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Description Pantothenic acid is also sometimes referred to as Vitamin B5. It is water soluble and part of the B-vitamins group. Pantothenic acid and calcium pantothenate (a more stable form of pantothenic acid) are available in the form of tablets and capsules, but they are found mainly in multivitamin and mineral preparations.
Function/ Used for Pantothenic acid forms part of two substances, co-enzyme A and the acyl carrier protein. These have key roles in the release of energy from foods.

Pantothenic acid is involved in the metabolism of protein and fat, and is also needed for healthy growth.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 6mg

 

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.

As a supplement Not generally available as a single supplement. Commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Fortified breakfast cereal, wholegrains (such as brown rice and wholemeal bread), dairy products, liver, kidneys and eggs.
Deficiency Deficiency of pantothenic acid is extremely rare. Symptoms include poor muscle co-ordination, muscle cramps, numbness and tingling, painful burning feet, depression, fatigue, weakness, headache and loss of appetite.3
Precautions and contraindications None known.

Safe Upper Level (Guidance Level): 210mg total dietary intake per day2

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Excessive alcohol intake may increase requirement for pantothenic acid.

Oral contraceptives may also increase requirement for pantothenic acid.

Adequate amounts of all B vitamins are required for optimal functioning as deficiency or excess of one B vitamin may lead to abnormalities in the metabolism of another.3

Adverse effects No adverse effects, except for occasional diarrhoea, have been reported in humans.
References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

3.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

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Description The peppermint plant is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint. Its active ingredient is a volatile oil made up of more than 40 components, including menthol, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Function/ Used for Peppermint is primarily used for indigestion relief. It is also used as an inhalant, for clearing congestion in coughs and colds.

Peppermint soothes the digestive tract, helps relieve nausea, and sweetens breath.

Peppermint oil may be effective in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)2.

Menthol and peppermint oil can be applied externally to treat headache2.

Intake N/A
As a supplement Peppermint can be found in its essential oil form (not to be taken internally), as a tea, or as enteric coated capsules containing 0.2ml oil.

Dosage:

powdered herb 2-4g

up to 4 cups of peppermint tea per day

2 drops of peppermint oil in a steam bath to inhale

up to 2 enteric coated capsules containing 0.2ml oil daily

Found in (dietary sources) N/A
Deficiency N/A
Precautions and contraindications Peppermint oil acts as a relaxant on the muscles of the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract, and can aggravate acid reflux or the symptoms of hiatus hernia.

Peppermint oil should not be put on the nostrils or chests of children under 5 years old.

When taken internally, peppermint oil should be in enterically coated products to reduce possible irritation.3

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding External use is suitable during pregnancy. However peppermint is not recommended to be taken internally during pregnancy, unless as a tea which may be taken to help relieve morning sickness.1
Interactions e.g. with other medications No significant interactions reported.1
Adverse effects When taken as a tea, peppermint is usually considered safe, although hypersensitivity reactions have been reported. Rare negative reactions to enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may include skin rash, heartburn, slowed heartbeat, and muscle tremors. Menthol or peppermint oil applied topically could cause contact dermatitis or rash.1
References 1.       Braun & Cohen. Herbs and Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. Churchill Livingstone, 2005.

2.       Williamson, E. M. Potter’s Herbal Cyclopaedia. C.W. Daniel Co Ltd. 2003

3.       National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermintoil (September 2016)

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Description Next to calcium, phosphorus is the most abundant mineral in the body, making up about 1% of total body weight.
Function/ Used for Phosphorus is essential for bone health.

 

Calcium, which gives strength to bones and teeth, needs to be combined with another mineral, such as phosphorous, to become stabilised before it can be effective.

 

Phosphorus also helps to release energy from food as it plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 700mg

 

UK average daily intake

Unknown (in the UK)

As a supplement Not generally available as a single supplement. Commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include red meat and poultry, dried milk and milk products, wheat germ, yeast, grains, hard cheeses, canned fish, nuts, potatoes, eggs and soft drinks.
Deficiency Symptoms include abnormal calcification of soft tissue, tetany (spasm and twitching of the muscles, particularly those of face, hands and feet), lethargy and anorexia. However, deficiency is unlikely as it is so widely distributed in food.
Precautions and contraindications Consuming high doses of phosphorus for a short time can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain.1

The long term over-consumption of foods high in phosphorus can deplete calcium resources and lead to reduced bone mass, which means that bones are more likely to fracture.2

 

Safe Upper Level (SUL):

·         Total intake of not more than 2,400mg/day1

·         Supplemental intake should not exceed 250mg /day

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding Safety of the use of phosphorus during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown.
Interactions e.g. with other medications No clinically significant interactions between phosphorus and conventional medications are known to have been reported in literature to date.

Long term intake of aluminium hydroxide, an antacid, may deplete phosphorus levels.3,4

Adverse effects Phosphates can be toxic at levels over 1,000mg per day, leading to diarrhoea, calcification of organs and soft tissue, and preventing the absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.1
References 1.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

2.     Calvo, MS.  Advances in Nutritional Research. 1994:9 pp183-207 ‘The effects of high phosphorus intake on calcium homeostasis’

3.     Reynolds JEF, ed. Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia. 31st ed. London: Royal Pharmaceutical Society; 1996:1181-1182, 1741.

4.     Gaby A.R et al. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. Health Notes. Three Rivers Press. New York. 2006

 

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Description Prebiotics are forms of dietary fibre which cannot be digested, but which can be fermented within the gut by specific colonies of gut bacteria that are recognised as being beneficial to health. The fermentation process feeds the bacterial species and produces chemical byproducts which are also thought to be beneficial.1

Different types of fibre support different species of bacteria.

Function/ Used for There are a number of different types of prebiotic recognised which support different types of gut bacteria; the two most researched forms are:

  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) which is fermented by the Lactobacillus forms of gut bacteria
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) which is fermented by the Bifidobacterium colonies in the gut

The benefits of prebiotics are still being explored and may go beyond those conferred by probiotics (the colonies of beneficial bacteria that FOS and GOS support).

Current understanding of prebiotics indicates that they support the health of the gastrointestinal tract, may reduce blood lipid levels and may support the immune system.2

Intake N/A
As a supplement Both FOS and GOS are widely available in health food stores across the UK.

Dosage will vary between products; however it is a regulatory requirement that dosage is noted on the packaging of any food supplement.

Found in (dietary sources) N/A
Deficiency N/A
Precautions and contraindications None known.
Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding No known problems.
Interactions e.g. with other medications None reported.
Adverse effects Some reports of flatulence, bloating and diarrhoea which is reversed on stopping treatment.
References
  1. Schrezenmeir J, de Vrese M. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics – approaching a definition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001; 73:2 361s-364s
  2. Gibson GR, Hutkin R, Sanders ME, Prescott SL, Reimer RA, Salminen SJ, Scott K, Stanton C, Swanson KS, Cani PD, Verbeke K, Reid G. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of prebiotics. Nature Reviews GI & Hep 2017; 14:491–502

 

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Description A probiotic is a live microbial food supplement that contains microbial substances normally found in the gut.
Function/ Used for Probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus are consumed to improve digestion. Once in the gut they work by multiplying and restoring the balance of the normal bacterial population of the intestine.

Probiotics may also help to support the health of the immune system.

Intake N/A

 

As a supplement Available as bio-yoghurts or fermented milk based drinks. Also as capsules and tablets.

To be effective, they should be consumed daily.  Many probiotics should be kept refrigerated and should be consumed before the expiry date.

There is no established dose for these products.

Found in (dietary sources) N/A
Deficiency N/A
Precautions and contraindications None known.
Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy.
Interactions e.g. with other medications None reported1.
Adverse effects None known.
References 1.            Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

 

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