Tiva Luckett



Sources of Vitamin D

Those of us lucky enough to live in sunny Africa will not need extra vitamin D as we get plenty from the sun on our skin.

Cod liver oil
Dairy products
Egg yolk
Fortified cereals
Fish liver oil
Oily fish
Sweet potato
Vegetable oil
SUNSHINE! The body will only produce vitamin D where the skin is exposed to the sun, it is recommended that 20 minutes of full body sun in the early morning or late afternoon is adaquate.

Posted in Nutrients

Iron Deficiency

Iron is essential for the function of many proteins in the body, including the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.

Symptoms of low iron levels (anaemia) include tiredness, pallor, shortness of breath, fatigue and irritability, decreased general health and well being. Iron deficiency is thought to impair psychomotor development and cognitive function in infants, reduce work performance in adults and increase low birth rate, prematurity and perinatal mortality in pregnancy.

Signs of lack of iron include: paleness of skin, tongue, lower inner eye lids and nail beds; a sore mouth, unusual hair loss, dry hair and skin, menorrhagia, fatigue, reduced stamina, headaches, dizziness, decreased appetite, reduced immunity, irritability.

Iron deficiency may be a result of blood loss (including heavy menstruation), pregnancy and lactation or being vegetarian or vegan.

Non meat sources of iron include:
Whole grains: wheat, oats, brown rice.
Legumes: lima, aduki, kidney beans.
Dark Green leafy vegetables: cooked spinach or kale, all seaweeds.
Dried fruit: apricots, raisins, prunes.

Herbal teas to increase iron levels:
Avena sativa – Oat straw
Medicago sativa - Alfalfa
Urtica dioica – Stinging Nettle
Withania somnifera – Withania


Posted in Nutrients

Vitamin B9 - Folic Acid

Synthetic vs Natural
In food folate is in the form of pteroyl glutamic acid which requires complicated conversion and is unstable. The synthetic form, pteroyl monoglutamic acid, used in supplements is a stable molecule with better bioavailability. Absorption from food between 50-66% from supplements it’s double that. Small amounts produced by bacteria in intestines but mostly lost in stool. (Braun and Cohen 2005).

Deficiency Signs and Symptoms
All cells are affected, especially rapidly dividing ones such as red blood cells and gastro-intestinal tract cells.
Poor growth, diarrhoea, anaemia, gingivitis, abnormal pap smear in females. Depression, insomnia, irritability, forgetfulness, loss of appetite, fatigue, shortness of breath. Macrocytic anaemia, senility, hair loss, headache, nausea, weight loss. (Murray 2001)

Main Naturopathic Uses
Before conception and during pregnancy (dose 400 mcg) – deficiency one month before conception or during the first trimester is an independent risk factor for neural tube defects in newborns.

Deficiency from oral contraceptive use – more than five years of use can be associated with a progressive decrease in folate levels and can result in mood changes and NTD if pregnant within one mnth of stopping.

According to recent research folate aids in homocysteine reduction and cardiovascular disease protection, together with B6 and 12.

Depression - especially in psychiatric and geriatric populations. Between 15-38% of depressed people have a  deficiency (Albert and Fava 1997).

Posted in Nutrients


Biotin is a B vitamin that functions in manufacture and utilisation of fats and amino acids. It is manufactured in intestines by gut bacteria. A vegetarian diet enhances production and absorption of biotin through changing gut bacteria. (Haas 1999)

Deficiency Signs and Symptoms
In adults – dry, scaly skin, nausea, anorexia, seborrhoea.
In infants – seborrhoeic dermatitis (cradle cap) and hair loss.

Main Uses
Promotes strong nails and healthy hair.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis - usually show deficiency.
Diabetes – enhances insulin sensitivity, can be useful for some cases of diabetic neuropathy.

Posted in Nutrients