THE FUNCTION OF VITAMINS
Vitamins are essential to life. They contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food. They are considered micronutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared with nutrients such carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water.
Enzymes are essential chemicals that are the foundation or human bodily functions. They are catalysts (activators) in the chemical reactions that are continually taking place within the body. As coenzymes, vitamins work with enzymes, thereby allowing all the activities that occur within the body to be carried out as they should.
Of the major vitamins, some are water soluble and some are oil soluble. water-soluble vitamins must be taken into the body daily, as they cannot be stored and are excreted within one to four days. These include vitamins can be stored for longer periods of time in the body’s fatty tissue and the liver. These include vitamins A,D,E, and K. Both types of vitamins are needed by the body for proper functioning.
BALANCE AND SYNERGY
The proper balance of vitamins and minerals is important to the proper functioning of all vitamins. scientific research has proved that an excess of an isolated vitamin or mineral can produce the same symptoms as a deficiency of a vitamin or mineral. For example, high doses of isolated B vitamins have been shown to cause depletion of other B vitamins. Similarly, when zinc is taken in excess, symptoms of zinc deficiency can result. Studies have shown that an intake of up to 100 milligrams of zinc daily enhances the immune function, but an amount in excess of 100 milligrams daily may actually harm immune function.
synergy is a phenomenon whereby two or more vitamins combine to create a stronger vitamin function. For example, in order for bioflavonoids to work properly (they prevent bruising and bleeding gums), they must be taken along with vitamin C. Recent studies show that bioflavonoids also may be a big factor in preventing cancer and many other diseases.
In addition, certain substances can block the absorption and effects of vitamins. For example, the absorption of vitamins C is greatly reduced by antibiotic drugs, so a person taking antibiotics requires a higher than normal intake of this vitamin.
SYNTHETIC VERSUS NATURAL
Ideally, all of us would get all of the nutrients we need for optimal health from fresh, healthful foods. In reality, however, this is often difficult, if not impossible. In our chemically polluted and stress-filled world, our nutritional requirements have been increasing, but the number of calories we require has been decreasing, as our general level of physical activity has declined. This means we are faced with needing somehow to get more nutrients from less food. At the same time, due to the cooking an d processing of foods, which destroy most nutrients, getting even the RDAs of vitamins from today’s diet has become quite hard to do. This means that to obtain the optimal amount of many nutrients, It is necessary to take them in supplement form.
Vitamin supplements can be divided into two groups synthetic and natural. Synthetic vitamins are vitamins produced in laboratories from isolated chemicals that mirror their counterparts found in nature. Natural vitamins are derived from food sources. Although there are no major chemical differences between a vitamin found in food and one created in laboratory, synthetic supplements contain the isolated vitamins only, while many natural supplements contain other nutrients not yet discovered. This is because these vitamins are in their natural state. If you are deficient in a particular nutrient, the chemical source will work, but you will not get the benefits of the vitamin as found in whole foods. Supplements that are not labeled natural may also include coal tars, artificial coloring, preservatives, sugars, and starch, as well as other additives. You should beware of such harmful elements.
using a natural form of vitamins and minerals in nutritional supplements is the objective the protein-bonding process. Taking supplements with meals help to assure a supply of other nutrients for better assimilation as well.
WHAT’S ON THE SHELVES?’
Over-the-counter vitamin supplements come in various form, combinations, and amounts. They are available in tablet, capsule, gel-capsule, powder, sublingual, lozenge, and liquid forms. They can also be administered by injections. In most cases, it is a matter of personal preference as to how they are taken, however, due to slight variations in how rapidly the supplements are absorbed and assimilated into the body, we will sometimes recommend one form over another.
Vitamin A and the Carotenoids
Vitamin A prevents night blindness and other eye problems, as well as some skin disorders, such as acne. It enhances immunity, may heal gastrointestinal ulcers, protects against pollution and cancer formation, and is needed for the maintainence and repair of epithelial tissue, of which the skin and mucous membranes are composed. It is important in the formation of bones and teeth, aids in fat storage, and protects against colds, influenza, and infections of the kidneys, bladder, lungs, and mucous membranes. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect the cells against cancer and other diseases and is necessary for new cell growth. This important vitamin also slows the aging process. Protein cannot be utilized by the body without vitamin A.
A deficiency of vitamin A may apparent if dry hair or skin, dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea, poor growth, and/ or night blindness is present. Other possible results of vitamin A deficiency include abscesses in the ears insomnia fatigue reproductive difficulties sinusitis, pneumonia, and frequent colds and other respiratory infections skin disorders, including acne and weight loss.
Taking large amounts of vitamin A over long periods can be toxic to the body, mainly the liver. Toxic levels of vitamin A are associated with abdominal pain, amenorrhea, enlargement of the liver and / or spleen, gastrointestinal disturbances, hair loss, itching, joints pain, nausea and vomiting, water on the brain, and small cracks and scales on the lips and at the corners of the mouth. No overdose can occur with beta-carotene, although if you take too much, your skin may turn slightly yellow-orange in color. Beta-carotene does not have the same effect as vitamin A in the body and is not harmful in larger amounts unless your cannot convert beta carotene into vitamin A. it is used as an ingredient in various products by different manufacturers.
Vitamin A can be found in animal livers, fish liver oils, and green and yellow fruits and vegetables. Foods that contain significant amounts include apricots, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, dandelion greens, dulse, fish liver and fish liver oil, garlic, kale, mustard greens, papayas, peaches, pumpkin, red peppers, spirulina, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and yellow squash. It is also present in the following herbs alfalfa, borage leaves, bur-dock root, cayenne (capsicum), chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips sage, uva ursi, violet leaves, watercress, and yellow dock.
VITAMIN B COMPLEX
The B vitamins help to maintain the health of the nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, and mouth, as well as healthy muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract and proper brain function. B-complex vitamins are coenzymes involved in energy production, and may be useful for alleviating depression or anxiety. Adequate intake of the B vitamins is very important for elderly people because these nutrients are not as well absorbed as we age. There have even been cases of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease whose problems were later found to be due to a deficiency of vitamin B12 plus the B complex. The B vitamins should always be taken together, but up to two to three times more of one B vitamins than another can be taken for a particular disorder. Although the B vitamins are a team, they will be discussed individually.
VITAMIN B 1(Thiamine)
Thiamine enhances circulation and assists in blood formation, carbohydrate metabolism, and the production of hydrochloric acid, which is important for proper digestion. Thiamine also optimizes cognitive activity and brain function. It has a positive effect on energy, growth, normal appetite, and learning capacity, and is needed for muscle tone of the intestines, stomach, and heart, Thiamine also acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body for the form the degenerative effects of aging, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
The richest food sources of thiamine include brown rice, egg yolks, fish, legumes, liver, peanuts, peas, pork, poultry, rice bran, wheat germ, and whole grains. Other sources are asparagus,broccoli, Brussels sprouts, most nuts, oatmeal, plums, dried prunes, raisins, spirunlina, Herbs that contain thiamine include alfalfa chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, sage, yarrow, and yellow dock .
Antibiotics, sulfa drugs, and oral contraceptives may decrease thiamine levels in the body . A high-carbohydrate diet increase the need for thiamine.
High levels of vitamin B2 are found in the following food products cheese, egg yolks, fish, legumes, meat, milk, poultry, spinach, whole grains, and yogurt. Other sources include asparagus, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, currants, dandelion greens, dulse, kelp, leafy greens, mushrooms, molasses, nuts, and watercress. Herbs that contain vitamin B2 include alfalfa, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hopes, horsetail,parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, and yellow dock.
Factors that increase the need for riboflavin include the use of oral contraceptives and strenuous exercise. This B vitamin is easily destroyed by light, antibiotics, and alcohol.