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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

 

  1. INCREASE RISK OF TYPE-2 DIABETES

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.

 

  1. EXCESSIVE SUGAR INTAKE LEADS TO OBESITY

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.

 

  1. INCREASES THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES

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.

 

  1. LINKED TO ACNE

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. 

 

  1. IT MIGHT INCREASE THE RISK OF CANCER

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.

 

  1. CONTRIBUTES TO THE ACCELERATION OF THE AGING PROCESS

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.

WHAT IS VITAMIN K?

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.

BENEFITS OF TAKING VITAMIN K

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

  1. HELPS IN BLOOD CLOTTING

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.

  1. PLAYS A VITAL ROLE IN BONE HEALTH

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.

  1. HEART DISEASES

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.

FOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN K

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;

  • PHYLLOQUINONE

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

SIGNS OF VITAMIN K DEFICIENCY

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:

  1. LONGER TIME FOR BLOOD TO CLOT

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

  1. EXCESSIVE BLEEDING

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

  1. HEMORRHAGE
  2. OSTEOPENIA
  3. OSTEOPOROSIS

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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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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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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Health Disease Female 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

Anxiety

Muscle or joint pain

Depressed mood

Headache

Mood swings

Fatigue

Irritability

Weight gain or fluid retention

Sudden episodes of anger

 

Sudden food cravings

Bloating in abdominal region

Insomnia

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.

Medications

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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