Vitamins and Minerals
Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine Focused on Energetics of Food
Vitamins and minerals are nutrients that we must get from our food because our bodies do not make them on its own.
Minerals are elements that come from the Earth and cannot be made by living organisms. There are 14 vitamins and 15 nutrients that our bodies need on a daily basis to be healthy.
Vitamins and minerals are key to every process that takes place in your body. They don't work alone, but instead in close partnership with other nutrients to make every body process happen normally.
Vitamins belong in two groups: water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble vitamins dissolve in water and fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat.
The recommended way for humans to get vitamins and minerals are through the food that we consume.
So should we be taking vitamins and minerals in supplement form?
The AMA (American Medical Association) Journal states that all adults should be taking a daily multivitamin. This response is quite different from what it was not so long ago.
The reason for this change in belief and practice is research and scientific studies. Most doctors used to believe that the majority of people were getting the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and minerals from their diets. The fact is that we aren’t.
A good way to correct this deficiency is by juicing. Another option is by taking whole food supplements.
Whole food supplements simply take organically grown (when possible) produced vegetables and fruits and concentrate them into a convenient tablet that you can take.
When you take a whole food supplement you are getting all the vitamins and minerals in the proportion nature intended. You are also getting the enzymes and cofactors present in nature.
It's important to understand you should take supplements from several different sources. You don't want to take one whole food supplement or just one multi-vitamin every day and rely on that as your only source of supplemental nutrition.
You don't want to rely on any one brand; you want to have a variety of nutritional products so that you're getting sources from three or four different manufacturers on a daily basis.
This is the best way to be sure that you're getting a full complement of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, omega-3's and other food sources that can provide peak nutrition for you.
It's a fact of science that antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, are often synergistic. What this means is that they require the presence of each other for maximum benefit.
Therefore, taking isolated vitamins (such as C or E) or isolated minerals in a supplement product is going to have very limited effectiveness for one's health. Choose multivitamins to obtain all the benefits of vitamins.
Taking a look at some of the latest news about certain vitamins and supplements, their new roles in our health and our fight against disease, we need to point out that while you can get too little of vitamins and minerals you can also consume too much, neither of which is conducive to a healthy life. Talk to your doctor before starting a new vitamin and mineral regimen.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin A not only aids in us being able to see in the dark, but it helps our bones, stimulates that activity and production of white blood cells and helps regulate cell growth and division. Taking too much of this vitamin though may lead to increase in hip fractures and birth defects.
B6, B12 and Folic acid combination can help fight and prevent heart disease and some types of cancers. Folic acid alone, as we know helps prevent birth defects and that is why all women in their childbearing years should be taking folic acid. Folic acid has also been shown to help decrease the risk of colon and breast cancer.
If you live north of the line that connects San Francisco to Philadelphia you are probably deficient in Vitamin D. You also probably have a lower level of Vitamin D if you don’t go outside for at least 15 minutes per day to be in the sun.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for building bones. There have been laboratory studies have shown that Vitamin D also helps keeps cancer cells from growing and dividing.
Vitamin K is essential in building six out of 13 proteins that help our blood clot. People who take aspirin, warafin or coumadin need to be careful with their Vitamin K intake. Recent studies are also showing that it may play a role in building bone.
There are also daily recommended intakes of the minerals that your body needs in order to function properly. These guidelines are given by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy's Institute of Medicine.
They emphasize that it is not crucial for your vitamins and minerals supplement to contain 100% of every nutrient. The most important are calcium, magnesium and zinc. Iron is also very important for woman during menstruation.
As with vitamins and supplements, there is the minimum that your body needs and there is a maximum that you should not exceed.
Here are a few minerals and what they do for our bodies.
Calcium is known to protect our bones and make them stronger. Calcium is also vital to healthy heart function. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure and prevent colon cancer and pre-menstrual syndrome. However, too much calcium has been shown to increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Chromium is a mineral that assists with the hormone insulin. It helps insulin to operate more efficiently in the body. This is vital for people with type 2 diabetes. Chromium has also been shown to help with weight loss.
Iron helps boost our energy levels. It is a tricky mineral though where it is important to get the right amount daily. To little iron causes fatigue and lower energy levels. To much iron may cause heart disease and put you at a higher risk for cancer.
With all this being said, should you take vitamins and minerals supplements?
Here are the questions you should ask your self:
Do you eat less then 2 meals a day? Is your diet restricted, meaning that you do not eat meat or milk or milk products, or eat less then 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day? Do you eat alone most of the time?
Have you lost or gained more then ten pounds in the last six months without wanting to? Do you take 3 or more prescription drugs a day? Do you have more then 3 alcoholic drinks per day?
Answer these questions and discuss them with your doctor.
Vitamins and supplements are in no way, shape or form a replacement for a healthy diet. Eating fast food daily is not going to be offset because you are taking vitamins and minerals supplements. Having a well balanced diet and including the right vitamins and minerals supplements can help you achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Much more than vitamins and minerals discussed back at the home page
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