Food

Guidelines for Adequate Vitamin Consumption

Several health conditions are linked closely to vitamin deficiencies (i.e., skin issues, bone issues, digestion problems, and even cognitive conditions). So it’s common, following a physical exam or blood test, for our doctors to recommend a vitamin supplement or suggest a list of foods that you need to eat regularly in order to get deficient vitamins up to adequate levels. In many cases, diet or lack thereof, can also be related to several metabolic conditions (i.e., type 2 diabetes, obesity, some forms of gout, etc.).

The shift towards pre-cooked, pre-packaged, and highly processed foods, which are packed with hydrogenated oils, saturated and trans fat, refined flour and sugar, and additives has been on the rise in recent years. To track healthy eating, the USDA has designed guidelines to measure the number of nutrients each person needs. These guidelines allow nutritionists and doctors to provide a guide to families, listing nutrients, vitamins, and minerals every person requires on a daily basis:

1. U.S. Dietary Guidelines
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines offers recommended dietary allowances, categorized based on age and gender. It also lists maximum levels so that people do not consume too high levels of a particular vitamin. These guidelines are available on the USDA website, and you can download this guide to predict the nutritional needs for your family. Here’s a summary of the vitamins you should be consuming daily, on average:

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7) – 300 mcg
  • Folate/Folic Acid – 400 mcg
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3) – 20 mg
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) – 10 mg
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – 1.7 mg
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1) – 1.5 mg
  • Vitamin A – 1500 IU
  • Vitamin B6 – 2 mg
  • Vitamin B12 – 6 mcg
  • Vitamin C – 60 mg
  • Vitamin D – 400 IU
  • Vitamin E – 30 IU
  • Vitamin K – 80 mcg

2. Health conditions caused by vitamin deficiencies
These are the average recommendations for those above the age of 4-years of age. If you are consuming less than these amounts, the deficiency could result in the following health conditions:

  • Biotin – Brittle nails, skin issues, depression
  • Folate – Anemia
  • Niacin – Problems in the skin, digestive, and nervous system
  • Pantothenic acid – Restlessness, sleep issues, stomach-related problems
  • Riboflavin – Sore throat, dermatitis, lesions in lips and mouth, conjunctivitis, photophobia
  • Thiamine – Beriberi
  • Vitamin A – Color blindness
  • Vitamin B6 – Anemia, keratomalacia, night blindness
  • Vitamin B12 – Hypocobalaminemia
  • Vitamin C – Scurvy
  • Vitamin D – Rickets, osteomalacia, arthritis
  • Vitamin E – Disorientation and vision issues

4. Talk to a nutritionist
The most important cure for vitamin deficiency is diet. Doctors often recommend a consultation with a nutritionist who would prepare a chart of food items that you need to take. They also guide you to a balanced diet, so that you get all the proteins, vitamins, and minerals you need to keep your body strong.

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