Answers For YOUR Health

      Using Mother Nature's Gifts
Common Sense and Modern Medicine

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What are Vitamins?


Vitamins are one of the most important things that you do for your body on a daily basis.  With only two exceptions, your body is unable to produce vitamins and must rely on getting them through diet alone.  A lack of vitamins can make you tired, weak, short of breath and in some cases, even colorblind. Your best source of vitamins and minerals -- you guessed it, natural produce.

But what are they, those all important vitamins?  Scientists gave certain nutrients names.  Well letters and numbers for the most part.  Early civilized mankind knew about scurvy.  Only with trial and error did he discover that certain foods containing vitamin C stopped the onset of scurvy. 

The letters and numbers simplified the language.  All scientists now knew exactly what another scientist was talking about if he said B12.  As our knowledge progressed and methods for determining even smaller parts of each vitamin, we were once again subjected to oddly sounding words and a mumbo-jumbo of reasoning.  So for the most part we are satisfied with the major groups and the letters and numbers.

Are there more letters and numbers to come?  I am sure of it.  As knowledge grows, more "items" will come out as important and they will be assigned a letter and number.  When the omega-3's were discovered how much healthier would we be if they had been assigned a letter and number - maybe vitamin HF1 for healthy fat.

Vitamins are what enable your bodily functions such as your metabolism, growth and energy production to function in the best manner possible.
For example, you probably know that most milk is fortified with vitamin D, but did you know why?  It is an important tool in balancing your blood calcium and phosphorus levels.  Without vitamin D, your body can’t absorb and use calcium.  For this reason, it is always important if you are taking calcium supplements to make sure it also contains vitamin D to ensure your body has an adequate amount of vitamin D to process the calcium. Your major source of vitamin D is sunlight.

What are Vitamins - either Fat or Water Soluble
There are two main categories of vitamins, water-soluble and fat-soluble.  Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in your body's fat reserves until you need them.  Fat-soluble vitamins include E, D, K and A.  However, because you don’t flush these through your system, these four vitamins in particular have a higher risk of ill side effects when overdosed especially with artificial vitamin supplements. 

Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C cannot be stored by your body for great lengths of time and require a much more regular intake to keep you healthy.  These types of vitamins are passed to your blood stream directly from your intestine.  Most of these are stored only on a daily basis and excreted in your urine.  There is one exception to this rule, B12, which is excreted through feces.  The water-soluble vitamins in particular help your vision, digestive system and skin among other important functions.

If you are taking a product that inhibits fat absorption, you must not take your vitamin supplement as the same time.  Obviously your fat inhibitor will restrict the fat-soluble vitamins.

There is too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamins. 
For example, too many carrots can cause your skin to turn orange from the Beta-Carotene and vitamin A.  Too much vitamin C, a vitamin abundantly found in oranges, can cause much more serious side effects such as kidney stones or chronic diarrhea if taken in extreme excess.  Ironically, one source also indicates that extreme excess can actually cause a stuffy nose instead of prevent the common cold as most people believe it does.

On the other hand, a lack of vitamins can cause disease, aging and death.  Lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy, a serious disease that can lead to death if left untreated.  Other vitamin deficient related diseases include anemia, brain or nerve damage, impaired vision and a variety of bone related diseases.

However, watching your vitamin intake or using a supplement can be a very good thing, especially in the world of fast food and super sized Cokes that we live in.   After analyzing your diet for holes in nutrition, you can properly determine exactly what vitamins you might be deficient in and work from there to fill in the gaps with supplements or a change in diet.

Certainly you will have a huge assortment of vitamin and mineral supplements to choose from at your health food store or even the grocery store.  Supplements are a booming business commanding huge profits for the manufacturers.  Supplements now declare that they are for a certain sex or age group. Sadly, a great number of supplements have almost nothing of value in them.  They are artificial concoctions, fillers and sometimes down right lies.

When it comes to buying, don't buy the cheapest as you will be just throwing your money away.  The most expensive is not necessarily the best either.  Go with a company with a good reputation.  One good way to determine if your vitamin and mineral supplement is a good one is by how you feel.  If you don't have more pep, less swinging moods and a glimmer of regained youth after 30 days, your vitamins are not doing the job.

However, I must qualify that last statement.  If you have totally abused some of the systems in your body you may need to add some herbs to your vitamin supplements.  Herbs can target individual systems.  Remember, true herbs have vitamins and minerals as well, so look at the total daily dosage.




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