Chapter 8 the vitamins
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Chapter 8: The Vitamins. Vitamins. Essential organic substances Yield no energy, but facilitate energy-yielding chemical reactions If absent from a diet, it will produce deficiency signs and symptoms. Function of Vitamins. Coenzyme Antioxidant Structure and formation of tissue. RDA’S.

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Vitamins l.jpg

  • Essential organic substances

  • Yield no energy, but facilitate energy-yielding chemical reactions

  • If absent from a diet, it will produce deficiency signs and symptoms

Function of vitamins l.jpg
Function of Vitamins

  • Coenzyme

  • Antioxidant

  • Structure and formation of tissue

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  • Recommended Dietary Allowances

  • Established for Average, HEALTHY Populations

  • Set higher than actual needs so most could meet needs by only consuming only 75% of RDA

  • What about taking more than RDA?

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Fun Facts

  • Named in order of discovery

  • Plant and animal foods provide vitamins

  • Scientists believe they have discovered all the vitamins

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  • Fat Soluble

    • A, D, E, K

  • Water Soluble

    • C

    • B’s - B1, B2, B3, B6, B12

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Fat-Soluble Vitamins Overview

  • Dissolve in organic solvents

  • Not readily excreted; can cause toxicity

  • Absorbed along with fat

  • Concern for people with fat malabsorption

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Vitamin A

  • Deficiency is most common cause of non-accidental blindness

  • Preformed

    • Retinoids

    • Found in animal products

  • Proformed

    • Carotenoids

    • Found in plant products

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Functions of Vitamin A

  • Night blindness

  • Cell health

  • Growth, development, reproduction

  • Cardiovascular disease prevention

  • Cancer prevention

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Vitamin A and Your Skin

  • Topical treatment and oral drug

  • Accutane (oral) and Retin-A (topical)

  • Can induce toxicity symptoms

  • Not recommended for pregnant women

  • Use only under supervision of a physician

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Deficiency of Vitamin A

  • Night blindness

  • Irreversible blindness

  • Follicular hyperkeratosis

  • Bumpy, rough, and dry, flaky skin

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Who is at Risk For Deficiency

  • Breast fed infants

  • Those with poor vegetable intake

  • Urban poor and the Elderly

  • Alcoholics and people with liver disease


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Toxicity of Vitamin A

  • Large intake of vitamin A over a long period

  • Bone/muscle pain, loss of appetite, skin disorders, headache, dry skin, hair loss, increased liver size, vomiting

  • Spontaneous abortion, birth defects

  • May occur with as little as 3 x RDA of preformed vitamin A

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Toxicity of Carotenoids

High amounts of carotenoids in the bloodstream

  • Excessive consumption of carrots/squash/beta-carotene supplements

  • Skin turns a yellow-orange color

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Vitamin D

  • Prohormone

  • Derived from cholesterol

  • Synthesized in skin with adequate sun exposure for Caucasians and other light skinned races

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Functions of Vitamin D

  • Regulates blood calcium

  • Influences cell differentiation

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Vitamin D causes Ca + Phos to deposit in the bones

Strengthen bones

Rickets- children

Osteomalacia (soft bone) is rickets in the adult

Role in Bone Formation

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Food Sources of Vitamin D

  • Fatty fish (salmon, herring)

  • Fortified milk

  • Some fortified cereal

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5 ug/d (200 IU/day) for adults under age 51

10-15 ug/day (400 - 600 IU/day) for older Americans

Infant are born with enough vitamin D to last ~9 months of age.

The Adequate Intake (AI) for Vitamin D

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Toxicity Warning

  • Vitamin D can be very toxic

  • Regular intake of 5-10x the AI can be toxic

  • Result from excess supplementation (not from sun exposure or milk consumption)

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Vitamin E

  • Fat-soluble antioxidant

  • Resides mostly on cell membranes

  • Protects the cell from attack by free radicals

  • Protects PUFAs within the cell membrane and plasma lipoproteins

  • Prevents the alteration of cell’s DNA and risk for cancer development

  • Prevention of ischemic heart disease

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The More The Better?

  • Vitamin E is only one of many antioxidants

  • It is likely that the combination of antioxidants is more effective

  • Diversify your antioxidant intake with a balanced and varied diet

  • Megadose of one antioxidant may interfere with the action of another

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Food Sources of Vitamin E

  • Plant oils

  • Wheat germ

  • Asparagus

  • Peanuts

  • Margarine

  • Nuts and seeds

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RDA for Vitamin E

  • 15 mg/day for women and men

  • (=22 IU of natural source or 33 IU of synthetic form)

  • Average intake meets RDA

    1 mg d--tocopherol = 0.45 IU (synthetic source)

    1 mg d--tocopherol = 0.67 IU (natural sources)

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Deficiency of Vitamin E

  • Hemolytic anemia

  • Rare

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Toxicity of Vitamin E

  • Inhibit vitamin K metabolism and anticoagulants

  • Possible hemorrhage

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Vitamin K (“Koagulation”)

  • Synthesized by the bacteria in the colon and are absorbed

  • Role in the coagulation process

  • Calcium-binding potential

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Drugs and Vitamin K

  • Anticoagulant

    • Lessens blood clotting process

  • Antibiotics

    • Destroy intestinal bacteria

    • Inhibit vitamin K synthesis and absorption

    • Potential for excessive bleeding

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Food Sources of Vitamin K

  • Liver

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Broccoli

  • Peas

  • Green beans

  • Resistant to cooking losses

  • Limited vitamin K stored in the body

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Overview of Water-Soluble Vitamins

  • Dissolve in water

  • Generally readily excreted

  • Subject to cooking losses

  • Function as a coenzyme

  • Participate in energy metabolism

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Enrichment Act of 1941 and 1998

  • Many nutrients lost through milling process of grains

  • Grain/cereal products are enriched

  • Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron

  • Enriched grains still deficient in B-6, magnesium and zinc

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Thiamin B1

  • Coenzyme

  • CHO metabolism

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Deficiency of Thiamin


  • Weakness, nerve degeneration, irritability, poor arm/leg coordination, loss of nerve transmission

  • Edema, enlarge heart, heart failure

  • Occurs where polished rice is the only staple

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Food Sources of Thiamin

  • Wide variety of food

  • White bread, pork, hot dogs, luncheon meat, cold cereal

  • Enriched grains/ whole grains

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RDA For Thiamin

  • 1.1 mg/day for women

  • 1.2 mg/day for men

  • Most exceed RDA in diet

  • Surplus is rapidly lost in urine; non toxic

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Riboflavin B2

  • Coenzymes

  • Participate in many energy-yielding metabolic pathways

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Deficiency of Riboflavin

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis

  • Dermatitis around noses

  • Cracked lips, tongue

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Food Sources of Riboflavin

  • Milk/products

  • Enriched grains

  • Liver

  • Oyster

  • Brewer’s yeast

  • Sensitive to uv radiation (sunlight)

  • Stored in paper, opaque plastic containers

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RDA for Riboflavin

  • 1.1 mg/day for women

  • 1.3 mg/day for men

  • Average intake is above RDA

  • Toxicity not documented

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Niacin B3

  • Coenzyme

  • Metabolize CHO, Protein, Fat

  • Tissue respiration

    • Exchange of O2 and CO2

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Deficiency of Niacin

  • Pellagra

    • 3 Ds

    • Occurs in 50-60 days

    • Decrease appetite & weight

  • Prevented with an adequate protein diet

  • Enrichment Act of 1941

  • Only dietary deficiency disease to reach epidemic proportions in the U.S.

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Food Sources of Niacin

  • Enriched grains

  • Beef, chicken, turkey, fish

  • 60mg tryptophan can be converted into 1 mg niacin

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RDA for Niacin

  • 14 (mg) NE/day for women

  • 16 (mg) NE/day for men

  • Upper Level is 35 mg

  • Toxicity S/S: headache, itching, flushing, liver and GI damage

  • Megadose can lower LDL and TG and increase HDL

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Pantothenic Acid

  • Essential for metabolism of CHO, fat, protein

  • Deficiency rare

  • Usually in combination with other deficiencies

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  • Metabolism of CHO and fat

  • Help break down certain amino acids

  • DNA synthesis

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Vitamin B-6

  • Coenzyme

  • Activate enzymes needed for metabolism of CHO, fat , protein

  • Synthesize nonessential amino acid

  • Synthesize neurotransmitters

  • Synthesize hemoglobin and WBC

  • Reduces Homocysteine levels

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Food Sources of Vitamin B-6

  • Meat, fish, poultry

  • Whole grains (not enriched back)

  • Banana

  • Spinach

  • Avocado

  • Potato

  • Heat sensitive

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RDA for Vitamin B-6

  • 1.3 mg/day for adults

  • 1.7 mg/day for men over 50

  • 1.5 mg/day for women over 50

  • Daily Value set at 2 mg

  • Average intake is more than the RDA

  • Athletes may need more

  • Alcohol destroys vitamin B6

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B-6 As A Medicine?

  • PMS

    • B-6 to increase the level of serotonin

    • Not a reliable treatment

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Toxicity potential

  • Can lead to irreversible nerve damage with > 200 mg/day

  • Upper Level set at 100 mg/day

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  • Coenzyme

  • DNA synthesis

  • Homocysteine metabolism

  • Neurotransmitter formation

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Deficiency of Folate

  • Similar signs and symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency

  • Pregnant women

  • Alcoholics

  • Megaloblastic Anemia

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Neural Tube Defects

  • Spina bifida

  • Anencephaly

  • Importance of folate before and during pregnancy

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Food Sources of Folate

  • Liver

  • Fortified breakfast cereals

  • Grains, legumes

  • Foliage vegetables

  • Susceptible to heat, oxidation, ultraviolet light

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RDA for Folate

  • 400 ug/day for adults

  • (600 ug/day for pregnant women)

  • Average intake below RDA

  • FDA limits nonprescription supplements to 400 ug per tablet for non-pregnant adults

  • OTC Prenatal supplement contains 800 ug

  • Excess can mask vitamin B-12 deficiency

  • Upper Level set at 1 mg

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Vitamin B-12

  • Role in folate metabolism

  • Maintenance of the myelin sheaths

  • RBC formation

  • Pernicious anemia (associated with nerve degeneration and paralysis)

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Deficiency of Vitamin B-12

  • Pernicious anemia

    • Never degeneration, weakness

    • Tingling/numbness in the extremities (parasthesia)

    • Paralysis and death

    • Looks like folate deficiency

  • Usually due to decreased absorption ability

  • Alzhiemer’s like symptoms in elderly

  • Injection of B-12 needed

  • Takes ~20 years on a deficient diet to see nerve destruction

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Synthesized by bacteria, fungi and algae

(Stored primarily in the liver)

Animal products

Organ meat



Hot dogs


Food Sources of Vitamin B-12

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RDA for Vitamin B-12

  • 2.4 ug/ day for adults and elderly adults

  • Average intake exceeds RDA

  • B-12 stored in the liver

  • Non-toxic

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Vitamin C

  • Synthesized by most animals (not by human)

  • Decrease absorption with high intakes

  • Excess excreted

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Functions of Vitamin C

  • Reducing agent (antioxidant)

  • Iron absorption

  • Synthesis of collagen

  • Immune functions

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  • Can donate and accept hydrogen atoms readily

  • Needs are higher for smokers

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Deficient for 20-40 days

Fatigue, pinpoint hemorrhages

Bleeding gums and joints. Hemorrhages

Associated with poverty

Deficiency of Vitamin C

  • Depressed Immune

  • Cuts don’t heal quickly

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Citrus fruit


Green pepper




Romaine lettuce


Easily lost through cooking

Sensitive to heat

Sensitive to iron, copper, oxygen

Food Sources of Vitamin C

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RDA for Vitamin C

  • 90 mg/day for male adults

  • 75 mg/day for female adults

  • +35 mg/day for smokers

  • Average intake ~72 mg/day

  • Fairly nontoxic (at <1 gm)

  • Upper Level is 2 g/day

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  • Newest essential nutrient

  • All tissues contain choline

  • Precursor for acetylcholine (neurotransmitter)

  • Precursor for phospholipids

  • Some role in homocysteine metabolism

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Food Sources of Choline

  • Widely distributed

  • Milk

  • Liver

  • Eggs

  • Peanuts

  • Lecithin added to food

  • Deficiency rare

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Needs for Choline

  • Adequate Intake is 550 mg/day for adult males

  • Adequate Intake is 425 mg/day for adult females

  • Normal consumption is ~700-1000 mg/day

  • High doses associated with fishy body odor, vomiting, salivation, sweating, hypotension, GI effects

  • Upper Level is set at 3.5 g/day (3500 mg/day)

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Vitamin Supplement?

  • Myths

  • Insurance

  • What to buy

  • Overdose vs Megadose

  • Synergistic Effect

  • Phytochemicals

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Food Guide Pyramid

  • Grains

    • Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin

  • Veggies

    • Vit A, K, C and Folate

  • Dairy

    • Vit D, B12 and Riboflavin

  • Meat, Fish, Eggs, Legumes

    • Thiamin, Riboflavin, Biotin and Vit B6, B12

  • Fats, Sweets, Oils

    • Vit E

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Role of Diet on Cancer Risks

  • Excessive intake of calories increases the risk of cancer

  • Excessive body fat affect sex hormone production

  • High intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk

  • High intake of meats and protein is associated with higher risk

  • Excessive alcohol increases the risk

  • Excessive charcoal broiling increases risk

  • Nitrosamines (from nitrite) increases risk

  • Mycotoxins (from fungi) increases risk

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Fat and Cancer

  • The National Academy of Sciences recommend 30% of total calories from fat

  • Excessive intake is a likely cause of growth of cancerous cells

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Recommendations to Reduce the Risk for Cancer

  • Remain physically active

  • Avoid obesity

  • Engage in physical training that promotes lean muscle mass

  • Consume abundance of fruits and vegetables

  • Consume plenty of low-fat/nonfat dairy products

  • Avoid high intakes of red meat and animal fat

  • Avoid excessive alcohol

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Warning Signs

  • Early detection is critical

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • A change in bowel or bladder habits

  • A sore that does not heal

  • Unusual bleeding or discharge

  • A thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere

  • Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing

  • An obvious change in a wart or a mole

  • A nagging cough or hoarseness