Vitamins, A-Z

Vitamin A

What is vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a fat soluble (requires fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for vision, gene expression, and growth of cells. Carotenoids (anti-oxidant) are also a form of vitamin A and are needed for eye health and heart disease.

What foods contain Vitamin A?
Vitamin A can be found in liver, dairy, eggs, and fortified cereals.

Does my child need a vitamin A supplement?
Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of different fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meat, should provide adequate vitamin A. Children with fat malabsorption conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis, often need a vitamin supplement containing vitamin A.

What are signs of too little Vitamin A?
Poor vitamin A intake can cause night blindness, increase susceptibility to infections, retarded growth, and white accumulation of cells in the eye.

What can too much Vitamin A cause?
An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin A can present with nausea, vomiting and double vision. With chronic toxicity, there can be hair loss, muscle pain, and liver damage. If taken in excess in pregnancy, it can cause birth defects.

 

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

What is vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1, or Thiamin, is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for the formation of blood components and the release of energy from our cells.

Where foods contain Vitamin B1?

Vitamin B1 can be found in whole grains, fortified grains (a food that vitamin/minerals have been added to), enriched grains (a food that vitamins/minerals have been added to replace those lost during the refining processing), legumes and meat.

Does my child need a vitamin B1 supplement?

Consuming a well-balanced diet, composed of various grains, should provide adequate vitamin B1. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B1 supplement. Children following restricted diets, such as a gluten free diet, may need supplemental B1. In addition, children with malabsorption conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease, may need a vitamin supplement.

What are signs of too little Vitamin B1?

A deficiency can present with weakness, loss of appetite, rapid heart rate, confusion, and memory loss.

What can too much Vitamin B1 cause?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B1 has not been established. Meaning they haven’t seen toxicity of vitamin B1 when consumed through food or supplements. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

 

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

What is vitamin B2?

Vitamin B2, or Riboflavin, is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for

Where can Vitamin B2 be found?

Vitamin B2 can be found in fortified grains (a food that vitamin/minerals have been added to), milk, eggs, and meat.

Does my child need a vitamin B2 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of various grains, meats, eggs, and dairy, should provide adequate vitamin B2. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B1 supplement. Children with malabsorption conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease, may need a vitamin B2 supplement.

What are signs of too little Vitamin B2?A deficiency can present with lesions around the corner of the mouth, inflammation of the tongue and mouth, and nerve dysfunction.

What can too much Vitamin B2 cause?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B2 has not been established. Meaning they haven’t seen toxicity of vitamin B2 when consumed through food or supplements. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

 

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

What is vitamin B3?

Vitamin B3 is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for energy production within our cells.

Where can Vitamin B3 be found?

Vitamin B3 can be found in fortified grains (a food that vitamin/minerals have been added to), enriched grains (a food that vitamins/minerals have been added to replace those lost during the refining processing), legumes, nuts, and meat.

Does my child need a vitamin B3 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet should provide adequate vitamin B3. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B3 supplement. Children with malabsorption conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease, may need a vitamin B3 supplement.

What does a deficiency of Vitamin B3 look like?

A deficiency can present with dermatitis (skin looking sunburned), memory loss, inflammation of the tongue, and vomiting.

What can to much Vitamin cause?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B3 can present with itching, skin flushing, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.

 

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

What is vitamin B5?

Vitamin B5, or Pantothenic Acid), is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for normal cell function.

Where can Vitamin B5 be found?

Vitamin B5 can be found in almost in all food sources. It is present in most plan and animal products. In fact, grains are not even fortified/enriched with vitamin B5 since it is present in so many sources naturally.

Does my child need a vitamin B5 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet will provide adequate vitamin B5. Children rarely require supplementation of vitamin B5. Children with malabsorption conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease, may need a vitamin supplement.

What are signs of too little Vitamin B5?

A deficiency can present with toe numbness and a burning sensation of the feet.

What does too much Vitamin B5 cause?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B5 can present with stomach pain, and diarrhea. has not been established. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

 

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

What is vitamin B6?

Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxine, is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for amino acid (protein) metabolism.

Where can Vitamin B6 be found?

Vitamin B6 can be found in fortified grains (a food that vitamin/minerals have been added to), vegetables, and animal products (meat, dairy, eggs).

Does my child need a vitamin B6 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of various vegetables and animal products, should provide adequate vitamin B6. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B6 supplement. Children with malabsorptive conditions, such a Crohn’s disease, may require an additional vitamin B6 supplement.

What are effects of too little Vitamin B6?

A deficiency (extremely rare) can present with inflammation of the tongue, lesions at the sides of the mouth, seizures, and convulsions.

What can too much Vitamin B6 cause?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B6 can present with numbness in the arms and legs. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

 

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

What is vitamin B7?

Vitamin B7, or Biotin, is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for the growth of our cells.

Where can Vitamin B7 be found?

Vitamin B7 can be found in eggs, nuts, legumes, grains, and liver.

Does my child need a vitamin B7 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of eggs and grains, should provide adequate vitamin B6. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B6 supplement. Children with malabsorptive conditions, such a Crohn’s disease, may require an additional vitamin B7 supplement.

What are signs of too little Vitamin B7?

A deficiency can present with hair loss, scaly skin, fatigue, brittle nails, and rashes around the mouth/eyes.

What can too much Vitamin B7 cause?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B7 has not been established. Meaning they haven’t seen toxicity of vitamin B7 when consumed through food or supplements. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

 

Vitamin D

What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble (requires fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for calcium homeostasis, osteoporosis prevention, blood pressure regulation, and immune system function.

Where foods contain Vitamin D?
Vitamin D can be found in animal products and dairy products. Some examples of sources are fish oil, tuna, eggs (specifically the yolk), milk, and yogurt. Vitamin D can also be obtained by the sun! Vegetarian sources of vitamin D can be found in fortified products (fortified orange juice, fortified soy milk, and cheerios).

Does my child need a vitamin D supplement
We recommend that children consume a daily vitamin D supplement with a minimum of 400IU/day, but will likely increase to 800-100IU/day in the next few years. Currently research has indicated that it is very difficult to consume adequate vitamin D through our diets, which is why a daily supplement is recommended. When picking a supplement, choose Vitamin D3 (not vitamin D2) as it is the active form of vitamin D and will be absorbed more efficiently.

What are signs of too little Vitamin D?
Poor vitamin D intake can cause growth retardation in children, seizures, bowing of the legs (rickets), enlarged wrists and ankles, and spine curving.

What does a toxicity of Vitamin D look like?
An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin D can present with anorexia, nausea, vomiting, renal failure, and calcification of soft tissues. It is not possible to have toxic levels of vitamin D from sun exposure.

 

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

What is vitamin B9?

Vitamin B9, or Folate, is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for amino acid (protein) metabolism and DNA synthesis.

Where can Vitamin B9 be found?

Vitamin B9 can be found in dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, fruit, and enriched grains (a food that vitamins/minerals have been added to replace those lost during the refining processing).

Does my child need a vitamin B9 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet should provide adequate vitamin B6. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B9 supplement. Children with malabsorptive conditions, such a Crohn’s disease, may require an additional vitamin B9 supplement.

What does a deficiency of Vitamin B9 look like?

Vitamin B9 deficiency is extremely rare. Many foods are fortified with B9 to prevent neural tube defects in infants during pregnancy. A deficiency can present with a specific type of anemia (megaloblastic anemia) which presents with fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.

What does a toxicity of Vitamin B6 look like?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B9 has not been established. Meaning they haven’t seen toxicity of vitamin B9 when consumed through food or supplements. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble (does not require fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for enzyme conversion needed for healthy heart function.

Where can Vitamin B12 be found?

Vitamin B12 can be found in animal sources (clams, liver, oysters, milk, eggs). It can also be found in fortified grains (a food that vitamin/minerals have been added to).

Does my child need a vitamin B12 supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of various animal items and fortified grains, should provide adequate vitamin B12. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin B12 supplement. Sometimes children following a vegetarian diet can benefit from a vitamin B12 supplement. In addition, children with malabsorptive conditions, such a Crohn’s disease, may require an additional vitamin B6 supplement.

What does a deficiency of Vitamin B12 look like?

A deficiency can present with memory loss and a specific type of anemia (megaloblastic anemia), which presents with fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. This is the same anemia that can be found in B9 deficiency.

What does a toxicity of Vitamin B12 look like?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin B12 has not been established. Meaning they haven’t seen toxicity of vitamin B12 when consumed through food or supplements. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

Vitamin C

What is vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water soluble (does notvrequire fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for the synthesis of various important enzymes and for antioxidant function.

Where can Vitamin C be found?

Vitamin C can be found in fruits (oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries) and vegetables (green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato).

Does my child need a vitamin C supplement?

Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of various fruits and vegetables, should provide adequate vitamin C. Children on unrestricted diets rarely require a vitamin C supplement. Children with malabsorptive conditions, such a Crohn’s disease, may require an additional vitamin C supplement.

What does a deficiency of Vitamin C look like?

A deficiency can present with bleeding gums, skin discoloration, and decaying teeth (all signs of scurvy).

What does a toxicity of Vitamin C look like?

An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin C can present with stomch pain and kidney stones. Water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine when they are not needed. They do not get stored in our tissue, therefore toxicity is extremely difficult to reach (in most water soluble vitamins).

 

Vitamin E

What is vitamin E?
Vitamin E is a fat soluble (requires fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for antioxidant activity, heart disease prevention, eye health, and cancer prevention.

Where foods contain Vitamin E?
Vitamin E can be found in grains, fortified grains, plant oils, nuts, and seeds. It can also be found in high fat meat sources.

Does my child need a vitamin E supplement?
Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of grains, nuts, seeds, plant oils, and meat should provide adequate vitamin A. Children with fat malabsorption conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis, often need a vitamin supplement containing vitamin E.

What are signs of too little Vitamin E?
Poor vitamin E intake can cause hemolytic anemia, loss of coordination in the limbs, skeletal muscle pain, and weakness. Please note, a deficiency in Vitamin E is rare and impacts those with fat malabsorption issues.

What does a toxicity of Vitamin E look like?
An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin E can present with an increase in bleeding, nausea, diarrhea, increased severity of respiratory infections, muscle weakness, and fatigue.

 

Vitamin K

What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat soluble (requires fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for blood clotting, bone formation, and osteoporosis prevention.

Where can Vitamin K be found?
Vitamin K can be found in plant products (kale, turnip greens, cauliflower, broccoli), soy bean oil, and liver.

Does my child need a vitamin K supplement?
Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of various vegetables, should provide adequate vitamin K. Children with fat malabsorption conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis, often need a vitamin supplement containing vitamin K. In addition, individuals on chronic antibiotics may benefit from vitamin K supplementation.

What are signs of too little Vitamin K?
Poor vitamin K intake can cause uncontrolled bleeding episodes. Deficiency is rare in healthy individuals.

 What does a toxicity of Vitamin K look like?
An overdose or toxicity of Vitamin K can present with liver damage, elevated bilirubin levels, and jaundice.

 

 

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Surprise for St. Paddy’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day, like nearly every holiday, brings with it lots of sugary, food colored snacks. Sneaky parents, though, can still manage to please their kids with healthy eats. Try either of these for breakfast, lunch or after school. Cheers!

mint smoothie 2

Mint chocolate chip smoothie. They’ll never know it has spinach unless you tell them!

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Surprise

  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2t vanilla
  • 1T real maple syrup (omit if you used vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 drops mint extract
  • 1T chocolate chips

Blend the yogurt, milk, banana and spinach until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until chips are mostly chopped. Serve very cold.

 

Green Tropical Smoothie

  • 6 oz orange juice or skim milk
  • ¼ cup pineapple chunks
  • ¼ cup mango
  • ¼ cup spinach
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cup ice

Blend and enjoy.

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4 Weeks to a Healthier Home

March is National Nutrition Month–what better time to make a commitment to healScreen shot 2013-04-03 at 11.33.57 AMthy living? Following are four tips for creating a healthier home that we think are attainable for any family. The idea is to adopt one tip per week, or adapt the ideas to what works in your own home. If you have any of your own suggestions, do share!

1. Buy food plain and flavor it yourself. Take a look at the ingredients on flavored oatmeal, flavored yogurt or packaged couscous. They’re full of ingredients you can’t pronounce and pretty much don’t need. They’re meant to preserve the products’ shelf life and taste salty or sweet enough to keep you shoveling in the spoonfuls. Plain yogurt, plain oatmeal, raw and plain grains–not only is it healthier to flavor food yourself, but it’s also cheaper. For yogurt and oatmeal, we add honey or real maple syrup.

2. Avoid trans fat. If you haven’t done this yet, toss out the trans fat. This isn’t so hard these days because avoiding trans fat is now so trendy that even Oreo’s no longer Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 4.23.43 PMcontain it. Look for partially hydrogenated oils, margarine or shortening in ingredient lists and then look for an alternative, similar product. In your own baking, instead of margarine, use butter, coconut oil or at the very least, Earth Balance.

3. Add whole grains to your diet. Not every family is able to switch over entirely to whole grains without an all out riot from the kids. Try instead to add whole grains little by little. Add a cup of whole wheat to baked goods when a recipe calls for two cups of flour. Mix in some brown rice with your normal white rice recipe and call it pilaf.

4. Eat leafy greens. Leafy greens are the power food of every diet, yet most people hardly eat any. Leafy vegetables are brimming with fiber along with vitamins, minerals, and plant-based substances that can protect you from heart disease, diabetes and perhaps even cancer. Plus, if you know how to cook them, they’re delicious (we promise!). It’s easy to toss in spinach or kale to a recipe, while serving the same meal to picky eaters plain. Eat it enough, and you just might encourage the rest of your family to give it a try.