Friday, August 17, 2012

Vitamins everyone should keep on hand

When we think prepping we think water, food, and fuel, usually in that order.  Then as time goes on and we start gathering our supplies and we pick up other things here and there.  My new focus right now is going through my supplies, medicine kits and bug out bags and seeing where I am as far as vitamins go. 
The best way to get these vitamins and minerals is through your food which is what your body is best at absorbing but in a survival situation nutrition isn’t always what it should be, we aren’t eating the right things, or enough of the right things, or we aren’t getting enough calories or even being under a lot of stress can cause major deficiencies.  Having the right supplements can save your life.  I have researched, studied and cross referenced a lot of vitamins and supplements and have chosen the ones I felt would be most beneficial in a SHTF scenario. 

Please if you feel I have left any out leave a comment with the name of the vitamin and what it is helpful for and hopefully we can all learn a new thing or two.

Vitamins are described as:  Any of a group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.

Vitamin B-1 or Thiamin

This is the first of the B vitamins which I feel are the most important in the vitamin world.  All B vitamins help the body produce energy, metabolize fats and proteins and are needed for good brain function. A deficiency in Vitamin B-1 can lead to mental confusion, muscle weakness and wasting (described as a progressive involuntary weight loss).  As you can see a deficiency in this in a SHTF type scenario can’t be good.  If you are already not taking in enough calories needing this vitamin can make it much worse.  B-1 can be found in such foods as pork, liver, whole grains and peas.

Vitamin B-6

This is an especially important one for myself and I actually take this regularly anyway.  B-6 is very important for protein metabolism and in the making of red blood cells.  Effects of a B-6 deficiency can be dermatitis, irritability, anemia and kidney stones. Foods that have this vitamin in them are meats, whole grains, cereal and green leafy veggies. If you know you are prone to anemia or have a history of kidney stones make sure you put this vitamin in your stockpile.

Vitamin B-12
One of those vitamins that are good to have if you are prone to anemia.  It is essential in the development of red blood cells and taking care of your nervous system. A deficiency in this can lead to anemia and possible Alzheimer’s like dementia. This vitamin is only in animal foods like meats, fish, oysters, shellfish, egss and milk.  If you are vegetarian or vegan this deficiency could be a real problem for you. 

Vitamin B-3 or Niacin
Another B class vitamin used for energy production, promoting an appetite (helpful in wasting situation I can see) and healthy skin and nerves a deficiency can lead to weakness, diarrhea and mental confusion.  I recently also seen a study on a larger dose of Niacin helping in depression that  Andrew W. Saul ,Ph.D. and Therapeutic Nutrition Specialist talk about on the movie Food Matters.  Our body does not make Niacin by itself so we need to make sure our diets supply us with it or we supplement it with a vitamin.  B-3 can be found in liver, fish, poultry, meat, peanuts and whole grains.  Again vegetarians and vegans need to be especially on the the lookout  for these symptoms.

Vitamin C
Everyone knows how great vitamin C is for keeping their immune system boosted.  We all make sure we get more of it during the cold and flu season because it works. That’s a great vitamin to have just for a healthy immune system, but a severe deficiency in this vitamin could lead to scurvy, defined as a disease marked by inanition, debility, anemia, and edema of the dependent parts; a spongy condition sometimes with ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth, hemorrhages into the skin from the mucous membranes and internal organs, and poor wound healing; due to a diet lacking vitamin C. Vegetarians probably won’t have as much of a problem unless they can’t get to a supply of veggies but if your prepping and living a sustainable lifestyle you won’t have this problem.  Vitamin C can be found naturally  many fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes and broccoli. You can find tables, capsules and cough drop style Vitamin C.  You can buy up what’s on sale and be okay.

Folic Acid
Folic Acid is another B type vitamin making it very important in the break down, use and the making new proteins.  It also helps with the formation of red blood cells and even helps produce DNA which is why it is important for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause fatigue, gray hair, mouth sores, poor growth and swollen tongue.  You can get folic acid by eating green leafy vegetables and liver.

Another immune booster, zinc, is an important mineral we don’t want to be deficient on.  Zinc has wonderful immune enhancing properties and powerful anti-oxidant boosting properties as well.  It is an important part of more that 300 enzymes that our body uses to repair wounds, synthesize protein, cell reproduction, and protects against free radicals.  A deficiency in this mineral can lead to growth retardation, impaired immunity, weight loss, and mental lethargy.  So with all those good things it does it makes sense to keep that around.  Some good sources of zinc are meat, eggs, seafood, wheat germ and tofu.  Vegetarians need to be especially careful of a deficiency in zinc.  Zinc performs better when taken with selenium. 

All in all a good multivitamin should be able to handle everything but the extreme deficiency.  If however you are anemic you should carry extra B vitamins.  

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