Vitamins

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There is increasing awareness that we need vitamins to promote and enhance our health and well-being. Our environment has undergone and continues to undergo such tremendous changes that it is common knowledge that we cannot rely on the food we eat alone for our nutritional needs.

Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates and can come in many forms. The two most common forms of supplements are liquid and pill forms, with liquids absorbing 5 times better than pill forms.

So how do these dietary supplements help improve our nutrition? A few examples are;

  • Low calcium intake is one risk factor for osteoporosis, a condition of lowered bone mass, or density. Lifelong adequate calcium intake helps maintain bone health by increasing as much as genetically possible the amount of bone formed in the teens and early adult life and by helping to slow the rate of bone loss that occurs later in life.

  • Diets low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some cancers. Fruits and vegetables are low-fat foods and may contain fiber or vitamin A (as beta-carotene) and vitamin C.

  • Defects of the neural tube (a structure that develops into the brain and spinal cord) occur within the first six weeks after conception, often before the pregnancy is known.

Even if you eat a wide variety of foods, how can you be sure that you are getting all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need as you get older? If you are over 50, your nutritional needs may change.

Informed food choices are the first place to start, making sure you get a variety of foods while watching your calorie intake. Supplements and fortified foods may also help you get appropriate amounts of nutrients.

Certain vitamins such as vitamins C and E are noted for their potent antioxidant effects, an ability to rid us of free radicals that have been implicated in causing a variety of ailments ranging from heart diseases to cancers. It is clearly to wise to supplement your diet with such antioxidants.

There is, however, a need to be aware of some of the downside of these very valuable compounds.

For example, taking a combination of supplements, using these products together with medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter), or substituting them in place of medicines your doctor prescribes could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results. Be alert to any advisories about these products.

Coumadin (a prescription medicine), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin (an over-the-counter drug), and vitamin E (a vitamin supplement) can each thin the blood.

Taking any of these products alone or together can increase the potential for internal bleeding or stroke. Another example is St. John's Wort that may reduce the effectiveness of prescription drugs for heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, or HIV.

Vitamins are generally divided into two basic groups,

  • the fat-soluble and

  • the water-soluble vitamins.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Fat soluble vitamins are essential to your health, and each one has its one function in the body.

The fat-soluble are A, D, E, and K.  They are found in foods of the fatty varieties, since fats are needed to transport these vitamins within the body and are all soluble in fat and fat solvents and therefore classed as “fat-soluble” vitamins.

These vitamins are absorbed by the body from the intestinal tract and follow the same path of absorption as fat and any condition interfering with the absorption of fats would result in poor absorption of these vitamins as well.

This class of nutrient can be stored in the body to some extend, mostly in the liver, and because of this, short term deficiencies are less likely to manifest themselves slower than those of the water-soluble class.

Fat-soluble vitamins are stable in temperature changes, hence less likely to be damaged during cooking or freezing, however deficiency can occur if the body has problems absorbing them via the intestinal tract, along with fatty foods.

Water soluble vitamins

Water soluble vitamins are essential to your health, and each one has its own function in the body.  Water-soluble include the vitamin B complex group and vitamin C.  Excess water-soluble vitamins, are passed through the body via the urinary tract.

Water-soluble vitamins are not generally stored within the body for any length of time. They are absorbed easily, as they do not rely on the presence of fat or bile to aid absorption.

Vitamins B complex, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6 (pyridoxine), folacin, B12 (cyanocobalamin), pantothenic acid, biotin and C, as well as PABA, inositol and choline are all water soluble and are therefore classed as “water-soluble” vitamins.

Although PABA, inositol and choline are listed here, their classification as vitamins is sometimes questioned.

This class of nutrient can not be stored in the body to the same extent as that of fat soluble vitamins, and because of this, deficiencies are more likely to manifest themselves than those of the fat-soluble class.

RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is the amount of each vitamin we need to prevent such problems such as Rickets or diseases such as scurvy, not the amounts that our bodies actually need.

The dosage stated is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of that particular nutrient.

In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind

As with today's world full of pollution and mass-produced genetically modified chemically feed foods, it is obvious that both vitamin and mineral intakes need to be supplemented in another form.

Aim to get your vitamins from both fresh foods, ideally organic and quality vitamin supplements.

What Is The Difference Between Vitamin And Mineral Supplements?

In a balanced diet, one has all the necessary nutrients. This includes all those food substances that are required in order to carry out all necessary activities in the order and also to maintain a proper functioning body in terms of protection against diseases.

The food substances that are first of all required in order to survive include proteins fats and carbohydrates. In addition to this there is need for substances such as vitamins and minerals.

Importance of Minerals and Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals are both essential for proper functions in the body aside from food required for energy. Vitamins and minerals are necessary in order to enhance body functions and prevent from particular conditions.

For example Vitamin A is believed to prevent conditions such as night-blindness, and Calcium is believed to strengthen one’s bones. In view of these two examples, it must be realized that there are several functions that minerals and vitamins have for the body.

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What are Minerals and Vitamins?

Minerals and vitamins are different types of substances in the body. Vitamins are organic substances that help to maintain proper body activity and catalyze vital processes. Minerals are basically elements that not only enhance body functions but also form important parts of the body.

An example of this is Iron that is a major constituent of hemoglobin. It is iron that helps in the process of oxygen reaching all parts of the body. This takes place through the process of oxygenation and de-oxygenation of the hemoglobin; without iron present in it this would not be possible. Through this process it can be seen that iron has a typically chemical role to play, and its importance is obvious.

Iron as an example:

In addition to a substance like Iron promoting Oxygen supply to the rest of the body, minerals substances such as Calcium help in maintaining strong bones and teeth. In addition to this Calcium is also known to regulate the heart beat, help in clotting blood. It also helps in thyroid functions and nerve impulse signals, which are neurological functions.

It can be observed from the two above descriptions of mineral functions that minerals form an important part of body functions. This is clearly in contrast to the role of vitamins. This is not to say that vitamins are not important, but means that minerals have larger roles to play. Vitamins on the other hand have important roles though smaller.

Their job is to assist in major actions within the body. In view of this it must be asserted that vitamins are responsible for a great deal of chemical actions as well. They are associated with actions that promote energy though they may not be a part of creating energy. They certainly do promote reactions. An example of this is the fact that Vitamin B6 promotes the metabolism of Carbohydrates and protein.

Vitamin B-12 as an example:

Another example of this is the action of Vitamin B-12; it promotes nerve function, enables Erythrocyte formation, and constructs genetic material. It can be observed through this that vitamins are essential in promoting vital actions in the body. Though their contributions are seemingly smaller, they are vital for normal body functioning.

Vitamin action may be smaller but certain necessary. In contrast to this is the action of minerals that tend to have major roles and as well as smaller but important jobs. In other words, it can in no way be denied that vitamins and minerals are both essential for proper functioning of the body

Vitamin Supplements Reduce the need for eating

If a diet lacks in important substances such as minerals and vitamins, eating more in order to make up for the lacking substances is usually what people resort to.

However, an alternative to this would be to simply intake vitamin supplements that are sufficient for maintaining normal health while not increasing the quantity of food that one eats daily. This would help in maintaining one’s weight and also have one receive all the vitamins one requires. In view of this one needs to consider eating in terms of appetite, and how a person feels towards hunger.

People generally eat in order to satisfy their pangs of hunger. This is a natural response to hunger, and as long as one feels this way s/he will go on eating. However, if one eats more than what is required of him or her overweight and obesity are most likely to occur. When people feel hungry and are overweight they often think that they will grow very weak if they do not satisfy their hunger. Of course, not consuming anything at all would be weakening, but consuming a smaller amount would not kill anyone.

In view of this is the consideration of nutrition. Some people feel that they have to satisfy their hunger in order to make sure that their bodies get all the nutrition they need to stay alive. However, this is not true because of the fact that an appetite does really guide anyone towards what is required by the body. This may be explained on the basis of observing a thin person who has a small appetite.

By him or her eating small meals will not help him gain the weight needed. Likewise, a person who is overweight need not follow his or her large appetite believing that it would satisfy nutritional requirements.

In order to lose weight and yet be assured of receiving all the nutrients required to main all body functions over weight people may consume vitamin supplements while cutting down on the intake of food.

Supplements that have all the nutrients required for the body to survive are ones that may be taken in order to make it possible for one diet properly. In doing so, all that a person needs to maintain vital functions will be supplied while weight loss proceeds.

This is possible and can be carried out by anyone provided that their physicians say that they are fit to do so. It must be realized that in order to carry out a diet at will one needs to make sure that there are no health problems. This is because there could be severe issues in case one happens to be a heart patient blood pressure patient.

After having ones health approved by a physician, one may be able to go ahead with a diet while consuming vitamin supplements. This is process that requires some adjustments to be made. One would need to get used to the idea that they do not need to eat large quantities of food in order make sure that they get all the nutrients they need.

In addition this, one’s body might feel a little odd not consuming the amount of food s/he is used to. After a doing such a diet for a while one would get used to the idea and be able to live this way.

This means that a person will not have to go back to the bad habit of eating too much and would be able to go one eating smaller amounts while using vitamin supplements. This would make sure that the body has everything it requires.

Vitamin supplements - the disadvantages

Vitamins and minerals are essential substances for the body, and those who are without these tend to suffer mild to serious effects. This is because of the fact that vitamins are very important for small functions in the body. Indeed, many think that their functions are not that important.

However, it must be asserted that people without these vitamins may have an increased amount of health problems. In view of this, experts have managed to provide a solution for people who suffer with lack of vitamins because they do not eat well. Vitamin supplements are advantageous because they help those who do not get enough vitamins out of their food.

In contrast to those who require vitamin supplements in order to make up for their diets that lack the required nutrition, there are some people that already have a well balanced diet. It is thought that if these people intake vitamin supplements they would exceed the total content of vitamins in their bodies.

It is not really known what kind of damage might occur if one has excess vitamins in his or her body, but it is suggested that one should be careful in this regard. Some researchers premise that excess vitamin content is helpful because it makes sure that a person does not run out of their vitamin supply. In addition to this, a higher content of vitamins could mean that one would have enhanced functions in his or her body.

However, alternative opinions hold that vitamins in excess may not be all that good for a person. An example of this suggestion is the one that says vitamin E in excess is harmful. It is said that an excess amount of this vitamin can prove fatal, and since it is so easily available of the shelf it is a risk to people who are told the more vitamins they have the better their health may be.

This is true to say in terms of anything in excess being bad. Researchers are yet to confirm this view on excess vitamins being harmful. However, it is better to be on the safe side and not consume everything that comes in one’s way. In this regard, vitamin supplements are said to be a disadvantage because of the availability right of the shelf.

One may be tempted to buy these and go on consuming them not realizing that the level of vitamins in the body may be going higher than what is required.

Aside from vitamin supplements being disadvantageous in this way, it must be asserted that there are other disadvantages as well.

For some people vitamin supplements are unbearable regarding their odor; some even say that the taste is repulsive. The odor and taste in both cases is due to Vitamin B. In some vitamin supplements this is not the case because of the ingredients in them that lower the odor and taste.

However, there are many supplements that are repulsive.

No matter what the taste or smell of vitamin supplements may be like, people still do depend on them. Though there may be research that says an excess of vitamins in the body is harmful there are still many people who need them.

The need for the availability of the vitamin supplements cannot be denied, and so, it is important for one to be able to recognize his or her vitamin level. This is possible only through keeping a track of one’s consumption. By doing this one is able to tell what content of vitamins s/he has consumed, judging by the food substances.

However, if one is not able to determine the vitamin level in his or her body, then a doctor’s help would be required.

| Vitamin A | Vitamin B 1 | Vitamin B 2 | Vitamin B 3 | Vitamin B 5 | Vitamin B 6 | Vitamin B 9 | Vitamin B 12 | Vitamin B 13 | Vitamin B 15 | Vitamin B 17 | Vitamin C | Vitamin D | Vitamin E | Vitamin F | Vitamin H | Vitamin K | Vitamin P | Vitamin T |Adaptogens | Antioxidants | Choline  | Green Tea | Inositol | PARA |

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VITAMIN A

One of the most important functions of this vitamin is that it maintains the health and well being of the epithelial tissues of the body. These are generally the tissues that line the openings, skin and mucous membranes.

Vitamin A helps in the growth and repair of body tissues, especially bones, and the formation and maintenance of tooth enamel and gums.

Vitamin A prompts the secretion of gastric juices necessary for proper digestion of proteins.

Night vision and the general maintenance of the eye are a function of vitamin A, along with the proper health of the sex glands and uterus.

Vitamin A is required for night vision, and for a healthy skin. It assists the immune system, and because of its antioxidant properties is great to protect against pollution and cancer formation and other diseases. It also assists your sense of taste as well as helping the digestive and urinary tract and many believe that it helps slow aging.

It is required for development and maintenance of the epithelial cells, in the mucus membranes, and your skin, and is important in the formation of bone and teeth, storage of fat and the synthesis of protein and glycogen.

Deficiency of vitamin A: Acne, rough, dry, scaly premature aged skins are all deficiency signs, deficiency of vitamin A may lead to eye problems with dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea, dry skin and hair, night blindness as well as poor growth. Dry itchy eyes that tire easily are normally a warning of too little vitamin A. If the deficiency become severe, the cornea can ulcerate and permanent blindness can follow.

The eyes are obvious indicators of vitamin A deficiency. One of the first symptoms is night blindness. Other eye indicators include dry, itchy and inflamed eyeballs.

Abscesses forming in the ear, sinusitis, frequent cold and respiratory infections as well as skin disorders, such as acne, boils and a bumpy skin, as well as weight loss might be indicative of the vitamin being in short supply. Insomnia, fatigue and reproductive difficulties may also be indicative of the vitamin in short supply. Your hair and scalp can also become dry with a deficiency, especially if protein is also lacking.

Susceptibility to colds, flu bacterial and viral infections, especially of the respiratory and urinary tract, is indicators of vitamin A deficiency.

Dosage: Male 5,000 IU per day (1,000 µg equivalent), female 4,000 IU per day (800 µg retinol equivalent), although 10,000 IU per day is normally used in supplementation.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Dosages exceeding 15,000 IU per day must be taken under medical supervision. Toxicity can appear in some individuals at relatively low dosages and the symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, menstrual problems, skin changes and dryness, itchiness, irritability, vomiting, headaches and long term use can cause hair loss, bone and muscle pain, headache, liver damage, and an increase in blood lipid concentrations. Pregnant women must be careful as a high intake of this vitamin can cause birth defects.

Pro-vitamin A - beta-carotene does not cause toxicity. Be careful if you in the unlikely event run across polar bear on a menu - 500 gram (about ˝ a pound) of polar bear liver will deliver about 9,000,000 IU to your diet - a very lethal dose. Headaches, blurred vision, loss of hair, drowsiness and diarrhea, enlargement of the spleen and liver can all be indications when your intake is too high.

Best used with: Take vitamin A with B group vitamins, vitamins C, D and E, choline, essential fatty acids together with calcium, phosphorus and zinc for the best results.

When more may be required: More of this vitamin is required when you consume alcohol, on a low-fat diet, or a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, if you smoke or live in a polluted area. It may also be indicated if you suffer from diabetes or have an under-active thyroid gland. Be careful of vitamin A in pregnancy.

Enemy of vitamin A: Retinol is destroyed by light, high temperatures as well as when using copper or iron cooking utensils. Beta-carotene rich vegetables and fruit must not be soaked in water for long periods, since the nutrients can be lost like that.

Other interesting points: There seems to be no toxicity when ingesting large amounts of beta-carotene - you might however have a slightly orange colored skin, as the carotene gets stored in your skin.

Food sources of vitamin A: Sources of vitamin A include beef, liver, milk, egg-yolk, carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, dandelion greens, spinach, dark green leafy vegetables, cantaloupe and yellow fruits, oat flakes, swordfish, butter, and raison bran  are high in vitamin A or beta-carotene.

Vitamin A and carotene can be obtained from either animal or vegetable sources. The animal form is divided between retinol and dehydroretinol whereas the vegetable carotene can be split into four very potent groups - alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene and crypto-carotene. With enough beta-carotene available in the body, the body can manufacture its own vitamin A.

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Vitamin B complex similarities

All vitamin B-Complex group are water soluble, and are linked together in several chemical ways. They are formed from either bacteria, yeast's, fungi, or moulds.

They are responsible for providing energy to the body during the conversion of glucose, from carbohydrates. They are also critically required for the metabolism of both fats and proteins, as well as the health and maintenance of the body's nervous system. Vitamin B complex actually refers to a selection of nutrients with some very similar properties, but they are separate nutrients, although most of them work in synergy.

It was these similarities that made researchers first think on one vitamin alone, but after full investigation it was found that there were in actual fact several factors included in this one term – hence the group was called the vitamin B complex – but each fraction receiving a separate designation, letter, descriptive name or chemical term.

All these nutrients are soluble in water and are distributed in many common foods with many similarities in dietary sources.

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Vitamin B1 - thiamine, thiamin

Thiamin, also called vitamin B1, is used in many different body functions and deficiencies may have far reaching effects on the body, yet very little of this vitamin is stored in the body, and depletion of this vitamin can happen within 14 days.

Thiamin is also a miraculous nutrient, somebody suffering from beriberi, scarcely able to lift their head from their pillow, will respond quickly from injected thiamin, and will be on their feet within a matter of hours.

Thiamin may enhance circulation, helps with blood formation and the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also required for the health of the nervous system and is used in the biosynthesis of a number of cell constituents, including the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is used in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid, and therefore plays a part in digestion.

It is also great for the brain and may help with depression and assist with memory and learning. In children it is required for growth and has shown some indication to assist in arthritis, cataracts as well as infertility.

Deficiency of vitamin B1: A deficiency will result in beriberi, and minor deficiencies may be indicated with extreme fatigue, irritability, constipation, edema and an enlarged liver. Forgetfulness, gastrointestinal disturbances, heart changes, irritability, labored breathing and loss of appetite may also be experienced.

With too little thiamin around a person may also experience nervousness, numbness of the hands and feet, pain and sensitivity, poor coordination, tingling sensations, weak and sore muscles, general weakness and severe weight loss.

Dosage: Male 1.4 mg per day and female 1.0 mg per day, although 50 mg is usually used in supplementation.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Thiamin toxicity is uncommon; as excesses are readily excreted, although long-term supplementation of amounts larger than 3 gram have been known to cause toxicity.

Best used with: Thiamin should be taken with the B group vitamins and manganese.

When more may be required: When taking alcohol, antacids and birth control pills or if you have hormone replacement therapy, you need to look at your thiamin intake. People suffering from depression or anxiety and those passing large volumes of urine, or suffering from an infection may all require more thiamin.

Enemy of vitamin B1: Thiamin is destroyed in cooking, and intake may be low if the diet is high in refined foods. Do not add soda if you are boiling green vegetables since soda is alkaline and will destroy thiamin.

Other interesting points: It is thought that thiamin can be useful for motion sickness in air and sea travel, and that this vitamin also repels insects when excreted through the skin.

Food sources of vitamin B1: Sunflower seeds, peanuts, wheat bran, beef liver, pork, seafood, egg-yolk, beans all contain good amounts of thiamin.

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Vitamin B2 - riboflavin

Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is manufactured in the body by the intestinal flora and is easily absorbed, although very small quantities are stored, so there is a constant need for this vitamin.

It is required by the body to use oxygen and the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. Riboflavin is further needed to activate vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), helps to create niacin and assists the adrenal gland. It may be used for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth.

It eases watery eye fatigue and may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. Vitamin B2 is required for the health of the mucus membranes in the digestive tract and helps with the absorption of iron and vitamin B6.

Although it is needed for periods of rapid growth, it is also needed when protein intake is high, and is most beneficial to the skin, hair and nails.

Deficiency of vitamin B2: A shortage of this vitamin may manifest itself as cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, eye disorders, inflammation of the mouth and tongue, and skin lesions.

Dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, light sensitivity, poor digestion, retarded growth, and slow mental responses have also been reported. Burning feet can also be indicative of a shortage.

Dosage: Male 1,6 mg per day and female 1.2 mg per day although 50 mg is mostly recommended for supplementation.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: The limited capacity to absorb orally administered riboflavin precludes its potential for harm. Riboflavin intake of many times the RDA is without demonstrable toxicity.

A normal yellow discoloration of the urine is seen with an increased intake of this vitamin - but it is normal and harmless.

Best used with: Riboflavin is best taken with B group vitamins and vitamin C.

But please note - if taking a B2 supplement make sure that the B6 amount is nearly the same.

When more may be required: Extra might be needed when consuming alcohol, antibiotics, and birth control pills or doing strenuous exercise.

If you are under a lot of stress or on a calorie-restricted diet, this vitamin could also be of use.

Enemy of nutrient of vitamin B2: Riboflavin is sensitive to light.

Other interesting points: This nutrient is of use in the health of hair, nails and skin.

Food sources of vitamin B2: Organ meats, nuts, cheese, eggs, milk and lean meat are great sources of riboflavin, but is also available in good quantities in green leafy vegetables, fish, legumes, whole grains, and yogurt.

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Vitamin B3 - niacin, niacinamide, nicotinic acid

Niacin also called nicotinic acid, niacinamide or nicotinic acid and referred to as vitamin B 3, which can be manufactured by the body. Niacin is derived from two compounds - nicotinic acid and niacinamide.

Vitamin B3 is required for cell respiration, helps in the release of energy and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, proper circulation and healthy skin, functioning of the nervous system, and normal secretion of bile and stomach fluids. It is used in the synthesis of sex hormones, treating schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and a memory-enhancer.

Nicotinic acid (but not nicotinamide) given in drug dosage improves the blood cholesterol profile, and has been used to clear the body of organic poisons, such as certain insecticides. People report more mental alertness when this vitamin is in sufficient supply.

Deficiency of vitamin B3: A deficiency may cause pellagra, the classic niacin deficiency disease, and is characterized by bilateral dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia.

A shortage of niacin may be indicated with symptoms such as canker sores, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, halitosis, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, limb pains, loss of appetite, low blood sugar, muscular weakness, skin eruptions, and inflammation.

Dosage: Male 18 mg per day and female 13 mg per day although 100 mg is mostly used in supplementation.

Large doses given to lower cholesterol may produce hyperuricemia, and hepatic abnormalities. These effects are reversed if the drug is reduced in amount or discontinued.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Nicotinic acid, but not nicotinamide in doses larger than 200 mg causes flushing by dilating the blood vessels, which can also cause the blood pressure to drop.

These flushes are normally harmless. Large dosages can also cause itching, elevated blood glucose, peptic ulcers and liver damage

Best used with: Niacin is best taken with the B group vitamins and Vitamin C.

When more may be required: Consuming alcohol and not having enough protein in your diet may increase your need for niacin.

People with diabetes, glaucoma, any liver disease or peptic ulcers should be careful of niacin supplementation.

Enemy of vitamin B3: Niacin is lost readily when food is cooked in water.

Other interesting points: Nicotinamide is under investigation for helping to prevent and control diabetes.

Food sources of vitamin B3: Liver, lean meat, poultry, fish, rabbit, nuts, peanut yeast, meats including liver, cereals, legumes, asparagus, seeds, milk, green leafy vegetables, and fish.

Your daily cup of coffee also provides about 3 milligrams of niacin.

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Vitamin B5 - pantothenic acid

Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, as well as the "anti-stress vitamin" is part of the B group vitamins and classified as a water-soluble vitamin. This nutrient can be manufactured in the body by the intestinal flora.

Vitamin B5 plays an important role in the secretion of hormones, such as cortisone because of the role it plays in supporting the adrenal gland. These hormones assist the metabolism, help to fight allergies and are beneficial in the maintenance of healthy skin, muscles and nerves.

Pantothenic acid is also used in the release of energy as well as the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It is used in the creation of lipids, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones and hemoglobin.

Some are of the opinion that pantothenic acid is also helpful to fight wrinkles as well as graying of the hair.

Deficiency of vitamin B5: With Vitamin B5 in short supply symptoms like fatigue, headaches, nausea, tingling in the hands, depression, personality changes and cardiac instability have been reported.

Frequent infection, fatigue, abdominal pains, sleep disturbances and neurological disorders including numbness, paresthesia (abnormal sensation such as "burning feet" syndrome), muscle weakness and cramps are also possible indications that this nutrient is in short supply.

Biochemical changes include increased insulin sensitivity, lowered blood cholesterol, decreased serum potassium, and failure of adrenocorticotropin to induce eosinopenia.

Dosage: No recommended dosage but 10 - 100 mg is indicated.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: It does not appear to be toxic in high dosage, although diarrhea, digestive disturbances and water retention have been reported on dosage exceeding 10 g a day.

Taking 1,500 mg a day over an extended period may cause sensitivity to the teeth.

Best used with:It is most effective when taken with the B group vitamins, Vitamin A, vitamin C and Vitamin E

When more may be required: People under stress, prone to allergies, consuming alcohol or eating too many refined foods might develop a shortage of this vitamin.

Enemy of vitamin B5: Pantothenic acid can be lost in cooking - particularly with roasting or milling, as well as when exposed to acids like vinegar, or alkali such as baking soda. It is also destroyed to a large degree in canning.

Other interesting points: Do not add soda to the water when cooking vegetables - it will destroy the pantothenic acid.

Food sources of vitamin B5: Beef, brewer’s yeast, eggs, fresh vegetables, kidney, legumes, liver, mushrooms, nuts, pork, royal jelly, saltwater fish, torula yeast, whole rye flour, and whole wheat.

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Vitamin B6 - pyridoxine

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine is part of the B group vitamins and is water-soluble and is required for both mental and physical health.

Pyridoxine is required for the balancing of hormonal changes in women as well as assisting the immune system and the growth of new cells.

It is also used in the processing and metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, while assisting with controlling your mood as well as your behavior.

Pyridoxine might also be of benefit for children with learning difficulties, as well as assisting in the prevention of dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.

It assists in the balancing of sodium and potassium as well promotes red blood cell production. It is further involved in the nucleic acids RNA as well as DNA. It is further linked to cancer immunity and fights the formation of the toxic chemical homocysteine, which is detrimental to the heart muscle.

Women in particular may suffer from pre-menstrual fluid retention, severe period pains, emotional PMS symptoms, premenstrual acne and nausea in early pregnancy.

Mood swings, depression as well as loss of sexual drive is sometimes noted when pyridoxine is in short supply and the person is on hormone replacement therapy or on birth control pills.

Deficiency of vitamin B6: Irritability, nervousness and insomnia as well as general weakness, skin changes such as dermatitis and acne as well asthma and allergies might develop when pyridoxine is in short supply. Symptoms may include nails that are ridged, an inflamed tongue as well as changes to your bones - which can include osteoporosis and arthritis. Kidney stones may also appear.

Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms will be very much like those of B2 and B3.

Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to manufacture its own B3 vitamin.

Dosage: Males 2 mg per day and females 2 mg per day.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Supplementation should be controlled as extreme dosage, such as in excess of 2,000 mg per day, may cause neurological damage.

People on medication for Parkinson's disease should be careful about taking Vitamin B6 as it can inactivate levo-dopa.

People taking pyridoxine late at night sometimes experience very vivid dreams.

Best used with: Pyridoxine should be taken together with the entire B group vitamins, and in supplementation the quantity of B6 should be nearly the same as B2, as the B 2 is needed to activate the Pyridoxine.

When more may be required: Should you be taking antidepressants, contraceptive pills or be on hormone replacement therapy you may need more of this vitamin.

As this vitamin is readily lost in the urine, it must be taken regularly to ensure an adequate amount in the body.

Anybody on a very high protein diet, using alcohol, or allergic to MSG (mono sodium glutamate) and/or tartrazine may also consider increasing their vitamin B6 intake.

Enemy of vitamin B6: Pyridoxine(B6) is sensitive to sunlight, cooking and processing Cortisone is known to impair the absorption of pyridoxine.

Other interesting points: Exercising may aid the production of the active form of vitamin B6.

Food sources of vitamin B6: Good sources to obtain pyridoxine from are brewer's yeast, eggs, chicken, carrots, fish, liver, kidneys, peas, wheat germ, walnuts,

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Vitamin B9 - folic acid, folacin, folate

Folic acid, also known as Vitamin B9, is also referred to as folacin or folate and its chemical name is pteroylglutamic acid. This vitamin can be manufactured by the body and be stored in the liver.

Folic acid is required for DNA synthesis and cell growth and is important for red blood cell formation, energy production as well as the forming of amino acids.

Folic acid is essential for creating heme, the iron containing substance in hemoglobin, crucial for oxygen transport.

It is important for healthy cell division and replication, since its involvement as coenzyme for RNA and DNA synthesis.

It is also required for protein metabolism and in treating folic acid anemia. Folic acid also assists in digestion, and the nervous system, and works at improving mental as well as emotional health.

This nutrient may be effective in treating depression and anxiety.

Deficiency of vitamin B9: A deficiency of folic acid on an unborn baby may increase the risk of the baby being born with spina bifida and other serious defects of the nervous system.

Shortage of folic acid may be indicated with diarrhea, heartburn and constipation.

When deficient of folic acid, you might suffer from fatigue, acne, a sore tongue, cracking at the corners of your mouth (same as deficiency of vitamin B2, vitamin B6 as well as iron).

Long term deficiency may result in anemia and later in osteoporosis, as well as cancer of the bowel and cervix.

Dosage: 400 micrograms per day.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Anybody on medication for epilepsy should be careful with large amounts of folic acid, since it can change the functioning of such drugs.

Too much folic acid may mask a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Regular high intake of folic acid may cause digestive upset, energy loss and insomnia.

Best used with: Folic acid is more effective when taken with the B group vitamins – especially vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Vitamin C is also good to have around folic acid.

When more may be required: Pregnant women are sometimes advised to take a small supplement of folic acid to help prevent spina bifida and other congenial nervous disorders, and may also assist to reduce the risk of toxemia in pregnancy, premature labor and hemorrhaging. It is also thought to enhance the production of milk after delivery.

Sufferers of psoriasis may consider taking extra folic acid, people under stress or anyone consuming alcohol.

Women on birth control pills or busy with hormone replacement therapy may benefit from folic acid, as well as children if they are on goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk.

Enemy of vitamin B9 : Light, heat and storage for extended periods can destroy this vitamin.

Other interesting points: Localized deficiencies of folic acid may exist for smokers, as low levels have been detected in the lungs of smokers.

Food sources of vitamin B9: Fresh green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli contain folic acid. It is also found in fruit, starchy vegetables, beans, whole grains and liver.

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Vitamin B12 - cyanocobamin and cobolamin

Vitamin B 12, known as cyanocobalamin, cobolamin and also known as the energy vitamin is a very widely researched vitamin, and used in supplementation to a very large degree.

This complex structured compound with its cobalt content forms part of the B group vitamins, and the body needs very small amounts.

Cobolamin is needed in the manufacture of red blood cells and the maintenance of red blood cells and it stimulates appetite, promotes growth and release energy.

It is often used with older people to give an energy boost, assist in preventing mental deterioration and helps with speeding up thought processes. Some people are also of the opinion that it helps with clearing up infections and provide protection against allergies and cancer.

This vitamin is also used in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

Deficiency of vitamin B12: Some symptoms of a deficiency will include a sore tongue, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss, back pain and apathy. It might further result in loss of balance, decreased reflexes, tingling of the fingers, ringing in the ears etc.

A deficiency may also result in the raising of the level of homocysteine in the blood - which in high doses can be toxic to the brain, which may be involved in Alzheimer disease. Severe deficiency may result in pernicious anemia also called Addisonian pernicious anemia.

Another problem that appears in deficiency is the eroding of the myelin sheath - the fatty sheath of tissue, which insulates the nerve fibers in your body.

Dosage: Male and female 3 mcg per day.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Toxicity not established but people taking vitamin B12 injections may experience skin problems if in large excess, but will normalize once the injections are stopped.

Best used with: Iron, calcium, sodium, potassium as well as vitamin C are good in nutritional synergy.

When more may be required: People on strict vegan and macrobiotic diets are often deficient on Vitamin B12.

Some people suffer from a potentially serious problem, causing the vitamin not to be absorbed in the intestinal tract, which can lead to pernicious (destructive) anemia.

Anybody consuming alcohol should look at their B12 levels or if you take laxatives or antacids regularly.

Older people could also benefit from this vitamin as the intestinal situation changes as you age, and many people older than sixty have difficulty extracting the vitamin from ingested food since the correct stomach acids are not present.

Enemy of vitamin B12: Excessive alcohol can impair the absorption of this vitamin.

Other interesting points: Vitamin B12 can not be manufactured by any plants, and therefore is only found in animal products - therefore a deficiency may happens to people on a strict vegan diet.

Unlike other water-soluble vitamins, B12 needs some 3 hours to be absorbed where other B vitamins are absorbed nearly immediately.

Food sources of vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is present in liver, organ meat, muscle meat, shellfish, eggs, cheese, fish, and can be manufactured in the body. Although milk contains B12, processing of milk may lead to destruction of the vitamin.

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Vitamin B13 - orotic acid

Vitamin B13 is not really recognized as a vitamin, since it is manufactured by the body by intestinal flora. It is primarily used for metabolization of folic acid and vitamin B12. It assists the absorption of essential nutrients especially calcium and magnesium and helps the production of genetic material.

It may be beneficial after a heart attack and has been used in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic hepatitis. It is also reported to prevent liver-related complications and premature aging.

Deficiency of vitamin B13: Deficiency of Vitamin B13 (Orotic Acid) may cause liver disorders, cell degeneration, premature aging

Dosage: Dosage has not been determined.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: None known.

Other interesting points: It is stable and not damaged by heat.

Food sources of vitamin B13: It is found in root vegetables, such as carrots and beets as well as liquid whey.

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Vitamin B15 - pangamic acid

The Forbidden Vitamin B15

Vitamin B15, also known as Pangamic Acid, is a controversial vitamin in America, and has been removed from the B-Complex supplements. Pangamic Acid is not available in the USA because the FDA took Pangamic Acid products off the market over two decades ago. However the FDA has been monitoring the wide range of medical conditions treated with B15 in other countries.

Pangamic acid, has not been qualified as being essential to our diets. Very little is known about this ingredient.

B15 helps in the formation of specific amino acids such as methionine. It plays a role in the oxidation of glucose in cell respiration. Like vitamin E, it acts as an antioxidant helping to lengthen cell life through its protection from oxidation. Pangamic Acid mildly stimulates the endocrine and nervous systems, and by enhancing liver function, it helps in the detoxification process.

B15 has been shown to lower blood cholesterol, improve circulation and general oxygenation of cells and tissues, and is helpful for arteriosclerosis and hypertension.

In Russia, Pangamic Acid is used in treating alcohol dependency and is believed to reduce alcohol cravings. It has been reported to diminish hangovers. B15 has also been used to treat fatigue, as well as asthma and rheumatism, and it even has some anti-allergic properties. Some child psychiatrists have reported good results using Pangamic Acid with emotionally disturbed children; it is used to stimulate their speaking ability and related mental functions. B15 may also be a helpful nutrient for autism, but more precise research is needed.

Until further research is available, be careful of supplements containing pangamic acid, calcium pangamate, DMG or B15.

Dosage: Although pangamic acid is not toxic when taken in as part of normal food, the ingredient, thought to be the active ingredient in pangamic acid, called dimethylglycine (DMG), is thought to be cancer causing.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Until further research is available, be careful of supplements containing pangamic acid, calcium pangamate, DMG or B15.

Food sources of vitamin B15: It is present in brown rice, brewer's yeast, grains, seeds, sesame seed, nuts as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds, apricot kernels and beef blood.

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Vitamin B17- laetrile, amygdaline

Nature's Cancer Prevention

Have you ever heard of vitamin B17? Maybe you have heard of its other name - Laetrile.

Americans cannot access vitamin B17 because the FDA took it off the market in the 1970s, and removed it from the B-Complex vitamins. It is unlawful for any health practitioner to administer this vitamin to patients. Apricot seeds are the best source for B17, but they have also been removed from the shelves of every health food store and natural market throughout the USA. Limited research has been conducted on vitamin B17 since 1977. Once it was banned, it was forgotten.

Laetrile, amygdalin is another one of those ingredients, that even if called vitamin B 17, it is really dubious if it is a vitamin as such. Very little is known regarding this ingredient.

It is touted as an ingredient which can prevent the growth of cancers, but has been outlawed for sale in many countries.

According to research from years ago, provided by nutritionists and medical scientists, vitamin B17 is a natural cyanide-containing compound that gives up its cyanide content only in the presence of a particular enzyme group called beta glucosidase or glucuronidase. Miraculously, this enzyme group is found almost exclusively in cancer cells. When it is found elsewhere in the body, it is accompanied by greater quantities of another enzyme, rhodanese, which has the ability to disable the cyanide and convert it into completely harmless substances. Cancer tissues do not have this protecting enzyme.

So, according to past scientific knowledge, cancer cells are faced with a double threat: the presence of one enzyme exposing them to cyanide, while the absence of another enzyme found in all other normal cells results in the cancer's failure to detoxify itself. Leave it to nature to provide a form of cyanide that can naturally destroy a cancer cell. The cancer cells that are unable to withstand the cyanide are destroyed, while the non-cancerous cells are not threatened by the cyanide, and, therefore, remain unharmed. Never underestimate the body's potential!

Vitamin B17 is found naturally in many foods. If you eat foods containing vitamin B17, your body will know what to do next. All other animals in nature instinctively do this. Consider it nature's cancer prevention. If only modern medicine would allow it.

Vitamin B17 is also referred to as a nitriloside, which is the foundation for Laetrile, amygdalin, and prunasin. Together with the pancreatic enzyme trypsin, these can form a natural barrier against cancer growth. If foods containing any of the nitrilosides are eaten regularly, the body's own immune mechanisms can naturally battle cancer-forming cells. But if foods containing these critical vitamins are not regularly consumed (or manufactured), nature's mechanisms can't work as effectively against the buildup of factors at the root of cancer and the countless number of degenerative diseases.

This is happening to human beings today. Not only are advanced societies environmentally polluted to dangerous levels, but also more and more foods are being altered from their natural state by man's own doing. Modern freeze-dried, fat-free, sugar-free, calorie-free, weight-watchful, microwavable artificial food substitutes don't contain nitrilosides. Most food manufacturers don't even know what nitrilosides are. Never in human history have artificial foods saturated with preservatives and unhealthy chemicals dominated the food supply to the degree they do today. Modern nourishment is no longer nourishing.

Laetrile may however help with reducing blood pressure and the pain associated with arthritis.

Until further research is done, only use sprouted seeds as your source of laetrile.

Dosage: Laetrile contains cyanide, which can lead to toxic symptoms, which include headaches, nausea, low blood pressure etc.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Until further research is done, only use sprouted seeds as your source of laetrile.

Food sources of vitamin B17: Laetrile is present in apricot kernels, watercress, spinach, whole nuts, ground nuts, apple seeds, apricot seeds and to a lesser degree in other stone fruit kernels. It is also found in sprouting seeds like bamboo sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, lentil sprouts, mung bean sprouts and garbanzo sprouts.

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Vitamin C - ascorbic acid

Vitamin C also known as, ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, the antiscorbutic vitamin, L-xyloascorbic acid and L-threo-hex-2-uronic acidy-lactone, is a much talked about vitamin, with people claiming it as a cure-all for may diseases and problems - from cancer to the common cold.

Vitamin C is vital to collagen formation, the connective substance in all cells.

As an antioxidant, it helps defend cells from the effects of smoke, pollution and other highly reactive substances called free radicals.

Vitamin C helps in healing, in production of red blood cells, preventing hemorrhaging and in fighting bacterial infections. Physical stress increases the need for vitamin C.

Yet, this miracle vitamin cannot be manufactured by the body, and needs to be ingested.

Vitamin C is required in the synthesis of collagen in connective tissue, neurotransmitters, steroid hormones, carnitine, conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and enhances iron bioavailability. Ascorbic acid is a great antioxidant and helps protect the body against pollutants.

Because vitamin C is a biological reducing agent, it is also linked to prevention of degenerative diseases - such as cataracts, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Ascorbic acid also promotes healthy cell development, proper calcium absorption, normal tissue growth and repair - such as healing of wounds and burns. It assists in the prevention of blood clotting and bruising, and strengthening the walls of the capillaries.

Vitamin C is needed for healthy gums, to help protect against infection, and assisting with clearing up infections and is thought to enhance the immune system and help reduce cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and preventing arteriosclerosis.

Deficiency of vitamin C: When there is a shortage of VITAMIN C, various problems can arise, although scurvy is the only disease clinically treated with vitamin C. However, a shortage of vitamin C may result in "pinpoint" hemorrhages under the skin and a tendency to bruise easily, poor wound healing, soft and spongy bleeding gums and loose teeth, swollen or painful joints, and nosebleeds.

Resistance to infection, and slow healing of wounds or illness are other symptoms, with severe lack being an old sailor's favorite of scurvy.

Edema (water retention) also happens with a shortage of vitamin C, and weakness, a lack of energy, poor digestion, painful joints and bronchial infection and colds are also indicative of an under-supply.

Dosage: The RDA is 60 mg, per day - yet this amount will only prevent you from picking up scurvy and more recent studies suggest that an intake between 200 - 500 mg per day may be the most beneficial for healthy people.

The recommend dosage for pregnant or lactating women is 75-95 mg per day.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Since ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, toxic levels are not built up or stored in the body, and any excess is lost mostly through urine.

If extremely large amounts are taken gastrointestinal problems may appear, but will normalize when the intake is cut or reduced.

To determine a level where a person might experience discomfort is difficult, since some people can easily stomach up to 25,000 mg per day, while others start having a problem at 600 or 1,000 mg.

Some people using mega dose therapy of vitamin C may have side effects such as gastrointestinal complaints including diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps. These side effects normally stop as soon as high potency intake is reduced or stopped.

Best used with: Vitamin C is a good partner in nutrition and magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, linoleic acid and fatty acids make good running mates.

Vitamin C will be more effective if taken with bioflavonoids, calcium and magnesium. To enhance the antioxidant properties, it will be best to take it with the other anti-oxidants, as there is strong evidence of synergy between all of them.

Mega doses of vitamin C should be avoided in individuals with a history of renal stones due to oxalate formation or hemochromatosis or other diseases related to excessive iron accumulation.

Extremely high dosage of vitamin C may predispose premature infants to hemolytic anemia due to the fragility of their red blood cells.

When more Vitamin C may be required: The need for vitamin C will dramatically increase in times when the body is subjected to trauma, infections, and strenuous exercise, elevated environmental temperatures or if the person is a smoker. Smokers should supplement with another 100 mg per day.

Be careful of taking aspirin and vitamin C together - it may cause stomach irritation.

Enemy of vitamin C: Antagonists that destroy this vitamin are air, heat, water as well as prolonged storage, overcooking and processing.

Antacids, alcohol, antidepressants, birth control pills and steroids will also deplete this vitamin.

Other interesting points: Ongoing research is looking at the clinical use of vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of human diseases.

Food sources of vitamin C: Good sources of vitamin C are green leafy vegetables, in fresh fruits (especially citrus fruits) and berries, guavas, tomatoes, melons, papayas, onions, tomatoes, radishes and rose hips etc.

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Vitamin D - calciferol

Vitamin D is also referred to as calciferol and can rightly be called the sunshine vitamin, since the body, in a sunny climate can manufacture this nutrient from the sun's ultraviolet rays on the skin to produce vitamin D-3,  using cholesterol from your body.

Please remember that this can be achieved in about 30 minutes by fair skinned people, while dark skinned people, because of the pigmentation need about 3 hours to reach the same level of manufacture. The sunlight needed for this process is pure unfiltered sunlight.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which is absorbed with the fats in the diet through the intestinal wall.

Vitamin D is required for: Vitamin D helps with increasing the absorption of calcium, assists in bone growth and the integrity of bone and promotes strong teeth.

It also helps regulate the amount of phosphorus in the body as well as assisting in a healthy heart and nervous system. In some recent studies it has also shown great promise in assisting psoriasis, the immune system, thyroid function as well as normal blood clotting.

Deficiency of vitamin D: Deficiency symptoms of vitamin D include Rickets (bow legs, knock-knees, enlargement of bones), poor growth and lack of bone development, osteomalacia (softening of the bones), muscle numbness, tingling or spasms.

In adults, the shortage causes loss of minerals from the bones, (osteomalacia) where the bones are sore, tender, and weak muscles with the possibility of deafness developing.

In older people, osteoporosis may appear when protein is also lost from the bone. Vitamin D in short supply is also linked to having a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, diarrhea, insomnia and visual problems.

Arthritis and thyroid problems have also been linked to a deficiency to vitamin D.

Dosage: Male 400 iu, female 400 iu.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Some clinical guidelines for toxicity are sometimes set as 5,000 to 10,000 iu per day to cause toxicity, but other researchers place the value much higher to reach toxicity.

You are however advised to keep your supplement intake to no more than 600 iu per day. Having too much vitamin D in your system could leave a too elevated calcium level, a lower appetite, increased thirst, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, abdominal pain.

A long-term effect of too much vitamin D is the deposit of calcium in soft tissues of the body including the blood vessel walls and kidneys where it can cause serious damage.

Best used with: Check to have vitamin A around this vitamin as well as calcium and phosphorus.

When more Vitamin D may be required: When you are very seldom exposed to sunlight, or if you always wear sunscreens with a SPF factor higher than 8, you might need extra vitamin D.

This is also the case if you are on a strict vegan diet and older people are also advised to check their level of vitamin D.

People with compromised kidneys or liver are at risk of too little of this vitamin, since the kidneys and liver are required to activate this vitamin in processes taking place in those organs.

Other interesting points: Vitamin D is also classified as a hormone by certain people. Vitamin D has been used very successfully in formulations with Vitamin A in topical ointments, which cure painful nappy rash and many other difficult skin conditions.

Food sources of vitamin D: Food sources to obtain vitamin D are almost exclusively reserved to oily/fatty fish such as herring, kipper, sardines, salmon, tuna and mackerel, small amounts are also found in foods such as creamy milk, liver, butter and the yolks of eggs. Smaller amounts are also present in dark leafy vegetables.

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Vitamin E - tocopherol

Vitamin E belongs to a group called tocopherols, with the most potent being the Alpha form. If taking in supplement form, look for d-alpha rather than dl-alpha as synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha) has been found to be both ineffective and potentially harmful.

Vitamin E has earned itself a reputation - from spicing up your sex life to banning wrinkles and old age. One of the most important functions of this vitamin is its antioxidant properties. Vitamin E is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that includes eight naturally occurring compounds in two classes designated as tocopherols and tocotrienols.

Vitamin E is an effective chain-breaking, lipid-soluble antioxidant in biological membranes, and aids in membrane stability.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, protects your cells from oxidation, and neutralizes unstable free radicals, which can cause damage. This is done by the vitamin E giving up one of its electrons to the electron deficient free radical, making it more stable. While Vitamin E performs its antioxidant functions, it also protects the other antioxidants from being oxidized.

This antioxidant capability is then also great in helping to prevent degenerative diseases - including heart disease, strokes, arthritis, senility, diabetes and cancer. It also assists in fighting heart disease and cancers and is essential for red blood cells, helps with cellular respiration and protects the body from pollution - especially the lungs. Vitamin E is also useful in preventing blood clots from forming and promotes fertility, reduces and/or prevents hot flushes in menopause. An increase in stamina and endurance is also attributed to Vitamin E.

Vitamin E is also used topically to great effect for skin treatments - in helping the skin look younger, promoting healing and cutting down the risk of scar tissue forming. Used on the skin it is also reported to help with eczema, skin ulcers cold sores and shingles.

Main Functions of Vitamin E

  • Has an important role in cellular respiration of muscles, especially the cardiac muscle.

  • Prevents peroxide formation by being an anti-oxidant.

  • Protects all the other fat-soluble vitamins against oxidation.

  • Reduces scar tissue formation both internally and externally, this is why a lot of creams and ointments contain vitamin E.

  • Increase formation of new blood vessels around damaged areas.

  • Protects and ensures permeability of the capillary system.

Deficiency of vitamin E: Deficiency of Vitamin E is not common, and the symptoms not very clear cut, but may include fatigue, inflamed varicose veins, wounds healing slowly, premature aging and sub-fertility. When Vitamin E is in short supply symptoms may include acne, anemia, muscle disease, dementia, cancers, gallstones, shortened red blood cell life span, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), and uterine degeneration.

Deficiency Symptoms of vitamin E

  • First clinical sign of deficiency is the rupturing of the red blood cells.

  • Swelling of the cardiac muscle which can become necrotic.

  • Retarded growth in children.

  • Faulty absorption of fat and fat-soluble vitamins.

  • Lack of sex drive.

  • Found in unrefined vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, beans, whole grains and fatty fish. Works well with Vitamin C and selenium.

Dosage: Males 300 iu (10 mg) per day and females 8 mg per day

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Toxicity is not easily reached. High intakes may induce diarrhea, nausea or abdominal wind. People on anticoagulant medication should not take more than 1,200 iu per day.

Best used with: Take Vitamin E with the range of antioxidants - that being vitamin C, beta-carotene and selenium. Vitamin B group vitamins as well as inositol and manganese is also indicated.

When more may be required: When your diet is high in refined carbohydrates, fried foods and fat, or you are taking a birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy, then a supplement of Vitamin E might be called for. People suffering from pre-menstrual cramps, menopausal hot flushes, after a stroke or suffering from a heart disease might benefit from Vitamin E. It might also be beneficial to relieve painful or swollen joints, if you are exposed to pollution (that is about all of us), suffer from poor circulation or from Dupuytren's disease, which is a thickening of the ligaments in the hands.

Enemy of vitamin E: Vitamin E is lost in food processing which includes milling, cooking, freezing, long storage periods and when exposed to air.

Vitamin E should not be taken together with inorganic iron supplements as it may destroy the vitamin, while organic iron, such as ferrous gluconate and ferrous fumarate does not affect the vitamin.

Other interesting points: When buying a supplement you often see "d-alpha-tocopherol" on the list of ingredients - that means that the Vitamin E is from natural sources, whereas "dl-alpha-tocopherol" will indicate that it is from synthetic origin. As such the origin of the vitamin does not influence the efficiency thereof.

Food sources of vitamin E: Vitamin E is found in nuts, oils, vegetables, sunflower seeds, whole grains, spinach, oils, seeds, wheat oils, asparagus, avocado, beef, seafood, apples, carrots, celery etc .

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Vitamin F - fatty acids

Vitamin F, essential fatty acids are composed of two fatty acids - linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (LNA) - with linoleic acid being the most complete fatty acid. There are two basic categories of EFA's (essential fatty acids) - omega-3 and omega-6 which include linoleic acid and gamma-linoleic acid. The body is not capable of manufacturing essential fatty acids, while the fatty acid arachidonic acid can be synthesized in the body from linoleic acid.

Fatty acids are needed for normal growth and behavior and help with healthy cell membranes, a well balanced hormone level and properly working immune system.

They are essential for the synthesis of tissue lipids, play an important role in the regulation of cholesterol levels, and are precursors of prostaglandins, hormone like compounds producing various metabolic effects in tissues.

To the skin, it brings suppleness and a youthful appearance and hair becomes more shiny and healthy when in good supply. It also seems important in the manufacture of sex and adrenal hormones. Fatty acids also stimulate the growth of the beneficial intestinal bacteria. Edema has also been reported with fatty acids in short supply.

Arthritis is said to benefit from these fatty acids and they also aid in the transmission of nerve impulses and a shortage may lead to learning disabilities and a problem with recalling information.

Deficiency: Hair loss and eczema may be indicated when deficient in Vitamin F and may cause damage to the kidneys, heart and liver. Behavioral disturbances are also noted when deficient. The immune system can become less efficient with resultant slow healing and susceptibility to infections.

Tear glands can also not work effectively and may dry up. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels may be higher when deficient and blood more likely to form clots.

Dosage: The dosage underneath is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient.

In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.

To prevent deficiency the required intake of essential fatty acids lies within the range of 1 to 2 percent of total calories although supplementation suggest 10 - 20 percent.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Toxicity has not been determined. Toxicity does not seem a problem, but consult your medical practitioner before adding a fatty acid supplement if you have a medical condition.

Best used with: Try and combine your fatty acids with Vitamins B3, B6, C and E for maximum benefit and make sure zinc, magnesium and selenium are available.

When more may be required: People that are overweight, have dry eyes, bruise easily and have frequent infections may consider increasing their intake as well as those on a low fat diet or with a dry skin, dandruff or brittle nails.

Enemy of fatty acids: The vitamin is sensitive to heat, air and is lost in processing. Heating the fatty acids can result in free radicals being formed.

Other interesting points: When buying a supplement of fatty acids, make sure they are in balanced quantities - but please remember that these oils are unstable. Heat and light must be excluded when extracting these oils and must be stored away from light.

If fatty acid oils are hydrogenated, as in the manufacture of margarine, the linoleic acid is converted into trans-fatty acids - not beneficial to the body.

Food sources of fatty acids: Fatty acids available in evening primrose oil, grape seed oil, flaxseed oil, and oils of grains, nuts and seeds, such as soybean, walnuts, sesame, and sunflower. Also present in avocados, as well as meat and fish like salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna.

Omega-6 EFA is found in raw nuts, seeds, legumes, grape seed oil and flaxseed oil. Omega-3 EFA is found in fish, canola oil, and walnut oil

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Vitamin H - biotin

Biotin, as referred to as Vitamin H is part of the Vitamin B complex group and might be interesting to some people since one of the most visible symptoms of shortage of this vitamin is thinning of hair which can lead to total hair loss.

This does not mean that baldness is a sign of Vitamin H in short supply - severe hair loss might just be indicative of biotin being deficient.

Vitamin H is used in cell growth, the production of fatty acids, metabolism of fats, and proteins. It plays a role in the Kreb cycle, which is the process in which energy is released from food.

Biotin is also indicated for healthy hair and skin, healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue, and bone marrow, and assisting with muscle pain.

Vitamin H not only assists in various metabolic chemical conversions, but also helps with the transfer of carbon dioxide. Biotin is also helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level.

Deficiency of biotin: Although a shortage of Biotin is very rare, it can happen and may result in dry scaly skin, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, mental depression as well as tongue inflammation and high cholesterol.

Dosage: Adults 300 microgram (0.3 mg) per day and pregnant and lactating women 300 microgram (0.3 mg) per day.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: No known toxic levels are known, as excesses are easily lost in the urine and feces. No known side effects are known.

Best used with: Biotin should be taken with the B-group vitamins, but Vitamin C, Vitamin B 5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B12 and sulfur are good companions to it. A tricologist will sometimes add biotin to the diet of a patient suffering from alopecia, to help with severe hair loss, but it must be in the right quantities to satisfy the inter-dependence of other nutrients - such as found in our Hair, Skin and Nail supplement

When more biotin may be required: Bodybuilders and athletes consuming raw eggs should be careful of not running into a biotin shortage, since raw eggs contain avidin, which binds with the biotin, making it impossible to be absorbed by the body.

Long term users of antibiotics may also have to look at their biotin levels.

Enemy of element: Biotin is not easily destroyed

Other interesting points: It seems that biotin may affect hair color, together with PABA, folic acid and pantothenic acid. Some research had varying results with biotin supplements in returning hair to it original color.

This has proved only successful to a limited degree and only when natural vitamins were used, as the synthetic vitamins did not influence the results very much.

Food sources: Biotin is present in cheese, beef liver, cauliflower, eggs, mushrooms, chicken breasts, salmon, spinach, brewer's yeast, nuts and can be manufactured in the body should a small shortfall occur.

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VITAMIN K - Phylloquinone, menaquinone, menadione

Vitamin K is necessary for formation of prothrombin which is required for blood clotting.

Essential for normal liver functioning and important in maintaining vitality and longevity. also aids the absorption of calcium in bone.

Aids in protecting against osteoporosis, and in reducing excessive menstrual flow.

Vitamin K can be produced in the intestines and this function is improved with the presence of cultured milk, like yogurt, in the diet, Vitamin K is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin.

Vitamin K is found in nature in two forms:

  • K1, also called phylloquinone, is found in plants and

  • vitamin K2, also called menaquinone, which can be synthesized by many bacteria.

  • Vitamin K3, menadione, is a synthetic form of this vitamin which is manmade.

Vitamin K is used in the body to control blood clotting and is essential for synthesizing the liver protein that controls the clotting. It is involved in creating the important prothrombin, which is the precursor to thrombin - a very important factor in blood clotting.

It is also involved in bone formation and repair. In the intestines it also assists in converting glucose to glycogen, this can then be stored in the liver.

There are some indications that Vitamin K may decrease the incidence or severity of osteoporosis and slow bone loss.

Deficiency of vitamin K: A deficiency of this vitamin in newborn babies results in hemorrhagic disease, as well as postoperative bleeding and hematuria while muscle hematomas and inter-cranial hemorrhages have been reported.

A shortage of this vitamin may manifest itself in nosebleeds, internal hemorrhaging.

Dosage: Males 80 micrograms per day and females 70 micrograms per day.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Toxicity does not easily occur with normal dietary intake of this vitamin, but can happen if synthetic compound vitamin K 3 is taken. High to toxic uptake in the synthetic form can cause flushing and sweating. Jaundice and anemia may also develop.

If you are taking anti-coagulant (to prevent blood clotting) medication, consult your medical practitioner before taking a Vitamin K supplement.

Best used with: Dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of this vitamin.

When more may be required: This nutrient can be destroyed by freezing and radiation as well as air pollution. Absorption may be decreased when rancid fats are present, as well as excessive refined sugar, antibiotics, high dosages of vitamin E, or calcium and mineral oils.

Enemy of vitamin K: When you are prone to bruising easily, or when pregnant you might be in need of more Vitamin K. But be careful not to take too much Vitamin K in the last stages of pregnancy, since it could be toxic for the baby.

Other interesting points: Some people are of the opinion that it also promotes longevity.

Food sources of vitamin K: Found in kelp, alfalfa, green plants, leafy green vegetables, cow's milk, yogurt, cheese, liver, egg yolks, black strap molasses, polyunsaturated oils, fish liver oils.  It is also found in asparagus, coffee, bacon and green tea.

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Vitamin P - bioflavonoids

Bioflavonoids also called Vitamin P are not strictly speaking a vitamin, but for easy classification, we are listing it as a vitamin. The term bioflavonoids refers to many different ingredients and include hesperin, hesperidin, eriodictyol, quercetin, quercertrin, rutin etc. This nutrient can not be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet.

Bioflavonoids enhance the action of Vitamin C and for this reason they should be taken together. Bioflavonoids are effectively used in the treatment of sport injuries as they are pain relieving. They may also be used in relieving pain in the legs, across the back and can lessen the symptoms of prolonged bleeding, a low serum calcium as well as oral herpes.

Bioflavonoids may also be active in preserving the structures of capillaries, have an antibacterial effect and promote circulation. They may be indicated in the production of bile, lowering blood cholesterol levels and in the prevention and treatment of cataracts.

Bioflavonoids are thought to enhance the absorption of Vitamin C, and possibly to prolong the effectiveness of it as well. These are super active substances, and can add a great deal to your nutritional needs in health and disease.

This nutrient acts together with Vitamin C to help maintain the thin walls of the capillaries, therefore preventing bleeding or bruising. Bioflavonoids have been linked to having an antibacterial effect, stimulating bile production, promoting circulation and even assisting with fighting allergies, asthma etc.

Deficiency of vitamin P: If a diet contains enough fruit and vegetables, bioflavonoids should not be deficient, but deficiency would show up as bruising. Where antioxidants are indicated and none present bioflavonoids could be of help, as well as iron deficiency, since it helps with the absorption of iron.

Dosage: No dosage has been determined but 500 mg per day is indicated for supplementation.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Very high dosages of bioflavonoids may cause diarrhea.

Best used with: Bioflavonoids should be taken with Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and calcium.

Other interesting points: Absorption of the bioflavonoids can be a bit slow, but small amounts can be stored in the body.

If you are suffering from cold sores, consider taking a supplement of 1,000-mg Vitamin C and 1,000 mg Bioflavonoids, and then 500 mg of each, three times a day.

A daily intake of Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids may make you less susceptible to cold sores.

Food sources of bioflavonoids: Bioflavonoids are found in the white material just beneath citrus peel, as well as in peppers, grapes, pine bark, onions, garlic, blue and red berries, green tea as well as buckwheat.

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Vitamin T

Vitamin T, is found in sesame seeds as well egg yolks and very little is known and available on this ingredient and therefore our information is very sketchy.

It is thought to strengthen the red blood cells.

Dosage: Not known.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Not known.

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Adaptogens

The word adaptogen is a very apt word for this ingredient. In simple terms this ingredient helps the body adapt naturally to cope and with reducing stress. Since 1947 medical and scientific research has been conducted and published on adaptogens in various parts of the world, but has lately only become available to us in the West.

Not only do they help us to cope with stress and the hassles of every day living, but they are also powerful antioxidants. There is a vast amount of information available on this ingredient, but it is relatively new in the Western hemisphere, since the Russians, during the Cold War period, did major research on this ingredient.

It is non- toxic and is not habit forming, while it exerts a normalizing influence on the body, possessing a wide range of therapeutic benefits which cause no disturbance to the normal functioning of the body.

Adaptogens are natural nutrients and are made from three types of plants -

  • rhodiola rosea,

  • eleutherococcus and

  • schisandra chinensis.

Explaining the effects of the adaptogens is difficult, since they will influence each individual differently. If you are mentally exhausted or physically fatigued the adaptogens will help you feel more energetic, vitalized, and full of zest for life - but yet, they are not normal stimulants.

Should you however be stressed-out, or emotionally tired, and not coping with life the adaptogens will help you relax and make life easier to cope with, yet they are not tranquillizers and will not have a drug-like effect on the body.

The antioxidants contained in the adaptogens help the body fight free radicals which are released during the oxidation process of metabolism in the body, which can cause a variety of problems such as cell degeneration, cancer, ageing and many other diseases.

To ensure that the vital nutrients, and their potency, are retained while being extracted from the plant material a unique extraction method is used.

Adaptogens are completely safe and effective and have been tested by various institutes, academies and sports agencies - and contain no drugs, preservatives nor banned substances.

Deficiency of adaptogens: Should you feel you are not coping, continuously fatigued or you need to increase stamina, endurance, concentration and mental clarity, you might look at adding this nutrient to your diet in order to improve these conditions.

An increase of over 20% in the capacity to work has been reported as well as a reduction of errors made, by over 80% - which makes this a great nutrient to take when studying, or working at optimum levels.

It is further reported that endurance is increased by up to 26% and an increase in strength is improved by nearly 10%.

Dosage: Recommended dosage; a minimum of 1 x capsule for each 70 pounds of body weight.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: There are no toxic effects of this ingredient and high intake is well tolerated. ADAPTOGENS ARE NOT BANNED BY ANY INTERNATIONAL SPORTS.

Best used with: Adaptogens are best taken first thing in the morning for best absorption.

When more may be required: During periods of extreme mental and physical exertion, great benefit can be derived from this nutrient.

Other interesting points: People that have been using ecstasy as a recreational drug, with resultant depression, and a drop in dopamine levels in the brain, have reported an increased feeling of well-being after ceasing the intake of ecstasy, and taking adaptogens to help repair the damage caused by this recreational drug.

It has been reported that bodybuilders and athletes improve their performance with adaptogens, since it helps the body to return quicker to its normal resting stage.

Food sources: Adaptogens are found in rhodiola rosea, eleutherococcus and schisandra chinensis.

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Antioxidants

Antioxidants are really a class of vitamins and nutritional ingredients that help fight and rid the body of free radicals - the gremlins that can cause untold damage to your body. The importance of antioxidants is nowadays accepted by even the most conservative medical fields, and people find great benefits from these nutritional ingredients in achieving optimum health.

When the cells and body carry on with their daily functions, oxygen is used in the process and oxidation takes place - and although these are normal functions, they do cause free radicals, the waste material of these processes that can have an influence on the forming of cancer, arterial damage, inflammation, and accelerated aging through oxidative damage. They are also caused by a diet high in fried and barbequed foods, pollution, radiation, etc.

The main sources of antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, plus its precursor beta carotene as well as Bioflavonoids (vitamin p) and other powerful antioxidant sources such as Selenium, Coenzyme Q10, Grape seed extract and Green tea.

Deficiency of antioxidants: It is thought that a shortage of antioxidants could cause, or assist in causing Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, diabetes, hypertension, infertility, macular degeneration (eye lens degeneration) measles, mental illness, periodontal disease, respiratory tract infection as well as rheumatoid arthritis.

By adding enough antioxidants to the diet, there is less oxidation stress, and aging is also slowed down.

Dosage: Please check the RDA of each separate nutrient.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: Toxicity may occur if high amounts of the fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin A and E are taken. Please see out Vitamin A page as well as the Vitamin E page for more information.

When more may be required: Should you continually be prone to infections, easy bruising, slow wound healing, excessive wrinkling of the skin you might be in need of extra antioxidants.

Enemy of antioxidants:  Fried and barbequed food, pollution, radiation.

Food sources of antioxidants: Berries, grapes, tomatoes, broccoli, red/orange/yellow vegetable and fruits, nuts, peas, broad beans, carrots, watermelon, etc.

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CHOLINE

Choline's metabolism is closely interrelated to that of methionine, and methyl-folate, yet choline is at times treated by some nutritional specialists as a stepchild in nutrition.

Choline assists in controlling your weight as well as cholesterol levels, keeping cell membranes healthy and in preventing gallstones. It is also most useful in the maintenance of the nervous system, assisting memory and learning, and may help to fight infections, including hepatitis and AIDS. Choline is critical for normal membrane structure and function.

Choline is the major precursor of betaine, and it is used by the kidneys to maintain water balance and by the liver as a source of methyl-groups for methionine formation. It is also used to produce the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

It assists in nerve impulse transmission, gallbladder regulation, liver functions and lecithin production.

Deficiency of choline: A deficiency of choline does not happen easily but if it is deficient it may lead to liver disease, raised cholesterol levels, high blood pressure as well as kidney problems, Choline deficiency may also manifest itself in the inability to digest fats, stunted growth and fatty buildup in the liver.

Memory and brain function could also be impaired.

Dosage: The dosage is relative to the amount of fats ingested in the diet, but for a guide you can use male 550 mg/ per day and female 425 mg per day, although mega dose vitamin proponents use far higher dosages.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: The maximum level of choline has been set for safety at 3.5 g/day.

Taking too much choline could result in your body smelling fishy, may cause nausea, depression, and could trigger existing epilepsy. Hypotension, sweating, salivation and diarrhea have also been reported.

Best used with: Should be taken in the same dose as inositol and together with the B group vitamins as well as vitamin A and linoleic acid

When more choline may be required: Should you consume alcohol, refined sugar or taking large amounts of nicotinic acid you might need extra choline.

Enemy of element: Choline is lost in food processing, storage and cooking.

Other interesting points: Choline, together with fat, inositol and essential unsaturated fatty acids make up lecithin, and needs a co-enzyme containing vitamin B6, and magnesium to be produced.

If lecithin is in short supply it may allow your blood cholesterol levels to become elevated.

Food sources: Choline is found in egg yolks, beef, wheat germ, oats, nuts

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Green tea

Green tea, these humble leaves, have once again become the darling of nutritionally aware people, since they have great antioxidant properties, combat mental fatigue and are also used with great effect by people who suffer from various forms of cancer.

Green tea is used for its antioxidant properties, to help fight mental and physical fatigue, its general health enhancing properties, in the fight against cancer, help to prevent blood clotting tendencies, lower blood cholesterol levels and the regulation of blood sugar levels. It is also used in weight loss programs, since it is helpful to those individuals busy with weight loss.

It contains various compounds such as catechin, epigaltocatechin, flavonoids, bioflavonoids, fluoride, gallic acid, polyphenols, tannin, theophylline, vitamin C as well as a small amount of caffeine.

Deficiency of green tea: No specific deficiencies will result from not ingesting green tea, since it is not an essential nutritional ingredient.

Dosage: Not known

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: People suffering from anxiety disorder, irregular heartbeat, or when pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to limit their intake of this ingredient.

When more may be required: When tired or generally fatigued, green tea could help you regain your zest for life again.

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INOSITOL

Inositol is needed for health at cellular level and a fair concentration is found in the lens of the human eye as well as the heart.

Men taking extra inositol reported that their hair loss had improved, with less hair falling out - although this has not been tested under clinical situations.

Inositol plays an important part in the health of cell membranes especially the specialized cells in the brain, bone marrow, eyes and intestines. The function of the cell membranes is to regulate the contents of the cells, which makes effective functioning possible.

Inositol is said to promote healthy hair, hair growth, and helps in controlling estrogen levels and may assist in preventing breast lumps.

It may also be of benefit in reducing blood cholesterol levels.

Deficiency of inositol: If your intake is not sufficient, you may experience symptoms such as eczema, hair loss, constipation, and abnormalities of the eyes and raised cholesterol.

Dosage: Supplementation is usually 100 mg per day

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: No toxic effects known, but diarrhea has been noted with the intake of very high dosage of inositol

Best used with: Choline should be taken in the same amount as inositol and the best is to take the entire B group vitamins with it, Vitamin E, vitamin C as well as folic acid and linoleic acid is thought to increase the functioning of inositol.

When more inositol may be required: Taking of long term antibiotics may increase your need for inositol, as well as if you consume a lot of coffee.

Enemy of inositol: Coffee kills this nutrient.

Food sources: Inositol is available from both plant and animal sources. The plant form in which inositol is available is phytic acid, which can bind with minerals and so affect their absorption negatively.

The body is also able to manufacture this factor. Inositol is available from wheat germ, brewers yeast. bananas, liver, brown rice, oat flakes, nuts, unrefined molasses, raisins and vegetables.

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PABA - para-aminobenzoic acid

PABA is the shortened name for para-aminobenzoic acid that is often thought of as only an ingredient used in sunscreens, while it is in actual fact a nutritional ingredient as well. Since it is a moiety of PGA, a form of folic acid, some health professionals do not consider it a vitamin, but only a B-complex factor.

PABA is required for: PABA is used to improve the protein used in the body, it relates to red blood cell formation as well as assisting the manufacture of folic acid in the intestines. Para-aminobenzoic acid is used in sunscreen preparations since it can help protect the skin against ultra-violet radiation.

It has been linked to hair growth as well as reversing the graying of hair, but these results are disappointing. People suffering from vitiligo, over-pigmentation of skin, or without pigment in some spots, have reported an improvement of the skin after more PABA was ingested.

PABA also assists with breaking down of protein, the formation of red blood cells and maintaining intestinal flora.

Deficiency of PABA: When PABA is in short supply fatigue, irritability, nervousness and depression might manifest itself as well as constipation. Weeping eczema has also been noted in people with PABA deficiency as well as patchy areas on the skin.

Dosage: No recommended dosage but 50 mg per day is usually used in supplementation.

Toxicity and symptoms of high intake: When higher than factor (SPF) 8 sunscreens are used, the manufacture of vitamin D in the body may be reduced. Nausea, skin rashes and vomiting might be indicative of PABA taken in excess.

Excessive levels of PABA are stored in the body and may cause liver damage.

Best used with: Vitamin C and the B group vitamins, plus Folic Acid are best taken with PABA.

When more may be required: Long term antibiotic use may require more PABA from the body, but take note of PABA affecting the ability of sulfa drugs. Although not documented in medical terms, some women having problems falling pregnant claim conceiving after increasing PABA in their diet.

Enemy of PABA: Since a ban was placed on the sale of OTC supplements containing large a single dosage of PABA, very little new research has been done.

Other interesting points: PABA may make sulfa drugs ineffectual.

Food sources: PABA is found in liver, kidney, brewer's yeast, molasses, whole grains, mushrooms and spinach, and can be made by intestinal bacteria.

Para-aminobenzoic acid - PABA - 'Sunscreen Vitamin' Information

PABA is an antioxidant vitamin related to folic acid. It is the 'sunscreen' vitamin used in sunscreen preparations, as it has the ability to protect the skin against excessive ultra-violet light exposure. No recommended daily allowances for PABA have been established, but an allowance of between 30 mg and 100 mg is considered reasonable.

PABA Benefits: It is known for its ability to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light, thus preventing wrinkling of the skin and reducing the risk of skin cancer. It is therefore widely used in sun block preparations. It corrects loss of pigmentation in skin and hair, prevents hair greying and retards hair loss. It also protects the lungs from ozone damage, acts as a coenzyme in the utilization of protein, assists in the formation of red blood cells and enhances the formation of folic acid in the intestine.

PABA Deficiency Symptoms: They include skin conditions such as eczema and wrinkles, fatigue, irritability and depression, senility, arthritis and bursitis.

PABA Food Sources: Its best natural sources are molasses, brewer's yeast, liver, whole grains and eggs. It can also be made by intestinal bacteria. Any excess is stored in the body.

PABA Supplements: In spite of the fact that the body synthesizes PABA, it may not be sufficient for maximum protection and therefore PABA supplements can usefully enhance its beneficial effects. It is best taken as part of a balanced B-vitamin tablet or capsule, unless your doctor or nutritional health practitioner advises otherwise.

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The above opinionated views and information serves to educated and informed consumer .  The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. .It should not replaced professional advise and consultation.  A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions 

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