Sunday, February 28, 2016

Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin supplements are habitually misused and taken without professional guidance as a form of medicinal treatment for ailments such as colds, or to counteract lifestyle issues such as stress. Contrary to popular belief, vitamins are not miracle cures, they are organic compounds that contribute to various metabolic functions.

Consuming large doses of these organic compounds can actually be detrimental to your health, and high dosing of vitamin supplements should not even be entertained unless recommended by a healthcare professional or under medical guidance.

Vitamins are nutrients essential for encouraging normal growth, vitality and general wellbeing. There are numerous misconceptions about vitamins and the healthy benefits they present. Vitamins play a significant role in maintaining healthy body functions. In the absence of regular vitamin intake, many vital body functions would fail and disease may occur. Most individuals would prefer to obtain the vitamins our bodies require by consuming a variety of healthy, unprocessed foods rather than by ingesting supplements.

Vitamins exist in most varieties of natural food sources. A healthy balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, cereals, breads, legumes, seeds, nuts, red meat, fish, poultry, and dairy, will ensure that an individual acquires an acceptable quantity of the vitamins that the body requires. Unfortunately, due to our busy lifestyles, individuals are opting, far more than they should, for fast food and convenient meals. Regrettably, these meals are deficient in the vitamins and nutrients that our body requires for healthy normal function.

Another factor to consider is the quality of fruit and vegetables of today’s standard. Due to over farming, to meet demand, soils are suffering massive degradation and mineral depletion. In many circumstances, produce is picked prematurely and not left to ripen naturally on the vines or trees, therefore rendering the fruit and vegetables even more nutrient deficient. Even those who believe they do eat well still may not eat a healthy balanced diet. Almost 40 percent of the kilojoules we consume come from highly processed convenience foods that are high in fat and sugar.

When reputable vitamin supplements are consumed according to the recommended daily allowance, incredible health benefits can be observed and gained. Introducing correct balance and adequate levels of crucial nutrients to the body is imperative for a range of complex bodily processes to occur. Generally speaking, they assist in supporting normal function of our skin, eyes, hair, bones, teeth, nerves and blood cells. Certain vitamin supplements also assist in the processing of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. These vitamin supplements are designed to assist in converting fat and carbohydrates into energy, and to assist in forming new bone and tissue.

When vitamins are consumed in supplement form according to the recommended daily allowance, they are introduced to the body at levels that could never be achieved by eating even the healthiest of diets. But on the flip side, individuals indulging in supplementation can also find themselves dosing largely on a single vitamin compound being ingested alone. When vitamins from natural sources are consumed, there are various companions to assist, for example, vitamin A (beta-carotene) from a natural food source is accompanied by numerous carotenoid relatives.

There is also the issue of digestion to consider with certain vitamin supplements. Vitamin supplements are absorbed by the body much the same as herbs and spices, for example, turmeric is much better absorbed by the body when digesting, when it is accompanied by black pepper. If you were considering supplementing your diet with calcium for the purpose of strengthening your bones, the perfect companion vitamins would be magnesium and D3, otherwise the benefits of the extra calcium may be utilised by your teeth or hair instead.

Merely taking a vitamin capsule is not always the answer or instant fix for the lacking of energy or feeling run down. It is the combination of a variety of compounds found in natural plant food that supply our body with the benefits and protection. When you synthetically remove compounds from the natural source, the vitamin may no longer be as effective and in some circumstances, may even produce undesirable results. It is important for individuals to consult with a healthcare professional for assistance in choosing suitable vitamin supplements that will be of benefit.

Individuals Requiring Vitamin Supplements May Include:
• Allergy sufferers
• Vegetarian diets
• Those that smoke
• Individuals prone to fatigue
• Regular alcohol consumption
• Those with stressful lifestyles or jobs
• Those who lead active or busy lifestyles
• Individuals with short or long-term illnesses
• Individuals with calorie restricted or poor diets
• Individuals exposed to environmental pollution
• The elderly (often due to reduced digestive activity)

Healthy adults indulging in vitamin supplements for the undeniable health benefits should strictly adhere to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) or the recommended dietary intake (RDI). High dosing of vitamin supplements should never be entertained for any other reason unless instructed or recommended by a healthcare professional. Many individuals incorrectly believe that if since small quantities of vitamin supplements are of benefit, then larger quantities must be of more benefit and will produce a quicker result. In the case of vitamin supplements, it is imperative to consume a small daily quantity over a long period of time than it is to consume a large daily quantity over a short period of time

The human body requires 13 different vitamins in order to function effectively. These vitamins can be divided in to two groups: Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and water soluble (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, folate, biotin and vitamin C).

Certain water soluble vitamin supplements may cause side effects when the RDA or RDI has been exceeded. For example, vitamin B6 has been associated with causing nerve damage when taken in excess. The vitamin supplements A, D, E and K are fat soluble, meaning they can be stored in the body. Exceeding recommended daily doses of these vitamins, in particular vitamin A, over a long period of time may result in dangerous levels of storage within the body unless you have been medically diagnosed with a deficiency. These fat soluble vitamin supplements A, D, E and K can be stored in the liver and body fat for a long period time, while the water soluble vitamin supplements including B-complex and vitamin C are only stored for a short period of time and any excess is expelled from the body.

Factors That Contribute To Nutritional Depletion Include:
• Stress • Illness • Dieting • Alcohol • Caffeine • Illicit drugs • Pregnancy • Processed foods
• Prescription drugs • Strenuous exercise.

Vitamin deficiencies usually take weeks or months before noticeably affecting your health. For example, it would take many months of no vitamin C intake before you were to develop scurvy. The occasional lapse in healthy eating habits will not harm you so long as your usual healthy diet consists of a wide variety of fresh ingredients.

Vitamin supplements have proven to be highly beneficial for individuals on long term weight loss diets or malabsorption syndrome, diarrhoea, coeliac disease, pancreatitis, or cystic fibrosis. Vitamin supplements like folic acid are highly recommended for pregnant women or women planning to fall pregnant to reduce the risk having a baby with neural tube defects, like spina bifida. Individuals following vegan diets, especially if pregnant, may also benefit from a vitamin B12 supplement. If you believe that you require addition vitamins to supplement your diet, it is advisable to consider taking a reputable brand multivitamin at the recommended daily allowance as opposed to multi single nutrient supplements. Individuals who are advised by their healthcare professional to take vitamin supplements are encouraged to consult a qualified dietitian to provide dietary advice relating to the individuals specific situation.

Certain vitamin and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies may eventually cause emotional disturbances. If you are experiencing symptoms like lethargy, run down, or burnt out, it is more likely to be due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, stress, or depression, rather than a vitamin deficiency. The sensation of feeling pressured does not automatically point to a vitamin deficiency, so consuming vitamin supplements will not necessarily relieve the sensation of stress. Serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, are not caused or prevented by increasing vitamin intake. A healthy balanced diet and good nutritional intake can assist in supporting an individual suffering these conditions, but increasing vitamin intake alone is not the solution.

There are individuals that believe vitamin C assists in preventing the common cold. In spite of exhaustive research around the world, there is no strong evidence to support or prove this claim. Although many studies have shown that consuming large doses of vitamin C, more than 1,000 mg per day, incessantly when you first develop the cold symptoms, may ease many of the symptoms and the duration, but it does not prevent you catching a cold in the first place. You also should consider the health risks associated with consuming large doses of vitamin C. High doses of vitamin C over a period of time may cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and kidney stones. There is also the concern that It may interfere with your body’s ability to metabolise other nutrients, for example, it could lead to seriously elevated levels of iron. Consuming excessive amounts of vitamin C may also interfere and give false results to medical tests such as a diabetes test. Healthy adults following healthy lifestyle habits require approximately 45 mg of vitamin C per day and any excess amount is excreted.

In developed countries, vitamin deficiency is uncommon, but the insufficient intake of certain vitamin compounds is not uncommon and has been related to an increase of specific chronic diseases including osteoporosis, cancer and cardiovascular disease. There is continuing research to study the effects of consuming vitamin supplements for the prevention of chronic diseases, and evidence surrounding diet and nutrition appears to be the key. Vitamin supplements can provide our body with levels of vitamin compounds to assist in reducing the occurrence of illnesses or disease, but please keep in mind that it is imperative to always consult your healthcare professional before taking high doses of vitamin supplements.