Vitamin Supplements

With today’s processed foods, do we really need to take multivitamin pills for good health?

Enthusiasm for enormous quantities of vitamins is sweeping the Western world. Instead of taking the normally accepted amounts of vital vitamins each day, exponents of “multivitamin therapy” consume hundreds of times the daily recommended allowance.

For example, instead of finding an orange (which contains about 60mg of vitamin C) adequate for their daily needs, they will consume anywhere from 1,000 to 15,000mg a day.

Taking massive doses may be a disadvantage. But, daily intake of sensible amounts of vitamins is essential for good health. A person eating a sensible, balanced diet including fruit, fresh vegetables (greens, yellows, reds) will automatically gain a bountiful supply of the necessary vitamins. Also, getting adequate amounts of sunlight is also necessary.

  • The aged may need supplementary vitamins. Often their diet is severely limited, consisting of endless cups of sugared tea and bread, with little else.
  • Convalescing patients may require added supplies, and so may some children and infants. People on special diets (including those endeavoring to lose weight and reducing their normal food intake), may also require extra vitamin supplies.
  • Alcoholics definitely need increased intake of the vitamin B group.

The so-called “fat-soluble” vitamins readily dissolve in fat and are stored in the body’s fat tissue. These include vitamins A, D, E, K.

The water-soluble ones include the vitamin B complex and vitamin C. Excessive intake of the water soluble vitamins is usually offset by excretion in the urine of amounts not required by the body.

The fat soluble ones cannot be eliminated so readily, and may be trouble makers.

Here are the essential vitamins, and some information about them.

Vitamin A (Carotene)

Uses

  • Helps the body grow.
  • Protects against infections.
  • Helps the skin and mucous linings develop.

Side effects

  • Too little: Diseased eyes, dry scaly skin, damage to mucous linings, reduced growth, increased risk of infection.
  • Too much: Dry, cracked and scaly skin, painful bones, liver and spleen enlargement; jaundice, eyes affected, headaches.

Supplies

Main sources are:

  • cod liver oil
  • beef and pig liver
  • milk
  • egg yolk
  • spinach
  • carrots
  • tomato
  • apricots

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Uses

  • Enables the system to burn up sugars for energy.
  • Essential, enabling nerves, heart and gastric system to operate.

Side effects

  • Too little: Damage to nerves, including brain and peripheral nerves: bowel and muscle upsets, and cardiac disorders. May produce beriberi if excessive deficiency.
  • Too much: Excessive amounts are excreted via the urine. If given by injection, allergic reactions may occur.

Supplies

Commonly found in:

  • liver
  • kidneys
  • pork
  • beef heart
  • fish
  • milk
  • eggs
  • whole grain cereals
  • wholewheat bread
  • peas
  • tomato
  • spinach
  • pears
  • apricots
  • bananas
  • apples

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Uses

  • Needed in development of skin, eyes and mucous linings.
  • Needed for use of sugars and starches and protein.

Side effects

  • Too little: Development disorders, hearing and visual disorders, fatigue, skin damage, and defects of eyes and mouth lining, nose, scrotum and genital areas (which become inflamed).
  • Too much: As the vitamin dissolves rapidly in water, excesses are excreted via the urine.

Nicotinic Acid (Niacin, nicotinamide, vitamin B3)

Uses

  • Allows the system to use sugars, fats and protein.
  • Essential for blood production, and normal functioning of the nerves, skin and mucous linings.

Side effects

  • Too little: Deficiency disorders of the lining of the mouth and gastric system, nerve and skin disorders, and pellagra.
  • Too much: Excessive intake is usually excreted via the urine. If taken in tablet form, it may produce flushing and headaches, but not when included in normal food intake.

Supplies

Readily available in:

  • ox and lamb liver
  • beef and lamb kidney
  • beef or pork muscle
  • herring
  • milk
  • carrots
  • pumpkin
  • tomatoes and spinach
  • pears
  • apples
  • peaches and oranges
  • oats
  • wheat
  • rice and baker’s yeast

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Uses

  • Needed for using protein.
  • Essential for normal functioning of the liver, skin and nervous system, and for growth and blood formation.

Side effects

  • Too little: Developmental abnormalities may occur; lassitude, fatigue and lack of energy; skin eruptions and dental caries; depression and confusion; skin lesions, especially about the mouth, eyes, nose and tongue. Often useful in combating depression in women on the Pill, pregnancy, nausea or postoperatively.
  • Too much: Excessive amounts are excreted via the urine.

Supplies

  • beef and lamb liver
  • mutton
  • beef
  • ham
  • eggs
  • milk
  • cauliflower
  • peas
  • beans
  • fruit
  • wheat
  • rice
  • wheatgerm and brewer’s yeast

Pantothenic Acid

Uses

  • Helps food metabolism, functions of the skin, mucous linings and hair, the liver and endocrine glands.
  • Protects against infection.

Side effects

  • Too little: Growth disorders occur, hair loss, wounds heal slowly, abnormalities of the mouth and bowel linings, muscle weakness, “burning feet” and many related disorders.
  • Too much: Excessive amounts are quickly excreted in the urine.

Supplies

  • beef and pig liver
  • beef kidney
  • pork
  • mutton
  • egg yolk
  • milk
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • soy bean flour
  • fruit and wheat grain
  • wheatgerm and brewer’s yeast (dried)

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin)

Uses

  • Essential for normal blood production, normal nervous function and absorption of food from the bowel.

Side effects

  • Too little: Blood and nerve disorders. Regular B12 may remedy pernicious anemia.
  • Too much: Side effects are rare.

Supplies

  • beef and chicken liver
  • pork
  • veal
  • mutton
  • fresh fish

Folic Acid

Uses

  • Used in blood production and absorption of food from the bowel.

Side effects

  • Too little: Various anemias, and disorders indicating lack of normal food absorption from the bowel.
  • Too much: May precipitate a riboflavin deficiency. Nervous system disorders may also be precipitated.

Supplies

  • beef liver
  • kidneys
  • beef and pork
  • beef brains
  • carrots
  • asparagus juice
  • wheatgerm
  • yeast

Vitamin H (Biotin)

Uses

  • Nerve growth, use of sugars, blood formation and liver.

Side effects

  • Too little: Fatigue, dermatitis, nerve disorders, affects muscles and bowel system, and blood formation.

Supplies

  • beef and pig liver
  • beef muscle
  • egg yolk
  • human milk
  • cow milk
  • whey
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • dried beans and peas
  • potato
  • oats extract
  • roast groundnuts
  • chocolate
  • brewer’s yeast

Inositol

Uses

  • Bowel function, use of fat, muscle and hair growth, reproduction and lactation following childbirth.

Side effects

  • Too little: Liver, reproduction and lactation disorders.
  • Too much: Probably does not occur.

Supplies

  • beef liver
  • beef
  • chicken
  • ham
  • eggs
  • milk
  • powdered milk
  • potatoes
  • spinach
  • onions
  • beans
  • apples
  • strawberries
  • melons
  • peaches
  • oranges

Choline

Uses

  • Many functions including the production of other essential body chemicals, for “detoxification” (making poisons harmless in the system), fat metabolism, and liver function.

Side effects

  • Too little: Liver disorders, probably by lessening the body’s ability to render poisons harmless.

Supplies

  • Calf liver
  • lamb kidney
  • egg yolk
  • whole milk powder
  • mushrooms
  • ground nuts

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

Uses

  • Enables cells to work, producing energy and increasing efficiency.
  • Increased protection against infection.
  • Helps skin to develop.
  • Necessary in forming teeth, bone and blood cells, and sealing broken blood vessels.
  • May help avert viral infections.

Side effects

  • Too little: Fatigue and reduced efficiency, increased risk of infection and poisons. Reduces normal development and normal wound healing. Inflammation of mucous surfaces (gums and gastric lining), loose teeth and scurvy in adults.
  • Too much: Many claim excessive amounts are beneficial. Others state this may produce kidney stones, reduced fertility, scurvy (if high doses are suddenly stopped), clot formation, bone disorders, diabetes. Too much can cause diarrhea and bowel upsets.

Supplies

  • Lamb liver
  • human milk
  • peppers
  • tomato
  • parsley
  • rose hips
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • black currant
  • wheat
  • maize
  • oranges and lemons

Vitamin D (Calciferol)

Uses

  • Helps body growth, and needed for calcium and phosphorous metabolism.

Side effects

  • Too little: Rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Poor healing of bone breaks. Weak bones and growth disturbances.

Supplies

  • Cod liver oil
  • calf liver
  • egg yolk
  • milk

Vitamin E (Tocopherols)

Uses

  • Helping cells to breathe, fat and sugar usage, water conservation, producing connective tissue, reproduction.
  • Helps preserve vitamin A (increasing resistance).

Side effects

  • Too little: Rather vague and ill defined. Infection risk may increase. Habitual abortion and menstrual disorders. Anemia may occur in artificially fed low birth-weight babies. Many claims about vitamin E are unfounded.
  • Too much: Disorders of ovarian function in women and reduced sperm formation in males have been claimed.

Supplies

  • beef liver
  • beef
  • fish
  • milk
  • wheatgerm oil
  • soy bean oil
  • olive oil
  • wheatgerm
  • peas and parsley

Vitamin K

Uses

  • Essential for normal blood clotting and cell respiration.

Side effects

  • Too little: Increased risk of bleeding.
  • Too much: No known toxic effects.

Supplies

  • Beef liver
  • cod liver oil
  • beef
  • mutton
  • spinach
  • soy beans
  • rose hips
  • wheatgerm
  • stinging nettle leaves

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