Nutrition, Vitamins
The Party Girl's Guide to Vitamins | Nutrition Gone Wild

Vitamins Guide: What They Do and Where to Get Them

What are Vitamins? Why do you need them? Where do you get them?

You probably remember being a kid and having your parents or teachers reminding you that “YOU GOTTA GET YOUR VITAMINS if you wanna grow big and strong…”

But no one probably ever told you (and school sure didn’t teach you) what they are….

Which boggles my mind that we don’t teach our children in school about the nutrients your body needs, despite the fact that this is vital information to every person on the ENTIRE PLANET.

You have now reached adulthood and if you grew up in the United States, you probably managed to grow big and strong without knowing anything about vitamins (lucky us, vitamin deficiency rates are rather low in the U.S.)

As I have emphasized before in previous articles, I think it is of the utmost importance to know about what you are putting into your body. Vitamins perform so many different functions inside your body every day!

Wouldn’t you like to know what these vitamins do for you (or what happens when you don’t get enough)?

I thought so. 

This article is going to be divided into a couple of sections. First, I’m going to talk about the fat-soluble vitamins, which are the ones that get stored in the tissues of your body.

Don’t have time to read the whole post? (I know, it’s pretty long…) Pin it and save it for later:

Get the Skinny on Fat-Soluble Vitamins. 

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A little history for you…

Vitamins were discovered in 1912 by Dr. Casimir Funk when he found active properties in the husks of rice. This was just the beginning of discovering what exactly made us healthy.

Before this time, we knew that there was a connection between what we ate and health, but until the 20th century, no one knew what these properties were. In this time period, scientists were able to make connections between lack of vitamins and deficiency-related diseases. This was the birth of modern nutrition and set the scene for much of the research that has led us to what we know now.

 

Vitamin A

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Why do you need it?

Vitamin A is essential for the maintenance of your vision, a healthy immune system, and healthy skin. Luckily, less than 1% of Americans are deficient in vitamin A according to the CDC. Around the world, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness (affecting ⅓ of the children in the world) and increases the risk of childhood death.

Thanks to science we have been able to combat the problem with a food invention called golden rice. Golden rice is a rice product that has been modified to contain enough beta-carotene to help maintain recommended daily intakes among those in societies where rice is a staple food.

Beta-carotene is a “provitamin A carotenoid” which means it is converted into vitamin A in the body and consequently performs the same functions. If you read my Truth about Antioxidants article, you already know that beta-carotene is also an antioxidant.

The beauty of beta-carotene is its lack of upper limit on consumption. This means you can consume as much beta-carotene as you want and there would never be negative side effects, like with vitamin A’s other form, retinol.

 

So what does vitamin A do for your vision?

Vitamin A is a component of rhodopsin, which plays an 

important role in light absorption in the retina. It also plays a role in keeping your cornea from becoming dry and prevents macular degeneration.

What a crime would it be if you couldn’t treat your eyes to the beautiful vision that is Channing Tatum or even gaze upon your favorite acai bowl…

Channing Tatum

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In addition to its role in vision health, vitamin A contributes to healthy skin. If you have ever been to a dermatologist and been treated for acne, you may remember those creams you used being retinol based. Vitamin A promotes cell turnover in the skin, regulates oil production, and can effectively stop the formation of comedones that cause severe acne.

Some say that supplementing with beta-carotene helped clear their skin of acne, but be careful not to supplement with vitamin A, you can end up with toxic levels and essentially poison yourself. Vitamin A toxicity can cause liver, bone and kidney damage!

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of vitamin A (retinol form):

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Fish oils

Good Sources of vitamin A (Provitamin form):

  • Sweet potato
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kate
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peppers
  • Mango
  • Apricot

 

What about vitamin A and alcohol?

In chronic alcohol consumers, it appears that plasma levels of vitamin A, as well as liver stores, are depleted. No shock that alcohol would deplete vitamins stored in the liver

This deficiency can manifest itself as loss of night vision, thinning of the cornea, and eye dryness. Consider getting more beta-carotene into your diet if you find yourself at the bar often.

There does not appear to be any interactions between the consumption of alcohol and beta-carotene together.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D | Nutrition Gone Wild

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Why do you need it?

This isn’t the “D” your girlfriends are talking about when they tell you need to get your butt off the couch and to the bar…

This D is not found in many foods, and is responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc.

If vitamin D had a best friend, it would be calcium.

Vitamin D and calcium work together to ensure that you maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D is an essential component of bone health through its promotion of calcium absorption, maintenance of serum calcium levels, and assists in healthy mineralization of bone.

One of the ways that vitamin D helps calcium is through assistance in calcium gut absorption. Without calcitriol, a form of vitamin D, calcium cannot be fully absorbed into the bloodstream and the rate of calcium excretion would go unregulated. If your body cannot maintain adequate blood serum calcium levels, your body will resort to pulling calcium out of your bones (bone deterioration).

Imagine that this relationship is represented in terms of a nightclub.

A long line at a club means that it is cool and everyone wants to be there. But if no one is in the club, it is a terrible club to be hanging out at. So in order to keep everything in balanced order, the bouncer must keep enough people moving into the club as people leave, but he has to make sure his club promoters keep people lining up.

In this scenario, your body is the club, you are the club promoter, the club goers are calcium, and the bouncer is vitamin D. Balance among all parts is key.

 

Where do you get it?

Most of your vitamin D comes from the sun. Your skin absorbs the UV rays, and your skin makes the first form of vitamin D. However, it must be converted in the liver and then in the kidneys into a second and then final form (the active form) to be used in the body.

Seems simple enough? Not really.

Not everyone’s skin is efficient at making vitamin D. Those with more melanin (darker skin) and those who are older have a harder time making vitamin D. While those with darker skin have more natural protection from UV ray damage, they are unable to absorb enough UV to make enough vitamin D. Beyond biological issues, those living in places that have few sunny seasons, or those who spend much of their time working in offices may also suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Good sources of vitamin D:

  • The Sun (15 minutes per day if you are light skinned and young)
  • Mushrooms 
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Supplementation paired with calcium

 

What about vitamin D and alcohol?

While you may find yourself drinking out in the sun, chronic alcohol consumption can interfere with the activation of vitamin D. Since the final and active form of vitamin D is converted in the liver, many drinkers have low levels of active vitamin D in their body because their liver is too busy breaking down ethanol instead of activating vitamin D.

If you are drinking in excess often, you might want to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement to combat the potential for deficiency. Just make sure you ask your doctor first because Vitamin D supplements have been known to interact with certain medications. 

 

Vitamin E

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Why do you need it?

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals from damaging our cells and preventing the formation of reactive oxygen species when fat undergoes oxidation.

In other words, vitamin E is our soldier against aging, fighting off oxidation one cell at a time.

With its antioxidant properties, vitamin E has been shown to help maintain healthy hair, skin, nails, and cholesterol levels. The benefits of vitamin E can be hard to study since we know mostly about the benefits through the detrimental effects of deficiency (which is very rare).

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of vitamin E:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Asparagus
  • Peanuts

 

What about vitamin E and alcohol?

Vitamin E has an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system (ya know fighting all those free radicals an all). After a night (or a few nights) of heavy drinking, your immune system is weakened. Some research has shown that higher doses of vitamin E may help mitigate the stress put on immune cells caused by heavy drinking.

I am not suggesting you pile on the vitamin E supplements, but ensuring that you get enough vitamin E in your diet would really do you some good. 

 

Vitamin K

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Why do you need it?

Vitamin K is the godfather of the blood clotting world.

Vitamin K is a coenzyme required for the synthesis of blood clotting proteins and osteocalcin for bone building. A form of vitamin K is also made in the intestine.

Since it can be made in the gut, vitamin K deficiency is rare. Those with gastrointestinal problems and chronic drinkers can sometimes find themselves with deficiency symptoms. We will talk more about alcohol-related deficiency in just a minute.

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of vitamin K:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Asparagus

 

What about vitamin K and alcohol?

Alcohol interferes with the absorption of vitamin K. If you find yourself drinking often and eating poorly, many nights out can result in a plethora of bruises, a sign of deficiency.

Be sure to get enough vitamin K in a healthy diet and cut down on the booze. No one wants to look like a baseball bat was taken to their shins from some vitamin deficiency…

 

So what?

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Vitamins A, D, E, and K are not the only essential nutrients that our bodies need every day.

I have even more nutrients to talk about that help nourish your body, but getting to know your fat-soluble vitamins first is a good start.

Next, I’m going to focus on the water-soluble vitamins that unlike the fat-soluble vitamins, cannot be stored in the tissues of your body.

Let’s dive in!

 

Water-Soluble Vitamins (Part 1)

Water-Soluble Vitamins | Nutrition Gone Wild

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Since water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in the tissues of your body, not getting your daily intake is extremely detrimental to your health.

B-complex vitamins have many functions, but they all play a role in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose to fuel your body. But let’s check out what other things these awesome water-soluble vitamins do for your bod…

 

Vitamin C

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Why do you need it?

Vitamin C is essential for tissue repair and growth, helps produce collagen for healthy skin, aids in wound healing, assists in iron absorption, and acts as an antioxidant. Despite an abundance of vitamin C sources available from so many places, deficiency is more common in the first world than you would expect. In the United States, 15% of adults are vitamin C deficient, up from 3-5% about 30 years ago. Some experts believe that this is due to the rising rates of obesity and general decline in overall health related to poor diet in America.

With its antioxidant properties, vitamin C may also play a role in cardiovascular health.

Atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup, leads to heart disease. One study looking at vitamin C supplementation and plaque buildup found that with the addition of 250 mg of vitamin C daily decreased adhesion of monocytes (plaque) by 37%. The study also found that those who participated in the study with low vitamin C baseline levels had higher than normal adhesion rate.

Another study looking at vitamin C and cardiovascular health found that with adequate vitamin C systolic blood pressure dropped and HDL (good cholesterol) in the female subjects increased. When looking at obesity and vitamin C status, scientists have found a connection between low vitamin C levels with higher BMI, percentage body fat, and waist circumference.

Considering the possible connection between those who are overweight or obese and low vitamin C status, there may be a possible connection to weight loss struggles and a low intake of vitamin C. We do know that adequate intake of vitamin C increases body fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise.

Vitamin C may not cause weight loss, but it sure encourages the pathways to help with weight loss…

As we age, the collagen in our skin decreases, and we see this change in the form of wrinkles. In our fight against aging, vitamin C may be a viable option for preventing our faces from aging prematurely. A study looking at topical treatments has found that vitamin C topical creams help prevent the damage caused by UV ray exposure. Higher dietary intake of vitamin C has also been shown to improve the overall look of skin with a decrease in wrinkles, dryness, and roughness.

Vitamin C may as well be a component in the mythical fountain of youth. It is no miracle, but a lack of vitamin C is very detrimental to keep you looking and feeling young…

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Vitamin C

  • Bell peppers
  • Kale
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruit (lemon, lime, oranges, grapefruit)
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas

 

What about vitamin C and alcohol?

Vitamin C plays a role in reducing alcohol-related stress in the liver. Unfortunately, alcohol depletes any stores of vitamin C in the body. Alcohol also blocks the absorption of vitamin C, making it very difficult to maintain a healthy vitamin C status if you are a heavy drinker.

 

Folate (B9)

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Why do you need it?

In conjunction with vitamin B12, folate plays a role in forming red blood cells, mental health and repairing DNA. Due to folate’s role in cell division, it is also key in fetal brain development in early pregnancy (this is why the United States has added folate to all bread and cereal products via fortification). Beyond the pregnancy-related implications of folate fortification, since the implementation of the required folate enrichment in bread/cereal products in 1998, folate-related anemia has become virtually eliminated in the U.S.

Like vitamin C, folate has been shown to play a role in heart health.

High levels of the amino acid homocysteine have been linked to an increase in heart disease risk. Nutrients like folate have been shown to metabolize homocysteine. If you are deficient in folate, homocysteine levels will rise and can increase the risk of rising LDL (bad) cholesterol, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke.

While not an issue on the minds of younger people, folate may have a role in the prevention of dementia. While age is a large factor in the decrease in memory and cognitive functions, folic acid has been found to have a protective effect in the development of dementia. While you may only have trouble remembering what happened on Friday night right now, if you don’t get adequate folate, you may have trouble remembering a lot more later in life…  

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Folate (B9)

  • Beans (black, pinto, black eyed peas)
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Fortified breads/cereals

 

What about Folate (B9) and alcohol?

Alcohol interferes with folate metabolism and warrants chronic drinkers to supplement their folate intakes. A study looking at females who are heavy drinkers (>30g per day) were the highest at risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, most likely due to high homocysteine levels. This relationship was most apparent in women under the age of 60. Chronic disease risk was significantly decreased with the addition of folate supplementation.

 

Thiamine (B1)

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Why do you need it?

Thiamine is sometimes referred to as the “anti-stress” vitamin because of its role in the immune system, helping the body withstand stressful conditions. It also functions to help preserves the muscle tone of the intestine, promotes a healthy nervous system, and maintains healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver.

Despite the food availability in the United States, thiamine appears to be one of the nutrients that can be commonly deficient in the first world. Obese individuals appear to commonly have thiamine deficiency due to their intake of high calorie, low nutrition foods.

Much of thiamine’s role in the body revolves around sending messages via the nervous system. Without thiamine, acetylcholine (nerve messenger) cannot help regulate muscles contraction of the heart. Some studies have found that thiamine supplementation can actually help those already suffering from heart failure.

With its role in the nervous system, thiamine also has benefits when it comes to memory.

Thiamine is being looked at for its possible use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s to slow its progression. In healthy individuals, it has been shown to help improve concentration and maintain good mental health. One study found that thiamine supplementation when compared to a placebo, improved “clear-headedness” and sped up reaction times.

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Thiamine (B1)

  • Fish (trout, salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Pork
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts (macadamia, pistachio, brazil nuts, pecans, cashews)
  • Bread
  • Green peas
  • Squash
  • Asparagus
  • Edamame
  • Beans (navy, black, pinto, lima)

 

What about Thiamine (B1) and alcohol?

Deficiency of thiamine is most often seen in heavy drinkers. Alcohol blocks the absorption of thiamine from food sources and will lead to fatigue, weakness, and nerve damage without the addition of higher dose supplementation. In more severe cases, beriberi (characterized by general weakness and a strained cardiovascular system) can develop.

 

Riboflavin (B2)

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Why do you need it?

Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant, helps convert vitamin B6 and folate into active forms the body can use, and is important in growth, heart health, and red blood cell production. Initially isolated from milk whey in 1879, riboflavin was originally called vitamin G. Deficiency is only commonly found in the U.S. among the elderly and adolescents.

The antioxidant power of riboflavin can be observed in the eye. Along with niacin, riboflavin has been shown to prevent the development of cataracts through its protection of glutathione, an antioxidant found in the eye that protects against chemical and oxidative stress.

For those suffering from migraines, riboflavin in high doses (> 400 mg/day) has been shown to reduce the number of migraines and reduce how long they last, but does not help reduce the severity of pain of a migraine. This is a great alternative treatment for those who have not found relief with more traditional migraine treatments.

Like folate, riboflavin helps to reduce the unhealthy buildup of homocysteine in the blood. As we discussed earlier, high levels of homocysteine have been linked to cardiovascular disease. In a 12 week study, those who were given riboflavin supplementation saw a drop in homocysteine by 40%! This can also be a concern in those who are on certain medications shown to raise homocysteine levels.

With riboflavin’s role in the conversion of vitamin B6 and folate into their active forms, with a riboflavin deficiency comes the risk of anemia. Riboflavin helps to make red blood cells and therefore has a role in the handling of iron transport. If these is a lack of riboflavin and iron is not dealt with correctly, anemia can become a concern.

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Riboflavin (B2)

  • Cheese
  • Almonds
  • Yogurt
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Mushrooms
  • Sesame seeds

 

What about Riboflavin (B2) and alcohol?

Heavy drinkers are at increased risk for riboflavin deficiency due to decreased intake because of poor diet and poor absorption due to ethanol keeping the intestine, liver, and kidneys busy (where riboflavin is absorbed). In a strange twist of events, homocysteine levels associated with riboflavin deficiency rapidly decline during alcohol withdrawal. Supplementation is highly recommended since riboflavin is necessary for growth, normal cell function and energy production.

 

What about the rest of the vitamins?

Water-Soluble Vitamins | Nutrition Gone Wild

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If you are a party girl, water-soluble vitamin intakes every day are even more important than fat-soluble vitamins since they are so much more easily excreted, and more easily affected by alcohol consumption. But, these are only half of the water-soluble vitamins you need.

Which leads me to the next section…

 

Water-Soluble Vitamins (Part 2)

Niacin (B3)

Niacin

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Why do you need it?

Like the other B vitamins, niacin is used in carbohydrate metabolism. In addition to its metabolic role, niacin helps to produce important hormones, skin health and helps detoxify the liver. Niacin has also been touted for its effectiveness in improving blood lipids, aka cholesterol. In a study comparing high-dose niacin supplementation and cholesterol medication, niacin was more effective at not only lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, but also significantly raised HDL (good) cholesterol. Yet to be shown in humans, stroke research conducted in rats has shown that niacin can help to heal the brain and regrow blood vessels in those who have suffered ischemic stroke. These findings suggest that a niacin deficiency could have detrimental effects on your cardiovascular system.

For those who battle with acne, niacin may show some promise in helping clear breakouts. A study looking at the topical application of niacinamide (a form of niacin) found similar improvements in skin as a topical treatment of clindamycin. This may be promising since niacin is relatively cheap, whereas most acne treatments, even with insurance, can be quite pricey. I can attest to this as someone who has been seeing a dermatologist for over 10 years…

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Niacin (B3)

  • Fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon, swordfish)
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Peanuts
  • Beef
  • Mushrooms
  • Green peas
  • Avocado

 

What about Niacin (B3) and alcohol?

Something to consider in the relationship between alcohol and niacin is alcohol’s ability to enhance the side effects of niacin supplementation when taken together. Niacin is common in energy shots, which some people like so consume when out drinking. The effects that can be made worse by alcohol are nausea, dizziness, itching, vomiting, upset stomach, and flushing.

Alcoholism is the number one cause of niacin deficiency in the United States. Alcoholics can need more supplementation of zinc, which uniquely causes your body to make more niacin. For this reason, supplementing both can lead to negative side effects.

 

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

Pantothenic Acid

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Why do you need it?

Pantothenic acid derives it’s name from the greeks with its prefix “pantothen” meaning ”from all sides.” Pantothenic acid is in nearly all foods! Luckily this means that deficiency is very rare.

Pantothenic acid is needed in the synthesis of fatty acids, maintaining a healthy nervous system, and helps in adrenal functions (making hormones). Since pantothenic acid plays a role in the production of hormones, it has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. When hormones become unbalanced, this can wreak havoc on mental health.

In conjunction with niacin, pantothenic acid helps to maintain normal hormone activity. Pantothenic acid also shows promise in its assistance in skin and wound healing.

Pantothenic acid is a part of the neurotransmitters that send signals to all parts of your body. Without adequate intakes, there are terrible side effects such as: headache, fatigue, insomnia, intestinal disturbances, and numbness and tingling of their hands and feet. Due to the rare occurrence of deficiency, more studies into the roles and benefits of pantothenic acid need to be conducted.

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Pantothenic Acid (B5)

  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potato

 

What about Pantothenic Acid (B5) and alcohol?

Pantothenic acids play a role in the detoxification of alcohol from the body. When breaking down large amounts of acetaldehyde, pantothenic acid (like many of the other B vitamins) can become depleted. Many of the common hangover symptoms can be attributed to the lack of pantothenic acid.

 

Biotin (B7)

Biotin

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Why do you need it?

You have probably heard about biotin when shopping in the hair products. The word biotin comes from the ancient Greek word “biotos,” which means “life” or “sustenance.”

Biotin is known to help strengthen hair and nails, but also plays a role in embryonic growth. Deficiency is rare because it can be made in your gut. When there is deficiency, it is actually due to a lack of the enzyme biotinidase, which cuts biotin into a form that the body can utilize.

When trying to remain fabulous, it is important to get enough biotin to ensure your hair stays thick and strong and your nails don’t become brittle and break. The effectiveness of biotin added to beauty products has yet to be fully evaluated, but getting biotin in your diet is quite effective at preventing the terrible side effects of scaly scalp, hair loss, and rashes.

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Biotin (B7)

  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Sweet Potato
  • Eggs
  • Onions
  • Oats
  • Tomato
  • Carrots
  • Walnuts
  • Salmon

 

What about Biotin (B7) and alcohol?

When low in biotin, alcohol can block the transportation of biotin across the intestinal wall. Basically, when you are already low in biotin, your body has issues moving what you have to make more if you regularly consume alcohol. If you manage to keep your levels high and healthy, you won’t have an issue with biotin deficiency due to alcohol consumption.

 

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6

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Why do you need it?

Vitamin B6 has many functions that make for a healthy brain. It helps to make serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin.

Serotonin is the happy hormone, keeping it in balance prevents anxiety and depression. Melatonin (which you can supplement), helps your body’s natural regulator of your internal clock. Loss of melatonin results in insomnia.

Vitamin B6 is also vital in the brain development of babies during pregnancy.

When you think B6 think BRAINS!

In addition to the brain health aspects of Vitamin B6, the vitamin also plays a role in controlling levels of homocysteine buildup. As we have discussed before, high homocysteine levels are associated with the development of heart disease.

While deficiency is rare in the United States, studies have found that deficiency is more common in women than in men, especially younger women of childbearing age.

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Vitamin B6

  • Seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower)
  • Nuts (pistachio, hazelnut, walnuts)
  • Peanuts
  • Fish (tuna, salmon, halibut)
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Dried fruit
  • Beef
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Spinach

 

What about Vitamin B6 and alcohol?

Heavy drinkers generally have low levels of vitamin B6. This is however not due to the ethanol itself, but the high amounts of acetaldehyde produced to break down the alcohol. Acetaldehyde competes for protein binding that must occur for vitamin B6 to function properly.

 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

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Why do you need it?

Vitamin B12 does a lot for your body behind the scenes.

Its main functions are to: maintain nerve health, helps make DNA/RNA, works closely with folate to make red blood cells, and assists in making iron more efficiently utilized in the body.

Vitamin B12 is one of the trickier vitamins when it comes to what it takes for your body to be able to use and process it. In the stomach, your stomach acid (HCL) separates it from the protein B12 attaches itself to in food. Then vitamin B12 can combine itself with the protein intrinsic factor and can then be absorbed into the body.

This complicated system of absorption can make deficiency a real issue. A study conducted at Tufts found that 40% of those 26-83 years old had low levels of vitamin B12. Unfortunately, it is hard to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency because the symptoms are so similar to many other diseases.

Without vitamin B12, you can become anemic (pernicious anemia is the specific type). Your body will not be able to make enough red blood cells to transport the oxygen it needs. This makes a person very weak and fatigued. Not only does adequate B12 keep you energetic by making oxygen-carrying blood cells, but also keeps you energetic because it is another B vitamin, fighting the good fight of breaking down carbohydrates.

Vitamin B12 not only works with folate to make red blood cells but also helps to make SAM (S-adenosyl methionine), which helps to regulate mood and manage stress. This compound, SAM, is currently being studied as a treatment for depression. Early research shows it may be more effective than commonly used prescription medications.

If you don’t want to feel tired and sad, I highly recommend making an effort in making sure you get enough vitamin B12!

 

Where do you get it?

Good sources of Vitamin B12

  • Shellfish (oysters, mussels, clams)
  • Liver
  • Fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, sardines)
  • Crab
  • Tofu
  • Fortified cereals
  • Beef
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs

 

What about Vitamin B12 and alcohol?

It is no shock that alcohol interferes with vitamin B12 since alcohol can be real hard on the stomach. Alcohol can cause inflammation and irritation of the stomach, which can make it difficult to absorb vitamin B12. Chronic use of alcohol can cause depletion of intrinsic factor through decreased acid production and can also deplete the small amount of B12 stored in the liver.

 

Now you’re a vitamin guru!

A Closer Look at Vitamins

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You are now a well-informed when it comes to you, your vitamins, and what happens to those vitamins when you like to party a lot. But, there’s always going to be more to know.

And even the science community doesn’t have everything figured out!

There are always more questions than answers, but people like me want to help you by getting through the nitty gritty information and getting you the stuff you NEED to know!

Got some burning questions about these vitamins? Tweet me or message me on Instagram and I’d be happy to answer anything! I’d be glad to save you the googling and deciphering of science jargon. Your question may even inspire an entire article, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you think there’s anything I can answer or help you with… 🙂 

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    Vitamins Guide: What They Do and Where to Get Them

    What are Vitamins? Why do you need them? Where do you get them? You probably remember being a kid and having ...
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Being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good cocktail…

12 Guilt Free Cocktail Recipes with Kaitlin Cushman

Get 12 Guilt-Free Cocktail Recipes

Half the calories, all the fun.

About Kaitlin Cushman


Welcome to Nutrition Gone Wild. I'm Kaitlin, I have 2 degrees in nutrition, and I want to make a promise to you: I'm going to offer advice that is easy, beneficial, and applicable to your everyday life. This advice is meant to empower you to make these small changes that ultimately will benefit your overall health without taking the fun out of your daily schedule. Join me on this journey to living health(ier), wild and free!

Being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good cocktail…

12 Guilt Free Cocktail Recipes with Kaitlin Cushman

Get 12 Guilt-Free Cocktail Recipes

Half the calories, all the fun.