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Antivitamins: These Foods Contain Vitamin Antagonists

If you take too many antivitamins, i.e. substances that negate the effect of vitamins, you risk a vitamin deficiency. This in turn can cause various diseases. But in which foods are antivitamins hidden?

Vitamin deficiency: what are the symptoms?

This can lead to vitamin deficiencies and associated symptoms, including:

  • Vitamin A deficiency: e.g. night blindness, dry eyes, dry skin, dry mucous membranes;
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency (thiamine): neurological disorders, heart muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, metabolic diseases;
  • Vitamin B2 deficiency (riboflavin): e.g. fatigue, flaky skin, rough skin, inflammation (especially tongue, oral mucosa), headaches;
  • Vitamin B3 deficiency (niacin): e.g. loss of appetite, weakness, skin inflammation, diarrhoea;
  • Vitamin B5 deficiency (pantothenic acid): e.g. dizziness, abdominal and stomach pains, difficulty swallowing, insomnia, tiredness, headaches;
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency: e.g. scaly skin rashes, acne, cracked corners of the mouth, digestive problems, loss of appetite, irritability, restlessness;
  • Vitamin B7 deficiency (biotin): e.g. hair loss, brittle nails, reddened skin, dry hair, muscle pain, listlessness, weight loss;
  • Vitamin B9 deficiency (folic acid): e.g. paleness, forgetfulness, mood swings;
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency (cobalamin): e.g. anemia, nerve damage, muscle weakness, headaches, digestive problems, depressive moods;
  • Vitamin C deficiency: e.g. physical weakness, joint pain, melancholy, tension, calf cramps, weakened immune system, bad breath, bleeding gums, wound healing disorders;
  • Vitamin D deficiency: e.g. weak bones, fatigue, bad mood, depression, decreased performance, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis;
  • Vitamin E deficiency: e.g. slowed reflexes, muscle twitching, tremors, poor concentration, blurred vision;
  • Vitamin K deficiency: e.g. tendency to bleed, increased blood loss from injuries.

What antivitamins are there?

You take in too many antivitamins when you eat an unbalanced diet – be it due to a mono diet, an illness or an exclusive preference for certain foods.

Vitamin antagonists are found in foods, medicines, and drugs. The most important antivitamin reservoirs at a glance:

Antivitamins to Vitamin A

Antagonists of vitamin A are primarily drugs such as e.g.

  • laxative
  • cholesterol-lowering agent
  • sleeping pills

Other causes of vitamin A deficiency are stress, diseases (especially diabetes, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, cancer), environmental toxins, smoking, and strong sunlight.

Antivitamin to vitamin B1

Antivitamins for vitamin B1 are e.g. thiaminases, plant components, and alcohol. The following foods inhibit the absorption of the vitamin:

  • Coffee
  • black tea
  • beans
  • blueberries
  • shrimp
  • betel nuts
  • refined sugar
  • alcohol

The birth control pill, too much stress, acid-binding medication, cigarettes, and competitive sports can also empty the body’s vitamin B1 stores.

Antivitamin to vitamin B2

In this sense, vitamin B2 has no known antagonists. However, a vegan diet can lead to a vitamin B2 deficiency.

Antivitamin to vitamin B3

Antagonists to vitamin B3 are primarily found in

  • medication
  • alcohol

In addition, a lack of vitamin B3-rich foods (e.g. bran, chicken liver, peanuts, beef) can lead to deficiency symptoms.

Antivitamin to vitamin B5

Superficially inhibit the absorption of vitamin B5

  • alcohol
  • radical diets
  • chronic bowel diseases.

Antivitamin to vitamin B6

The anti-vitamins linatin, mimosine and beta-cyanoalanine neutralize the effect of vitamin B6. The following foods contain at least one of these antivitamins:

  • linseed
  • cultivated mushrooms
  • alcohol

Antivitamin to vitamin B7

The antagonists of vitamin B7 (biotin) are called avidin and niacin (= vitamin B3!). They are included in:

  • egg white (raw)
  • Corn
  • millet

Antivitamin to vitamin B9

Vitamin B9, i.e. folic acid, has no specific antivitamin. Much more, the way of life can require an increased need for the vitamin and thus quickly lead to a deficiency. A vitamin B9 deficiency can have the following causes:

  • pregnancy, lactation
  • Sports
  • stress
  • growth
  • Diseases (e.g. renal insufficiency)

Alcohol and medicines, such as laxatives or chemotherapy, can also promote a folic acid deficiency.

Antivitamin to vitamin B12

In order for the body to be able to optimally utilize vitamin B12, it needs certain transport molecules. Anyone who shows an autoimmune reaction to these molecules develops a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 antagonists are present

  • medication
  • drugs
  • alcohol
  • cigarettes.

Gastrointestinal diseases and damage to the liver and pancreas, tapeworms as well as gastritis and Crohn’s disease also lead to an absorption disorder of vitamin B12.

Antivitamin to Vitamin C

Anyone who eats foods rich in vitamin C (e.g. peppers, citrus fruits, kale) is far from meeting their vitamin C requirements. Because the absorption of the vitamin can be inhibited, for example by

  • unfavorable storage of the food, so that the vitamin C content decreases;
  • unfavorable preparation of the food, so that the vitamin C content decreases.

In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding women, seniors and children, athletes and stressed people, as well as the sick need an extra portion of vitamin C in order not to suffer from a deficiency.

Antivitamin to Vitamin D

We absorb vitamin D primarily through exposure to the sun. Those who eat vegan or vegetarian food have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. Because in addition to the sun, fish is an essential vitamin D supplier. And: Those who take in too little fat cannot store and utilize vitamin D optimally either.

Quasi-antagonists to vitamin D can be diseases, such as inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which inhibit absorption.

Antivitamin to Vitamin E

In addition to alcohol and cigarettes, illnesses such as pancreatitis or Crohn’s disease can also lead to an E vitamin deficiency. Lack of sleep, exercise, and mental stress can also inhibit vitamin E absorption.

Antivitamin to Vitamin K

Antivitamins of vitamin K are dicoumarol (found in antithrombotic drugs), lapachol, vitamin A, and vitamin E.

  • Kale, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, tuna, for example, contain a lot of vitamin A.
  • A lot of vitamin E is contained, for example, in whole grain products, nuts, and vegetable oils.
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Written by Allison Turner

I am a Registered Dietitian with 7+ years of experience in supporting many facets of nutrition, including but not limited to nutrition communications, nutrition marketing, content creation, corporate wellness, clinical nutrition, food service, community nutrition, and food and beverage development. I provide relevant, on-trend, and science-based expertise on a wide range of nutrition topics such as nutrition content development, recipe development and analysis, new product launch execution, food and nutrition media relations, and serve as a nutrition expert on behalf of a brand.

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