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7 Ways Vitamin C Keeps Your Body Healthy

7 Ways Vitamin C Keeps Your Body Healthy

 

Vitamin C is an important nutrient for keeping the body healthy.

It is also an essential vitamin, meaning it is not a nutrient the human body can produce. You have to eat vitamin C every day in your diet to make sure your body has enough of it for vital, daily functions.

If you aren’t getting enough vitamin C from your diet, dietary supplements are also available.

What is Vitamin C

Vitamin C—also known as ascorbic acid—is a water-soluble vitamin that is linked to several health benefits.

Its widely known for its high content in citrus fruits (i.e., oranges, lemons, or grapefruits) , but it can be found in an abundant number of colorful fruits and vegetables. Including papaya, kiwi, strawberries, kale, broccoli, and sweet potatoes (1).

7 ways vitamin C keeps the body healthy

As stated above, vitamin C plays a very important role in keep your body healthy.

It plays a key part in several vital body functions, which is why it needs to be consumed every day through diet or via dietary supplement.

Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, functions as an antioxidant, quickens tissue healing, keeps bones strong, aids iron absorption, boost brain health, and promotes healthy aging.

  1. Keeps the immune system strong

Vitamin C is involved in many parts of the immune system.

It helps in the production of both white blood cells (lymphocytes and phagocytes) and antibodies. These cells help protect the body against viruses, infections, and illnesses (1).

Vitamin C is also part of the body’s first line of defense to disease and infection—the skin (and mucus membranes). Strong, healthy skin is an essential barrier for keeping out harmful bacteria. Vitamin C plays a role in producing collagen, which is a key protein for the structure of skin.

  1. Has antioxidant power

As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help protect your cells against the effects of harmful free radicals. Free radicals can cause serious harm to the body in the form of oxidative stress and inflammation (4).

It’s antioxidant properties also assist in maintaining skin health. When

Vitamin C is actively transported to the skin where it help strengthen the skin’s barriers and promote natural repair and rejuvenation to prevent weakness and signs of aging (1).

  1. Repairs and heals the skin

Vitamin C is essential for the growth, skin strengthening and defense, and repair of tissue all over the body due to its contribution to collagen production. Collagen is a key protein of skin tissue building.

This way, vitamin C keeps our skin strong, but also helps to heal tissue wounds (2). A higher intake of Vitamin C is associated with faster wound healing.

As stated above, as an antioxidant it also protects the skin from oxidative damage that can lead to weak tissue and to signs of ageing, like wrinkles (4).

  1. Keeps bones strong

Vitamin C’s role in collagen production is also important for bones. The protein is an essential component for bone mineralization, maintenance, and repair. But not only bones of the body, but also teeth and cartilage (2).

Higher intake of vitamin C is also linked to higher bone density (3). This is important for individuals of all ages, but especially for older adults. As we ages, bone density decreases and the risk for breakage and fracture increases.

It’s important to increase supplementation of vitamin C with age to maintain strong bones.

  1. Aids iron absorption

Iron is an important nutrient for several functions in the body. This includes making red blood cells. Red blood cells transport micronutrients and oxygen through the body, keeping it functioning properly.

Vitamin C helps convert these certain forms of iron – those found in plants that are poorly absorbed by the digestive system – into one that is easily absorbed by the body (1).

  1. Boost brain health, mood, and memory

The brain consumes a lot of vitamin C for it to function properly. It uses the highest concentration of vitamin C of any other body system.

Most important for brain health, is the role vitamin C plays in the nervous system (via neuron and neurotransmitter function), which is where it boosts brain power (5). It’s also needed for production of serotonin, which is important in regulating mood.

Adequate vitamin C intake is also important to keep the brain healthy as we age. Primarily with collagen production and its ability to support ‘cognitive capacity’ – AKA: memory.

  1. Promotes healthy aging

To age and remain healthy is important to prevent and stave off age-related diseases. And it’s also important to maintain an adequate intake of vital micronutrients.

Vitamin C is one of those nutrients because of its role in all the functions described above. An intake of vitamin C that meets the recommended daily amount (listed below) throughout the lifetime may help stave off several issues related to aging. Including frail bones and teeth, weakened and wrinkled skin, and some diseases (6).

Enough daily vitamin C can promote healthy aging over the lifetime.

What is the daily requirement of Vitamin C

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 90 mg for adult men and adult women, respectively (1).

Are you getting enough Vitamin C to keep your body healthy?

Because Vitamin C is a vital nutrient, it’s important to meet the suggested intake recommendations every day via diet or dietary supplements.

As mentioned, vitamin C found in citrus fruits, but it can be found in an abundant number of colorful fruits and vegetables. Including papaya, kiwi, strawberries, kale, broccoli, and sweet potatoes (1).

However, sometime you cannot consume enough vitamin C from diet alone. You can consult with a healthcare professional to discuss if you are consuming an adequate amount of vitamin C through your daily diet or if a supplement is needed.

Vitamin C – in the form of ascorbic acid or others, including sodium ascorbate, calcium ascorbate, other mineral ascorbates, and ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids – can be found in most multivitamins, but is also available alone as a dietary individual supplement (7).

Always insure you are using reputable companies to source your vitamin C supplements.

 

Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD

 

References

 

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#section5
  2. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/how-vitamin-c-supports-a-healthy-immune-system
  3. https://americanbonehealth.org/nutrition/vitamins-for-bone-health/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/antioxidants-explained#free-radicals
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201801/the-cognitive-benefits-vitamin-c
  6. https://www.sunriseseniorliving.com/blog/april-2019/vitamin-c-and-the-role-it-plays-in-healthy-aging.aspx
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD),

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD), freelance nutrition and health writer, and wellness blogger. She is the owner/operator of The Freelance RD writing service and blog. Her business provides mainly writing services, but also product development, educational services and brand partnerships.

As an RD, Allison embraces a modern approach to nutrition and wellness. She believes we benefit most from building positive, balanced connections between mind, body, food, and environment. And she is passionate about sharing that philosophy through wellness communication and writing.

Her educational background is through Iowa State University, where she completed both her undergraduate degree and dietetics internship. She is currently studying towards an Masters in Public Health.

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Vitamins and Minerals for Kids: Knowing Daily Nutrient Needs

Vitamins and Minerals for Kids: Knowing daily nutrient needs & determining a reliable multivitamin for your child

Vitamins and Minerals for Kids: Knowing Daily Nutrient Needs & Determining a Reliable Multivitamin for Your Child

Childhood is an important time for growth. It’s a vital time for mental development, motor skills, and physical growth. And as children grow, its necessary that they are receiving all the proper nutrition from a balanced diet to ensure optimal health.

This includes essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, but also fundamental minerals and vitamins for development.

 Daily nutrient needs for children

Though everyone needs the same type of nutrients — such as vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein and fat. However, the daily needs of these nutrients for children is vastly different than those for adults, which is reflective of the smaller body size coupled with rapid physical growth and mental development.

Nutrient needs for children are dependent on age, sex, size, growth, and activity level. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for young children, energy requirements between the ages of 2 and 8 are 1,000–1,400 calories each day. Those ages 9–13 need 1,400–2,600 calories daily with some variation (1). Other micronutrients (calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, D, B12), important for development also have DRIs for children.

 

Resources like the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate provides simple yet detailed healthy eating recommendations for children. Components of a child’s balanced diet should include all of the follows at every meal (2) —

 

  • Vegetables – Are low in calories and high in fiber. Vitamins and minerals abundant in vegetables are vitamins A, C, and E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, and folic acid.
  • Fruits – Much like vegetables, fruits are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain many of the same vitamins and minerals.
  • Grains – Whole grains are the type of grains to focus on for a child’s diet. Micronutrients high in grains include B vitamins, iron, and magnesium.
  • Proteins – Lean proteins are most known for their high availability of Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid.
  • Dairy – Liquids like milk are beneficial when it comes to growth, containing vitamins A, D, and B12, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous.

 

4 essential vitamins and minerals for children’s development

 

There are several micronutrients that are essential for proper growth. However, there are five that are essential for development.

 

  • Calcium – Calcium is an important building block for bone tissue. This mineral is most commonly found in dairy products, but can also be found in certain fruits and vegetables. Too little calcium in the early years can cause bone density issues and prevent children from reaching their full potential height as adults.

 

  • Iron –Iron is involved in brain development in early life and is found in several vegetables and animal products or by-products. Lack of iron causes a condition called iron deficiency anemia (IDA) that results in growth and cognitive retardation (3).

 

  • Vitamin D – Much like calcium, vitamin D is involved in bone formation and growth via growth hormone (GH). Vitamin D is normally fortified in many calcium-rich food sources, like daily products. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to lack of bone mineralization, hence weak bones.

 

  • B Vitamins –Vitamin B is crucial for brain development in early life; primarily B6 (folate) and B12. These vitamins are most abundant in animal products or by-products. Children who lack the recommended intake of B6 and B12 are at risk for developmental delays, anorexia, or neurological

 

Multivitamins for children

Even when children are consuming the recommended DRIs, they may need to add a multivitamin. Supplementing multivitamins into the diet ensures meeting the body’s need to carry out developmental functions.

There are also certain categories of children who should be using multivitamins on a regular basis to ensure their daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals are being met. These are children who are at risk for nutrient deficiencies, including those who are (1):

 

  • Extremely picky eaters (or struggle to eat a variety of fortified foods)
  • On a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • Suffering from a condition that affects the absorption of or increases the need for nutrients, (i.e., food allergies, celiac disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD))
  • Have had surgery that impacts their digestive system (stomach and/or intestines)

Dietary preferences, like vegetarianism, or veganism, that lack a variety of food types and/or animal products are at risk of calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins B12 and D deficiencies (1).  Also, children with gastrointestinal diseases are at risk for deficiencies of several different vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, vitamin D, and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) (1).

Nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition during childhood can lead to serious consequences over time, like abnormal or stunted growth or developmental delays. But this can be avoided by supplementing a child’s diet with reliable multivitamin.

 

Purchasing a reliable multivitamin for your child

If you believe your child is failing to grow both physically and developmentally and are suspecting a nutrient deficiency, you may want to look into a reliable multivitamin for your child.

When selecting a reliable multivitamin, ensure your ultimate choice is high-quality, designed for your child’s age group, and doesn’t provide more than 100% of the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals (4).

 

In addition, ensure you keep multivitamins out of your child’s reach and invest time in educating your child on multivitamin use. Education is especially important if you purchase the gummy-style multivitamin, which can be mistaken for candy (leading to potential toxicity).

Seek advice from a medical professional

It’s important to note that while several are picky eaters, many common foods — like breakfast cereal, milk, and orange juice — are fortified with key nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and iron (4). Due to this your child may be getting more vitamins and minerals than you assume, which is why you want to be cautious of vitamin and mineral megadoses. These can be toxic, especially for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K that are stored in body fat (1).

Consult with a healthcare professional to discuss if you are consuming an adequate amount of the recommended vitamins and minerals through your daily diet.

And as always, if you are experiencing any of negative reactions and/or if a(n) multivitamin may interact with medications your child takes, seek out the advice of a medical professional immediately.

Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD

 

References

 

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamins-for-kids
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/myplate.html
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12708125
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/multivitamins/faq-20058310

 

This liquid formula with Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and essential trace minerals for active growing children.

Buried Treasure Children’s Daily Liquid Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement

  • Buried Treasure Children’s Daily Multivitamin and Minerals
  • DV of essential vitamins, minerals in a non-gmo whole food plant sourced supplement
  • Free from gluten, dairy, wheat and yeast.

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD),

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD), freelance nutrition and health writer, and wellness blogger. She is the owner/operator of The Freelance RD writing service and blog. Her business provides mainly writing services, but also product development, educational services and brand partnerships.

As an RD, Allison embraces a modern approach to nutrition and wellness. She believes we benefit most from building positive, balanced connections between mind, body, food, and environment. And she is passionate about sharing that philosophy through wellness communication and writing.

Her educational background is through Iowa State University, where she completed both her undergraduate degree and dietetics internship. She is currently studying towards an Masters in Public Health.

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Vitamin K: 5 Benefits, classification, and daily requirements

Vitamin K in food concept. Plate in the shape of the letter K with different fresh leafy green vegetables, lettuce, herbs on wooden background. Flat lay or top view.

Vitamin K in food concept. Plate in the shape of the letter K with different fresh leafy green vegetables, lettuce, herbs on wooden background. Flat lay or top view.

Vitamin K: 5 Benefits, classification, and daily requirements

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for the proper functioning of the body, and although it does not provide energy, this vitamin is important because it is involved in numerous metabolic processes.

Classification of Vitamin K

  • Filoquinone or Vitamin K1: It is the most common form of vitamin K, this presents in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and carrots.
  • Menaquinone or Vitamin K2: This type of vitamin K is synthesized by bacterial microorganisms at the intestinal level. The human microbiota is able to synthesize small amounts of vitamin K2; it can also be found in fermented products such as yogurt, and other foods such as meat and eggs.
  • Menadione or Vitamin K3: It is considered a provitamin because it is of synthetic origin; however, once ingested, it acts as a substrate for the synthesis of vitamin K1. (1)

 

5 Benefits of Vitamin K

  1. Control the coagulation system

Vitamin K is an important cofactor for the coagulation system, because it promotes the synthesis of coagulation factors, especially after any tissue injury, helping to avoid bleeding.  The presence of this vitamin is important in the first hours of life, and that is why doses of vitamin K are given in newborn babies because they do not produce it immediately.

  1. A must have for Bone Health

The process of bone synthesis is dependent on vitamin D, and K. Vitamin K is the precursor of osteocalcin, a protein responsible for bone formation.  After menopause, women should pay attention to their vitamin D and K levels to preserve bone health.

  1. Control blood glucose levels

Adequate consumption of vitamin K helps stimulate insulin secretion, controlling blood glucose levels. Low levels of vitamin K have been associated with imbalances in glucose levels, especially during fasting, so if you plan to follow diets such as intermittent fasting or ketogenic diet, you will need to get adequate amounts of vitamin K from food or supplements. (2)

  1. Protects cardiovascular health

Vitamin K favors the elasticity of the coronary arteries and the aorta, preventing its calcification; this allows better blood flow to the entire body organ. Vitamin K is essential to optimal cardiovascular health.

  1. Stimulates the growth of nervous system cells

Vitamin K provides the necessary conditions for the growth of cells of the nervous system. Vitamin K is necessary for the synthesis of sphingolipids, an essential component for the formation of neuronal structures and for the conduction of nerve impulses. Consuming the required daily amounts of vitamin K could help improve neurological performance. (4)

 

What is the daily requirement of vitamin K?

In adults, it is necessary to ingest 75mcg / day of vitamin K from the foods you consume daily. In newborns, the requirements are 2mcg / day.

Are vitamin K supplements necessary?

Requirements in adults may vary depending on the condition, Consult with your health care professional and find out if you should be taking vitamin K today.

References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002407.htm
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899900716000411
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585988/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648721/
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Vitamin E

Vitamin E liquid vitamins for health and wellness

Vitamin E

Vitamin E comprises a combination of 8 different compounds (4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols) that exhibit vitamin E activity. The tocopherols include isomer alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol and omega-tocopherols. They are all derivatives of tocol or 6-hydroxy chromane ring with phytyl side chain. All the tocopherols are alkaline sensitive, and their vitamin activity is destroyed through oxidation. Of all the tocopherols, alpha-tocopherol is the most potent and widely distributed in nature.  Vitamin E is only found in plant dietary sources such as oils, nuts, grains, wheat and fruits. Therefore, excessive cooking and food processing may destroy vitamin E to some extent. It is fats-soluble hence, stored in the body and used as needed. Each isomer of vitamin E confers unique properties and hence functions and applications especially in the manufacture of food and beverage products.  To begin with, the dietary tocopherols maintain cell integrity by functioning as antioxidants and free radical scavengers. It also prevents the peroxidation of membrane lipids especially polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of membrane phospholipids.

 Vitamin E supports the immune system.  First, it has the ability to reduce free radical damage and promote healthy inflammation response which confers its immune supportive function. As an antioxidant, vitamin E protects cells from damage. The alpha-tocopherols present in the membrane protect membrane lipids from radical attacks to cause a change in membrane structure.  The damaging of body cells increases susceptibility to invasion by foreign bodies. Vitamin E therefore acts as a chain breaking antioxidant. The antioxidant function is also helpful when exposed to risk factors such as ultra violet light or cigarette smoke. Its antioxidation function also, balances cholesterol preventing its transforming to a toxic form.

Additionally, vitamin E plays a role in the maintenance of muscle tone. Most of the vitamin E is normally stored in the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. It also has a metabolic role that ensures optimal body functioning. Vitamin E notably   prevents hormonal imbalance especially the nervous and endocrine systems.  In addition, Vitamin E supports spermatogenesis.

Vitamin E is beneficial to the skin as it strengthens the capillary walls and therefore, their moisture and elasticity. Additionally, it enhances the healing process of the skin by speeding up cell regeneration. It is absorbed by the epidermal layer of the skin. As such, vitamin E slows down the aging process and aids in improvement of athletic performance such as running by reducing the oxidative stress on muscles post exercise.  Vitamin E counteracts the formation of free radicals that weaken and break down healthy cells hence promoting longevity.

Other therapeutic uses of vitamin E include the ability to induce apoptosis. This helps in the elimination of damaged cells or DNA thus minimizing errors. Modified Vitamin E is  that proaptotic agent that is  used in the process of   eliminating such cells.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare. The daily requirement for an adult is up to 10mg per day. However, during states of increased physiological needs such as in pregnancy or during lactation the amount increases to about 12-13mg/day.  It entails a deficiency in intake of all the isomers. At times Vitamin E toxicity may occur due to self-medication with large doses of vitamin E.

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Para-Aminobenzoic Acid – PABA

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is an organic compound found in folic acid vitamin. It is therefore considered to be partially a member of the vitamin B-complex.  However, it is not really a vitamin but an amino-acid that is part of folic acid. It has the same chemical structure as sulphonamides .The para-aminobenzoil moiety of PABA renders it a vitamin B complex factor and a component of folacin as well. Other dietary sources that contain PABA include grains, milk, meat and eggs. It can be synthesized in the body hence considered a non-essential nutrient in humans. However, PABA despite being made by the body is not synthesized directly since we do not produce the necessary enzymes required for its formation. Instead intestinal bacteria such as Escherichia Coli in the intestines executes this task by utilizing the enzymes 4-amino-4-deoxychorismate lyase and 4-amino-4-deoxychorismate synthetase on chorismate. Plants also have the ability to synthesize PABA using chloroplasts .Nonetheless, PABA is used in the synthesis of folic acid which is an essential nutrient.

First, PABA is important for healthy hair and skin. It protects the hair follicles reducing the onset of wrinkles and keeping it smooth. Notably, the potassium salt of PABA is beneficial for the maintenance of a healthy skin and hair. It helps maintain a consistent skin tone with a soft texture. It prevents or reverses the accumulation of abnormal   fibrous tissues.  It is also protective against harmful ultraviolet light from the sun. It has the ability to absorb ultraviolet rays from the sun thus minimizing damage to the skin (Cholangitis).

Additionally, PABA together with pantothenic acid maintains the health and pigmentation of hair.  PABA has the ability to restore graying hair to its original color. Its effectiveness is improved when it is used in combination with inositol and pantothenic acid.

PABA influences energy production as it functions in the breakdown and utilization of proteins (PABA (Para-aminobenzoic acid): The Vitamin that functions in the breakdown and utilization of proteins and in the formation of blood cells, 2012). PABA is also beneficial in reducing fatigue and reversing the effects of depression. It also exerts anti-inflammatory effects by relieving pain and swelling. PABA also enhances the action and effects of some hormones such as estrogen, cortisone and others by delaying their metabolism in the liver.  This may be responsible for   its role in the maintaining of reproductive glands.

As a precursor of folic acid PABA is necessary for the synthesis of folic acid by gut bacteria that in turn stimulate the synthesis of B-5.  As such, PABA   is necessary in the formation of red blood cells.  The PABA biosynthetic enzymes that take part in the biosynthesis of folate include PabA, PabB and PAbC.

PABA also helps with the digestion process.  It acts as a coenzyme in various metabolic body processes that help support intestinal bacteria that are essential for proper digestion. It functions as a co-enzyme in amino-acid metabolism and red blood cell formation.  Human cells require folate cofactors to act as acceptor or donor one carbon units in the various biosynthetic processes that take place in the body such as the formation of purines and pyrimidine.  This also helps with its immunomodulating function. Since PABA is readily available from dietary sources and intestinal bacteria, nutritional deficiency of PABA is rare.  Nonetheless, PABA does not have a definite set recommended Daily Allowance.

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Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is one of the eight essential B complex vitamins. It is also known as niacin. It encompasses two pyridine derivatives, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. These are both heat and stable to acid and alkali and can withstand enzymatic hydrolysis. Niacin in humans is synthesized from tryptophan extracted from dietary sources.  As such disruptions in tryptophan metabolism or low consumption can result in niacin deficiency. Additionally, the conversion of tryptophan to niacin is dependent on an enzyme known as kynureninase which is a vitamin B6 dependent enzyme.  Therefore, vitamin B6 deficiency can also cause niacin deficiency. Nicotimide is the active form of niacin.  It participates in various metabolic processes courtesy of its two main substrates NAD and NADP that are involved in oxidation-reduction reactions.  

Niacin is essential   in the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system.  It helps balance the blood cholesterol and triacyglyceride levels. Niacin is used to lower the elevated levels of low density cholesterol (LDL) and boost the levels of high density cholesterol (HDL).  This is significant in vascular health as it helps prevent the hardening of arteries. Besides, niacin is involved in the production of histamine that has the ability to dilate blood vessels and hence improve circulation. Unfortunately, niacin has also been shown to increase the levels of homocysteine in blood that may impair with normal cardiac function.

Niacin forms part of coenzymes for instance, nicotinamide is a component of two coenzymes Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide ( NAD) and  Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate(NADP). These two play significant metabolic roles in living cells. Through these coenzymes, niacin is involved in various biological oxidation-reduction reactions   that are essential to electron transport and other cellular respiratory reactions. Specifically, NAD functions as an electron carrier for intracellular respiration to facilitate energy production.

Niacin is also involved in the metabolism of fats, proteins carbohydrates and alcohol as a cofactor to produce energy. On the other hand, NADP functions as a hydrogen donor in processes involving reductive biosynthesis such as fatty acid and steroid synthesis.  Also,  the niacin derived coenzymes NAD and NADP function as soluble electron carriers between proteins. Therefore, niacin is important for the conversion of food to energy.  In addition, NAD molecules are not only essential for energy production and storage but also synthesis of DNA in cells. As such, it enables the normal growth and development especially in growing children.

 Aside energy production niacin plays a significant role in curbing inflammation.  As such, it can be used to reduce inflammatory signs such edema, swelling, redness. Its anti-inflammatory property is also useful in relieving joint pain and swelling. Niacin also enhances muscle strength. Anti-inflammation function also helps niacin maintain a healthy skin. It is responsible for the repair of damaged DNA in exposed areas of the skin that have been damaged by ultra-violet light.  Areas of the skin especially exposed areas develop sunburns which then advance to pigmentation and ulceration. The most affected body parts are the neck, forearms and fingers. Additionally, its function as a vasodilator also helps improve blood flow in the skin.  This is also crucial for proper brain function since it improves blood flow to the brain.

Typically, the intake of niacin is dependent on the levels of tryptophan in the diet. Niacin deficiency affects the skin, gastrointestinal and nervous system. This is characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and dementia. The diarrhea is as a result of the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract. Good dietary sources of niacin include whole grains, legumes, peanuts, liver, fish and meat. Milk and egg although poor sources of niacin are rich in tryptophan.

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Vitamin B2 Riboflavin

Riboflavin: Vitamin B2

Also known as riboflavin it is present in plants, bacteria.  However, it is absent in vertebrates. It is a colored micronutrient that is easily absorbed to maintain proper functioning of tissues and organs. The word riboflavin is derived from “Ribose” meaning sugar whose reduced form is ribitol and “flavin’ which is a ring moiety that is responsible for the yellow color of the oxidized molecule of vitamin B2.

Its structure is made up of a heterocyclic isoalloxazine ring and a sugar alcohol known as ribitol. Although sensitive to light and alkali it is stable against heat and acidic medium. The active forms of riboflavin are flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine mononucleotide (FAD).These forms the prosthetic groups of various enzymes known as flavoenzymes. The flavoenzymes play a key role in catalyzing oxidation-reduction reactions by acting as carriers of hydrogen atoms. On the other hand, the isoalloxazine rings participates in the oxidation reduction of substrates .The isoalloxazine ring is reduced to FMNH2 and FADH2.

Just like other B vitamins riboflavin is crucial for the normal physiologic processes.  It is necessary for normal development, growth, reproduction, lactation, physical performance and general well-being. Vitamin B 2 being a precursor of essential coenzymes FAD and FMN takes  part in a range of essential biochemical redox reactions, especially in those that yield high energy. It is involved in various metabolic reactions and takes part in the mitochondrial electron transport chain to produce energy.

Riboflavin is also required for the synthesis and repair of nucleic acids, namely RNA and DNA. As such, it promotes growth and fertility since it supports reproduction of the various body cells including sex cells. It also promotes good vision in combination with vitamin A.  In addition, it is important for the maintenance of a healthy skin, nails and hair.

Riboflavin also plays a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals as it is involved in the regeneration of glutathione, the body’s main defense system against free radical damage. It is these free radicals that damage DNA and cells. Riboflavin is also necessary for folic acid activation. It also activates pyridoxine. Additionally, it plays a role in the conversion of tryptophan to niacin in the liver.

Riboflavin is also involved in the metabolism of fats, ketone bodies carbohydrates and proteins to produce energy. Therefore, riboflavin is important for stimulating growth by providing nutrients from the metabolized macromolecules. Being the central component of various co-factors such as flavin adenine mononucleotide and flavin mononucleotide it plays a key role in catalyzing redox reactions in the body to produce energy. As such, it is commonly known as one of the energy vitamins.

Riboflavin deficiency known as ariboflavinosis can occur as a result of aging and reduced efficiency in absorption.  Deficiency normally occurs in combination with deficiency of other vitamins. It is characterized by cracked and red lips, inflammation of the lining of the mouth and tongue, dry scaly skin, fluid in mucous membranes, mouth ulcers, and cracks at the corners of the mouth.

The recommended daily allowance in the United States is 1.3 mg for males and 1.1 mg for females. It is best absorbed when taken between meals, since just like thiamine; riboflavin requirement also depends on the carbohydrate intake. Rich sources of vitamin B2 include cereals, meat , fish, fish and dark-green vegetables. Milk and other dairy products fortified with B2 are the largest dietary contributors in the western population. The body does not have a mechanism for storing riboflavin and as such must be replenished on a regular basis through dietary intake. There is no toxicity at higher intake as it is excreted in urine.

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Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine

Vitamin B 6 is also known as pyridoxine.  It is involved in a wide range of metabolic, developmental and physiologic processes. The three compounds that show vitamin B6 activity include pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. All these molecules are present in food and are converted to pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP) the most active form of vitamin B 6. Pyridoxine is stable to heat and sensitive to heat and alkali. Pyridoxal phosphate the active form of vitamin B6 gives vitamin B6 its various functions. It has a wide array of functions; it acts as a prosthetic group or coenzyme of various enzymes involved in metabolic processes such as transamination, decarboxylation, transsulfaration, desulfaration and non-oxidative deamination reactions. It also plays an essential role in the synthesis of heme, niacin, neurotransmitter, connective tissues, and sphingolipids in nerve sheaths as elaborated.

To begin with, pyridoxine functions as an enzymatic co-factor. It is a suitable cofactor for various biochemical reactions due to its water solubility and high reactivity when phosphorylated.  VitB6 takes part in more than 140 enzymatic reactions.   Most of the PLP-dependent enzymes catalyze important steps in the amino acid metabolism,  for instance co-catalyzing transamination, racemization, decarboxylation, and  alpha ,beta-elimination reactions.  A good example of PLP cofactor function is  in the regulation of steroid hormone action.

Apart from its function as a potent cofactor for PLP-dependent enzymes, pyridoxine is also thought to act directly as a protective agent against free radicals such as reactive oxygen species, like singlet oxygen hence playing a significant role as an antioxidant.  In fact, Vitamin B 6 is more potent than tocopherols or carotenoids in its ability to neutralize the reactive oxygen species.  As such, it prevents damage to the cellular membranes that can result in reversible cell death and hence harm the body.

It is also essential in the formation of neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin and catecholamines..  For instance, pyridoxal phosphate acts as a co-enzyme of glutamate de-carboxylase that converts glutamate to gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA).Deficiency therefore, results in seizures in children due to decreased formation of the neurotransmitters. However, in high amounts it can cause nerve damage. In children especially it is necessary for the normal development of the central nervous system.

Vitamin B6 in the form of PLP is necessary for the metabolism of proteins, sugar and fatty acids as well. This occurs through the transfer of amino and sulfur groups. Vital polyunsaturated fatty acids are synthesized through the desaturation of linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid. Storage carbohydrates such as glycogen are broken down under the cofactor activity of PLP. It also has an immunosupportive function. It is necessary for a healthy immune system. Pyridoxine is also crucial for mounting an effective immune response through stimulation of the immune cells. Deficiency in pyridoxine has been shown to alter the immune response.

Pyridoxine is also important for the cardiovascular health.  Just like folates and cobalamines, it helps to reduce the levels of homocsyteine an intermediate in methionine metabolism.  A PLP dependent enzyme helps convert homocsyteine to methionine. Homocysteine is considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis and venous thrombosis. Also has a role in reduction of high blood pressure.

 Vitamin B 6 is essential for the activation of glycine in the initial stages of heme production which makes it a key molecule in the formation of hemoglobin. As such, deficiency could result in anemia. Vitamin B 6 is also essential for growth and maintaining a healthy skin. Deficiency may result in poor skin health such as the occurrence of skin lesions.

Indeed, pyridoxine is essential for   the cellular metabolism and general well-being of all living organism. The recommended daily allowance in adults is mainly determined by the amount of protein intake. For adults, it is a minimum of 2 mg of B6 per 100grams of consumed protein, whereas in children it ranges from 0.6 to 1.2 mg per 100 grams of protein. Nonetheless, pyridoxine deficiency is rare.

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Iodine

iodine supplement uses and benefits

Iodine

Iodine is one of the mineral elements that is required not only for thyroid functioning but also for general optimal body functioning. In fact, it is needed in extra thyroidal areas in larger amounts than the thyroid gland itself. Nonetheless, the primary role of the iodine is the syntheses of thyroid hormones .The ovaries hold the second highest concentration of iodine after the thyroid. Receptors for iodine uptake are also found in the skin, gastric mucosa, adrenal gland, heart, thymus, lung kidney bladder, mammary gland, salivary glands and the breast. As such, iodine is essential. This is due to the fact that Iodine cannot be synthesized naturally by the body. It is therefore an essential element in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Good sources include iodized salt or sea weed. Therefore, iodine not only confers thyroidal uses but also extrathyroidal benefits as well.

Iodine  is essential for thyroid functioning as it helps in the conversion of  thyroid stimulating hormone(TSH)  to triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine(T4) which are the biologically active forms of  thyroid hormone.  Notably, thyroid hormones are involved in various functions in the body such as regulation of metabolism, bone health, mounting an immune response and development of the central nervous system.

Iodine also helps regulate the immune system as it helps fight infections. In addition, iodine can enhance the immune function by helping remove both toxic chemical toxins and biological toxins. Additionally, iodine is effective in suppressing autoimmunity which keeps immunity in check. It also protects against bodies invasion by foreign organisms especially in the stomach. In addition, Iodine reinforces T-cell adaptive immune system.

Just like vitamin C Iodine functions as an antioxidizing agent. It is important for raising the total serum antioxidant capacity.  Iodine neutralizes reactive oxygen species such as superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical that have the potential to destroy the cellular membranes. Iodide specifically scavenges for hydroxyl radicals. Besides, experimental models have shown that iodine prevents lipid peroxidation in brain cells of rats. It does this by attaching to the double bonds of the polyunsarurated fatty acids in the cellular membranes thus rendering them less susceptible to free radicals.

Iodine induces apoptosis which entails programmed cells death, an important process in regulating body growth and development. Take for instance, the formation of fingers in the growing fetus is through apoptosis of the tissue between them. Additionally, it helps destroy harmful cells in the body such as mutated or infected cells.

Iodine supports cardiac function and cardiovascular health. As it is, sufficient levels of iodine are required to maintain a stable rhythmic heartbeat. Besides, it is directly or indirectly involved in the regulation of the levels of the serum cholesterol levels and hence maintenance of the blood pressure.

Skin health and functioning is also influenced by iodine. According to research, the ability to sweat is influenced by iodine. Low levels of iodine stores prevent sweating. Iodine also plays a crucial role in glucose metabolism. Iodine has shown the ability to attach itself to insulin receptors hence improving glucose metabolism.   As such, iodine is important for both physical and mental growth. The thyroid hormones are required for proper brain and bone development during pregnancy and early infancy. Iodine is crucial for the development of the central nervous system.

Indeed, iodine not only has a role in the synthesis and functioning of the thyroid hormones but also has a direct impact on all the other tissues that utilize iodine. An excessive of iodine or deficiency of it is harmful to the body. Inadequate intake means that the body cannot produce enough amount of thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency is rare since table salt is iodized. The average daily intake of iodine in the United States averages 240 mcg that is well within the normal range of 150-299 mcg/day.

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Folate and Folic Acid

folic acid folate b vitamins

Folate and Folic Acid

Folic acid is a member of the B-complex group.  It plays a key role in cellular metabolism, growth and energy production just like all the other members of B-complex. Folate occurs naturally in whole foods. Folic acid  being  one of the B vitamins found is found in dietary sources such as leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans and peas. It not only takes the form of water-soluble vitamin B, but also occurs in many different forms. In the body it exists in metabolically active derivatives of tetrahydrofolate (THF) such as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) (Rao, 2006).This is the main circulative form of folate that gives its action in the body. The structure of folic acid comprises a pteridine nucleus, p-aminobenzoic acid and glutamate. Although sensitive to light and acid, folic acid is stable to heat and alkali. Folic acid performs some of the most vital functions in the body ranging from cellular formation to energy production.

First, folic is crucial for neural tube formation during fetal development.  As such, defective folate metabolism interferes with the closure of the neural tube during development. Besides, deficiency during pregnancy triggers the development of neural tube defects (NTD), which include the malformations of the spine and brain. Taking of folic acid prior to conception has shown to reduce the risk of NTDs by up to 50-60 %. Notably, folic acid not only in the formation but also maintenance of new cells.  As it is, it also helps in the synthesis of DNA through nucleotides in rapidly dividing cells such as the bone marrow cells or erythropoietic cells or intestinal cells. Hence deficiency is associated with a low red blood cell count.

Another vital function of folic acid is that it also helps regulate the blood levels of homocystiene that has a therapeutic effect on cardiac function. As such, folic acid acts to reduce homocisteine levels improve vascular function by reducing the risk of hardening blood vessels. This helps in the maintaining of a healthy and efficient cardiovascular health.

Folic acid is also required for proper growth and development of the body as it is involved in the production of DNA and RNA. It not only synthesizes but also repairs and maintains stability of the formed DNA hence helping in growth and maintenance of muscle tissues as well. These are essential during states of rapid growth such as during pregnancy or puberty due to the increased physiological demands. Also, plays a key role in building and repair of skin cells in the body. Besides, it facilitates the replacement of senile cells with new ones keeping the skin fresh.

Folate also functions as a co-factor/co-enzyme thus influencing certain biological reactions in the body such as the DNA methylation. It acts in combination with other enzymes to perform crucial body processes such as DNA synthesis. Further, folic acid has as a free radical scavenging activity that is more efficient than that of vitamin C and E. This helps maintain the viability of cells as the scavenging action protects the body cells against cell membrane damage.

Folic acid is essential in cognitive function. It helps prevent the degeneration of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that coordinates learning and memory.  Its regulation of homocsyteine levels that is toxic to neurons also influences its action on the brain. Deficiency in folate is rare since it is only required in small amounts. Experimental animal studies have shown that folic acid deficiency results in growth retardation. It also manifests with low blood count that are abnormally large.