Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Benefits of Vitamin K..

Vitamin K is commonly known to aid in blood clotting. When the body is injured, vitamin K initiates the process of healing by slowing and stopping the bleeding. For this reason, vitamin K is often given to patients before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding. Although this is the primary function of vitamin K, this vitamin has several more health benefits.

Vitamin K helps the body absorb the beneficial mineral calcium. Recent studies have suggested that vitamin K can help prevent or treat osteoporosis and the loss of bone density. If you have a family history of osteoporosis, it is important to make sure you maintain healthy levels of vitamin K.

Recent studies suggested that vitamin K also has preventive and treatment benefits for cancer. Several human trials have shown that vitamin K may have anticancer effects.

Vitamin K also prevents the hardening of the arteries, which aids in preventing heart disease and heart failure.

Vitamin K is present in many green, leafy vegetables. Many people do not eat the recommended amount of these foods to receive the benefits of vitamin K. For this reason, most people should take additional vitamin K, especially if you or your family has a history of osteoporosis or heart disease.

Benefits of Vitamin E..

Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage. Vitamin E also contributes to a healthy circulatory system and aids in proper blood clotting and improves wound healing. Some studies have shown that vitamin E decreases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and certain types of breast disease.

Other studies have shown that taking large doses of Vitamin E has decreased the risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Animal studies have suggested that vitamin E does slow the development of atherosclerosis, but the American Heart Association doesn't recommend using supplements until the effects are proven in large-scale, carefully controlled clinical trials.

Nutritionists categorize vitamins by the materials that a vitamin will dissolve in.

There are two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K and are stored in the fat tissues of the body for a few days to up to six months. If you get too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be stored in your liver and may sometimes cause health problems. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Other Vitamins:

  • Biotin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Some people take mega-doses of fat-soluble vitamins, which can lead to toxicity. Eating a normal diet of foods rich in these vitamins won't cause a problem. Remember, you only need small amounts of any vitamin.

Some health problems can make it hard for a person's body to absorb these vitamins. If you have a chronic health condition, ask your doctor about whether your vitamin absorption will be affected.

How Much Vitamin E Is Enough?

Women need 8 milligrams and men need 10 milligrams of vitamin E daily.

Sources of Vitamin E

  • Wheat germ
  • Vegetable oil and margarine
  • Avocado
  • Whole grain products
  • Egg yolk
  • Nuts
  • Liver
  • Peanut butter

Can You Have Too Much or Too Little?

It's almost impossible to have a vitamin E deficiency, but too much can cause nausea and digestive tract problems.

Vitamin Storage

If you want to get the most vitamins possible from your food, refrigerate fresh produce, and keep milk and grains away from strong light. Vitamins are easily destroyed and washed out during food preparation and storage. If you take vitamin supplements, store them at room temperature in a dry place that should be free of moisture.

The Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important part of a healthy diet. New benefits of this vitamin are being discovered every day, but many people still do not receive enough vitamin D to reap the wonderful benefits it can provide to their health. Vitamin D is most famous for its contribution to joint and bone health by helping the body absorb calcium. It has been shown that people who take in enough vitamin D are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis and joint pain. This vitamin can also slow the affects of arthritis and lessen back pain in many individuals. Studies have shown that vitamin D can also prevent certain types of cancer.

Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins produced naturally by the body. However, in order for the body to produce vitamin D, it has to be exposed to an adequate amount of sunlight. Generally, an hour per week is more than enough, but surprisingly, many people are still not exposed to enough sun to produce beneficial amounts of vitamin D. Also, studies have shown that as we age, we tend to produce less vitamin D even with adequate sun exposure. These are the primary reasons why many adults have to monitor their diets to make sure they are taking in enough vitamin D.

Milk is often fortified with vitamin D, and you can also find good amounts of vitamin D in certain kinds of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil is an herbal supplement that is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are also widely available.

While it is important to have enough vitamin D in your diet, it is possible to take in too much vitamin D. This often happens when a person receives a good amount of sun exposure and consumes many foods that contain moderate amounts of vitamin D, but also continues to take a vitamin D supplement. For this reason, it is important to discuss with your doctor whether or not you require a vitamin D supplement as part of your diet.

Benefits of Vitamin C..

Vitamin C is a very popular treatment for colds and flu because it is well known for boosting the immune system.

Revered as an immune-booster vitamin C also aids in wound healing and is an antioxidant that protects against free radical damage to the body. Vitamin C is also needed to build collagen, the substance that attaches the skeleton together, linking bones to muscles and keeping organs in place. Collagen is also responsible for keeping the skin smooth and wrinkle-free. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of other nutrients like calcium and iron.

Fact: Free radicals are destructive, unstable oxygen atoms that are normally produced by the body and production can be accelerated by outside toxins like pollution and smoking.

Daily Recommended Amount of Vitamin C

Daily amount needed for an adult is about 80mg, and an adult can safely take up to 1,000mg. Children should get about 15 mg to 45 mg per day. More can be supplemented for colds and healing wounds. Consult a health professional.

Fact: Vitamin C is often used as a food additive in the form of citric acid to provide color and as a preservative.

Deficiency Symptoms of Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid literally means “acid that prevents scurvy”. Vitamin C deficiencies were first discovered on ships that were sailing to the “new world”. Often ships had barrels full of limes so that passengers could have lime juice every day to prevent scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy are rare, but milder symptoms can happen when intake is low. These include fatigue, weakness, bruising easily and depression. More serious symptoms are loose teeth and sore joints.

Some conditions can contribute to a vitamin C deficiency like diabetes, smoking, colds, flu’s, surgery, age, over consumption of alcohol, and breastfeeding. Often, supplementing is recommended for people with these conditions.

Can an Overdose happen with Vitamin C?

An overdose is extremely rare because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, but it can happen if too much is taken at one time. The symptoms of an overdose are nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Vitamin C should not be taken in high quantities for a long period of time. Often this can result in reversing some of the antioxidant benefits, and can actually act as a pro-oxidant. Also, because vitamin C aids in iron absorption, this can lead to an iron overdose. Be careful with high-dose supplements of vitamin C.

Where to get more Vitamin C

Vitamin C is in most fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources are citrus fruits, and tropical fruits like papayas, kiwis, and mangoes. Other fruits and vegetables that are a good source of vitamin C are cantaloupe, kale, strawberries, yellow bell peppers and tomatoes. Add strawberries to boost vitamin C intake

Benefits of Vitamins B..

Vitamin B is a complex of eight water soluble vitamins active in cell metabolism.

They include Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2, also called Vitamin G), Niacin (Vitamin B3, also called Vitamin P), Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine and Pyridoxamine (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7, also called Vitamin H), Folic acid (Vitamin B9, also called Vitamin M) and Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).

Athletes, who use a lot of vitamin B, are very sensitive to a shortage of these vitamins. This is the result of a large literature study into the subject published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. A shortage of vitamin B has an immediate negative impact on athletic performance, recovery capacity and the immune.

The Power of Vitamin B

Everyone craves for tremendous brainpower. Some of us tend to have this mentality that such brainpower is out of our league. But in actual fact, it is not! It can all be achieved with a regular intake of Vitamin B.

B = Brain

Vitamin B is the key nutrient that one can rely on to boost brainpower. Majority of us should know by now that Vitamin B comes in different forms and each form has its own ways of helping our brains cells to function properly:

Vitamin B1 or Thiamin: It helps the brain to absorb glucose, which can prevent your brain from any sort of mutilation.

Vitamin B2: It is also known as Riboflavin. Riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin. This vitamin involved in vital metabolic processes in the body. It is manufactured in the body by the intestinal flora and is easily absorbed, although very small quantities are stored, so there is a constant.

Vitamin B5: It is also known as pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 might be helpful in the management of certain medical disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin B5 is also known as the anti-stress vitamin at times. It is one of the eight water soluble B complex vitamins. Vitamin B5 helps production of the cellular antioxidant glutathione, and is therefore an essential vitamin.

Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine: It aids in the development of neurotransmitters, which are created so that our brain cells can correspond with one another.

Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin: It helps develop myelin, a fatty covering that gives padding to the nerve fibers, protecting the nerves in the brain from harmful germs.

Without this vitamin, you can end up facing memory loss.

Benefits of Vitamins A in our life..

We all know that there are certain substances called vitamins and minerals that we are supposed to consume in certain amounts each day in order to achieve and maintain good health. But if you haven’t been in a health class in a few years you may have forgotten the benefits, recommended daily allowances and sources of these substances. Consider this article a refresher on the first in the alphabet of vitamins, vitamin A.

What we know as vitamin A is actually a family of fat-soluble vitamins such as retinol, which is considered one of the most usable forms of vitamin A. It is found in animal products, such as eggs and liver.

Plant sources of vitamin A have what is known as provitamin A carotenoids, which are the dark pigments in plants such as dark leafy greens. This provitamin A carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A, which is important for vegetarians and others who might not eat the animal products that are rich in this vitamin.

Carotenoids have been in the news a lot lately, particularly forms such as beta carotene, lycopene and lutein, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the body’s cells from damage caused by pollution, aging and other factors. While lycopene and lutein are not provitamin A carotenoids, they are still important to a healthy diet and have been shown to have health benefits such as preventing heart disease and protecting eye health. Beta carotene is the carotenoid most easily converted into vitamin A. One source for beta carotene that everyone probably is familiar with is carrots.

Vitamin A is beneficial to the body because it helps cells. It aids in cell division and differentiation (helping a cell know what job it is supposed to do or what it will become) and maintains the surface lining of the intestinal, urinary and respiratory tracts. It also plays a role in immune-system support, helping your body fight off disease by producing white blood cells. Vitamin A also plays a role in reproduction, bone growth and in vision (your mother wasn’t kidding when she told you to eat your carrots so you could see well).

But how much vitamin A is enough?

The recommended daily intake is measured in micrograms, a very small unit of measurement. Toddlers need about 300 micrograms, older children about 400, pre-teens 600, teen and adult men about 900 micrograms, and non-nursing or pregnant women need about 700 micrograms a day. The needed amount goes up slightly during pregnancy and jumps dramatically (to about 1,300 micrograms) when nursing.

How much is that when you’re talking about actual food? You can get 100 percent of your daily allowance of vitamin A from a cup of raw cantaloupe. A standard serving of canned chunky vegetable soup will probably give you slightly more than 100 percent. A carrot gives you 400 percent and 3 ounces of cooked beef liver gives you 610 percent (chicken liver would give you 280 percent of the recommended allowance). Other animal sources of vitamin A include eggs and whole milk.

If you don’t want to resort to eating liver, there are many vegetables that are high in vitamin A. In addition to cantaloupe and carrots, servings of sweet potatoes, spinach and mango will give you more than 100 percent of the daily allowance of vitamin A. Other good sources are kale, fortified oatmeal or cereal and tomato juice.

Don’t worry if your diet includes a lot of these foods. It takes a fair amount of vitamin A to make you sick, and it usually has to be consumed over a long period of time. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, the excess is stored in the liver, so that is where damage will occur if you get too much vitamin A for a long time. A common cause of what is called hypervitaminosis A is getting too much A through supplements or from animal products. The vitamin A that comes from beta carotene is not associated with this ailment, so if your big doses of A come from veggies, you should be fine.

The upper tolerance level has been measured at more than twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Consuming more than this won’t necessarily make you sick, but you might want to cut back if you’re regularly eating a lot more than that, or stop taking any vitamin supplements containing vitamin A if you get enough through food.

Signs of acute vitamin A toxicity include nausea, lack of muscle coordination, headache, dizziness and blurred vision. Hypervitaminosis A can cause liver abnormalities, birth defects and bone loss that could result in osteoporosis.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the industrialized world, but in developing countries this lack can cause xeropthalmia, damage to the cornea, and it often causes children to go blind. Night blindness is often thought of as one of the warning signs of vitamin A deficiency. Lack of vitamin A can also make it harder for the body to fight infection, which can lead to other health problems, particularly pneumonia and other respiratory or diarrheal infections.

Vegetarians who do not consume animal products may need to supplement (make sure the vitamin A pills you are using come from a vegetarian source) or make sure to eat a variety of vegetables, including dark leafy greens and other dark vegetables each day. It is certainly possible to get enough vitamin A from vegetables without using supplements or fortified foods, but if you don’t like greens or carrots you may need some extra help.

Some studies suggest that diets high in vitamin A and beta carotene can reduce the risk of lung cancer. Others show that high doses of vitamin A may interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption, thus increasing risk for osteoporosis. Most of these studies had to do with supplements and animal products eaten at more than three times the recommended allowance for vitamin A, so it’s likely that this is not a major concern for people who get vitamin A in moderation or from animal sources.

Vitamin A is an important building-block of our bodies and it is easy to get enough from a variety of sources, even if you don’t like liver.