Vitamin Hacks and Hoaxes
We’ve all heard about Vitamin A and the improved eyesight, but not many know it was all a hoax perpetrated during World War II. The British Intelligence needed to conceal their secret weapon, a particularly advanced RADAR system, so they credited carrots for giving their men superhuman eyesight to account for their success against the Nazi Air Force.
Fortunately for us, not all Vitamin hacks are hoaxes. Here are three hacks we can hang our hats on:
Vitamin B Complex Prevents (and Cures) Hangovers
Vitamin B1, B2, B6, and B12 are chemically unrelated, but are often found and thus consumed together. Vitamin B6, when taken before drinking, has been found to reduce hangover symptoms by half (Khan, Jensen, & Krogh, 1973).
On the other hand, Vitamin B1, when combined with amino acid cysteine (found in meat products, dairy, and eggs), can reduce the severity of hangovers (Acholonu, 1983). It does this by flushing out acetaldehyde, a hangover-inducing toxin that alcohol breaks down into (Sprince et al, 1974).
Vitamin C and Zinc Shortens Common Colds
Vitamin C reduces catching common colds for people under stress or strenuous exercise. Furthermore, it cuts the common cold’s duration by about a day (Hemilä, Chalker, & Douglas, 2007). Zinc, which is technically a mineral (not a vitamin), is even more effective. As long as it is taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, it can cut down both the severity of symptoms and the duration of the cold by two to three days. Zinc accomplishes this by interfering with virus reproduction within the body (WebMD, 2015). A (literally) happy side effect of Vitamin C and Zinc is the anti-stress (Watanabe et al, 2010) and anti-depressant properties (Brody, 2002).
Vitamin D Accelerates Weight Loss
Vitamin D is produced naturally through exposure to sunlight. Despite this, three out of five Filipinos are deficient in this vitamin (Crisostomo, 2014). On the same note, despite the high rates of malnutrition among Filipinos, one out of three Filipinos is overweight (Torres, 2014). These two seemingly unrelated statistics may actually be entwined: a 2015 study found that among overweight, Vitamin-D deficient individuals who went on a six-month diet while being supplemented with Vitamin D lost 3.8 to 5.4 kilograms, compared to the 1.2-kilogram weight loss of those who just restricted calories (Aiken, 2015).
Getting your Vitamins
Meat, eggs, and poultry hold Vitamin B. Fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin C. The human body makes its own Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, or by consuming fatty fish. Getting these vitamins naturally is generally the optimal way to assimilate them. However, sedentary lifestyles, diets geared towards convenience, and certain conditions make the natural way easier in theory than in practice.