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Body Watch : The ABCs of Good Health

August 16, 1994|LESLIE KNOWLTON

VITAMINS Vitamin A Daily Value: 5,000 International Units (IU) What It's For: Tissue maintenance. Healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes. Helps us see in dim light. Essential for normal growth and reproduction. Some Good Sources: Liver, deep yellow/orange and dark green vegetables and fruits (including carrots, broccoli, spinach, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes), cheese, milk and fortified margarines Signs of Severe Deficiency: Night blindness, dry scaling skin, poor immune response Signs of Extreme Excess: Damage to liver, kidney and bone; headache, irritability; vomiting; hair loss; blurred vision; yellow skin *Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Daily Value: 1.5 milligrams (mg) What It's For: Helps body release energy from carbohydrates during metabolism. Health of nerves and muscles, including heart. Helps prevent fatigue and irritability. Some Good Sources: Pork, whole grains, dried beans and peas, sunflower seeds, nuts Signs of Severe Deficiency: Beriberi (nerve changes, sometimes edema, heart failure) Signs of Extreme Excess: None known *Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Daily Value: 1.7 mg What It's For: Helps body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during metabolism. Good vision. Healthy hair, skin, nails. Necessary for normal cell growth Some Good Sources: Liver and other organ meats, poultry, brewer's yeast, fish, dried peas, beans, nuts, sunflower seeds, cheese, eggs, yogurt, milk, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nori seaweed Signs of Severe Deficiency: Skin lesions Signs of Extreme Excess: None known *Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Daily Value: 20 mg What It's For: Energy metabolism. Important for healthy skin and digestive tract tissue. Stimulates circulation. Caution: if taken by it self, may cause flushing. Some Good Sources: Liver and other organ meats, veal, pork, poultry, fish, nuts, brewer's yeast, dried beans, dried fruit, leafy greens, whole grains, milk, eggs Signs of Severe Deficiency: Pellagara (sensitivity to light, fatigue, loss of appetite, skin eruptions and sore, red tongue) Signs of Extreme Excess: Flushing of face, neck, and hands; liver damage *Pantothenic acid Daily Value: 10 mg What It's For: Supports adrenal glands to increase production of hormones to counteract stress. Important for healthy skin and nerves. Some Good Sources: Nuts, beans, seeds dark green leafy vegetables, poultry, dried fruit, milk Signs of Severe Deficiency: Fatigue, sleep disturbance, nausea, poor Signs of Extreme Excess: None known *Vitamin B6 Daily Value: 2 mg What It's For: Helps body use protein to build body tissue and aids in metabolism of fat. Facilitates release of glycogen from liver and muscles. Helps in red-blood cell production, fluid-balance regulation. Some Good Sources: Sunflower seeds, beans, poultry, liver, nuts, leafy green vegetables, bananas, dried fruit Signs of Severe Deficiency: Nervous and muscular disorders Signs of Extreme Excess: Unstable gait, numb feet, poor hand coordination, abnormal brain function *Vitamin B-12 Daily Value: 6 micrograms (mcg) What It's For: Important in formation of red-blood cells and building genetic material. Stimulates growth in children. Helps functioning of nervous system and in metabolizing protein and fat in body. Some Good Sources: Animal protein foods, including meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, milk, yogurt, eggs *Biotin Daily Value: 0.3 mg What It's For: Used in energy metabolism Some Good Sources: Widely distributed in foods, especially eggs Signs of Severe Deficiency: Dermatitis, depression, muscular pain Signs of Extreme Excess: None known *Folate (folic acid, folaci) Daily Value: 0.4 mg What It's For: Helps form red-blood cells. Assists in breakdown and utilization of protein. Essential during pregnancy for its importance in cell division. Some Good Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, bean, whole-grain products, fruit, fruit juices, liver Signs of Severe Deficiency: Anemia, gastrointestinal disturbances Signs of Extreme Excess: Masks Vitamin B-12 deficiency *Vitamin C Daily Value: 60 mg What It's For: Essential for connective tissue found in skin, cartilage, bones and teeth. Helps heal wounds. Antioxidant. Stimulates immune system. Aids in absorption of iron. Some Good Sources: Citrus fruits, berries, melons, dark green vegetables, cauliflower, tomatoes, green and red peppers, cabbage and potatoes Signs of Severe Deficiency: Scurvy (skin sports, bleeding gums, weakness), delayed wound healing, impaired immune response Signs of Extreme Excess: Gastrointestinal upsets, confounds certain lab tests, poor immune response *Vitamin D Daily Value: 400 IU What It's For: Helps regulate calcium metabolism and bone calcification. Called the "sunshine vitamin" because it's manufactures in human skin when in contact with ultraviolet light. Wintertime, clouds and smog reduce body's production Some Good Sources: Fortified and full-fat dairy products, tuna, salmon, cod liver oil Signs of Severe Deficiency: Rickets in children, bone softening in adults Signs of Extreme Excess: Gastrointestinal upset; cerebral, cardiovascular and kidney damage; lethargy *Vitamin E Daily Value: 30 IU What It's For: Antioxidant to prevent cell-membrane damage Some Good Sources: Vegetable oils and their products, nuts, seeds, fish, wheat germ, whole-grain products, green leafy vegetables Signs of Severe Deficiency: Possible anemia Signs of Extreme Excess: Perhaps fatal in premature infants given intravenous solution *Vitamin K Daily Value: Pending What It's For: Necessary for normal blood clotting. Some Good Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower Signs of Severe Deficiency: Severe bleeding on injury; internal hemorrhaging Signs of Extreme Excess: Liver damage, anemia (from synthetic forms) *

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