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Vitamin, Mineral & Supplements

Is it necessary to take vitamins and minerals supplement?

  • If you are healthy and eat a well-balanced diet based on the Malaysian Food Pyramid, supplements are not necessary (unless you are pregnant or when your doctor or dietitian prescribes them).
  • If you need to take supplements, please check with your doctor or dietitian.
  • Excessive dosage of supplements can be harmful. Please follow the Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI) for Malaysia

What are the common vitamin and mineral supplements?

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Folic acid
  • Iodine

Vitamin A

  • Importance
    • It is also known as retinol. Essential for :
      • proper growth of children,
      • proper vision (prevent and sometimes cure night blindness) for both children and adults
      • healthy skin
      • mucous membrane lining of the body’s inner cavities.
  • Deficiency
    • Deficiency in Vitamin A may cause :
      • reduced resistance to infection;
      • rough, dry and pimply skin;
      • digestive problems;
      • kidney stones;
      • night blindness and
      • eye disease, including xerophthalmia, which can cause permanent blindness.
  • Sources
    • Good sources of Vitamin A are :
      • Liver, eggs
      • Margarines
      • Whole milk and low fat milks (fortified with vitamin A)
      • Beta-carotene from food (found in abundance in pumpkins, carrots, apricots, mangoes, papayas and other bright yellow / orange / red fruits and vegetables, and also in dark leafy greens as spinach, mustard, turnip and beet tops) will be converted to vitamin A by the body.
  • Toxicity
    • Vitamin A is fat soluble, and it will be stored in the body if excess dosage of supplements are taken.
    • In extreme cases, there may be blurred vision, increased skull pressure and hair loss.

Vitamin C

 

  • Importance
    • Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a versatile vitamin.
      • It is integral to the building and maintenance of collagen, a protein that holds the body cells in place.
      • It is indispensable to bones and teeth, to blood vessels, to the healing of wounds.
      • Vitamin C also helps metabolise several amino acids and hormones.
      • It has antioxidants effect too, by helping the body get rid of carcinogenic by -products of metabolism called free radicals.
  • Deficiency
    • Vitamin C deficiencies can cause:
      • Scurvy
      • Reduced immunity
      • Gum bleeding
  • Sources
    • Good sources of Vitamin C are :
      • Guava
      • Papaya
      • Starfruit
      • Mango
      • Citrus fruits
      • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Toxicity
    • Diarrhoea
    • Gastrointestinal disturbance
    • Kidney stone formation
    • Increase uric acid

Vitamin B12

  • Importance
    • Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin, in combination with folacin (a B vitamin also known as Folic Acid)
      • Is used in the production of red blood cells
      • It also helps and maintains protective nerve sheaths.
  • Deficiency
    • Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiencies are:
      • Pernicious anemia
      • Muscle and nerve paralysis.
  • Sources
    • Meats
    • Fish
    • Poultry
    • Dairy products
    • Eggs
    • Liver

Iron

  • Importance
    Iron is a mineral that is essential for good health and life. The bulk of the iron in the human body is in the red blood cells’ hemoglobin and the importance are:

    • Facilitates in the formation of hemoglobin in the red blood cells
    • The formation of myoglobin in muscle
    • Oxygen carrier
    • Involved in energy utilisation.
  • Deficiency
    An iron deficiency in general can cause :

    • Anaemia
    • Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children
    • Tiredness
  • Sources
    • Liver
    • Beef
    • Poultry
    • Fish
    • Shellfish
    • Eggs
    • Legumes
    • Dried beans
    • Dried prunes
    • Prunes juices
    • Iron fortified – cereals
    • Whole wheat
    • Enriched bread and spinach
  • Toxicity
    • Can damage the liver and pancreas,
    • Possible increased risk for cancer and heart disease.

Folic Acid

  • Importance
    • Folic acid also know as folate.
    • Folic acid is needed to build new cells especially new red blood cells.
  • Deficiency
    • Fatigue
    • Lethargy
    • Difficult in concentrating
    • Irritability
    • Headache
    • Palpitation
    • Shortness of breath
    • Neural tube defects (during pregnancy)
  • Sources
    • Legumes
    • Dark green leafy vegetables

Calcium

  • Importance
    • Involved in the mineralization of fetal bones and teeth
    • Muscle contraction and relaxation,
    • Nerve functions,
    • Intracellular regulation,
    • Extracellular enzyme cofactor,
    • Blood clotting and blood pressure
  • Deficiency
    • Osteoperosis,
    • Stunted childhood growth.
    • Osteomalasia
    • Rickets
  • Sources
    • Dairy and dairy products,
    • Fish (with bones),
    • Tofu,
    • Legumes,
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
    • Cekur manis
    • Calcium fortified foods
  • Toxicity
    • Kidney stone.

Zinc

  • Importance
    • Transport for vitamin A,
    • Taste,
    • Wound healing,
    • Sperm production,
    • Fetal development.
    • Plays a part in many enzymes, hormones (insulin), generic material and proteins.
  • Deficiency
    • Decreased appetite,
    • Growth failure in children,
    • Delayed development of sex organs,
    • Reduced immune function,
    • Poor wound healing.
  • Sources
    • Liver
    • Meat
    • Poultry
    • Seafood
    • Offals nuts
    • Seeds
    • Legumes
    • Wholegrains cereals
  • Toxicity
    • Fever,
    • Vomiting,
    • Diarrhoea,
    • Gastric
    • Dizziness

Iodine

  • Importance
    • Aids in metabolism regulation and fetal development.
  • Deficiency
    • Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goitre)
  • Sources
    • Seafood
    • Iodised salt or tabled iodised salt
  • Toxicity
    • Burning of the mouth, throat and stomach
    • Abdominal pain
    • Fever
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhoea
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Goitre
Last reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Jamilah bt. Ahmad
Surainee bt. Wahab
Munawara bt. Pardi
Azlinda bt. Hamid
Reviewer : Wirdah binti Mohamed

 

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