Many diseases, conditions and circumstances can cause lack of appetite. Unfortunately, lack of appetite can cause denial of the body's need for nutrients. This is especially detrimental when the lack of appetite is due to a disease, since nutrients from food help shore up the body's defense system. Fortunately there are several vitamins which, when taken as a supplement or in a food, can help promote a healthy appetite. Consult your medical professional before beginning any supplement regimen.
A prolonged loss of appetite can lead to a deficiency in several vitamins and minerals, but deficiency in a few specific vitamins can, ironically, help prolong a loss of appetite until they are replenished. The first of these is vitamin A.
Primarily locked in fatty foods like egg yolks and butter, vitamn A increases skin renewal time and improves eyesight. More importantly, vitamin A plays a crucial role in DNA's communication to the body in the creation of new cells. When vitamin A is low, the body's communication network breaks down and less energy is used. This can contribute to loss of appetite, as the body feels like its energy demands are lower. This can be remedied by taking Vitamin A in a pill or as part of a multivitamin.
In cases of extreme illness or immunodeficiency such as AIDS or certain types of cancer, a vitamin B-6 deficiency may be the cause of loss of appetite. Loss of appetite due to a deficiency in B-6 vitamins is usually coupled with nervousness, irritability and insomnia. Similar to vitamin A, vitamin B-6 deficiency causes a breakdown in cell production, this time in the immune system, causing fewer defense cells to form. This can have deadly consequences as a weakened immune system can have trouble fighting off otherwise easily defeated illnesses like the cold, the flu or strep throat. Vitamin B-6 can be administered by itself as an oral medication, but is also administered as a subdermal injection or as part of a B-Complex supplement.
Vitamin B-3, also known as niacin, is an aid in converting food into glucose which fuels cell production and upkeep. B-3 also regulates circulation and blood cholesterol levels. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause jaundice, diarrhea, fatigue and depression along with a loss of appetite brought on by the body's inability to break down food as it comes in. A deficiency in B-3 can be remedied through supplements and in extreme cases by a high dose subdermal injection. The University Of Maryland Medical Center notes that "In the United States, alcoholism is the prime cause of vitamin B3 deficiency."
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