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Preventing Ketoacidosis on Keto Diet: Trends you absolutely must try this year!

Now-a-days, people are more prone towards losing their weight through easy and quick ways like initiating fad diets in their lifestyle and as their dietary habits. Keto diet has gained great significance among people and has become a trending diet for weight loss. The Keto diet has shown excellent results related to weight loss. But, it requires specific modification and variety in diet planning if you are following a keto diet to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis. 

If you are planning to adopt the measures to prevent ketoacidosis while following a keto diet, you can follow these trends:

  • It is recommended to check your glucose levels of blood on regular basis
  • If your blood glucose levels are high, check the presence of ketone bodies in urine and control them
  • Follow a balanced diet having low-glycemic index foods
  • If you are diabetic, follow a diet plan according to the guidelines of your healthcare provider
  • Don’t forget to take your daily dose of insulin in case of diabetes

People often confuse ketosis and ketoacidosis, but both terms are different from each other. Ketosis is the metabolic state of the body in which enough energy is not provided through carbs. The sugar circulated in blood is not consumed properly by the body for energy consumption. Excess blood acids are produced in the body due to ketoacidosis as it is a complication of type-1 diabetes. DKA can be life-threatening and can lead to diabetic coma. It can also be triggered by illness, infections like urinary tract infections, pregnancy, or not following a proper diabetes plan.

Symptoms associated with ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis can be prevented if you are aware of the symptoms that could save a life. If you have diabetes and you observe the following symptoms, then you seek medical attention as soon as possible:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme thirst
  • Polyuria
  • Polydipsia

Diagnosis of ketoacidosis

Level of ketone bodies in urine Ketone levels

In body

Less than 0.5 mmol/L Levels range from normal to low


More than 0.5mmol/L This value indicates the beginning stage of ketosis
0.5-3 mmol/L This is a stage of nutritional ketosis in the body
3-5 mmol/L This is termed as a starvation mode of ketosis
More than 5mmol/L This level is indicated as risky ketoacidosis and it is advisable to contact the doctor for medical assistance


More than 10mmol/L This indicates the presence of diabetic ketoacidosis


Level of ketone levels in the blood Ketone levels in the blood
Less than 0.5 mmol/L Normal to low
0.5 mmol/L Beginning ketosis
0.5-1.5 mmol/L Moderate level
1.5-3.0 mmol/L High level, may be at risk for DKA
3 mmol/L DKA (Seek medical attention immediately)

Foods to consume and avoid

Meats- fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs All the food items from grain and wheat group including granola bars, cereals, corn, pasta, rice.


Low-carb veggies- spinach, kale, broccoli All forms of sugar and sweetened products and drinks including sugar sodas, honey, fructose, maple syrup.
High fatty forms of cheese, cream, butter and fats Most fruits-apples, bananas, oranges
Nuts and seeds-macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds All sort of food products from tuber groups like potatoes, yams, French fries


Fruits like avocado and all sort of berries particularly the raspberries  
Sweeteners including the stevia and erythritol  
Fats from healthy category like coconut oil, avocado and olive oil  

How to replace carbohydrate rich foods with the Substitutes suitable for keto diet?

You might think that most of the food items are on a restricted list then what should we eat now? It is not so. There are still many food items and beverages that can be consumed for minimizing the texture and flavor to optimize your health.

Here we’ll discuss some simple food swaps which you can implement in your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert option. 

How to swap the wheat and all-purpose grain group with substitutes like almond and coconut flour?

All-purpose flour is used in almost all food items, including bakery goods such as loaves of bread, pasta, cereals. You can still enjoy these products on the keto diet by swapping the all-purpose flour with almond or coconut flour. You can make the low-carb version of your favorite food items like bread, pizza crust, pancakes, and waffles to enjoy them.

How to swap the pasta with substitutes like home-made keto-friendly noodles?

Pasta is all a flour-based food item, so creating a keto-approved version using low-carb flour is not recommended. The easiest keto hack for this is the julienne or pasta noodle size zucchini, eggplant, or cabbage.

How to swap the sugar and artificial sweeteners with keto-friendly items like stevia?

You can create a sweet taste in your keto-friendly foods without worrying about excess calories by using stevia, monk fruit, or Erythritol. They provide a balanced sweetness making a perfect keto-friendly sugar substitute.

Replace cereals, oatmeal with the low-carbohydrate options like nuts, seeds and sweeteners which are sugar-free.  

Instead of consuming high sugar-based cereals, high-carbohydrate snacks and oatmeal, you can make a healthy and keto-friendly cereal bowl using an appropriate amount of nuts, seeds and keto-friendly sweeteners.

Replace rice with cauliflower rice

You might be thinking that this swap option is not for me. But, you’ll be amazed to know that even if you are not a cauliflower fan, you can still consume it by cooking it in the form of a delicious dish.

Replace chips with baked cheese crisps or rinds

You can swap the chips and other munching snacks with cheese crisps and rinds. Potato chips, either in the form of packaged or fried, are full of carbs. So, you can swap it with these products.

How to swap the yogurt with keto-friendly coconut milk yogurt and other options

Yogurt is packed with carbs, sugars, or milk sugar. But it does not mean that you cannot eat yogurt on a keto diet. You can consume low-sweetened full-fat Greek yogurt or low-carb yogurt. Other than this, you can also add low-carbohydrate nuts and keto-friendly granola bars.

How to replace the high sugar ice-cream with keto-friendly sweetener and coconut milk

If you are a massive fan of gelato but are not consuming it due to high-fat keto ingredients, here is the solution. You can make your own heavy cream using coconut milk as a base for it and can add keto-friendly natural sweeteners.

Replace High-PUFA Oils with Avocado or coconut oil

Instead of high PUFA oils and spreads, you can try to initiate the substitutes like coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil for cooking purposes. Other cooking oils are high in PUFAs including peanut, canola and vegetable oil.

Replace salad dressings with MCT Oil-based dressing and Avocado oil

For optimal health and nutrition, use MCT oil and avocado oil products as high PUFA content. They are more prone to damage when they are exposed to high light and air. This kind of situation is seen in the preparation of dressings and mayonnaise.

Replace sugar condiments and sauces with sugar-free products and keto alternates.

Make sure to read the label on the sugar condiments and sauces before purchasing them. Typical sauces and dressings packed with sugar include jam and jellies, BBQ sauce, honey mustard, maple syrup, ketchup, and tomato sauce.

Keto-friendly drink swaps

You can replace your high-carb and sweet drinks and beverages with keto-friendly drink options. Try these simple alternatives instead of water, black coffee, or unsweetened tea. You can replace regular soda with zero-carb soda like zero-sugar virgils. Sweetened coffee and tea drinks can be replaced with heavy cream and natural keto-sweeteners. Sweetened margaritas and traditional beer can be replaced with unsweetened dry wine and low-carb beer.

Be cautious with these products.

Here we will discuss the range of some products which you can use as substitutes as low-carbohydrate products.

  1. Artificial sweeteners

If you are selecting artificial sweeteners, then carefully have a look at the pack and manufacturing labels. It has been seen that sugars are sometimes mentioned on artificial sweeteners in hidden form or with some other names like maple syrup, fructose syrup etc. Beware with such tactics and consume the sweeteners in their pure form and select those products which are free from any additives.

  1. Maltodextrin and dextrose

 These two ingredients should be kept in consideration as they are not keto-friendly options. These two ingredients break down rapidly into glucose and are absorbed in the mainstream. These ingredients can increase the sugar and insulin levels in blood and can lower the ketone levels in body.

  1. Artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives

It is recommended to consume these products in lower quantities as their health effects are still not well-known. It is recommended to avoid the artificial flavors and preservatives.

  1. IMO

Isomaltooligosaccharide, also known as IMO, is a new ingredient and is claimed as a dietary fiber. But researches have shown that they readily absorb the sugar in the mainstream and small intestine.

How to determine if food is keto-friendly and healthy?

You can lose weight and improve your health by following an essential keto diet, but you might still not be sure about some food products. In such conditions, you can apply three keto-friendly food principles.

To determine if the food is keto-friendly and healthy, consider the:

  • Net carb content
  • Protein and fat content
  • Health effects

The question that if the food is keto-friendly or not can be resolved if the specific food:

  • It helps you to stay within your carb limit
  • It allows you to meet your fat and protein needs
  • It allows you to meet your macros with that food
  • Improves your health and well-being

Relation of High protein foods and ketosis

Protein consumption is also associated with the production of ketones. It creates much less impact than carbs. The amino acids found in the protein can sometimes increase insulin levels. It can provide substrates to the liver and decrease ketone production, thus potentially kicking out the body from a state of ketosis.

But still, one high-protein meal will not affect your ketone levels in the body. We recommend you to stay within the following range based on your activity level.

  • If your activity level falls in the sedentary group, 0.6g and 0.8g protein per pound of lean body mass are recommended.
  • If your activity level drops in the active state, then the recommended amount for protein is in between range of 0.8g-1.0g per pound of lean body mass.
  • If your activity level falls in the lift weight category, then the recommended amount for protein is in between range of 1.0g-1.2g per pound of lean body mass.

Blood ketone level chart

Ketosis level Blood ketone range What does this mean?
Sugar-burning mode <0.2 mmol/L Your body has enough sugar, so ketone production is inconsistent.
Transitional phase 0.2-0.5 mmol/L Your body is likely starting to produce ketones consistently.
Light ketosis 0.5-0.8 mmol/L Consistent ketone production

Experiencing the benefits of ketosis

Ideal for everyday dieting

Medium ketosis 0.9-1.4 mmol/L
Deep ketosis 1.5-3.0 mmol/L Might help promote weight loss

Might confer more neurological benefits

Therapeutic ketosis 3.0-5.0 mmol/L Only recommended under close medical supervision for the treatment of certain medical conditions
Extended fast ketosis 3.0-5.0 mmol/L May only be reached during extended fasts or extreme caloric restriction

Achieving this range consistently is unnecessary and indicative of a poorly-formulated keto diet

Sign of ketoacidosis >10 mmol/L Usually only occurs as a result of uncontrolled diabetes or alcoholism

Related questions

Can you achieve ketoacidosis state on a keto diet? High fat may induce ketoacidosis. Other than this, lactation can also aggravate the condition and can trigger you into ketoacidosis.

How can we prevent ketoacidosis? We can prevent ketoacidosis by following these measures:

  • Managing diabetes and following a healthy eating and physical activity plan.
  • Monitor the blood sugar level regularly.
  • Adjusting the insulin dose as needed.
  • Checking the ketone levels.

Can ketones be high on a keto diet? Healthy people can develop high ketone levels on a ketogenic diet. Keto diet promotes the weight loss and encourages the body to make more ketones to burn fat.

Which is the fastest way to get rid of ketones?

 If ketones are detected in your blood or urine, you should drink a plenty amount of water to flush out the ketones from body. Other than this, take insulin to bring the blood glucose level to normal range and check the ketone levels after every three to four hours.

What is the most common cause of ketoacidosis? The common causes of diabetic ketoacidosis includes the missing insulin, illness, infection or a clog in an insulin pump.

To check how much you have learnt through this blog, click here to attempt this 5 marks quiz .

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical or nutrition advice for your particular illness; health condition or goal; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health and nutrition issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Relationship Between PCOS and Insulin Resistance

Most of the women now-a-days, are facing the issue of PCOS. PCOS known as polycystic ovararian syndrome is a condition in which the ovaries of the female produce abnormal quantity of male sex hormones, androgens. Numerous small cysts filled with fluid are formed in ovaries causing irregularity in menstrual cycle along with other complications. PCOS and insulin resistance is often interlinked with each other but what is the actual relationship between them? How is insulin resistance responsible for causing PCOS and is this thing curable?

It has been researched that 30-40% of the women facing the problem of PCOS are detected with insulin resistance that can lead towards high glucose levels in the body.1 Insulin resistance is considered as the root cause of PCOS that can exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS increasing the risk for type-2 diabetes and obesity. This relationship can be reversed with the management of lifestyle modifications and with the treatment through medications upon requirement. Medications should be recommended after screening so every women facing the issue of PCOS should get themselves screened for.

The condition and bio-chemistry of PCOS

PCOS called as polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition that can cause irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty in conceiving, rise of male hormone levels and development of small follicles on the ovaries of females that hinder the egg production and release in women. PCOS is often linked with insulin sensitivity.

Insulin is produced by the gland pancreas that is located in the abdomen and have number of functions. Insulin is secreted in response of high blood glucose levels in the body. The glucose molecules after breakdown of carbohydrates consumed through diet enters the bloodstream after 15 minutes of intake. Insulin allows the cells to take up glucose for later use of energy.

If a person is resistant to insulin, the body does not responds to insulin in an efficient way. It leads to rise in glucose levels in the body. The consistent high levels of blood glucose can lead to pre-diabetes and then to diabetes in the person.

Link of PCOS and insulin resistance

It has been said that almost 60-70% of women face the issue of PCOS with insulin resistance. It is believed that high levels of hormone insulin cause the male hormone levels to rise in the body. Insulin is responsible for helping the sugar to enter the cells through insulin receptor cells. People facing the issue of insulin resistance needs more insulin than the normal level to proceed and process the sugar in body. If the insulin resistance is left unchecked, it can progress towards the condition of diabetes in women. Diabetes is diagnosed when the blood sugar levels are higher than 200 mg/dl and can also be identified authentically with HbA1c glucose test or with an oral glucose test. When the body produces excess insulin in the body, the insulin receptors function poorly and become incapable of not taking adequate sugars for the cells. Signs of diabetes include:

  • Polydypsia
  • Polyuria
  • Polyphagia
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Blurred vision

Relationship of diet with PCOS

Diet and nutrition plays a significant role in managing and treating PCOS. The combination of insulin resistance and inflammation in the body is also related with the diet which we consumed on daily basis. The blood sugar levels in the body become high in the state of insulin resistance especially if a person is in the habit of consuming refined carbs and added sugars. There are more chances of becoming insulin resistant with the increase of consumption from such dietary practices of simple carbohydrates and sugars.

People facing the PCOS show different response towards foods. There are different types of foods that can promote inflammation and can even worsen the condition and symptoms. On the other, there are various anti-inflammatory foods that can help to combat inflammation. It is recommended to switch to whole and less processed foods that can naturally provide benefits to the patient of PCOS instead of over-restricting the food items.

Foods to avoid with PCOS

There are various categories of foods that should be avoided if you are facing the condition of PCOS. We categorize them as follows:

  1. Foods and drinks with added sugar in high amounts

Sugary beverages with high amount of simple sugar in them are a lead contributor of high glucose levels in the body worldwide. The drinks like sweetened teas, sugary coffees, soda, and energy drinks are high in added sugars. Consuming such drinks on regular basis can worsen the insulin resistance contributing to inflammation in the body. It is not easy to detect sugar as we cannot easily spot it in foods especially in those which seem healthy. The foods like yogurt, dried fruits and nutrition bars, granola bars have added sugars in them. If you are aiming to lose weight, it is better to cut back on added sugars that can improve the insulin sensitivity in the body and can reduce the symptoms of PCOS in some women.

  1. Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids are often interlinked but the truth is not so. Omega-3 fatty acids have high anti-inflammatory properties while omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory. The foods which are not allowed on PCOS are from the sources of omega-6 fatty acids including the corn oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, safflower and sunflower oils. Meat derived from animals that are fed on grain-based diet are also high in omega-6 fatty acids. Instead of these options, try to initiate the healthy fat from foods like fatty fish, nuts, seeds and grass-fed meat.

Foods good for PCOS

There are various anti-inflammatory foods that are considered good for PCOS. Some of them are explained below:

  1. Blueberries

Blueberries belonging to the category of anthocyanins are antioxidants in natures. Antioxidants are crucial for fighting against inflammation, and prevents the cell damage from free radicals. These are considered as the greatest source of fiber are natural sugar. Blueberries can raise the blood sugar levels in moderate amount as compared to the sudden spike caused by the refined sugars. It is due to the high fiber content in them so, blueberries should be included in the PCOS diet.

  1. Magnesium-rich foods

It has been said that women facing the issue of PCOS are likely to be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is a trace element that promotes relaxation in the body and manages stress level. It also plays a role in controlling insulin resistance. Some of the food sources that are rich in magnesium are:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts and butters like peanuts, cashews, nut butter, peanut butter
  • Soymilk
  • Spinach
  • Dark chocolate with 69% of cocoa
  • Black beans
  1. Vegetables without starch

Vegetables are considered as the best foods to eat for PCOS and besides this, they are beneficial for various other health matters too. Non-starchy vegetables are extremely low in carbohydrates and won’t raise your insulin levels in a significant way. Vegetables are extremely helpful for those who are following an insulin-resistant PCOS diet.

Green leafy and orange vegetables are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants. They help to combat the inflammation in the body and are great choice for a PCOS diet. Starchy vegetables can also be included in a PCOS diet but with a focus on moderate portion size in case of presence of insulin resistance. Starch can be broken down into blood sugar and can raise the sugar levels in the body worsening the insulin resistance. Some of the best dietary sources for non-starchy vegetables that can be included in PCOS diet are:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage and cauliflower
  • Carrots and cucumber
  • Celery and egg plant
  • Green beans and pea pods
  • Leafy green vegetables like kale, mustard greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Bell peppers
  • Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, endive
  • Squash and tomatoes

Metformin for PCOS and association with food

Metformin is a common ovulation induction agent that is effective for non-obese women facing the issue of PCOS. They are considered advantageous over the other first line treatments for anovulatory fertility conditions like clomiphene. Metformin with combination of clomiphene is an effective step for treatment for clomiphene-resistant women.

Metformin is an effective treatment for PCOS that enhances the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This drug decreases the circulating levels of insulin in the body and produces positive effect on the fat tissue. Metformin is recommended to women for PCOS treatment and to those having higher BMI. But the recent advances in nutrition have indicated that metformin is not a first-line therapy for treating PCOS in women. It is a treatment for patients facing the issue of type-2 diabetes. If you are facing the issue of PCOS, you can take metformin but adjust the diet. So, here we recommend the five foods that should be avoided while taking metformin:

Sugary drinks

It is better to avoid the sugary drinks if you are facing insulin-resistance PCOS. Metformin along with restriction of sugary drinks can work in a better way to improve the insulin sensitivity.


Alcoholic consumption along with intake of metformin can lead to development of lower blood sugar levels. Try to limit the alcohol drinks to no or just one drink per day if you are taking metformin for PCOS.

Foods with added simple sugars

Foods with added simple sugars are responsible for triggering the PCOS symptoms are can worsen the insulin resistance in body. It is recommended by AHA to limit the consumption of added sugars to less than 25 grams per day.

Refined grains

Refined grains are likely to raise the blood sugar levels and can worse the insulin resistance in body. Refined grains include all the bakery items like white bread and rice, bagels and tortillas. So, these items should be avoided while taking metformin for PCOS.

Fried food items

Metformin can sometimes cause gastrointestinal side effects in the body which can be due to the consumption of fried foods. You can cut off these fried foods that can help you to lose weight and to improve the PCOS symptoms.

Metformin and allowed food items

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are composed of unsaturated healthy fatty acids that are good for heart health and promotes healthy blood sugar levels. These are good for PCOS, and does not interfere with absorption of metformin.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory in nature. So women facing the issue of inflammatory PCOS can consume thedietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids along with metformin.

Protein-rich food items

Protein rich foods like chicken, fish, eggs, lentils and quinoa are helpful for PCOS as they provide feeling of fullness and improve satiety levels in the body. They do not raise the blood sugar levels in the body.

Non-starchy vegetables

Most of the non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber. These vegetables does not rise the blood sugar levels in the body. All the richly colored fruits and vegetables are good source of anti-oxidants that help in fighting inflammation in the body.

Lifestyle changes for managing PCOS

Along with diet and medications, betterment in lifestyle can also manage the PCOS with insulin sensitivity. These lifestyle changes include:

  • Initiating regular physical activity
  • Managing stress
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Taking PCOS supplements

Stopping the vicious cycle of PCOS and insulin resistance

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS and it can be dealt only with modifications in lifestyle and medications. Symptoms can be managed through these tactics. Lifestyle changes has helped the people with PCOS to manage insulin resistance. You can gradually improve the habits in your lifestyle over the time including some habits below:

1. Exercising regularly

Exercise is one of the best way to manage both insulin resistance and PCOS. It cause the receptors of our muscle cells to take in the sugar without consuming extra insulin production. This process can make the insulin receptors sensitive to lower the insulin levels in body. Body responds to less insulin production for processing sugar. The lower levels of insulin, leads to the reduced androgen production helping in treating PCOS.

2. Healthy eating habits

Healthy eating habits are vital for the women having PCOS and insulin resistance especially in the ones having higher BMI. You goal should be to achieve a sustained weight loss over the time. It is advisable not to follow any fad diets as they are highly disruptive for health. You can lower the cytokine levels through reduction in the abdominal fat as they are harmful for the insulin receptors. Weight loss also helps the insulin receptors to work better and allows the pancreas to lower the production of insulin. It is important to reduce or in cases, cut down the simple sugars and carbohydrates as insulin resistance reduces the body’s ability to break down the carbs.

3. Stress reduction

‍Managing stress levels in PCOS, has shown the reduction in levels of insulin resistance. Stress encourages the stored sugars from the liver to get released that can cause sudden spike in the blood sugar and insulin levels.

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

She can be reached at

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dangers of Sugar to our Body

Sugar is a broad term that is used a lot in daily rituals. We are consuming sugar in large amounts, which is present in almost all food items. Fruits, vegetables, sugary drinks, candies, and all sorts of food items are packed with sugar. Some have minimal sugar, while others are loaded heavily with this component. Sugar is present in natural and artificial forms in food items. Natural sources of sugar, such as fruits and dairy products, have less detrimental effects on the body than the artificial sugars from beverages, sodas, and desserts. So the question arises: What are the dangers of eating sugar, and how can we deal with them?

The alarming statistics on sugar consumption and the effects of sugar claim that unacceptable levels of sugar in the body could disrupt the metabolic, hormonal, and physiological conditions of the body leading to the initiation of various ailments, including:

  • Heart diseases
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Cancers
  • Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases
  • Osteoporosis

The term ‘natural sugar’ does not mean that it is overall a healthy item for our health. Raw sugar is present in all the food items we consume daily, including high-carb meals and high-glycemic-index foods that can cause sudden blood sugar spikes. Other than this, there are hidden sugars in packaged and processed foods that should be considered. All the names mentioned on packaged items like brown sugar, corn sweetener, cane sugar, lactose, rice sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and others are the hidden forms of sugar that leave the same effect on the body. We should keep an eye on our daily sugar intake for our body.

Sometimes the sugar levels are high in the body, and we cannot figure out the exact issue, so various tests are available to detect the root cause of symptoms. There are many dangers of consuming too much sugar. HbA1c is a test in which the amount of glucose attached to the hemoglobin (red blood cell) is checked. 

  • Diabetes
  • Eye disorders
  • Hypertension and raised blood glucose can lead to:
  • Hyper and hypoglycemia
  • Neuropathy
  • Nephropathy
  • Ketoacidosis 
  • Cataract

The Carbohydrate model of Sugar & Metabolic syndrome

The carbohydrate model is related to sugar addiction and the increased urge to consume sugar in the body. Our 80% of food items are loaded with sugars in different forms like lactose, sucrose, glucose, galactose, etc. Processed foods include artificial conditions of sugar that can raise blood sugar levels. The number of carbohydrates we consume in the body is directly associated with the levels of blood sugars in the body. 

The end-product of carbohydrates is glucose which is also called simple sugar. Simple sugar is responsible for raising blood sugar levels in the body. The higher levels of blood sugar in the body are managed by the hormone insulin, which converts the excess sugar into fat and drives the glucose in cells. This whole mechanism does not provide a feeling of fullness, and the person feels less satiated, which triggers the hunger hormone, and the person ends up attaining pleasure from sweet tastes. 

The beginning of metabolic syndrome

We consume carbohydrates in more amounts than other food groups as our central calorie intake revolves around this macronutrient for energy production. The end product of carbohydrates that is glucose, is managed by insulin that forces extra sugar to be converted into body fat for later use. Over the years, when we keep adding sugar and excess carbohydrates through carbohydrate loading in the body, our cells lose the ability to use the sugar for energy through the mitochondrial process.

It raises the sugar level in the bloodstream to a toxic level and leads to glycation, inflammation, and associated disorders. This overcompensation of compounds causes insulin resistance in the body that leads to the provocation of various metabolic diseases like:

  1. Increase levels of fasting blood sugar
  2. Excess levels of insulin
  3. Obesity
  4. High levels of triglycerides
  5. Lower levels of HDL and higher levels of LDL
  6. High blood pressure



It is seen that the endurance of diabetes has widely prevailed all around the globe in the past few years. It is considered the cancer danger of sugar. Although there are many different reasons for diabetes in human beings, it is scientifically proven that excessive sugar intake in the body leads to diabetes. Again, obesity is a widely spreading disease caused due to excessive intake of sugar, and it leads to the occurrence of diabetes in human beings. Also, it is seen that with increased intake, sugar causes resistance in the working pattern of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the human body, produced in the pancreas and works to regulate the blood sugar level in the human body. With resistance in the work pattern on the insulin hormone, the blood sugar level in the body rises and increases the risk for diabetes.



It is seen all over the globe that obesity is considered an alarming problem not only in adults but in people of all age groups, from children to people of older ages. One of the main factors which play a vital role in obesity is soft drinks. Different researches are conducted all over the globe which proves that people who love to drink fizzy drinks and other drinks which contain added sugar in them are seen to be suffering from obesity at a very high rate, as compared to other people who don’t tend to take soft drinks much often. The reason for this is that sweetened drinks are rich in a nutrient which is called fructose. The main function of fructose when it enters the human body is that it increases the urge to hunger, leading to an increase in appetite, eventually leading to obesity.



High sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. The reason is that it has been proved by several medical science researchers that high sugar intake causes obesity, which eventually leads to inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels, which further leads to chronic heart diseases that can cause the death of a person. Also, it has been seen that consuming too much sugar in diets and sweetened drinks can lead to a disease called atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits. In short, diets rich in high sugar can cause a person to develop heart disease, which can eventually lead to the death of a person.



The leading cause of acne and breakouts on our skin is a diet rich in sugar and sweets. The raised level of blood sugar and insulin triggers the release of androgens which increases oil production and excretion of sebum on the skin, causing acne. Can you be allergic to sugar? Yes, you can be allergic to sugar leading to a disastrous form of acne.

Sugar is available in various forms in almost all types of foods. The difference between low and high glycemic index foods helps people keep their quantity in moderation. There are fewer chances of development of acne if a diet revolves around low glycemic index foods. 

Research has proved that a diet low in glycemic index foods helps the person maintain the sugar and carbohydrate levels in the body and improves the acne. Acne, breakouts, and increased sebum and oil production in the skin are more due to intake of oily foods, refined carbohydrates, and high-sugar beverages and sodas. 



Eating meals rich in sugar significantly increases the risk of cancer in people. The reason for this is that, again, eating a diet that is high in sugar increases obesity in people, which eventually disturbs the mechanism of the overall human body, which can then lead to fatal diseases such as cancer.



Wrinkles are a natural process that appears on the skin of human beings, which shows that the person’s age is increasing with time. Although it is a natural process, some factors either accelerate or decelerate the aging process. Consuming too much sugar or eating food that contains excessive sugar in them accelerates the aging process a lot. The mechanism for this is that a diet rich in sugar causes significant damage to elastin and collagen, due to which the skin loses its firmness; hence, wrinkles are produced on the face and skin. 

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Health Knowledge Micronutrients Nutrition Vitamins

Vitamin K

People often wonder if they can give their newborn babies vitamin K or not. People also don’t have the basic awareness of whether vitamin K is essential for their children or not. This article would elaborate the need for vitamin K, the benefits of this vitamin, and the basic information about why vitamin K is necessary for human beings.


Vitamin K is basically known as the fat-soluble vitamin which is found in food and other dietary supplements. The basic function of vitamin K in the human body is actually the post-synthetic modifications of certain proteins that are present in the human body. It is essential for blood coagulation in the human body and is also required in order to control the binding function of calcium in the bones and other tissues of the body.

Vitamin K is found in a number of food items which include cauliflowers, spinach, kale, mustard greens, and other vegetables. However, the chief source of vitamin K, where it is known to be produced, is the bacteria that is present in the large intestine of the human body.


There are a number of benefits that can be taken by regularly absorbing vitamin K into our bodies. Some of those benefits are listed below


Vitamin K is the basic vitamin that helps the body to make various proteins in the body that essentially help the function of blood coagulation in the body. It is also known as anticoagulant vitamin K. Other than that, those proteins which are produced by vitamin K also play a vital role in the building of bones in the human body. Vitamin K produces four different types of proteins that help the blood clot, in order to stop excessive bleeding in case of wounds. In simpler words, vitamin K helps the blood to stop overflowing from the wounds so that they can heal properly and quickly. Since vitamin K has a blood coagulating function, so it works to counteract the function of blood thinner medicines, which are often prescribed to people suffering from heart diseases.


Vitamin K plays a vital role in the nourishment of the health of the bones of the human body. Vitamin K produces a protein which is known as osteocalcin. The function of this protein is that it helps the bones grow stronger, and prevents the weakness of bones. There are some studies that show that people who have a higher intake of vitamin K in their bodies are at low risk of hip fracture and low bone density, as compared to those people who do not have a proper intake of vitamin K in their bodies.


Vitamin K also plays an important role in enhancing the health of the human heart, and thus reduces the risk of heart diseases. There are not so many researches that prove this fact, but still, there are some researches that show that vitamin K produces a protein which is called matrix GLA protein. This protein works to prevent the calcification of the arteries of the heart, which itself is a very big risk factor leading to heart diseases.


Although vitamin K is a vitamin that is naturally produced in the human body, it still has some sources through which human beings can obtain and ingest it into their bodies. Those few food sources are as follows;


It means green leafy vegetables. These vegetables include collards, turnip, green spinach, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce.

  • Soybeans and canola oils are also a source of vitamin K
  • Salad dressings made with soybean or canola oil.
  • Fortified meal replacement shakes

How much Vitamin K is required?

According to the National Library of Medicine, the recommended dietary amount (RDA) of vitamin K in different age groups is as follows:

  • Infants up to age group 1-3 years need 30 mcg per day
  • Children up to the age of 4-8 years need 55 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to the age of 9-13 years need 60 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to the age of 14-18 years need 75 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to the age of 9-13 years need 60 mcg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to the age of 14-18 years need 75 mcg per day
  • Adults (men) up to the age of 19+ years need 120 mcg per day
  • Adults (women) up to the age of 19+ years need 90 mcg per day
  • Older adults (men) up to the age of more than 70 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Older adults (women) up to the age of more than 70 years need 1.1 mg per day


Medical science says that vitamin K deficiency is hard to occur in adults. However, it is commonly seen in people who suffer from some major heart problems or other diseases and physicians prescribe blood-thinning medicines for them. A deficiency is also possible in newborn infants because vitamin K does not cross the placenta, and breast milk contains a low amount. Other than that, a deficiency in vitamin K causes:


If it takes blood a little longer time than usual to clot on a wound so that the blood can be stopped, then there is a chance that the person might be going through a deficiency of vitamin K


If it is seen in a person that bleeding for no reason is common, bleeding excessively takes place in the human body, there is a chance that the person might be going through deficiency of vitamin K


All these above-mentioned symptoms are related to vitamin K deficiency. If they are seen in a person, it is recommended that the person should consult a doctor on priority.

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Health Knowledge Micronutrients Nutrition Vitamins

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Whenever it comes to vitamins, there is something which every person knows in common. The fact that vitamins are good for human health, and that vitamins should be an essential part of a person’s diet and life. The same is about vitamin b6. This article would explore the importance of vitamin b6, the benefits of taking it, how much kids need each day, potential risks associated with taking too much or too little, and tips for ensuring that your kids are getting enough of this important nutrient.

What is Vitamin B6

This vitamin is considered to be an important vitamin for brain development and for ensuring the health of the human nervous system and immune system healthy. Another name for vitamin B6 is pyridoxine. Vitamin b6 is one of the B vitamins, which are essential for the health of the human body. Vitamin b6 is basically a water-soluble vitamin that is found in many natural foods and is found in a number of dietary supplements as well.

Benefits of Vitamin B6

Vitamins are essential products for our health. Our body needs different vitamins properly so that it can do its work good. The main role of vitamin b6 which is verified by medical research is that the main role of this vitamin is the prevention of diseases. One of the primary benefits of vitamin b6 is that it is considered to be the most effective medication for the treatment of nausea that occurs during pregnancy. However, in such cases, vitamin b6 supplements or medications should be used under the instructions of certified physicians.

Some other benefits of vitamin b6 are discussed below

  1. Cardiovascular Diseases:

People having high homocysteine levels are often seen suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Studies show that high homocysteine levels promote stroke and heart diseases in people, as it helps in creating clots in the bloodstream of the human body. The deficiency of vitamin B6 can increase the homocysteine level in the body while ingesting the recommended amount of homocysteine in the body can prevent cardiovascular diseases to occur in the body.

  1. Cognitive Functions:

Vitamin b6 helps in better cognitive functions in the body. For instance, it indirectly helps in better functioning of the brain by lowering the homocysteine level in the body, which eventually prevents severe diseases which include Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In short, vitamin b6 plays a role in enhancing memory and improves the functions of the brain.


  1. Cancer:

Studies show that vitamin b6 is considered to be an effective element that prevents cancer. Since the treatment of cancer has not been yet clinically proven, so this is not sure if vitamin b6 plays a role in the treatment of cancer or not, but it is proven that it does happen to be an effective element that helps in the prevention of cancer.  It does in such a way that it reduces the spread of tumor cells in the body.

How much vitamin B6 is necessary for the body?

According to the National Library of Medicine, the recommended dietary amount (RDA) of vitamin B6 in different age groups is as follows:

  • Infants up to age group 1-3 years need 0.5 mg per day
  • Children up to the age of 4-8 years need 0.6 mg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to the age of 9-13 years need 1.0 mg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to the age of 14-18 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to the age of 9-13 years need 1.0 mg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to the age of 14-18 years need 1.2 mg per day
  • Adults (men) up to the age of 19-50 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Adults (women) up to the age of 19-50 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Older adults (men) up to the age of more than 50 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Older adults (women) up to the age of more than 70 years need 1.7 mg per day

Food Sources

Some of the foods high in vitamin b6 are:

  • Beef liver
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Fortified cereals
  • Chickpeas
  • Poultry
  • Some vegetables and fruits, especially dark leafy greens, bananas, papayas, oranges, and cantaloupe

Signs of Deficiency

Alike other vitamins, the deficiency of vitamin b6 is also responsible for a number of diseases. These diseases include

  • Microcytic anemia
  • Skin conditions
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Lowered immunity
  • Kidney disease
  • Autoimmune intestinal disorders like celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease
  • Autoimmune inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alcoholism

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients required by our body. Vitamins are divided into fat and water-soluble vitamins for the proper maintenance and regulation of metabolic pathways. Vitamins are not readily produced in the human body so they are required in the appropriate amount on daily basis through dietary sources. In this guide, we will discuss vitamin B2, its sources and risk factors behind its deficiency, and its benefits for the human body.

What is Vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, the active form of which is found in food products and in certain dietary supplements. It is among one of those “8 B” vitamins which are found in the body, which work in order to convert the food (Carbohydrates) into fuel (Glucose) so that the amount of energy needed for a person to do daily activities can be completed by the body.

Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin, and plays an essential role in metabolizing the body fat and proteins. The most amount of this vitamin is not usually stored in the body, and has to be utilized immediately, so the excessive vitamin is excreted from the body in the form of urine. Also, presence of excessive riboflavin in the body causes the color of the urine to turn dark yellow.

Benefits of vitamin B2

Vitamins are essential products for our health. Our body needs different vitamins properly so that it can do its work good. One of the many benefits of having vitamin b2 in the body is that it helps the body to turn the food into energy. Some other benefits of vitamin b2 are listed below:

  1. Helpful for proper growth

Vitamin B2 is helpful for proper growth and maintaining the overall good health of a person. Vitamin B2 known as riboflavin is required for the proper breakdown of macronutrients including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for energy production. It is required in the development and functioning of skin cells. Riboflavin is required during the production of the lining of digestive tract, blood cells, and other organs in the body.

  1. Good for eye health

Vitamin B2 is important for maintaining eye health. It is a necessary component that protects the antioxidant glutathione in the eye, The National Library of Medicine claims that a diet rich in riboflavin lowers the risk of development of eye disorders like cataracts. Supplementation is helpful in this aspect to compensate for the needs of riboflavin.

  1. Helpful for absorption of other vitamins

Riboflavin is required for maintaining certain levels of other vitamins, minerals and chemicals in our bloodstream. Riboflavin is required for the conversion of vitamin B6 and Vitamin B9 in the body for proper usage. Vitamin B2 is necessary for the proper usage and processing of iron in the body. Without its proper usage, body is more prone to development of anemia. Riboflavin also reduced the levels of homocysteine in the blood.

Deficiency of Vitamin B2

When the needs of the body are not fulfilled from the dietary sources, various signs are symptoms are shown by the body. These specific signs and symptoms indicate the deficiency of nutrients and can be fulfilled through diet and supplements. Some of the signs and symptoms that indicate a vitamin B2 riboflavin deficiency are:

  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth known as angular cheilitis
  • Dry mouth and cracked lips
  • Dry skin
  • Inflammation of the tongue and lining of the mouth
  • Red lips and sore throat
  • Accumulation of fluids in the mucous membranes
  • Iron-deficiency anemia

Causes of vitamin B2 deficiency

There are various causes behind the deficiency of vitamin B2. Some of them are enlisted below:

  1. Poor nutrition

Lack of nutrients and inappropriate dietary sources in daily routine can lead to the deficiency of vitamins, especially vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is mostly present in the food sources from meat group, dairy and dairy products, and fortified food products enriched with vitamin B2.

  1. Chronic disorders

There are various chronic and metabolic disorders that can lead to the deficiency of nutrients due to various factors. The intake of medicines according to the metabolic disease can lead to drug-nutrient interaction and hinders the absorption of vitamins in the body.

  1. Malabsorption

The malabsorption of food and nutrients in the body can lead to the cause of vitamin B2 deficiency. Malabsorption can be due to many problems like liver and kidney disease. Excessive intake of alcohol is also responsible for lower absorption of nutrients in the body. Blood filtration processes like hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are also a hindrance to the absorption of nutrients.

Risk factors of vitamin B2 deficiency

The deficiency of vitamin B2 can be seen due to numerous factors including alcoholism, poor diet, liver and kidney disorders, age factors, and chronic illness. Here we will discuss some major groups of people who are more prone to vitamin B2 deficiency:

  1. Vegetarian athletes

Athletes who are involved in hard and strenuous exercises require extra vitamins and nutrients to meet their needs of the body. During exercise, all the stored nutrients especially riboflavin are used up. Additional riboflavin is required to avoid the deficiency. The deficiency of riboflavin is common in vegetarian athletes as the major dietary source of riboflavin is animal-based protein sources.

  1. Pregnant and lactating mothers

Pregnant and lactating mothers who are already malnourished are more prone to deficiency of vitamins, especially B2. Pregnant women who do not consume enough dietary sources of animal-based proteins like beef or chicken have a higher risk of vitamin B2 deficiency. This can place birth defects in the infants and have disastrous consequences during the lactation period.

  1. Vegetarians

Vegetarians are more prone to deficiency of vitamin B2 as these people avoid consuming meat and meat-based products. Meat is the best source of riboflavin having a substantial amount in it. Vegetarians rely on vegetables and plant-based sources of food for their meals. Plant-based products are not that loaded with vitamin B2 so vegetarians can face its deficiency.

  1. Riboflavin transport deficiency

Riboflavin transport deficiency is a neurological disorder that can occur between infancy and young adulthood. A person faces respiratory and hearing difficulties due to this disease. There is a genetic mutation of riboflavin transporters in which a person is not able to absorb or transport the riboflavin thus leading to its deficiency. A person suffering from such a problem should follow a proper diet comprising the food sources of vitamin B2 to avoid serious symptoms.

Side effects of Vitamin B2 deficiency and consequences of long-term deficiency

Long-term deficiency of vitamin B2 can lead to serious heart issues, brain disorders, and some cancers too. There are no special side effects of vitamin B2 consumption but its long-term deficiency can be fatal. A person has a higher chance of migraines and cardiovascular diseases. The amount of vitamin B2 consumption should be kept according to the RDA per person as it can result in toxicity. The GI tract of human beings is capable to absorb the nutrients up to a specific limit.

How much Vitamin B2 is required?

This is a common question that is often asked by concerned parents whether the vitamin is safe for their kids to ingest or not. The answer to this is, yes, vitamin b2 is good for kids without a doubt. The reason for this is that vitamin b2 is usually found in a lot of food items that are given to children as a healthy diet in routine. Also, because of the reason that vitamin b2 is an important ingredient for the making of red blood cells in children. So the more amount of vitamin b2 is absorbed by the children, the higher would be the number of red blood cells in them.

According to the National Library of Medicine, the recommended dietary amount (RDA) of vitamin B2 in different age groups is as follows:

  • Infants up to age group 1-3 years need 0.5 mg per day
  • Children up to age of 4-8 years need 0.6 mg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to age of 9-13 years need 0.9 mg per day
  • Teenagers (boys) up to age of 14-18 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to age of 9-13 years need 0.9 mg per day
  • Teenagers (girls) up to age of 14-18 years need 1.0 mg per day
  • Adults (men) up to age of 19-70 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Adults (women) up to age of 19-70 years need 1.1 mg per day
  • Older adults (men) up to age of more than 70 years need 1.3 mg per day
  • Older adults (women) up to age of more than 70 years need 1.1 mg per day

Sources of vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 called riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that is flushed out daily from the body either in the form of urine, sweat, or through other secretory glands. There are various food sources through which this vitamin can be ingested. Some of the main dietary sources of vitamin B2 are as follows:

  • Eggs and animal-based protein sources like chicken, beef, and organ meats
  • Vegetables like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and leafy green vegetables
  • Vitamin-enriched bread and cereals including wheat germ
  • Nuts, molasses, and wild rice
  • Legumes and beans like lima beans, peas, and navy beans
  1. Protein sources

The plant and animal-based protein sources are full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamin B2 is available in appropriate amounts in animal-based protein sources like beef, chicken, and organ meats including liver and kidney. The amino acid tryptophan is converted to amino acids through the help of vitamin B2 and is available in animal-based protein sources. Eggs that are a good source of proteins are also enriched with vitamin B2.

  1. Vitamin-enriched bread and cereals

Bread and cereals from whole grain sources are full of nutrients, dietary fiber, and minerals. There are various fortified cereals and bread available in the market that are enriched with vitamin B2 to fulfill the needs of the population through dietary sources instead of supplementation.

  1. Vegetables

Green-leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and cabbage are packed with essential nutrients and vitamins. Spinach is one of the best sources of iron and water-soluble vitamins. Other than this, mushrooms, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts are also an excellent source of vegetables providing vitamin B2 to the body.

  1. Legumes and beans

Legumes and beans being the plant sources of proteins are also packed with excellent nutrients to fulfill the demands of the body. Lima beans, pinto beans, and peas are excellent dietary sources of water-soluble vitamins and dietary fiber.

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Health Knowledge Micronutrients Nutrition Vitamins

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of our daily life. Our body is not able to perform its various metabolic processes without vitamins. These are the micronutrients that are required in a specific amount for proper functioning of various processes in the body. Vitamins are divided into fat soluble and water soluble vitamins. Here our guide will help you explore about the benefits of vitamin B1, its potential risk factors, daily recommended amount and major dietary food sources to avoid its deficiency in the body.

What is vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin that is required by the body for various functions. It is necessary for the nervous system and supports heart health. Vitamin B1 provides antioxidant support to the people and is necessary for energy production in the body being an essential component in glucose production.

Our body cannot directly produce vitamin B1 itself, so it is found in various food sources like fortified breakfast cereals, commercial bread varieties and yogurt, some varieties of beans and seeds like black beans and sunflower seeds, enriched white rice and corn, meat sources like trout and pork. Human body cannot store vitamin B1 as it is water-soluble so it should be ingested on daily basis.

What are the benefits of taking vitamin B1?

Vitamins are essential products for our health. Our body needs different vitamins properly so that it can do its work good. One of the many benefits of vitamin b1 in the body is that it helps the body to turn the food into energy. Some other benefits about vitamin b1 are listed below:

  1. Boosts energy production

Vitamin b1 when absorbed into the human body, works as a booster for energy production. When it gets mixed in nutrients which contain sugar, it becomes a booster which helps the enzymes in the body to do their work faster, and also acts as an energy producer.

Vitamin B1 is helpful in the process of energy production and is an essential component in this aspect. The main principal source of energy for human beings is glucose. It is a carbohydrate sugar that is produced in response to ATP production and is the main source of fuel for the body. Vitamin B1 helps in the oxidization of the sugar before its usage in the body. Vitamin B1 is required as an essential component in the mechanism of pyruvate dehydrogenase system for glucose production.

  1. Reduces sepsis

Sepsis is a response to any infection caused in the body, and can also lead to fatal results if the body becomes deficient of vitamin b1. Vitamin b1 helps in reducing the risk of kidney and liver diseases which are caused by sepsis. Kidney and liver disorders can lead to increased risk of edema, numbness and tingling of hands and legs increasing the risk of sepsis. Vitamin B1 is helpful in controlling the sepsis production.

Doses of vitamin b1 are often prescribed to people who are going through nerve pain, in people who are going through severe diseases such as diabetes and kidney issues, and it also contributes positively as it reduces the need of taking pain killers.

  1. Provides antioxidant support

Vitamin B1 is considered as one of the strong antioxidants that is helpful in controlling the oxidation rate in the body and helps body fight against free radicals and oxidants. This antioxidant nature is helpful in managing the age-related symptoms that are due to free-radical production.

Studies prove that vitamin b1 works as a mood booster for people who are undergoing cases of depression or similar problems. It has been seen that people with deficiency of vitamin b1, are seen with low energy and low mood levels.

  1. Supports the nervous system

Vitamin B1 is a supportive component for the nervous system. It plays an essential part in improving the memory functioning in human beings and supports the nervous system. Vitamin B1 supports the maintenance of myelin sheath that is the covering of neurons. Neurons are the nerve cells of our brain that are covered with myelin sheath on their axon region. The myelin sheath is necessary for conducting nerve impulse. Vitamin B1 maintains the myelin sheath and supports nerve cells.

Thiamine, plays a vital role in improving the memory function of the human brain. Due to this characteristic, thiamine is also called “morale vitamin”.

  1. Supports the heart health

Vitamin B1 is a supportive water-soluble vitamin for maintaining the heart health. It is helpful in controlling the condition of tachycardia. bradycardia and arrhythmia. The unusual and irregular levels of heart beat are often caused due to deficiency of vitamins. The proper levels of vitamin B1 helps in maintaining the normal heart rhythms.

Sources of Vitamin B1:

Vitamin B1 is can be consumed through various dietary sources. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Breads and cereals group

Vitamin B1 being a water soluble vitamin is not made by the human body so it is required through dietary sources to compensate its deficiency. The best source of vitamin B1 and best form of vitamin B1 is the breads and cereals group in which whole-wheat sources are common. Whole-wheat breads, grains are cereals have higher amount of vitamin B1 especially in their wheat germ part. The husk of the wheat germ is loaded with essential nutrients, fiber and thiamine that are required by the body.

  1. Poultry and beef

Vitamin B1 is also available to some extent in the meat group like the poultry and beef. Thiamine is available in beef, poultry and organ meats like kidney and liver. It can ingested through these dietary sources in cooked form for their proper digestion and absorption to the cellular level.

  1. Nuts and legumes

Vitamin B1 can also be ingested through legumes, black beans and nuts like walnuts, almonds and cashews. Legumes and beans are the plant-based dietary sources of proteins that are also rich in the essential nutrients like thiamine, iron and folate. Beans are the important dietary component that is packed with various nutrients. Nuts are enriched with healthy oils like omega-six-fatty acids helpful for the body.

Some other dietary sources that ensure the availability of vitamin B1 in them are the bran and rice, brewer’s yeast, vegetables like potatoes and blackstrap molasses.

How much vitamin B1 is required?

Vitamin B1 is required in different amounts at different age group levels and there are best time to take vitamin B1:

  • Infants up to age group of 6 months require 0.3 mg of thiamine
  • Infants up to age group of 7 months-1 year require 0.4 mg of thiamine
  • Children up to age group of 3 years require 0.5 mg of thiamine
  • Children up to age group of 8 years require 0.6 mg of thiamine
  • Teenagers up to age group of 13 years require 0.9 mg of thiamine
  • Teenagers up to age group of 18 years require 1.3 mg of thiamine in males and 1.0 mg of thiamine of females
  • Adults up to age group of 19-50 years require 1.3 mg of thiamine in males and 1.1 mg of thiamine in females
  • Adults up to age group of 51+ years requires 1.3 mg of thiamine in males and 1.1 mg of thiamine in females

What are the causes of vitamin B1 deficiency?

Thiamine deficiency is common in the people who lacks the appropriate amount of consuming this nutrient through dietary sources. There are many causes and risk factors behind the thiamine deficiency. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Long-term use of alcohol

Alcohol is one of the main cause and hindrance in nutrient absorption in the body. People who are more prone to alcohol use or misuse it on long-term basis lacks the ability to properly digest it in their body.

  1. Age factor

Human body is capable of absorbing nutrients inappropriate amount to some extent in their different age group periods. The absorption rate of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals is lower specifically in children and older age group. The dietary preference and needs of people change as the age advances, so older age is also a risk factor behind lower levels of thiamine in the body.

  1. Elevated levels of blood sugar

Thiamine is an important factor in the glucose production mechanism and its proper use in the body. The deficiency of thiamine can lead to disturbed glucose and elevated levels of blood sugar in the body.

  1. Eating disorders

People suffering from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are more prone to risk of thiamine deficiency. The anorexic patient is more prone to intake less food as they are conscious about their weight gain. This lack and lower intake of nutrients in the body can lead to deficiency of vitamin B1. Similarly, a patient of bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder is more prone to consume the fatty and junk foods that lack the proper amount of thiamine in them that can cause its deficiency.

  1. Long-term parenteral nutrition

Patients who are on IV-feeding and parenteral nutrition lacks the major nutrients in their diet that are not compensated through IV feeds. Short-term IV feeding might be not as much disastrous in terms of nutrient requirements. But long-term parenteral nutrition can cause deficiency of many vitamins and minerals especially the thiamine deficiency.

  1. Dialysis condition

Patients on the state of dialysis are more prone to deficiency of thiamine. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is absorbed readily in blood stream. Patients suffering from kidney disorders or getting treatment through dialysis are on less water intake that leads to poor absorption of thiamine.

Symptoms of Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Like every other vitamin, if vitamin b1 is not ingested in the human body in the proportion in which it should, there can be some problems in the human body. A deficiency of vitamin B1 causes:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting

Some of the symptoms are discussed in detail below:

  1. Poor appetite

One of the common symptom other than discussed above is the poor or no appetite. Thiamine is helpful in providing the feeling of fullness as it is readily available in the food products like whole grains, cereals and fortified breads that can satisfy the satiety levels and prevents hunger. The inadequate stores of thiamine in the body can disrupt this process and person might not feel hunger and lacks appetite. After the replenishment of thiamine stores in the body, this issue is resolved easily.

  1. Fatigue

One of another common and observable symptom is the fatigue in the body. Fatigue and lack of motivation to do necessary tasks is often due to lack of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals in which thiamine is worth-mentioning. Its deficiency can lead to fatigue as it is necessary for glucose pathway to produce energy.

  1. Irritability

Mood changes and irritability are often due to poor thiamine levels in the body. Thiamine is helpful in maintaining the levels of mood-hormones like serotonin and improves mood. Its deficiency can cause fatigue in the body and disrupts mood leading to irritability.

  1. Damage to nerve

Thiamine is important in maintaining the nerve health and neuron impulse. It helps in proper conduction of nerve impulse by maintaining the myelin sheath that is fat insulation on the axons of the neuron. Prolonged deficiency of thiamine triggers the poor nerve impulse and other conditions like neuropathy.

  1. Tingling sensations in arms and legs

The feeling of tingling and needle-like sensation in the arms and legs of the person is called as paresthesia. It is a symptom of thiamine deficiency and is a brain-related symptom. Thiamine is responsible for proper nerve impulse. Its deficiency is responsible for various nerve-related disorders in the body including the serious damage to peripheral nerves.

Side effects

There are no special evidences that can claim that too much levels of vitamin B1 can cause harm to the body. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that too much supplemental use of vitamin B1 is not good for health. It is recommended to consume it according to the daily requirement of the body. The major sources of vitamin B1 should be from the dietary sources.

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Disease Female Health Health Knowledge Nutrition

The complete beginner’s guide to Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

Menstrual cycle is a normal phase which every female has to face during her days of puberty. This cycle holds great significance as it is associated with the release of various hormones in female body and for well-being. There is a term called as Pre-menstrual cycle or syndrome which we often hear but only a few of us are aware with the actual meaning of this word.

PMS stands for Pre-menstrual syndrome and includes a series of physical and emotional symptoms which women feel before the start of their menstrual period and after ovulation. Such symptoms are usually seen after the days of ovulation due to the drastic fall in estrogen and progesterone levels and go away within a few days when women’s menstruates. The signs are mild in some women while in some cases, the symptoms are so severe that the daily activities are disrupted.


Pre-menstrual syndrome holding a series of various symptoms are often seen in women who:

  • Have high level of stress due to various factors
  • Have a family history of depression and other non-communicable diseases
  • Have a history of postpartum depression

Symptoms of Pre-Menstrual syndrome

Women often ask that when do PMS symptoms start. Sometimes there are PMS symptoms but no period. There are potential signs and symptoms that indicates the presence of pre-menstrual syndrome faced by women of various age groups who menstruate each month.

Behavioral signs and symptoms

Physical signs and symptoms


Muscle or joint pain

Depressed mood


Mood swings



Weight gain or fluid retention

Sudden episodes of anger


Sudden food cravings

Bloating in abdominal region


Breast tenderness

Social withdrawal

Acne or break outs on face

Poor concentration

Constipation or Diarrhea

Change in libido

Alcoholic Intolerance


Causes of Pre-menstrual syndrome

Scientific researches have concluded that there are no specific causes of PMS or severe PMS disorder. People experience the symptoms in a more severe way and here are a few theories suggested for you which are considered as causes of pre-menstrual symptoms.

  1. Hormonal changes

Experts suggests that PMS is a response to changing levels of hormones in body. The major hormones involved are estrogen and progesterone that naturally fluctuate throughout the menses cycle. Hormones reach a specific peak and then rapidly decline during the luteal phase followed by ovulation. It leads to anxiety, irritability and changes in mood.

  1. Chemical changes in the brain

Chemical messengers are also a factor of symptoms of PMS. The neurotransmitters called as serotonin and norepinephrine are important for bodily functions. They help to regulate mood, emotions and behavior. A sudden drop in estrogen leads to release of norepinephrine. It leads to decline in production of dopamine, acetylcholine and serotonin. Such changes eventually triggers sleep problems leading to low or depressed mood changes.

  1. Lifestyle factors

Our lifestyle plays a significant role in maintaining our overall health. Potential lifestyle factors can worsen the PMS symptoms leading to irregular menses. The factors worsening the condition are:

  • Smoking
  • Eating lots of high fat food
  • Consuming excessive sugar and salt
  • Lack of quality sleep

PMS affecting other health problems

Due to lack of awareness, majority of the women are not able to detect the pre-menstrual symptoms. There is a need to normalize the concept of premenstrual syndrome meaning in Urdu. There are many other health problems which gets worse before the menstrual period starts. These health problems has association with PMS including:

Depression and anxiety disorders

These are the common conditions that overlap with PMS. Depression and anxiety symptoms get worse before the menstrual period starts.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome

Women suffering from ME/CFS are more likely to have heavy menstrual bleeding, premature menopause or no menses at all.

Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS can lead to cramping, bloating and abdominal gas. These symptoms get worse before the period starts.

Bladder pain syndrome

Women who suffer from bladder pain syndrome have painful cramps during PMS.

Methods to ease the symptoms of PMS

There is a cure to every problem and so is the case with Pre-menstrual syndrome. The symptoms of PMS can be slowed down by adopting the following methods:

  • It is recommended to drink plenty of fluids for easing the abdominal bloating. You can consume herbal teas including chamomile or red raspberry leaf that may ease cramping.
  • Try to consume an overall balanced diet including all five servings of food groups. Focus on the intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut back on the items like sugar, salt, excessive caffeine and alcohol which can trigger the symptoms.
  • You can seek help from healthcare professional in case of excessive cramps and mood symptoms. You can try supplements like folic acid, vitamin B-6, calcium and magnesium.
  • It is recommended to get more vitamin D in the form of natural light, food or through supplements.
  • Try to get maximum sleep of 7 to 9 hours each night to help relieve fatigue and overall health.
  • Try at least half an hour of physical activity on daily basis. It is necessary to help relieve bloating and cramping and also lessens the anxiety and depression symptoms.

Diet related suggestions

A healthy diet plays a major role in overall well-being of a person. A balanced diet can cure all sort of symptoms associated with PMS too. Good food leads to good mood so here are few suggestions which can be adopted to lessen the PMS symptoms.

  1. Intake of high-quality calcium foods

According to studies, it has been seen that women who consume the highest intakes of calcium and vitamin D are less likely to develop PMS. It is recommended to consume calcium at about 1200 milligrams per day. RDA for women of age group 19-50 years should consume 1000 mg. RDA for women below 70 years regarding vitamin D consumption is 700 IU and above 70 years is 600 IU.

Calcium works in the brain to relieve some depression symptoms while vitamin D influences emotional changes. Calcium and vitamin D can be consumed through diet from various dietary sources such as:

  • Low-fat milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Soy milk
  • Salmon
  • Fortified milk


  1. Don’t skip breakfast

It is recommended to never skip breakfast in any means. Try to consume regular meals and snacks throughout the day. It is beneficial to start the day with breakfast as it has various benefits. PMS includes a hormone storm and can affect the appetite of person. The mood becomes more irritable when a person skips meals and leads to rise in blood sugar levels.

  1. Consume whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables

Eating a nutrient rich and balanced diet can prevent the person from various health problems. It is a better approach to eat well to tweak the symptoms of PMS. Try to include plenty colorful and fiber-packed vegetables and fruits in your diet which are rich in antioxidants. Consume the maximum servings of whole grain foods like brown rice, oatmeal and rye bread to cure bloating.

It is also a good approach to consume Vitamin B-fortified breads and cereals. Researches have proven that higher intakes of thiamine and riboflavin can lower the risk of PMS. But the source should be through diet, not from the supplements. Initiate complex carbohydrates in diet which can help to stabilize your mood and keeps the cravings under control. Complex carbohydrates include lentils, potatoes and unprocessed oats providing the feeling of fullness and moderately rises insulin levels.

Focus on consuming iron-rich foods from lean meat sources to avoid anemia. Iron-rich foods are necessary to avoid any sort of anemic problem as heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to loss of blood in female body. Don’t forget to remove the excess fat from the meat sources. If you are a vegan, then you can ask your doctor for an iron supplement too in order to avoid iron deficiency.

  1. Don’t overload on sugar items

Cravings for sugar is a common issue faced by females showing symptoms of PMS and is difficult to resist it. It is due to the shifting levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones and can also decrease the serotonin levels in brain. All these changes trigger the PMS symptoms and affect’s the mood in a woman. Studies have shown that a women with PMS should consume extra 200-500 calories per day. But, in our daily life those extra calories come from sweet foods and fats. It is advisable to consume whole grains instead of sugars to boost the serotonin levels.

To avoid sugar cravings, you can snack on nuts which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provide the feeling of fullness in body. There are variety of nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. A person should munch on healthier sources of snacks instead of sugary items to avoid inconvenience in health.


There are some prescription medicines and over-the counter pain relievers that can help to treat some PMS symptoms.

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers

These are available on almost all sort of medical stores which help to lessen physical symptoms like cramps, headaches, backaches and breast tenderness. These pain relievers include:

  • Naproxen
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen


  • Prescription medicines

You can also seek help from prescription medicines, if in case over-the-counter medicines are not working. These includes:

Antidepressants: These can help to relive emotional symptoms of PMS in some women where other medicines are not working. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the common type of antidepressants used to treat the symptoms of PMS.

Diuretics: They are also called as water pills and helps to reduce the symptoms of bloating and breast tenderness.

Anti-anxiety medicines: These may help to reduce the feelings of anxiousness.

It is recommended to consult your doctor before taking any sort of medicine as they can have side effects too. Avoid taking any sort of medication without prescription.

Supplements and vitamins

Vitamins and minerals also help to relieve the symptoms of PMS. FDA does not regulates vitamin and minerals or any sort of herbal supplements like they regulate medicines. It is recommended to talk to your doctor before taking any sort of supplement.

Here we will discuss some benefits of vitamins and minerals which help to ease the symptoms of PMS.

  1. Calcium:Calcium is a mineral found in foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. It helps to reduce some PMS symptoms including fatigue, cravings and depression. There are also some fortified cereals, breads and orange juices available in market which have calcium added in them. These items can also be implemented in diet instead of a calcium supplement.
  2. Vitamin B6:This vitamin may also help to treat the PMS symptoms including moodiness, irritability, forgetfulness, bloating and anxiety. Vitamin B6 is found in various food items like fish, poultry, potatoes and fruits excluding citrus fruits and fortified cereals.
  3. Magnesium:It helps to relieve some symptoms of PMS including migraines. Magnesium is rich in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, nuts, whole grains and fortified cereals. It can also be taken as a supplement.
  4. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids:Polyunsaturated fatty acids help to reduce cramps and other PMS symptoms. Flaxseeds, nuts, fish and green leafy vegetables are some good sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Related questions

What syndrome is common before the period starts? PMS known as pre-menstrual syndrome is a combination of syndrome seen before the start of menstrual cycle in women. The symptoms include bloating, headaches, and moodiness.

How long does the PMS lasts in a women? PMS called as pre-menstrual syndrome lasts for about 2-3 days after the period begins. The symptoms are worse during the starting days of period. Certain body changes and mood changes are seen during this phase.

Why does a female feel crazy before her period? Low levels of serotonin causes the feelings of sadness and irritability. This neurotransmitter helps to regulate the mood, sleep cycle and appetite in a person.

What are signs which indicate that date of menstrual cycle is near? There are some signs which indicate that period is coming which includes:

  • Soreness or heaviness in breasts
  • Break outs on face
  • Tiredness and cramps
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Headache and mood swings

Why does females get anxiety before a week of their period? The rollercoaster of hormones affects the neurotransmitters in brain such as serotonin and dopamine. These are associated with mood regulation and leads to increase in symptoms such as anxiety, depression and mood swings.

How can a female balance her hormones before the period starts? Hormones can be balanced during and before the start of periods through the following means:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats
  • Drink a lot of water

Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef.  She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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