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The Vitamin Breakdown


Vitamins are organic compounds that the human body cannot produce and therefore must acquire through the diet. To help maintain good health, humans need 13 different vitamins. These include: vitamin A, the various B and D vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Deficiencies of these essential vitamins can cause the body to enter a diseased state. Deficiencies of different vitamins manifest themselves with differing diseased states. For example, night-blindness is linked to vitamin A deficiency, while Rickets is linked to vitamin D deficiency.

The relationship between foods and maintaining health has been recognized for centuries. For example, in 1747, Dr. James Lind discovered that citrus fruits prevented scurvy. Some stores of vitamins within the body can last well over a year, as is the case with vitamin B12. Others can deplete more rapidly-lasting only a couple of weeks. A vitamin can be either fat or water soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. Often they need to be replenished more frequently. Fat-soluble vitamins, however, are stored in the body. Excessive intake of fat-soluble vitamins can cause toxicity in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins include A, E, D and K.

Today there is debate among experts over the benefits of vitamin supplements. Some believe supplements must be taken in conjunction with the daily diet. This is because many foods are processed and artificially enriched-which can reduce the nutrient level naturally found in these foods. Moreover, even fresh fruits and vegetables are picked prematurely and shipped long distances before arriving on grocery shelves. For this reason, some physicians recommend taking vitamins.

The US RDA is a standard set forth by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council to help Americans determine a proper level of daily vitamin intake. It is important to note, however, that these levels are sometimes quite modest- intended to meet the nutrient needs of already healthy individuals. For some, these amounts may be lower than optimal. For example additional amounts of vitamins may be needed during illness. Consequently, the Board has also set two other values: the tolerable upper intake levels (UL) and the adequate intakes (AI). The UL values are designed to help people avoid over consumption. AL values are established when there is not enough scientific evidence to set an RDA.

It is important to note that different developmental stages and physiologies may require varying vitamin intakes. Children, adolescents, women, and men all have differing needs. Consulting a specialist is the best way to determine personal vitamin needs. Moreover, some supplements may negatively interact with prescription drugs. Therefore, all supplemental intakes should be discussed with a physician.

A proper balance of vitamin intake can enhance personal health and increase energy levels. These essential nutrients aid in the regulation of many bodily functions and can prevent illnesses. Their value must not be underestimated.

Ruth Stattmiller enjoys writing about the benefits of vitamins. Learn more at http://www.myvitaminguide.com/.


MORE RESOURCES:

CBS News

FDA warns consumers: Dietary supplements cannot treat concussions
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about dietary supplements that falsely claim to prevent or cure concussions or other traumatic brain injuries. The FDA says supplements with labels that make these claims are not backed up by ...
Steer Clear of Dietary Supplements for Concussions: FDAPhilly.com
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Beware Of Dietary Supplements Claiming To Treat Concussion, FDA Says
Huffington Post
Dietary supplements are not subject to the same regulations that medications are, which means that supplements can enter the market without undergoing the rigorous testing that medicines do. After a supplement is on the market, the FDA can send warning ...
FDA issues warning about concussion medicationsKSBY San Luis Obispo News

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New Scientist

A to zinc: What supplements are worth taking?
New Scientist
Vitamins, minerals, fish oils… the list of nutritional supplements you can buy keeps growing. Some are worth it, some aren't. We sift the evidence for you. IN 1911, Polish chemist Casimir Funk made one of the most influential biomedical discoveries of ...



Steer Clear of Dietary Supplements for Concussions
WebMD
TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As the fall sports season starts and young players face the risk of concussions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that dietary supplements that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions are ...



5 Supplements That May Help With Depression
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Over two-thirds of Australians are thought to use complementary medicines ranging from vitamin and mineral supplements to herbal to aromatherapy and homeopathic products. Mental health concerns are one of the reasons why people use supplements, but ...

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Fox News

Beware Of Fake Ebola Supplements
Forbes
The FDA is warning consumers today to be aware of supplements and other products sold online that are fraudulently marketed to treat or prevent Ebola virus infection. We currently have no agents – drug, dietary supplement, herbal supplement – that can ...
Beware of Ebola Supplements Sold Online, Warns FDAMonthly Prescribing Reference
Fake Ebola Treatments Are Popping Up On The Internet: The FDA Warns ...Medical Daily
FDA warns consumers about fraudulent Ebola treatment productsFDA.gov

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Fox News

The supplements that could slash your risk of sun damage
Fox News
After 85 days of treatment, the combined supplements increased the amount of UV exposure needed to cause sunburn by 56 percent. In the second, a group of 20 volunteers took a blood orange supplement and saw protective effects after only 15 days. By the ...



NJSIAA offering help in determining if ingredients in supplements are approved
The Jersey Journal - NJ.com
It can be confusing to parents, coaches and student-athletes throughout the state just what athletic supplements contain steroids or other ingredients that haven't been approved by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).



VICE News

Gitmo Spent $300000 on Liquid Supplements While Denying a 'Mass Hunger ...
VICE News
At least that's what documents obtained exclusively by VICE News from the US military suggest. Guantanamo officials spent nearly $300,000 on 161,352 cans of liquid nutritional supplements, which detainees at the detention facility are forced to drink ...



Should I Be Taking a Calcium Supplement?
Huffington Post
Therefore, it's no wonder that more and more people turn to supplements in the form of pills, powders and tinctures rather than eat whole food to obtain necessary nutrients. It's not unusual to hear a busy businessman say, "I take a handful of pills ...


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