All about fruitarianism with a long-term fruitarian, Lena

vitamins

vitamin is an organic compound and a vital nutrient that an organism requires in limited amounts but cannot synthesize the compound in sufficient quantities, and it must be obtained through the diet. Term "vitamin" is conditional upon the circumstances and the particular organism. For example, ascorbic acid (one form of vitamin C) is a vitamin for humans, but not for most other animal organisms. Supplementation is important for the treatment of certain health problems, but there is little evidence of nutritional benefit when used by healthy people.

13 Vitamins are universally recognized at present: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E, K.

Vitamins are classified by their biological and chemical activity, not their structure. Vitamers by definition are convertible to the active form of the vitamin in the body. 

Anti-vitamins are chemical compounds that inhibit the absorption or actions of vitamins. For example, avidin is a protein in egg whites that inhibits the absorption of biotin.

  • Vitamin C

    Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, or ascorbate, is an essential nutrient for humans, a water-soluble vitamin. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C, so it is an essential dietary component. 

    • Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen (an essential component of connective tissue), L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters, it is also involved in protein metabolism.
    • Vitamin C is also an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E by reducing vitamin E radicals formed when vitamin E scavenges the oxygen radicals. 
    • Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of nonheme iron, the form of iron present in plant-based foods.

    Approximately 70%–90% of vitamin C is absorbed at moderate intakes of 30–180 mg a day. At doses above 1 g a day, absorption falls to less than 50% and absorbed, unmetabolized ascorbic acid is excreted in the urine. 

    Insufficient vitamin C intake causes scurvy, which is characterized by fatigue or lassitude, connective tissue weakness, and capillary fragility.

    Cells accumulate vitamin C. The total body content of vitamin C ranges from 300 mg (at near scurvy) to about 2 g.

    • High levels of vitamin C are maintained in cells and tissues, and are highest in leukocytes (white blood cells), eyes, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and brain.
    • Relatively low levels of vitamin C are found in extracellular fluids, such as plasma, red blood cells, and saliva.
  • Vitamin C in Muscles

    The study has shown that skeletal muscle is very sensitive to changes in vitamin C intake, and that the vitamin C content in muscle will fall if intake decreases below optimal levels. This is likely to affect muscle function. Muscle is the largest store of vitamin C in our bodies.

    Professor Margreet Vissers, from the Centre for Free Radical Research:

    Many people think that all fruit and vegetables are equally able to supply vitamin C, but this is not the case. The levels in food vary hugely across the spectrum. We should eat a good range daily, but because many fruit contain only one tenth of a healthy daily vitamin C requirement, we would recommend at least one serve per day of a high-value food like kiwifruit. This will help you easily reach an optimal vitamin C intake, as well as delivering other vital nutrients.

    There is, however, considerable debate regarding the beneficial health effects of vitamin C supplementation. The administration of vitamin C may significantly hamper endurance capacity. Vitamin C supplementation decreases training efficiency because it prevents some cellular adaptations to exercise.

  • Vitamin C Benefits Debate

    Ascorbic acid is essential for collagen, carnitine and neurotransmitters biosynthesis. Most plants and animals synthesize ascorbic acid for their own requirement, butpes and humans can not synthesize it due to lack of an enzyme gulonolactone oxidase

    Though ascorbic acid was discovered in 17th century, the exact role of this vitamin in human biology and health is still a mystery in view of many beneficial claims and controversies.

    Many health benefits have been attributed to ascorbic acid such as antioxidant, anti-atherogenic, anti-carcinogenic, immunomodulator and prevents cold etc. However, lately the health benefits of ascorbic acid has been the subject of debate and controversies:

    • The relation between ascorbic acid and cancer is still a debatable.
    • There is compelling evidence for antioxidant protection of lipids by ascorbic acid both with and without iron co-supplementation.
    • Current evidences suggest that ascorbic acid protects against atherogenesis by inhibiting LDL oxidation.
    • The data on vitamin C and DNA damage are conflicting and inconsistent. 

  • Vitamin C Recommendation

    Based on available biochemical, clinical and epidemiological studies, the current US recommended daily allowance (RDA) for ascorbic acid ranges between 75 - 120 mg per dayto achieve cellular saturation and optimum risk reduction of heart diseases, stroke and cancer in healthy adults

    • Males - 90 mg a day,
    • Females - 75 mg a day,
    • Smokers- +35 mg a day (35 mg/day more)

    Freshfruits,vegetables and also synthetic tablets supplement the ascorbic acid requirement of the body. However, stress, smoking, infections and burns deplete the ascorbic acid reserves in the body and demands higher doses of ascorbic acid supplementation.

    Ascorbic acid and its derivatives are widely used as preservatives in food industry.

  • Vitamin C and Common Cold

    Clinical trails with varying doses of ascorbic acid showed that ascorbic acid does not have significant prophylactic effect, but reduced the severity and duration of symptoms of cold during the period of infection.

    Consumption of ascorbic acid as high as 1 g a day for several winter months, had no consistent beneficial effect on the incidence of common cold.

    There was a consistent beneficial but generally modest therapeutic effect on duration of cold symptoms

    In trials that tested vitamin C after cold symptoms occurred, there was some evidence of greater benefits with large dose than with lower doses.

  • Nutrient-Dense Food

    Nutrient-dense foods are foods that have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories.

    Nutrient-dense foods and beverages contain: vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other beneficial substances that may have positive health effects.

    They are also naturally lean or low in saturated fat, and have little or no added saturated fat, sugars, refined starches, and sodium.

    Examples of nutrient dense foods are: beans and peas, fresh fruit, unsalted nuts and seeds, vegetables, whole grains - most fruitarian foods are nutrient-dense.

  • Vitamin B9 Folic Acid

    Vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, is one of 8 B vitamins.

    • Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9, found in supplements and fortified foods.
    • Folate occurs naturally in foods.

    Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy.

    Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.

    Rich sources of folate include: spinach, dark leafy greens, asparagus, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, beans, soybeans, root vegetables, whole grains, oranges, avocado. 

  • Vitamins B12, B9, B6 and Heart Disease

    Vitamin B9 (folate, folic acid) works with vitamins B6 and B12 (cobalamin) and other nutrients to control blood levels of the amino acidhomocysteine. 

    Elevated homocysteine levels in blood are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Although B vitamin supplementation has been proven effective to control homocysteine levels, current data from intervention trials have not shown that lowering homocysteine levels decreases cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers are not sure whether homocysteine is a cause of heart disease or just a marker that indicates someone may have heart disease.

  • Nori and Chlorella for B12

    A nutritional analysis for the dietary food intake and serum vitamin B12 (cobalamin) level of a group of 6 vegan children aged 7 to 14 who had been living on a vegan diet for 4 to 10 years suggests that consumption of nori may keep vegans from suffering vitamin B12 deficiency.

    Rauma et al. also reported that vegans consuming nori and/or chlorella had a serum vitamin B12 concentration twice as high as those not consuming these algae.

  • Vegetarian Diets and Health

    Vegetarian diets do not contain meat, poultry or fish, vegan diets further exclude dairy products and eggs. Vegetarian and vegan diets can vary widely.

    In general, vegetarian diets provide relatively large amounts of cereals, pulses, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

    In terms of nutrients, vegetarian diets are usually

    • rich in carbohydrates, n-6 fatty acids, dietary fibre, carotenoids, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and Mg,
    • relatively low in protein, saturated fat, long-chain n-3 fatty acids, retinol, vitamin B12, zinc (Zn),
    • vegans may have particularly low intakes of vitamin B12 and low intakes of Ca.

    On average, vegetarians and vegans have a relatively low BMI and a low plasma cholesterol concentration, but higher plasma homocysteine concentrations than in non-vegetarians. Overall, the data suggest that the health of Western vegetarians is good and similar to that of comparable non-vegetarians.

Stanley Milgram

The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.

Choline Recommended Intake from Seeds and Fruits

Choline is an essential vitamin-like (vitamin B4) nutrient, synthesized in human body, but not sufficiently.

The recommended adequate intake (AI) of choline is set at 425 milligrams (mg)/day for women and 550 mg/day for men.

Choline deficiency causes muscle damage and abnormal deposition of fat in the liver, which results in a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Genetic predispositions and gender can influence individual variation in choline requirements.

Example Plant Fruitarian Sources of Choline

Seeds (including legumes and nuts), high in choline, milligrams per 100 g portion: 

  • Soybeans - 124 mg 
  • Lima beans - 97 mg 
  • Lentils - 96 mg
  • Peas (mature) - 96 mg
  • Flaxseeds - 79 mg 
  • Pistachio nuts - 71 mg 
  • Quinoa - 70 mg 
  • Pumpkin and squash seed kernels (pepitas) -  63 mg 
  • Cashew nuts - 61 mg 
  • Pine nuts - 56 mg 
  • Sunflower seed kernels - 55 mg 
  • Buckwheat - 54 mg 
  • Almonds - 52 mg 

Fruits, high in choline, milligrams per 100 g portion: 

  • Tomatoes, sun-dried - 105 mg 
  • Apples - 18 mg 
  • Figs - 16 mg 
  • Avocados - 14 mg 

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