Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins are needed for growth and good health. Vitamins are chemical compounds that control the chemical reactions within the body.They are derived from organic substances like plants and animals. The chemical reactions within the body that vitamins regulate include:
- Converting food into energy and living tissue.
- Helping the body use the energy nutrients.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Maintaining normal body tissue.
Vitamins are only needed in small amounts. There are a total of 13 different vitamins required for the human body. There are basically two types of vitamins:
These vitamins are able to dissolve in fat and therefore can be stored in the body.
- A Promotes healthy immune system and maintains healthy skin.
- D Assists in absorbing calcium.
- E This is an Antioxidant. It protects cells from damage and is vital in the health of red blood cell.
- K This vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting.
These vitamins need to be dissolved in water before the body can use them. For this reason the water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in the body. These vitamins if not utilized by the body immediately will be eliminated through the urine. Therefore one must replenish these vitamins daily to ensure good health.
- C- Ascorbic Acid Helps form collagen, essential for healthy bones, gums, and blood vessels. Aids in healing wounds and assists in brain function. Aids the body in iron absorption.
- B1- Thiamin Thiamin converts carbohydrates to energy and helps the heart muscles and nervous system function properly.
- B2- Riboflavin Riboflavin is essential for turning carbohydrates into energy and for producing red blood cells.
- B3- Niacin Niacin helps transform food into energy and is important in maintaining healthy skin and nerve function.
- B6 B6 is used in protein metabolism and helps the nervous and immune system function. It is used in the production of hemoglobin.
- B9- Folate Folic acid is used by the body for making red blood cells and DNA.
- B12 B12 helps in the creation of red blood cells and healthy nerve cell function.
The body is able to produce some vitamins such as vitamin K as well as:
- Biotin Biotin is used to make fatty acids and glucose, which are essential for the production of energy.It also aids in metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- Pantothenic Acid This is used in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is also used to make hormones and cholesterol.
Exposure to sunlight daily (10 – 15 minutes is sufficient) can produce vitamin D. All other vitamins must come from a proper diet or dietary supplement.
Minerals are inorganic elements that are derived from soil and water and absorbed by plants and animals. Minerals are needed for several body functions including building strong bones, transmitting nerve signals, maintaining a normal heart beat, and are used to produce necessary hormones. Some minerals such as calcium are required in large amounts while others are required in much smaller quantities called Trace amounts.
- Calcium Calcium is vital for strong teeth and bones.
- Iron Iron helps the red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
- Magnesium Magnesium helps muscles and nerves function. It steadies the heartbeat and keeps bones strong. It also helps the body create energy and create proteins.
- Phosphorus Phosphorus helps form healthy bones and teeth. It helps the body make energy and it is a part of every cell membrane. Every cell in the body needs phosphorus to function normally.
- Potassium Potassium helps with muscle and nervous system function. It also aids in the maintaining of the balance of water in the blood and body tissues.
- Zinc Zinc is important for normal growth, strong immunity and wound healing.
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements
When considering a multi-vitamin & mineral supplement, one should consider a liquid supplement. Many supplements are sold in a pill or tablet form. I consider these a potential waste of time and money. It is possible these forms of supplements may pass through the body unabsorbed. As much as 90% unabsorbed according to some reports. In addition to a liquid or sublingual supplement I strongly suggest seeking out one that is an organic, whole-food based blend. These are superior value for your health and dollar. These products are often very complete and balanced in their nutrition so it is not necessary to have a cabinet full of supplements. They often have excellent nutritional sources such as blends of 24 whole food antioxidant vegetables, essential fatty acids, superfruits, berries and full spectrum mineral content. Three very excellent brands I have tried are:
- Peter Gillham’s Natural Vitality Liquid Organic Life Vitamins
- Nature’s Plus Source of Life Liquid Multivitamins
- Smart Basics Whole Food Based Ultra V Liquid Multi-Vitamins
Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. This is especially important during a cleansing program however a daily probiotic will help ensure good health.
Enzymes are essential chemicals that are the foundation of the body’s functions. They activate the chemical reactions that are constantly taking place within the body. Enzymes work together with vitamins (coenzymes) and allow all of the activities that occur within the body to function normally.
Amino Acids are compounds that make up the proteins in life processes. They are the units linked by peptides to create proteins. There are over eighty different amino acids that we know of though only twenty of these are used by the human body. Of these twenty, the body is able to produce twelve. The remaining eight are known as essential amino acids and must be consumed in the diet or through supplements. In addition to creating proteins they serve as chemical messengers and play a large role in metabolism.
Essential Fatty Acids
The body does need fats and oils. Some fats and oils are healthy. These are known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s). EFAs are the components which fats and oils are built. These vital elements of health are not made by the body and must be consumed with the diet or through supplements. They are sometimes referred to as Vitamin F or polyunsaturates. EFAs are vital for healthy skin, nails and hair. They play an important role in new cells growth and healing and are required by every cell in the body. The brain requires large concentrations of them to perform normally and the body uses them to produce chemical messengers called prostaglandins which are responsible for regulating many body processes. EFAs also benefit the overall health of the body by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, and may help prevent degenerative joint illnesses. There are three basic categories:
- OMEGA-3 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (Alpha Linoleic Acid) are found in flaxseed oil (flaxseed oil has the highest linolenic content of any food), flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, etc.), canola oil (cold-pressed and unrefined), soybean oil, wheat germ oil, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, and others.
- OMEGA-6 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (Linoleic Acid) are found in flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, hempseeds, grapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds (raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, chestnut oil, chicken, among many others.
Linoleic is the most essential EFA and is converted into non-beneficial trans-fatty acids by hydrogenation or the making of hard oils like margarine.
- OMEGA-9 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (Oleic Acids) are found in Olive oil (extra virgin or virgin), olives, avocados, almonds, peanuts, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.
Warning: Avoid refined and hydrogenated versions of these oils.
EFA are available as dietary supplements if one cannot get daily requirements through the intake of food.
In short, I believe one should make every effort to get the proper nutrition for the body through organic. non -G.M.O. foods. This includes the intake of Herbs and Spices as a form of supplements to the diet. Please look at the information on that page to get a rudimentary understanding of this concept. Turmeric, cinnamon, curcumin and other herbs and spice should become a part of one’s daily diet. These medicinal herbs and spices are powerful medicines that greatly improve health in the body.
Some excellent online sources for supplements and health food that offer excellent value both in nutrition and expense: In the US and Canada http://www.vitacost.com/ and in the UK http://www.jgsupplements.com/ and http://www.highernature.co.uk/