Vitamins: Benefits, Deficiency Test And Diet To Avoid Long Term Damage

Vitamins are the organic compounds useful for our body. They are present in traces in different food content. Our body does not produce enough vitamins and hence, our body is prone to its deficiencies. There are different types of vitamins and each of them is important for the body. Deficiency of any vitamin will affect the daily functions of the body.

Classification of Vitamin

1) Fat Soluble Vitamin:

These types of vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and liver and are stayed for the longer time. These are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

2) Water Soluble Vitamin:

These types of vitamins are unable to store in the body and are excreted in the urine. These are:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also called retinol, carotenoids.

Benefits of Vitamin A

  • It helps in growth and development of the body
  • It strengthens the immune system
  • It helps keep eyes healthy:
  • It strengthens the retina and maintains the good vision
  • it prevents night blindness
  • it prevents xerophthalmia – unable to produce tears
  • It helps in conceiving: Vitamin A deficiency could be a reason for trouble in getting pregnant. It may also lead to birth defects and miscarriages.
  • Diabetic people: topical vitamin A application can prevent wounds associated with diabetes as it improves the collagen production.
  • It may also help in treating acne problems.

Vitamin A in Adolescent and Young Adults:

  • According to a study vitamin A supplement can reduce the risk of hearing loss associated with the purulent ear infection.
  • Deficiency of vitamin A in children may increase the risk of illness and deaths due to severe infections from measles or the diseases that cause diarrhoea.
  • It can also cause growth retardation.
  • Children with deficiency of vitamin A are prone to the chest infection and throat infection.

Vitamin A in Pregnancy:

  • Pregnant females are more susceptible during pregnancy especially during the third trimester.
  • Vitamin A supplements maintain the retinol levels in mother helping to prevent night blindness.
  • Mothers with HIV can reduce the risk of infant mortality and morbidity and low birth weight by taking vitamin A supplements.

Vitamin A Test:

  1. Vitamin panel test
  2. Retinol test

Normal limits around – 0.3 – 1.2 mg/L

Food Items Rich in Vitamin A:

Vegetables rich in vitamin A

  1. Sweet potato
  2. Green leafy vegetables – kale, spinach, lettuce
  3. Carrot
  4. Broccoli
  5. Bell peppers specially red
  6. Bok choy
  7. Ladyfinger

Fruits rich in vitamin A

  1. Watermelon
  2. Mango
  3. Papaya
  4. Guava
  5. Plums

2. Vitamin D

Benefits of Vitamin D:

  1. Bone Pain – Vitamin D helps in maintaining bone health and prevents bone fractures. It helps to absorb calcium absorption in bones.
  2. Vitamin D helps to reduce fatigue and regular headache- vitamin deficiency can cause regular headache and fatigue.
  3. Vitamin D may help to improve wound healing especially in diabetic foot patients. Vitamin D deficiency may delay the healing procedure.
  4. Vitamin D deficiency leads to back pain.
  5. Vitamin D helps to reduce muscle pain.

Vitamin D Deficiency in Children:

  • It may lead to rickets. Rickets is a condition when there is bowing of the legs in children. This may lead to weak legs, unable to walk properly and unable to balance.
  • It may also lead to hypocalcemia meaning less calcium leading to seizures and tetany.
  • It helps to prevent autoimmune diseases in children.

Role of Vitamin D in Pregnancy:

  • It helps in healthy bone development in baby
  • Low vitamin D can be associated with increased risk of certain cancers, autoimmune diseases and neurological diseases.
  • Postpartum depression, gestational diabetes, recurrent pregnancy loss and preterm delivery have been documented in pregnant females with low vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D levels in mothers may help in fetal lung development and allergies. The low level may lead to asthma and bronchitis in offspring.

Role of Vitamin D During Lactation:

  • Mother is the main source of vitamin D for infant. It is important for mothers to have proper vitamin D rich diet or supplements.

Vitamin D Test:

  • 25 hydroxy vitamin D test is a blood test to detect the levels of vitamin D.

Normal limits- 25-50 ng/mL

Food Rich in Vitamin D:

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Soy milk
  3. Eggs
  4. Cheese
  5. Tofu
  6. Cod liver oil
  7. Orange juice
  8. Fishes
  9. Oats
  10. Yogurt
  11. Shrimps

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also known as tocopherol or tocotrienols.

Benefits of Vitamin E:

  1. Ageing – vitamin E helps in antioxidant delaying ageing.
  2. Flawless face – vitamin E delay ageing, decreases wrinkles and increases glow in the skin as it prevents free radical to damaging cells in body and skin. It also helps in preventing skin damage.
  3. Cancer – vitamin E helps in inhibiting cell proliferation and enhancing the immune system.
  4. Boost immunity – vitamin E helps to boost immunity as it has antioxidant property.
  5. Eye problems – vitamin E helps to reduce cataracts
  6. Neurological problems – it helps in controlling various problems like Parkinson, Alzheimer.

Test for Vitamin E:

  • Vitamin E Tocopherol test. It is a blood test. The serum is required.

Normal ranges are – 5.4-40 ng/ml

Foods Rich in Vitamin E:

Vegetables rich in Vitamin E

  1. Green leafy vegetables like spinach
  2. Turnip
  3. Mustard greens
  4. Asparagus
  5. broccoli

Fruits rich in Vitamin E

  1. Kiwi
  2. Berries- blueberries, mulberries, cranberries
  3. Peach
  4. Guava
  5. Mango

Other food items rich in Vitamin E

  1. Sunflower seeds
  2. Oats
  3. Rice
  4. Nuts- almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds
  5. Vegetable oil

4. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is responsible for blood coagulation.

Benefits of Vitamin K:

  1. Osteoporosis – vitamin K helps in reducing the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women. It helps in reducing bone loss.
  2. Anticoagulant – it acts as an anticoagulant. It helps to stop bleeding.
  3. Maintain cardiovascular health – it helps in preventing arterial calcification thus helping in maintaining blood pressure.
  4. Memory – it helps to improve memory in adults.

Vitamin K Test:

  • Usually, the tests are not done widely. It is calculated through Prothrombin time. This is done to check the bleeding. If the time increases, it indicates deficiency.

Normal vitamin K range – 0.2 – 3.2 ng/ml. Reduced blood clotting is below 0.5 ng/ ml

Food Rich in Vitamin K:

Vegetables rich in vitamin K

  1. Kale
  2. Spinach
  3. Broccoli
  4. Parsley
  5. Cabbage
  6. Tomato
  7. Lettuce
  8. Ladyfinger

Fruits rich in vitamin K

  1. Avocado
  2. Kiwi
  3. Berries – blackberries, blueberries
  4. Pomegranate
  5. Grapes

Dairy products and nuts

  1. Cheese
  2. Egg yolk
  3. Butter
  4. Nuts –Cashews, hazelnuts

Other products

  1. Meat
  2. Bacon
  3. Beef Liver
  4. Chicken liver

5. Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is also called thiamine.

Benefits of Thiamine:

  1. Digestive problems – It is helpful in digestive problems like diarrhoea and poor appetite.
  2. Boosts immunity
  3. It is helpful in eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts.
  4. It helps in controlling beriberi. It is a condition in which person suffers from difficulty in walking, tingling, loss of sensation, paralysis of lower legs, deterioration of brain functions, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and swelling of lower limbs.

Vitamin B1 Deficiency in Infants:

Infant beriberi – usually seen in 2-6 months of age. Usually, a child suffers from diarrhoea, vomiting, shortness of breath, even die. Other features like swelling, pale skin, rapid heart rate and convulsions.

Importance of Vitamin B1 During Pregnancy:

  1. It helps in baby’s brain development.
  2. It also helps with healthy heart functions.

Test for Vitamin B1:

  • Thiamine test. It is a blood test

Normal range – 74-222 nmol/L

Food Source Rich in Vitamin B1:

Vegetables rich in vitamin B1

  1. Kale
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Onions
  4. Spinach
  5. Cabbage
  6. Eggplant
  7. mushrooms

Fruits rich in vitamin B1

  1. orange
  2. raspberries
  3. pineapple
  4. lychee
  5. blackberries

Food rich in vitamin B 1

  1. Nuts
  2. Beens
  3. Eggs
  4. Yellowfin tuna fish
  5. Beef

6. Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin

Benefits of Vitamin B2:

  1. It helps to prevent migraines
  2. It helps in corneal ectasis. This is a condition of corneal thinning.
  3. It is essential for the baby’s muscle and nerve development in the pregnant female.
  4. It helps in the development of baby’s brain.

Test for Vitamin B2:

  • Riboflavin test. It is a blood test.

Normal range – 1-19 µg/L

Food for Vitamin B2:

Vegetables rich in vitamin B2

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Spinach
  3. Bok choy
  4. Bell peppers
  5. Broccoli

Fruits rich in vitamin B2

  1. Banana
  2. Apple
  3. Berries
  4. Pears

Food containing vitamin B2

  1. Eggs
  2. Yogurt
  3. Almonds
  4. Milk
  5. Peas
  6. Lentils
  7. Fortified cereals

7. Vitamin B3 or Niacin

Deficiency of vitamin b3 causes pellagra. Pellagra affects the nervous system, digestive system and skin.

Benefits of Vitamin B3:

  1. Maintain digestion – it helps in normal functioning of the digestive tract. This helps in healthy appetite.
  2. Prevent pellagra
  3. It helps in the healthy skin – it helps skin from UV rays of the sun. It is used in anti ageing cream.
  4. Reduces inflammation – it helps in the various orthopaedic condition like arthritis. Niacin maintains arthritis associated inflammation.
  5. It helps in depression and anxiety.

Test for Vitamin B3:

  • Vitamin B3 test (niacin). The test includes nicotinamide, nicotinic acid.

Normal range – 050- 8.45 ug/ml

Diet Rich in Vitamin B3:

Vegetables rich in vitamin B3

  1. Potato
  2. Peas
  3. Corn
  4. Mushrooms
  5. Pumpkins

Fruits rich in vitamin B3

  1. Avocados
  2. Orange
  3. Peaches
  4. Grapefruit

Food rich in vitamin B3

  1. Chicken
  2. Fish
  3. Turkey
  4. Brown rice
  5. Peanuts

8. Vitamin B5

This is also called pantothenic acid.

Benefits of Vitamin B5:

  1. They help in allergies
  2. It helps in treating dandruff.
  3. It helps in premenstrual syndrome
  4. It helps in treating insomnia

Test for Vitamin B5:

  • Vitamin B5 test

Normal range – <275 ng/ml

Diet for Vitamin B5:

Vegetables rich in vitamin B5

  1. Mushrooms
  2. Sweet potato
  3. Kale
  4. Broccoli

Fruits rich in vitamin B5

  1. Avocados

Food rich in vitamin B5

  1. Yogurt
  2. Sunflower seeds
  3. Salmon

9. Vitamin B6

It is also known as pyridoxine.

Benefits of Vitamin B6:

  1. Used by the female for premenstrual syndrome.
  2. Helps in menopause time
  3. Pyridoxine helps in eye infections.
  4. Pyridoxine helps in morning sickness during pregnancy.

Test for Vitamin B6:

  • Vitamin B6 test – pyridoxal phosphate. It is a blood test.

Normal range – 4-50 µg/L

Diet Rich in Vitamin B6:

Vegetables rich in vitamin B6

  1. Sweet potato
  2. Spinach
  3. Carrot
  4. Chickpea

Fruits rich in Vitamin B6

  1. Banana
  2. Avocado
  3. Apricots

Food rich in Vitamin B6

  1. Milk
  2. Peanuts
  3. Cheese
  4. Eggs
  5. Beef

10. Vitamin B7

This is also called as biotin.

Benefits of Vitamin B7

  1. It helps in metabolism. This helps in diabetes.
  2. It helps in improving fingernails strength and prevents splitting of nails.
  3. The pregnant female should take this as it aids in healthy fetus.

Test for Vitamin B7

  • Vitamin B7 test

Normal range – 221- 3004 pg/mL

Diet Rich in Vitamin B7

Vegetables rich in vitamin B7

  1. Sweet potato
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Spinach

Fruits rich in vitamin B7

  1. Avocados
  2. Banana
  3. Raspberries

Food rich in vitamin B7

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Yogurt
  3. Milk
  4. Cheddar cheese
  5. Almonds

11. Vitamin B9

This is also called as folate or folic acid.

Benefits of Folic Acid:

  1. It helps in making red blood cells
  2. It helps in age related hearing loss
  3. It also helps in fertility of both males and female.
  4. Certain studies say it reduces the risk of stroke.

Role of Folic Acid in Pregnancy:

  1. Folic acid is important in pregnant female as it helps in congenital anomalies of brain and spine in the fetus.
  2. Female who are planning to conceive should take folic acid for a full year before conception.

Test for Folic Acid:

  • Folic acid blood test

Normal range – 2-20 ng/ml

Diet Rich in Vitamin B9:

Vegetables rich in vitamin B9

  1. Green leafy vegetables like spinach
  2. Legumes – beans and peas
  3. Beetroot
  4. Broccoli
  5. ladyfinger

Fruits rich in vitamin B9

  1. Banana
  2. Papaya
  3. Avocado
  4. Citrus fruits
  5. peach

Food items rich in vitamin B9

  1. Flaxseeds
  2. Nuts
  3. Fortified grains like bread and spaghetti
  4. eggs

12. Vitamin B12

It is also called as cyanocobalamin or cobalamins

Benefits of Vitamin B12:

  1. It helps in the proper development of red blood cells. Large and irregular shaped red blood cells formed due to the low amount of vitamin b12 causing megaloblastic anaemia.
  2. It helps in proper bone health
  3. It helps in controlling age related dementia in adults.
  4. It helps in improving fatigue. The common sign of vitamin b12 deficiency is fatigue.

Role of Vitamin B12 in Pregnant Female:

  1. The adequate amount of vitamin b12 is required for the proper growth of the fetus’s brain and nervous system.
  2. Deficiency of vitamin b12 increases the risk of birth defects.

Test for Vitamin B12:

  • Cyanocobalamin test. It is a blood test.

Normal value ranges between 190-900 nanograms per milliliter.

Food Rich in Vitamin B12:

Non-vegetarian diet

  1. Egg
  2. Beef
  3. Sea food – tuna fish, salmon, sushi, prawns
  4. Chicken
  5. Lamb

Dairy products

  1. Cheese- mozzarella, parmesan
  2. Yogurt
  3. Milk
  4. Eggs

Vegan diet

  1. Fortified cereals
  2. Yeast
  3. Certain vegetables like mushrooms, beetroots
  4. Certain fruits like apple, berries
  5. Mussels
  6. Oats
  7. Tofu

13. Vitamin C

It is also called ascorbic acid.

Benefits of Vitamin C

  1. It acts as a strong antioxidant, which helps to boost immunity and fight against various chronic diseases.
  2. It helps to relax blood vessels and maintain blood pressure.
  3. It helps to lower the risk of heart diseases.
  4. It helps improving iron absorption, thus improving blood iron levels.
  5. It may help to control common cold. Research is still going on this part.

Test for Vitamin C

  • Ascorbic acid. It is through plasma or serum. It is a blood test.

Normal ranges are 0.6- 2 mg/dl

Diet Rich in Vitamin C

Vegetables rich in Vitamin C

  1. Certain herbs – basil, parsley, thyme
  2. Kale
  3. Lemon
  4. Cauliflower
  5. tomato

Fruits rich in Vitamin C

  1. Citrus fruits – orange, grapefruits
  2. Papaya
  3. Kiwi
  4. Guava
  5. Amla

Lab Tests:

Vitamins are important part of our diet. There are two types of vitamins – fat soluble and water soluble vitamin. One should go for regular check-up of vitamins. Deficiency of any vitamin can be harmful to the body. One should try to take adequate diet to fulfil the vitamin deficiencies. Go for the supplements if proper diet is not incorporated. Pregnant female should go for regular check-ups. They should have all the vitamins levels in the normal limits for healthy pregnancy.

So as to ensure that you get yourself tested, here’s the list of lab tests on Medlife, which you can avail for discounted rates:

  • Vitamin B-12 Test
  • 25-oh Vitamin D (Total) Test
  • Vitamin D Profile Test
  • Vitamin Profile Test
  • Oncquest Vitamin D-25-oh Test

News on Vitamins

Vitamin C May Prevent Damage To Infant Lungs Exposed To Smoking During Pregnancy

– 10th Dec 2018

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published a recent study by McEvoy Cindy T. et al which studied the positive impact of vitamin C on the lung function of infants born to mothers who are addicted to nicotine and smoking cigarettes. The study included over 250 participants who smoked cigarettes during their pregnancies. During the study, participants were divided into two groups, with one group being fed 500 mg of vitamin C along with other vitamins, while the other was placed on placebo. The study lasted from 13 weeks to 23 weeks, and it revealed that infants who were born to women consuming vitamin C show better lung function within 72 hours of their birth. The lung function is tested by measuring the Forced Expiratory Flows or FEFs, which is measuring the time taken by the lungs to exhale air as the time taken is an indication of obstruction in the airway.

It should be noted that this research is a follow-up research to conclusively establish the findings from a previous study, where the same researchers carried out a randomized study which revealed the same results.