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Nutrients

Alpha-Carotene

Context Tip
UseAlpha-carotene can be made into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A is used in the body to help vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, cell differentiation (in pregnancy), and to protect from infection.
DeficiencyAlpha-carotene can be made into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A deficiency may cause night blindness (early forms), blindness, decreased immune system function, and pneumonia. In children, vitamin A deficiency (early forms) may cause respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and susceptibility to serious illness.
OverdoseConsuming too much alpha-carotene may cause the skin to turn yellow, but this is not considered dangerous to health.
Dietary SourcesAlpha-carotene is found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots, winter squash, and tangerines.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Analytical Food Chemistry

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UseAsh (in analytical food chemistry) is one of the components in the proximate analysis of biological materials, consisting mainly of non-organic, carbonates and bicarbonates and metals. It is the name given to all compounds that are not considered organic or water. It includes metal salts, which are important for processes requiring ions such as Na+ (Sodium), K+(Potassium), Ca2+ (Calcium). It also includes trace minerals, which are required for unique molecules, such as chlorophyll and hemoglobin. Ash may include any of the following: oxides e.g. Al2O3, CaO, Fe2O3, MgO, MnO, P2O5, K2O, SiO2 , carbonates: Na2CO3 (a.k.a soda ash), bicarbonates: NaHCO3 (a.k.a. baking soda) Ash in Food Analysis is conducted by pyrolysis at 550-600°C which destroys all organic matter.
Source: Exova 


Beta-Carotene

Context Tip
UseBeta-carotene can be made into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A is used in the body to help vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, cell differentiation (in pregnancy), and to protect from infection.
DeficiencyBeta-carotene can be made into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A deficiency may cause night blindness (early forms), blindness, decreased immune system function, and pneumonia. In children, vitamin A deficiency (early forms) may cause respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and susceptibility to serious illness.
OverdoseConsuming too much beta-carotene may cause the skin to turn yellow, but this is not considered dangerous to health.
Dietary SourcesBeta-carotene is found in carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, mangos, collard greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, and other orange, red, and dark green fruits and vegetables.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Beta-Cryptoxanthin

Context Tip
UseBeta-cryptoxanthin can be made into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A is used in the body to help vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, cell differentiation (in pregnancy), and to protect from infection.
DeficiencyBeta-cryptoxanthin can be made into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A deficiency may cause night blindness (early forms), blindness, decreased immune system function, and pneumonia. In children, vitamin A deficiency (early forms) may cause respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and susceptibility to serious illness.
OverdoseConsuming too much beta-cryptoxanthin may cause the skin to turn yellow, but this is not considered dangerous to health.
Dietary SourcesBeta-cryptoxanthin is found in citrus fruit, peaches, and apricots.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Calcium

Context Tip
UseThe body needs calcium to maintain strong bones, for muscle movement, for nerve function, to help blood vessels move blood throughout the body, and to help release hormones and enzymes.
DeficiencyCalcium deficiency may cause the body to take calcium from bone which may cause (over time) low bone mass (osteopenia) and increases the risks of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Serious calcium deficiency may cause (usually in people with serious health problems or undergoing certain medical treatments) numbness and tingling in the fingers, convulsions, and abnormal heart rhythms (that can lead to death if not corrected).
OverdoseConsuming too much calcium can cause constipation and decrease absorption of iron and zinc. Too much calcium from dietary supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones.
Dietary SourcesCalcium is found in dairy milk, yogurt, and cheese; kale, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage; sardines, salmon, and other fish with edible bones; Other sources of calcium include spinach and grains.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Carbohydrates

Context Tip
UseCarbohydrates include simple carbohydrates (sugars) and complex carbohydrates (starches), which are used by the body as energy.
DeficiencyCarbohydrate deficiency may cause weight loss. Consuming no energy (food) may cause total starvation, resulting in death in 8 to 12 weeks.
OverdoseConsuming too many simple carbohydrates may cause increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Consuming too much fiber (> 50 grams daily) may cause constipation, diarrhea, or spastic bowel disorder. Inadequate water intake increases the risk of symptoms from consuming too much fiber.
Dietary SourcesSimple carbohydrates (sugars) are found in fruits, dairy products, honey, sugarcane, sugar beets, and maple syrup. Complex carbohydrates are found in wheat products (such as breads and pastas), other grains (such as rye and corn), beans, and root vegetables (such as potatoes).
Source: Northwestern University  The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: Online Version 


Cholesterol

Context Tip
UseIn children under the age of 2, cholesterol is used by the body for growth and development. In adults and children over the age of 2, cholesterol is used by the body in cell membranes and in the synthesis of steroid hormones and vitamin D.
DeficiencyCholesterol deficiency has not been found in children over the age of 2 or in adults.
OverdoseConsuming too much cholesterol causes plaque in the arteries which may lead to heart disease.
Dietary SourcesCholesterol is found in liver and other organ meats, egg yolk, whole-fat dairy products, red meat (beef), and shellfish. Other sources of cholesterol include low-fat dairy products, pork, lamb, poultry, and fish.
NotesDietary cholesterol is not an essential nutrient since the body can make cholesterol endogenously.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Choline Total

Context Tip
UseCholine is used in the body for proper function of cell membranes, for nerves to communicate with muscles, to prevent the build-up of homocysteine in blood (which may lead to cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis), and to reduce chronic inflammation.
DeficiencyCholine deficiency may cause fatigue, insomnia, reduced kidney function, accumulation of fats in the blood, and nerve-muscle problems. Severe choline deficiency may cause liver problems, cardiovascular disease, impaired growth, abnormalities in bone formation, decrease formation of red blood cells, infertility, respiratory distress (in newborns), failure to thrive (in newborns), kidney failure, anemia, and high blood pressure.
OverdoseConsuming too much choline from supplements may cause reductions in blood pressure, fainting, or dizziness. Choline toxicity caused by overconsumption of supplements may cause body odor, vomiting, increased salivation, and sweating.
Dietary SourcesCholine is found in soybeans, egg yolk, butter, peanuts, potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, oats, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.
Source: The George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods 


Copper

Context Tip
UseCopper is an essential dietary mineral that is used by the body to help maintain metabolism and bone mass.
DeficiencyMarginal copper deficiency may cause microcytic hypochromic anemia (due to abnormalities in iron utilization). Severe copper deficiency may cause skeletal abnormalities, reproductive difficulties, impaired nervous tissue function, and changes in hair and skin pigmentation.
OverdoseConsuming too much copper from large-dose copper supplements (10-20 mg/day) may cause liver damage, abnormalities in red blood cell formation, weakness, and nausea. Copper toxicity is unlikely from food, but may be caused by industrial contamination or overuse of supplements.
Dietary SourcesCopper is found in beef liver and other organ meats, oysters, cashews and other nuts, pumpkin seeds, molasses, whole grains, legumes, chocolate, cherries, dried fruits, milk, tea, chicken, and potatoes. Other sources of copper include lobster, clams, salmon, tofu, avocados, prunes, black-eyed peas (cowpeas), and sunflower seeds.
NotesHigh-dose zinc supplements (150 mg/day) and high-dose vitamin C supplements (1500 mg/day) may decrease copper absorption.
Source: Wikipedia  Northwestern University 


Dietary Folate Equivalent

Context Tip
UseDietary Folate Equivalent (DFE) means how much bioavailable folate is in natural folate versus synthetic folate (folic acid) since folic acid has a higher absorption rate than natural folate. The body uses folate to produce and maintain new cells (especially important for infancy and pregnancy), to make DNA and RNA, to prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer, to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia, and for the metabolism of homocysteine.
DeficiencyFolate deficiency in pregnant women may cause giving birth to an infant of low birth weight, is premature, or has neural tube defects. Folate deficiency in infants and children may cause slow growth rate. Folate deficiency in adults may cause anemia. Symptoms of folate deficiency include diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, sore tongue, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, forgetfulness, behavioral disorders, and elevated level of homocysteine in the blood (risk factor for cardiovascular disease).
OverdoseFolate intake from food is not associated with any health risk.
Dietary SourcesFolate is found in beef liver, lentils, spinach (cooked), turnip greens, and Great Northern beans. Other sources of folate include asparagus, green peas, spinach (raw), avocado, papaya, corn, broccoli, tomato juice, orange juice, oranges, peanuts, wheat germ, strawberries, Romaine lettuce, banana, and cantaloupe.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Energy

Context Tip
UseEnergy is used by the body for growth, maintenance, and activity; and in excessively hot or cold climates, to regulate body heat.
DeficiencyEnergy deficiency may cause weight loss. Consuming no energy (food) may cause total starvation, resulting in death in 8 to 12 weeks.
OverdoseConsuming too much energy may result in weight gain, which may cause obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Dietary SourcesEnergy is found in foods containing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Source: Wikipedia  The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: Online Version 


Folate Total

Context Tip
UseFolate is used by the body to produce and maintain new cells (especially important for infancy and pregnancy), to make DNA and RNA, to prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer, to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia, and for the metabolism of homocysteine.
DeficiencyFolate deficiency in pregnant women may cause giving birth to an infant of low birth weight, is premature, or has neural tube defects. Folate deficiency in infants and children may cause slow growth rate. Folate deficiency in adults may cause anemia. Symptoms of folate deficiency include: diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, sore tongue, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, forgetfulness, behavioral disorders, and elevated level of homocysteine in the blood (risk factor for cardiovascular disease).
OverdoseFolate intake from food is not associated with any health risk.
Dietary SourcesFolate is found in beef liver, lentils, spinach (cooked), turnip greens, and Great Northern beans. Other sources of folate include asparagus, green peas, spinach (raw), avocado, papaya, corn, broccoli, tomato juice, orange juice, oranges, peanuts, wheat germ, strawberries, Romaine lettuce, banana, and cantaloupe.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Folic Acid

Context Tip
UseFolic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folate is used by the body to produce and maintain new cells (especially important for infancy and pregnancy), to make DNA and RNA, to prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer, to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia, and for the metabolism of homocysteine.
DeficiencyFolic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folate deficiency in pregnant women may cause giving birth to an infant of low birth weight, is premature, or has neural tube defects. Folate deficiency in infants and children may cause slow growth rate. Folate deficiency in adults may cause anemia. Symptoms of folate deficiency include: diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, sore tongue, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, forgetfulness, behavioral disorders, and elevated level of homocysteine in the blood (risk factor for cardiovascular disease).
OverdoseMaximum intake of supplemental folic acid is 1,000 micrograms (μg) per day. Consuming too much folic acid may cause permanent nerve damage (by triggering B12 deficiency).
Dietary SourcesFolic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folic acid is found in fortified breakfast cereals, enriched bread, enriched flour, enriched egg noodles, enriched macaroni, and enriched rice.
NotesFolic acid supplements can correct the anemia associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Food Folate

Context Tip
UseFolate is used by the body to produce and maintain new cells (especially important for infancy and pregnancy), to make DNA and RNA, to prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer, to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia, and for the metabolism of homocysteine.
DeficiencyFolate deficiency in pregnant women may cause giving birth to an infant of low birth weight, is premature, or has neural tube defects. Folate deficiency in infants and children may cause slow growth rate. Folate deficiency in adults may cause anemia. Symptoms of folate deficiency include: diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, sore tongue, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, forgetfulness, behavioral disorders, and elevated level of homocysteine in the blood (risk factor for cardiovascular disease).
OverdoseFolate intake from food is not associated with any health risk.
Dietary SourcesFolate is found in beef liver, lentils, spinach (cooked), turnip greens, and Great Northern beans. Other sources of folate include asparagus, green peas, spinach (raw), avocado, papaya, corn, broccoli, tomato juice, orange juice, oranges, peanuts, wheat germ, strawberries, Romaine lettuce, banana, and cantaloupe.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Iron

Context Tip
UseIron is used by the body for oxygen transport to cells, for protein and enzyme function, and for the regulation of cell growth and differentiation.
DeficiencyIron deficiency may cause lowered oxygen delivery to cells, resulting in fatigue, poor work performance, and decreased immunity.
OverdoseConsuming too much iron can result in constipation, toxicity, and even death.
Dietary SourcesHeme iron is found in chicken, oysters, beef, turkey, tuna, crab, pork, shrimp, halibut. Nonheme iron is found in soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas (cowpeas), navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, tofu, spinach, raisins, molasses.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Lipid Total

Context Tip
UseLipids are used by the body as energy, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), as insulation to prevent heat loss, and to protect vital organs. In young children, lipids are used by the body for proper growth and development.
OverdoseConsuming too much dietary fat (lipids) may cause increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, gall bladder disease, and arthritis.
Dietary SourcesLipids are found in animal fats (beef and dairy products), nuts, vegetable oils, olives, and avocados.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Lycopene

Context Tip
UseLycopene is used by the body to protect cells from damage, which may reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration.
DeficiencyLycopene deficiency in humans has not been reported.
OverdoseConsumption of lycopene can cause a deep orange discoloration of the skin, a harmless condition called lycopenodermia.
Dietary SourcesLycopene is found in deep red-colored fruits, such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and guava. Other sourced of lycopene include persimmon and apricots.
Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research  The George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods 


Magnesium

Context Tip
UseMagnesium is used in the body to make biochemical reactions, to help maintain normal muscle and nerve function, to regulate heart rhythm, to support the immune system, to keep bones strong, to help regulate blood sugar levels, to promote normal blood pressure, and for energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
DeficiencyMagnesium deficiency may cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Worsening magnesium deficiency may cause numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms. Severe magnesium deficiency may cause low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia) and low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia).
OverdoseConsuming too much dietary magnesium does not pose a health risk. Consuming too much magnesium in supplements may cause diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Magnesium toxicity may cause changes in mental status, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
Dietary SourcesMagnesium is found in whole grains, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, soybeans, wheat germ, peanuts, potato, black-eyed peas (cowpeas), pinto beans, brown rice, lentils, kidney beans, chocolate, banana, dairy milk and yogurt, raisins, halibut, cod, avocado, spinach, kale, and other dark-green leafy vegetables.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Manganese

Context Tip
UseManganese is used by the body to help utilize biotin, thiamin, ascorbic acid, and choline; to help keep bones strong and healthy; to synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol; to maintain normal blood sugar levels; to promote optimal function of the thyroid gland; to maintain nerve health; and to protect cells from damage.
DeficiencyManganese deficiency in humans has not been documented.
OverdoseManganese toxicity from dietary sources has not been reported. Exposure of children to high levels of manganese in drinking water may cause manganese toxicity which may result in intellectual impairment and reduced intelligence. Chronic low-dose manganese intoxication may cause neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; and may contribute to the development of multiple sclerosis, restless leg syndrome, and Huntington's disease.
Dietary SourcesManganese is found in mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, spelt, brown rice, garbanzo beans, and soybeans. Other sources of manganese include raspberries, pineapple, strawberries, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, spinach, garlic, summer squash, grapes, turnip greens, eggplant, brown rice, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, black pepper, and turmeric.
Source: Wikipedia  Northwestern University  The George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods 


Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Context Tip
UseMonounsaturated fatty acids are used by the body as energy, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), as insulation to prevent heat loss, and to protect vital organs.
OverdoseConsuming too much fat may cause obesity, diabetes, cancer, gall bladder disease, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.
Dietary SourcesMonounsaturated fatty acids are found in olive, peanut and canola oils; nuts, avocados, and olives.
NotesLiquid at room temperature.
Source: Northwestern University 


Niacin

Context Tip
UseNiacin (vitamin B3) is used by the body to help the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function; and for converting food to energy.
DeficiencyNiacin deficiency can cause pellagra, which causes skin irritation, diarrhea, and dementia.
OverdoseConsuming too much niacin may cause stomach upset, intestinal gas, dizziness, and mouth pain. Overconsumption of niacin supplements (over 3 grams per day) may cause liver problems, gout, ulcers of the digestive tract, loss of vision, high blood sugar, skin rashes, irregular heartbeat, and other serious problems.
Dietary SourcesNiacin (vitamin B3) is found in yeast, meat, fish, milk, cheese, dairy products, eggs, green vegetables, beans, nuts, poultry, and cereal grains.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Pantothenic Acid

Context Tip
UsePantothenic acid is used by the body for growth; to help the body break down and use food (metabolism); and to produce hormones and cholesterol.
DeficiencyPantothenic acid deficiency may cause headache, fatigue, listlessness, weakness, personality changes, sleep disturbances, impaired motor coordination, and gastrointestinal symptoms, but pantothenic acid deficiency has not been reported.
OverdoseConsuming too much pantothenic acid may cause diarrhea.
Dietary SourcesPantothenic acid is found in avocado; broccoli, kale, and other vegetables in the cabbage family; eggs; legumes and lentils; milk; mushrooms; organ meats; poultry; potatoes and sweet potatoes; whole-grain cereals; and yeast.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Phosphorus

Context Tip
UsePhosphorous is used by the body to maintain healthy bones and teeth; for glucose metabolism; for regulating enzyme activity; and for transport and storage of cell compounds.
DeficiencyPhosphorus deficiency caused by inadequate dietary intake does not occur.
OverdoseAcute or chronic renal failure may cause elevated blood phosphorus levels, which may lead to bone loss.
Dietary SourcesPhosphorus is found in pumpkin seed kernels, sardines with bones, sunflower seeds, lowfat yogurt, halibut, salmon, trout, sole, nonfat milk, chicken, beef, almonds, and peas. Other sources of phosphorus include cheese and other dairy products, ham, lentils, oatmeal, wheat germ, navy beans, peanuts, tofu, potatoes, and garbanzo beans.
Source: Northwestern University 


Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Context Tip
UsePolyunsaturated fatty acids are used by the body as energy, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), as insulation to prevent heat loss, to decrease blood cholesterol, and to protect vital organs. In young children, polysaturated fatty acids are used by the body for proper growth and development.
DeficiencyA deficiency of w-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids may cause growth retardation (in children); and skin lesions, dry scaly dermatitis, impaired wound healing, reproductive failure, fatty liver, and polydypsia (in adults). A deficiency of w-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may cause impairment of cognitive development and visual acuity.
Dietary SourcesPolyunsaturated fatty acids are found in corn, soybean, safflower and sunflower seed oils, and fish.
NotesLiquid at room temperature.
Source: Northwestern University 


Potassium

Context Tip
UsePotassium is used by the body for proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves, and digestive system; to maintain the proper electrolyte and acid-base balance in your body; and to help regulate blood pressure.
DeficiencyPotassium deficiency may cause muscle weakness, confusion, irritability, fatigue, heart problems, and chronic diarrhea.
OverdoseConsuming potassium from dietary sources is not considered harmful. Consuming too much potassium salts (potassium chloride and potassium bicarbonate) may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or ulcers. Potassium toxicity may cause irregular heartbeat or heart attack, but potassium toxicity is not usually caused by dietary potassium or supplements.
Dietary SourcesPotassium is found in cooked Swiss chard, raw crimini mushrooms, and cooked spinach. Other sources of potassium include bananas, fennel, cooked kale, cooked mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, winter squash, blackstrap molasses, eggplant, bell pepper, cantaloupe, tomatoes, summer squash, celery, Romaine lettuce, cauliflower, cooked turnip greens, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, beets, green beans, papaya, cucumber, turmeric, apricots, ginger root, strawberries, avocado, banana, tuna, halibut, and cabbage.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health  The George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods 


Protein

Context Tip
UseProtein is used by the body for long-lasting energy, to maintain and replace tissues, and to function and grow.
DeficiencyProtein deficiency may cause weight loss, diarrhea, loss of lean body mass, muscle weakness, depigmented hair and skin, pressure sores, and depressed immune function.
OverdoseConsuming too much protein may cause excessive fat stores, weight gain, and problems associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Dietary SourcesProtein is found in meat (beef, poultry, pork), fish, dairy products, and egg white. Other sources of protein include grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Source: Northwestern University  The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: Online Version 


Refuse Percent

Context Tip
UseRefuse percent is the percentage of food which is inedible and therefore not eaten or used by the body.
Dietary SourcesExamples of food refuse include stems and skins of onions, banana peels, apple cores, grape stems, and meat bones.
Source: Shop'NCook Blog 


Retinol

Context Tip
UseRetinol is used by the body for healthy vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, and cell differentiation (in pregnancy); to regulate the immune system; and to protect against infection.
DeficiencyRetinol deficiency may cause night blindness (early forms), blindness, decreased immune system function, and pneumonia. In children, retinol deficiency (early forms) may cause respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and susceptibility to serious illness.
OverdoseConsuming too much retinol (from regular consumption of liver or from supplements) may cause birth defects, liver abnormalities, reduced bone mineral density (causing osteoporosis), and disorders of the central nervous system. Retinol toxicity may cause nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, and muscular uncoordination.
Dietary SourcesVitamin A (which can be made into retinol in the body) is found in liver, whole eggs, and milk. Provitamin A carotenoid (which can be made into retinol in the body) is found in darkly colored and orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, apricots, peas, mangos, sweet peppers, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, watermelon, and peaches.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Riboflavin

Context Tip
UseRiboflavin (vitamin B2) is used by the body for growth, red blood cell production, and to help release energy from carbohydrates.
DeficiencyRiboflavin deficiency may cause anemia; scaly, dry skin; angular stomatitis (cracks in the skin at the corners of the mouth); mouth or lip sores; swollen, purplish tongue; sore throat; swelling of mucus membranes; photophobia; and burning, itching eyes.
OverdoseRiboflavin toxicity has not been observed.
Dietary SourcesRiboflavin is found in dairy products, eggs, green leafy vegetables, meat, legumes, milk, and nuts.
NotesDo not store foods containing riboflavin in glass containers that are exposed to light because riboflavin is destroyed by exposure to light.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Saturated Fatty Acids

Context Tip
UseSaturated fatty acids are used by the body as energy, to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), as insulation to prevent heat loss, and to protect vital organs.
OverdoseConsuming too much saturated fat may cause obesity, diabetes, cancer, gall bladder disease, arthritis, and higher blood LDL-cholesterol levels.
Dietary SourcesSaturated fatty acids are found in red meat, butter, cheese, and other dairy products; coconut and palm oils.
NotesSolid at room temperature.
Source: Northwestern University 


Selenium

Context Tip
UseSelenium is used by the body to protect cells from damage, to help regulate thyroid function, and for immune system function.
DeficiencySelenium deficiency may cause heart disease, hypothyroidism, and a weakened immune system, which makes the body more susceptible to illness.
OverdoseConsuming too much selenium from dietary sources has not been known to cause harm. Selenium toxicity from supplements (greater than 100 mcg/dL) can result in selenosis, which may cause gastrointestinal upsets, hair loss, white blotchy nails, garlic breath odor, fatigue, irritability, and mild nerve damage.
Dietary SourcesSelenium is found in meat, seafood, fish, grains, nuts, and seeds. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised.
NotesSoils in some parts of China and Russia have very low amounts of selenium. Selenium deficiency is often reported in those regions because most food in those areas is grown and eaten locally.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Sodium

Context Tip
UseSodium is used by the body to regulate water hydration, for muscle contractions, and for nerve function.
DeficiencySodium deficiency may cause hypoatremia, which causes lethargy, confusion, muscle twitching, seizures, and coma.
OverdoseConsuming too much sodium may cause high blood pressure, edema, and osteoporosis.
Dietary SourcesSodium is found in table salt, sea salt, soy sauce, and many brined or processed foods.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Sugar Total

Context Tip
UseSugar is used by the body as energy.
OverdoseConsuming too much sugar may cause increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
Dietary SourcesSugar is found in fruits, dairy products, honey, sugarcane, sugar beets, and maple syrup.
Source: Northwestern University  The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: Online Version 


Thiamin

Context Tip
UseThiamin is used by the body to help convert carbohydrates into energy and for heart, muscles, and nervous system function.
DeficiencyThiamin deficiency may cause weakness, fatigue, psychosis, and nerve damage. Severe deficiency may cause beriberi which can affect the cardiovascular or nervous system, and if not treated, death.
OverdoseConsuming too much thiamin is not known to cause harm.
Dietary SourcesThiamin is found in dried milk, egg, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds, organ meats, peas, and whole grains. Other sources of thiamin include dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health 


Total Digestible Fiber

Context Tip
UseDietary fiber is used by the body to regulate blood glucose and appetite, speed waste through the large intestines (by water binding) to prevent potentially carcinogenic waste from remaining the bowels for a long time, control cholesterol, and promote the growth of microflora in the intestines.
DeficiencyDietary fiber deficiency may cause constipation, bowel irregularities, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, and colorectal cancer.
OverdoseToo much fiber (> 50 grams daily) may cause constipation, diarrhea, or spastic bowel disorder. Inadequate water intake increases the risk of symptoms.
Dietary SourcesDietary fiber (soluble and insoluble) is found in chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, Great Northern beans, pinto beans, soybeans, artichokes, peas, lima beans, sweet potatoes, pears, oranges, and apples. Sources of mainly insoluble fiber include brown rice, pumpkin, figs, and popcorn.
Source:  


Vitamin A

Context Tip
UseVitamin A is used in the body to help vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, cell differentiation (in pregnancy), and to protect from infection.
DeficiencyVitamin A deficiency may cause: night blindness (early forms), blindness, decreased immune system function, and pneumonia. In children, vitamin A deficiency (early forms) may cause: respiratory and diarrheal infections, decreased growth rate, slow bone development, and susceptibility to serious illness.
OverdoseConsuming too much vitamin A (from regular consumption of liver or from supplements) may cause birth defects, liver abnormalities, reduced bone mineral density (causing osteoporosis), and disorders of the central nervous system. Vitamin A toxicity may cause nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, and muscular uncoordination.
Dietary SourcesVitamin A is found in liver, whole eggs, and milk. Provitamin A carotenoid (which can be made into vitamin A in the body) is found in darkly colored and orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, apricots, peas, mangos, sweet peppers, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, watermelon, and peaches.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Vitamin B12

Context Tip
UseVitamin B12 is used by the body to maintain nerves and blood cells, to help make DNA, and to help prevent megaloblastic anemia (fatigue and weakness).
DeficiencyVitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia. Nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include problems with balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue. Vitamin B12 deficiency can damage the nervous system even in people who don't have anemia, so it is important to treat a deficiency as soon as possible. In infants, signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include failure to thrive, problems with movement, delays in reaching the typical developmental milestones, and megaloblastic anemia.
OverdoseVitamin B12 has not been shown to cause any harm.
Dietary SourcesVitamin B12 is found in beef liver and clams. Other sources of vitamin B12 include fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Vitamin B6

Context Tip
UseVitamin B6 is used by the body for enzyme reactions in metabolism, brain development during pregnancy and infancy, and immune function.
DeficiencyVitamin B6 deficiency may cause anemia, itchy rashes, scaly skin on the lips, cracks at the corners of the mouth, and a swollen tongue. Other symptoms of very low vitamin B6 levels include depression, confusion, and a weak immune system. Vitamin B6 deficiency in infants may cause irritability, extremely sensitive hearing, or seizures.
OverdoseConsuming too much vitamin B6 from dietary sources has not been reported. Vitamin B6 toxicity from supplements may cause severe nerve damage, loss of body control, painful skin patches, extreme sensitivity to sunlight, nausea, and heartburn.
Dietary SourcesVitamin B6 is found in poultry, fish, organ meats, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, and fruit (other than citrus).
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Vitamin C

Context Tip
UseVitamin C is used by the body to protect cells, heal wounds, absorb iron from plant-based foods, and help the immune system to function.
DeficiencyVitamin C deficiency may cause fatigue, swollen or bleeding gums, loose teeth, small red or purple spots on the skin, joint pain, poor wound healing, corkscrew hairs, anemia, and death (if not treated). These symptoms are signs of scurvy which is caused by Vitamin C intake of less than about 10 mg per day for many weeks.
OverdoseToo much vitamin C may cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. In people with hemochromatosis, high doses of vitamin C may cause iron overload and damage body tissues.
Dietary SourcesVitamin C is found in citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, red and green pepper, and kiwifruit. Other sources of vitamin C include broccoli, strawberries, cantaloupe, potatoes, and tomatoes.
NotesThe vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and by cooking. Steaming or microwaving may lessen cooking losses.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Vitamin D

Context Tip
UseVitamin D is used by the body to absorb calcium to maintain strong bones, for muscle movement, for nerve function, for immune system function, and to protect against osteoporosis (in older adults).
DeficiencyVitamin D deficiency may cause rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults), which is the development soft, thin, and brittle bones.
OverdoseToo much Vitamin D may cause confusion, disorientation, problems with heart rhythm, and kidney damage. Vitamin D toxicity may cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss.
Dietary SourcesVitamin D is found in salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Other sources of vitamin D include beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Sources containing some vitamin D include mushrooms and direct sunlight.
NotesSkin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D; Cloudy days, shade, and having dark-colored skin also cut down on the amount of vitamin D the skin makes; Excessive sun exposure doesn't cause vitamin D poisoning because the bo
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Vitamin E

Context Tip
UseVitamin E is used by the body to protect cells from damage, for normal cell function, to help immune system function, to widen blood vessels, and to keep blood from clotting within blood vessels.
DeficiencyVitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people. It is almost always linked to certain diseases where fat is not properly digested or absorbed. Examples include Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and certain rare genetic diseases such as abetalipoproteinemia and ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED). Vitamin E needs some fat for the digestive system to absorb it. Vitamin E deficiency can cause nerve and muscle damage that results in loss of feeling in the arms and legs, loss of body movement control, muscle weakness, and vision problems. Another sign of deficiency is a weakened immune system.
OverdoseVitamin E in foods is not risky or harmful.
Dietary SourcesVitamin E is found in peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and other nuts; sunflower seeds and other seeds; wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oils. Other sources of vitamin E include corn oil; soybean oil; spinach, broccoli, and other green vegetables.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 


Vitamin K

Context Tip
UseVitamin K is used by the body for blood clotting and bone calcification.
DeficiencyVitamin K deficiency may cause increased risk of spontaneous hemorrhage.
OverdoseConsumption of too much Vitamin K from dietary sources has not been reported. At >1000 times the body's daily requirement, vitamin K supplements may cause thrombogenesis, hemolysis, and jaundice.
Dietary SourcesVitamin K is found in kale (boiled), spinach (boiled), turnip greens (boiled), collards (boiled), Swiss chard (boiled), parsley, and mustard greens (boiled). Other sources of vitamin K include Brussels sprouts, spinach (raw), turnip greens (raw), green leaf lettuce, broccoli, endive lettuce, and Romaine lettuce. Foods containing some vitamin K include iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, asparagus, and soybean oil.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health  Northwestern University 


Water

Context Tip
UseWater is used by the body for digestion, absorption, transport, and metabolism of nutrients; to help the kidneys excrete metabolic waste; to regulate body temperature; for balancing electrolytes; and to maintain plasma volume.
DeficiencyWater deficiency, or dehydration, may cause nausea, weakness, delirium, hyperthermia, poor skin turgor, skin tenting on the forehead, decreased urine output, concentrated urine, sunken eyes, dry mucus membranes in the mouth and nose, orthostatic blood pressure changes, and tachycardia (fast heart rate), and death (when water losses exceed 20% of body weight).
OverdoseConsuming too much water generally has not been shown to have adverse health effects. Water intoxication may develop if large amounts of water are provided to patients to replenish fluids lost with surgery, trauma or other conditions associated with fluid and electrolyte losses, especially if compromised renal function or hormonal imbalances are also present. The ensuing increase in intracellular fluid volume can cause swelling of brain tissue accompanied by headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle twitching, convulsions, and even death.
Dietary SourcesWater is found in plain water or other beverages or foods which are > 90% water by volume, such as milk, coffee, soup, watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce, and tomato. Other sources of water include fruit juice and foods with a high water content, such as cantaloupe, oranges, apples, pears, grapes, and peaches.
Source: Northwestern University 


Xanthophylls Lutein + Zeaxanthin

Context Tip
UseXanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin are used by the body to protect the eyes by filtering out harmful blue wavelengths of light and to maintain healthy eyes.
DeficiencyXanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin deficiency has not been found.
OverdoseConsuming too much xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin may cause an imbalance in the retina of the eye.
Dietary SourcesXanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin are found in green leafy vegetables, such as cooked kale, spinach, collards, turnip greens. Other sources of xanthophylls lutein and zeaxanthin include raw spinach, cooked corn, green peas, cooked broccoli, Romaine lettuce, green beans, eggs, and oranges.
Source: American Optometric Association  Luteineye.info 


Zinc

Context Tip
UseZinc is used by the body for immune system function, wound healing, taste and smell function, and to make proteins and DNA. In pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, zinc is used by the body for healthy growth and development.
DeficiencyZinc deficiency may cause hair loss, diarrhea, sores on eyes and skin, loss of appetite, weight loss, impaired wound healing, decreased ability to taste food, decreased alertness, slow growth (in infants and children), delayed sexual development (in adolescents), and impotence (in men).
OverdoseToo much zinc may cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, headaches, low copper levels, lowered immunity, and low levels of HDL-cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol).
Dietary SourcesZinc is found in oysters, red meat, poultry, and seafood such as crab and lobsters. Other sources of zinc include beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 






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