In South Africa during the current COVID-19 pandemic, massive food security issues have arisen in addition to the daily challenges of access to water and harsh living conditions. While under a nationwide lockdown, food distribution is critical to impoverished South African communities.
Strictly speaking, choline is not a vitamin, but an essential nutrient that is often grouped under the B-vitamins. While many of us know about the importance of folic acid in pregnancy the value of choline is often overlooked. We now know that choline is especially important during pregnancy as it is involved in fetal brain development.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is often referred to as the healing vitamin. Why? Well, it has a very important role in wound healing by aiding the synthesis of collagen which is required for the normal structure and function of connective tissues such as skin, cartilage and bones.
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, works with many other B vitamins to carry out key roles in functions of the human body. Together with folate and vitamin B6, cobalamin helps to maintain normal blood homocysteine levels which is important as raised homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
While looking at diet and cardiovascular disease risk many of us immediately consider our saturated fat intake however Vitamin B6 should not be overlooked. Together with folate and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 is required for maintenance of normal blood homocysteine levels. Raised homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Feeling stressed? Your vitamin B5 intake may have an important role to play. Vitamin B5, also know as Pantothenic acid, is critical to the development of stress-related hormones produced in the adrenal glands, small glands that sit on top of the kidneys.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, helps release energy from the foods we eat by acting as coenzyme in energy-transfer reactions, especially the metabolism of glucose, fat, and alcohol. Niacin also helps keep the nervous system and skin healthy. There are two forms of niacin – nicotinic acid and nicotinamide – both of which are found in food. Niacin is unique in that it can also be synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan.
Vitamin B2, like all B vitamins, has an important role in producing energy for the body. Vitamin B2, commonly referred to as riboflavin, helps the body convert food, such as carbohydrates, into fuel or glucose, which provides us with energy. It also aids the body in metabolizing fats and proteins.
Wondering how to optimize your energy levels? Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamin, has an important role to play in the energy puzzle. Vitamin B1 helps break down and release energy from the food we eat by converting carbohydrates, lipids and proteins into energy. As a result thiamin requirement is very much related to the amount of energy we consume. Thiamin also plays a key role in nerve and muscle activity.
One often hears the term ‘it’s a matter of life and death’ but this is literally the case for Vitamin K! Vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone or menaquinone, has a vital role in blood clotting and thus also supports wound healing.