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Vitamin - Essential Nutrients for Health


Vitamins are the stars of the nutrition scene. Nutrition,the science of food, is the study of the nutrients andsubstances in foods. Scientists examine how the balancesof food compounds relate to health and disease, and explorehow they interact during the process of ingestion,absorption, utilization, and excretion.

There are six essential nutrients for health and bodymaintenance: vitamins, minerals, water, fats, proteins, andcarbohydrates. They are the building blocks of life, and weobtain them through our diet. Our bodies don't make them.

At this time, it is known that there are fourteen vitaminsrequired by humans. Vitamins, first discovered in thelate 1800s, are organic compounds found in foods. Sincethey are organic - containing carbon - they can bedestroyed by heat, unlike their companion essentialnutrient group, the incombustible minerals.

In the early 1900s, when scientists were continuing todiscover new vitamins, they named newly found compounds byalphabet: A, B, C, D, E~. K. Note: The compounds that hadbeen named F, G, H, I, J were later disqualified asvitamins, not fitting the definition: organic compoundsneeded in small quantities for life growth and maintenance.Compounds that have been given letters with numbers, B-1, B-2~ were originally thought to be one compound, but laterdetermined to be several different compounds with specificfunctions for each.

Vitamins are in one of two classes: fat soluble or watersoluble. Vitamin C and the B vitamins (such as niacin andriboflavin) are water soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K arefat soluble. Which type of solubility each vitamin haswill indicate which foods contain them. Basically, non-fatfood has no fat soluble vitamins. However, highly coloredvegetables like carrots do contain beta-carotene - a proto-vitamin which can be converted to active vitamin A.

Water soluble vitamins are easily shed by the body andlost from foods during preparation. Since they aren'tstored by the body, we need to ingest them every day.Nevertheless it is best to avoid taking them excessively.On the other hand, fat soluble vitamins are readily storedby the body. Thus caution is necessary to avoid excessivequantities; it is possible to build up toxic levels of thefat soluble vitamins.

People commonly wonder if they need to take vitaminsupplements, and which vitamins should be taken for goodhealth. The situation today is that our foods are comingto us from conditions that previously were never the casefor humans. Modern food is highly processed, and isfrequently grown in depleted soils. Our foods are pickedunripe and therefore incomplete from the standpoint ofnutrition. Then they are shipped and handled more than theideal. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the averageperson's diet provides sufficient amounts of necessarynutrients - vitamins and minerals in particular. Instead,we are consuming excessive amounts of harmful compoundslike preservatives and refined sugars.

A suggestion. Do your own research project. Keep trackof what you eat for a week or two. Eat normally, and justwrite down what you ate and how much of it. Then eitherbuy or check out from your library a book on vitamins thatwill tell you approximately what you got from each foodsource. Add it up and compare to the recommended dailyallowances. See how you're doing, and if you think it's agood idea to make some improvements, consult with aprofessional nutritionist, naturopathic physician, or otherhealthcare professional to come up with a good plan of dietand nutritional supplements. You'll see what a profounddifference good nutrition can make in your health.

Carina Snowden writes on topics related to vitamins. Herarticles are published in The News at Alta Vitaminthe single on-line resource for a world of news aboutvitamins. Be sure to refer to all Carina's articles athttp://www.altavitamin.com/


MORE RESOURCES:

Lompoc Record

Study: Easy does it on Vitamin D supplements for obese teens
Lompoc Record
"After three months of having vitamin D boosted into the normal range with supplements, these teenagers showed no changes in body weight, body mass index, waistline, blood pressure or blood flow," Kumar said. "We're not saying the links between vitamin ...



Latinos Health

Omega 3 supplements not beneficial for cognitive decline: study
Latinos Health
"Contrary to popular belief, we didn't see any benefit of omega-3 supplements for stopping cognitive decline," said lead author Dr. Emily Chew, deputy director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, as reported by the New York Times.
Well | Supplements Don't Fight Cognitive Decline, NIH Study SaysNew York Times (blog)
The Study Says Omega-3 Supplements Ineffective In Preventing NeurodegenerationPioneer News
Omega 3 supplements not effective on older persons with AMDThe Hoops News
KRWG News22 -Tech Insider (blog) -NYC Today
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The Inquisitr

FDA Powdered Caffeine Warning About Supplements After Deaths: How Much Coffee ...
The Inquisitr
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants consumers to beware of pure powdered caffeine. Usually sold in supplements, caffeine powder overdoses have killed two people. As a result, five distributors have received the FDA's letters about their ...
Pure Powdered Caffeine a Serious Health Risk: FDAWebMD
FDA warns powdered caffeine distributors about safety concernsUPI.com
What Happens to Your Body After Taking Pure Powdered CaffeineYahoo Health
eMaxHealth -The Consumerist
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Male eating disorder? New report on workout supplements
Military Times
Theodore recently co-wrote a paper with psychologist Richard Achiro to study whether the use of dietary supplements such as protein powders, creatine and other performance- and muscle-enhancing boosters contribute to unhealthy eating habits — and ...



Medical Xpress

Supplements, exercise could improve muscle mass and strength for older adults
Medical Xpress
Rick Sharp, a professor of kinesiology, is testing the effectiveness of a combination of supplements and resistance training in older adults with low vitamin D levels. The trial is designed to build on previous studies, which show that the supplement ...

and more »


The Hill (blog)

FDA cracks down on dietary supplements
The Hill (blog)
In April this year, the FDA expanded its policy of restricting the sale of adulterated dietary supplements containing untested additives. Many of the substances targeted are dangerous and worthy of restriction. The synthetic additive DMAA is one such ...



Duluth News Tribune

Multivitamins and supplements: To take or not to take?
Duluth News Tribune
For some people, however, taking certain supplements may be the best way to get nutrients they may be lacking through diet. So, Harguth cautions, it's important to understand the exact impact supplements will have on your body before getting out your ...
Lowdown on taking vitamins, supplementsWatertownDailyTimes.com

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Newsweek

Omega 3 is still good for the brain. But 'fish oil supplements just don't cut it.'
Washington Post
Consumers may want to rethink popping fish oil pills if they're hoping those supplements full of omega-3 fatty acids will keep their brains healthy. A new study--one of the largest and longest in duration of its kind--finds that taking omega-3 ...
Omega-3 Supplements Are a Waste of MoneyNewsweek
Study questions benefits of fish oil supplementsFox News
NIH study shows no benefit of omega-3 or other nutritional supplements for ...National Institutes of Health (press release)
Chicago Tribune -TIME -UPI.com
all 161 news articles »


Quad City Times

Environmental Nutrition: Take supplements safely
Quad City Times
More than half of Americans use dietary supplements, including multivitamins and botanical supplements, in tablet, capsule, liquid and powder form, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While dietary supplements -- products intended to ...



Care2.com

Antioxidant Supplements: Good News and Bad
Care2.com
They concluded that the idea that antioxidant supplements can prevent chronic diseases has not been proved or even consistently supported by intervention trials. They suggest further evidence is needed and until that time to increase consumption of ...


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