We are getting close, slowly slowly, to the end of our series. But, until then, i will continue with the rest of the B vitamins.
Vitamin B6 - It is a coenzyme for 65+ enzymes. mostly involved in the aminoacid metabolism, but also in glycogen breakdown in muscle, serotonin production from tryptophan, conversion of tryptophan in nicotinic acid and haemoglobin formation. Best dietary sources are chicken, liver, fish, nuts, yeast and wheat germs. Low quantities are found in fruit and veg. The deficiency is quite rare, but can occur if the needs are increased (pregnant and lactating women, women taking contraceptives, elderly, alcoholics, people who are underweight and those with high protein intake like bodybuilders).
Pantothenic acid - Play a key role in the metabolism of the macronutrients and it is essential for maintenance and repair of the tissue and cells. Best dietary sources are yeast and organ meats, but the common sources are eggs, milk, veg, nuts and whole grain cereals. There is uncommon to be deficient as this vitamin B is present in almost every food.
Biotin - It has an important role in the macronutrients metabolism and it is cofactor for three important enzymes. Rich dietary sources are yeast, liver and swiss chard, but most common are egg yolk, soybeans, nuts and cereals. Deficiency can lead to scally, dry skin around the mouth and nose, eczema, hair loss, poor appetite, fatigue and nausea. The raw egg contains avidin, a protein binding biotin, preventing absorption, and we also have the bacteria Streptomyces avidinii secreting streptavidin (another biotin binding protein).
Just to close the vitamin chapter, i will resume the main causes of vitamin deficiency:
- Diet - food shortages as primary food deficiency and diminished food intake due to poverty as secondary cause of deficiency.
- Loss of appetite (Elderly, dental issues, chronic disease, pregnancy sickness)
- Intestine related problems causing malabsorption (Pancreatic and coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis, parasites)
- Increased requirements (bodybuilding, lactation, pregnancy, infections with parasites, bacteria or viruses, different drugs like antibiotics and oral contraceptives).
Next post will be about global micronutrients malnutrition.
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