Water soluble vitamins
Most of the vitamins your hamster will need are to be found in the food that he eats. Extra vitamins that are sometimes added to the hamster’s water bottle are not generally needed. Most of the vitamins that are 'Added' to the food and water are largely synthetic, and synthetic Vitamins become very difficult to digest as the body has to do a lot of work to digest and assimilate them. The Vitamins that are added to the water bottle are water soluble vitamins. However, extra doses of water soluble vitamins will not cause vitamin toxicity and will simply be flushed out in the urine.
There are nine water soluble vitamins, eight of which are B Vitamins. Water soluble vitamins are vitamins that are not store in the body like fat soluble vitamins are. They are: Vitamin B1: (Thiamine), B2: (Riboflavin), Niacin, and Vitamin B6: Folacin, B12: Pantothenic Acid and Biotin.
Ascorbic Acid: this is an essential vitamin found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, and large amounts of vitamin C may cause diarrhea. Vitamin C supports a variety of the body's structures and is essential to the formation of bones. Good sources of vitamin C can be found in vegetables, preferably raw, such as cauliflower, broccoli, strawberry, spinach, and eggs, as all fruit and vegetables contain a varied amount of vitamin C.
Fat soluble vitamins
There are four fat soluble vitamins; these are Vitamin A. Beta Carotene or Retinol. Vitamin: D, E, and K. these vitamins are fat soluble vitamins, these vitamins are stored in the body. For this reason an excessive amount of fat soluble vitamins can become toxic. Many people do not appreciate that their pets are not little people. They often think that a supplement that they may take themselves is also good for their pet that is not always the case.
Also known as Retinol, Vitamin A. is not found in plant material. Animals deficient in vitamin A are more susceptible to infections and stress related disorders. Vitamin A is also responsible for maintaining a normal surface on the eye (the cornea) and a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to drying of the eye surface. This can lead to a blue cloudiness of the eye, followed by ulcer formation. Good sources of vitamin A is cheese, eggs, oily fish, and yogurt. Most good brand names of commercially prepared hamster foods contain adequate amounts of vitamin A.
Vitamin B1: Thiamine. This is essential for normal growth and development. Vitamin B also helps to maintain proper functioning of the heart, the nervous and digestive system.
Thiamine occurs naturally in the following foods, Green peas, Nuts, Bananas, Soy beans, Whole grain, and Legumes. Common Legumes are alfalfa, peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts.
Vitamin B2: Riboflavin. This plays a key role in energy metabolism and is required for the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and respiratory proteins. It is also important for normal vision and to prevent cataracts. Good food sources of Riboflavin are yogurt, soybeans, egg, almonds, and broccoli.
Vitamin B3: also known as Niacin. (Nicotinic acid) this helps to rid the body of toxic chemicals. It promotes good digestion and healthy skin. Food sources are eggs, fish, and chicken. Vegetable sources include broccoli, carrots, corn, also peanuts, barley, almonds, and pasta.
The question often arises whether vitamin D is actually a vitamin or a steroid. Vitamin D is also known as the Sunshine Vitamin. The body manufactures the vitamin after being exposed to sunshine. As Vitamin D is manufactured by the body it cannot be classed as a vitamin, we just use this word for simplicity.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin: and is one of the most important vitamins to watch very closely, particularly with rodents that get no exposure to natural sunlight. Animals that are kept indoors require a dietary source as vitamin D promotes the body's absorption of calcium, this is important for building strong bones.
Adequate Vitamin D levels have long been linked to good bone health. Vitamin D is crucial to the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus, if calcium levels are low in the blood the body will respond by dissolving bone as a source of calcium, and it is the biggest bones in the body are the first casualty of this process.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscular weakness in addition to weak bones and can be one of the major causes of hind leg paralysis. The first bones to be affected in the body are the larger ones, particularly around the hips and hind legs. Most animals that are usually exposed to natural sunlight are thus assured sources of vitamin D.
Herbivorous diets are very likely to contain sufficient levels of vitamin D. However, with improper husbandry and an improper diet a vitamin D deficiency can occur in any species. In pregnant females that are lacking a good source or are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to have babies that are also deficient in vitamin D. this may lead to soft bones and leg deformities in youngsters.
It is also important to know that ingestion of a high fat diet (such as eating primarily, sunflower or seed diet) may be detrimental because fats may reduce calcium absorption.
Only a few foods naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D these include fatty fish and fish oils. Cod liver oil is the richest source of vitamin D. Just one teaspoon has 4,500 IU. Fish oil has a much lower content of vitamins A and D compared to liver oils C.L.O Also contains vitamin A. which is essential for the immune system, night vision, and cellular growth.