
Recommended Daily Intake
- 0 – 6 months: 0.3* milligrams per day (mg/day)
- 7 – 12 months: 0.4* mg/day
- 1 – 3 years: 0.5 mg/day
- 4 – 8 years: 0.6 mg/day
- 9 – 13 years: 0.9 mg/day
Adolescents and Adults
- Males age 14 and older: 1.3 mg/day
- Females age 14 to 18 years: 1.0 mg/day
- Females age 19 and older: 1.1 mg/day
- Pregnant and lactating femals: 1.4-1.6 mg/day
Note: Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin and is expelled through our urine and sweat, as such it must be replenished on a daily basis.
Most people, with a relatively healthy diet, consume sufficient Riboflavin each day to meet their daily recommended intake. If you are taking any type of multi-vitamin you will be ingesting more than your daily recommended intake.
Taken orally there is very little, to no, chance of Riboflavin toxicity as it has low-solubility level.
Signs of Riboflavin deficiency include anemia, mouth or lip sores, skin disorders, sore throat and swelling of mucus membranes.
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What is Vitamin B1?
By: Robert J Banach | August 30, 2013
Thiamine, known as Vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin of the vitamin B complex, that is necessary for all living organisms. It is synthesized only in bacteria, fungi, and plants, so all animals must obtain it from their diet.
We can find the highest concentrations of edible Vitamin B1 in pork, yeast and yeast extracts. More sources of Vitamin B1 are oatmeal, flax, and sunflower seeds, brown rice, whole grain rye, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver (beef, pork, and chicken), and eggs.
NOTE: We say ‘whole grain’ as processed grains decrease the availability of Vitamin B1 by roughly 90%, or basically to nothing.
Vitamin B1 Deficiency Can Be Deadly
A deficiency of Vitamin B1 causes Korsakoff’s syndrome, optic neuropathy, and a disease called beriberi that affects the peripheral nervous system (polyneuritis) and/or the cardiovascular system. Thiamine deficiency has a potentially fatal outcome if it remains untreated. In less severe cases, nonspecific signs include malaise, weight loss, irritability and confusion.
Best Way To Prepare Foods With Vitamin B1
Thiamine is unstable to heat, but stable during frozen storage (though under 6 months of cold storage is recommended). Thiamine can be lost or destroyed in foods when they are cooked, especially if they have long cooking times or are cooked in large amounts of water. Since many thiamine sources don’t need to be cooked, this is not a major concern.
Do I Need A Vitamin B1?
Most people are getting sufficient Vitamin B1 in their diets, and if they are taking most any type of multi-vitamin no additional supplementation of Vitamin B1 is necessary.
Additional Sources of Information
- Family, Youth & Community Services | Univ. of Florida
- EatRight.org | Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- US Government Nutrition Website
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Mercury Rising, Where Should We Get Our Fish?
Lead author Joel Blum, an environmental scientist at University of Michigan, states “Cleaning up our own shorelines is not going to be enough. This is a global atmospheric problem.”
According to Gerald Don Wootan in his book, “Detox Diets For Dummies“, natural removal of mercury by the body is slow. Therefore, it is important to eat foods such as free-range meats and organic vegetables, and ingest herbs including licorice and bladderwrack, which increase mercury detoxification.
Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth for humans. Just one one-thousandth of a gram can cause toxic reactions, and yet hundreds of tons of mercury are released into the environment every year.
Your support for helping the cause to cut Mercury emissions is crucial (see Zero Mercury Working Group), but in the meantime…
How can we eat fish with the least risk of consuming Mercury?
Guideline number one is to stay away from predatory fish, fish that are feeding on other fish and the organic matter that is sinking to the ocean’s floors.
Fish that are the highest in Mercury and should be avoided are Mackerel (King), Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish and Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi). (US FDA)
Fish that can be enjoyed, that are potentially the least contaminated, are:
Anchovies, Butterfish, Catfish, Clam, Crab (Domestic), Crawfish/Crayfish, Croaker (Atlantic) , Flounder, Haddock (Atlantic), Hake, Herring, Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub), Mullet, Oyster, Perch (Ocean), Plaice, Pollock, Salmon (Canned), Salmon (Fresh), Sardine, Scallop, Shad (American), Shrimp, Sole (Pacific), Squid (Calamari), Tilapia, Trout (Freshwater), Whitefish and Whiting. (NRDC)
For fish not listed above visit the National Resource Defense Council’s website Mercury in Fish page or the FDA’s Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2010) report.
How to Buy Fish
The USDA requires all fish to carry a label stating if it’s wild-caught or farm-raised and identifying its country of origin.
Look for “Frozen-at-Sea” (FAS) fish that has been flash-frozen at extremely low temperatures in as little as three seconds onboard the ship. When thawed, sea-frozen fish are almost indistinguishable from fresh fish, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
It is highly recommended that you look to wild-caught fish that are on the recommended list of fish to eat. The potential for contaminants and the foods that are fed to farm-raised fish can be detrimental, and potentially expose you to food you may be intolerant to.
Best Ways to Prepare Fish
More delicate than meat, fish can dry out easily. To keep moisture in, cook fish quickly over high heat (grilling, broiling, or sauteing) or gently poach it in liquid.