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Know Your Vitamins

Apr 14, 2011 2:58:52 PM - thesundayleader.lk

The human body is like a power engine. Just as a machine needs to be fuelled constantly, our body must be replenished regularly with vitamins for it to function properly. Vitamins, which function as catalysts and coenzymes, protect cells and are important links in the metabolic armour. Yet, very little is understood about these essential components.
Each of the vitamins — A, C, D, E, K and B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12) — has an individual role to play in the body.  Most people believe that if they take a multivitamin tablet they won’t fall ill, or when they cross 40 they must supplement their diet with one. Some people also believe that if they’re stressed or dieting they must then double their dose of vitamins in order to compensate.
In fact, if the multi-vitamin contains iron and minerals it leads to gastric problems. Therefore, even vitamins  A, D3, E and K  are fat-soluble. A high dose of these vitamins can become toxic in the body and in extreme cases may even lead to mental and neurological changes like memory lapses, tremors as well as urinary incontinence. So you might want to think twice before you pop that pill before jumping into bed at night!

There is no clinical syndrome or arithmetic to prove that if you do not intake vitamins and food today there will be a paucity of it in a couple of weeks. A lot depends on your food reserves and how much you utilise your body.
The most dependable way to replenish your body with adequate amounts of vitamins is to follow a well-balanced diet. However, it is not enough to simply consume them. You should also ensure they get absorbed into your system.
Erratic lifestyles, eating late, not chewing the food properly, binging before going to bed, consuming too much oily stuff or junk food, antibiotics, caffeine and alcohol restricts the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the body. Consumption of excess alcohol requires the vitamin B complex group for it to be metabolised.
When alcohol gets into the system, the liver gets too busy trying to metabolise it and doesn’t find the time to do its natural work, which is manufacturing proteins. Likewise, people who smoke, go on crash diets, or intake other harmful substances can run down on vitamin reserves as well.
Here is some of the latest research concerning Vitamins A and D, two types that are critical to the functioning of your body.

Vitamin D to reduce the severity of PMS

Breathe a sigh of relief, ladies. It looks like a drug-free solution to PMS could be around the corner. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that women who got more vitamin D from their diet were less likely to suffer from PMS than those who ate less.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because when the sun’s UVB rays hit our skin we produce a precursor, which travels to the liver and then the kidneys to make active vitamin D. Although not rich in most foods, vitamin D is found in certain foods, such as salmon, egg yolk and cod liver oil. Just like all vitamins, vitamin D is important and may affect weight, autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes) and even asthma. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D, ask your doctor to run a blood test to check your levels before reaching for supplements, since taking too much may harm your health. To get more vitamin D, enjoy sunlight regularly (don’t go overboard, remember the risks of skin cancer) and vitamin D from the foods listed above.

Benefits of Vitamin A for breast cancer patients

Women who have received positive breast cancer tests may benefit from increasing the amount of vitamin A they get in their diet. A new study has shown that a derivative of the nutrient may control the growth of tumor cells and keep them from becoming an issue. A group of researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center examined the effects of retinoic acid, which the body produces from vitamin A, on the growth of several types of breast cancer cells. They showed that the substance can keep tumor cells from replicating and spreading throughout tissue.
Past studies showed similar results, but it was not clear how retinoic acid stopped cancer growth. The new study indicates that it appears to regulate the expression of certain genes within tumor cells. This may instruct these cells to halt their growth or even instruct them to self-destruct.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to the stiffening of arteries

According to new research, a lack of vitamin D has been linked to a stiffening of arteries.
The new study has shown that those participants who increased their levels of vitamin D were able to increase their vascular health and also lower their blood pressure.

Dietary Tips For A Healthier You
•    Eat slowly. Take 20 minutes or more at each meal.
•    Keep low-calorie snack foods handy, such as celery and carrot sticks
•    Save one item from your meal to eat later
•    Use smaller plates to make servings appear larger.
•    Drink low-calorie liquids before or during meals to fill up faster.
•    Don’t make drastic changes in your eating habits when you diet. You’ll never stay with a way of eating that demands the impossible.
•    Pour salt, pepper, or sugar over foods you want to leave uneaten on your plate.
•    Cut down on desserts, regular pop, fried foods, gravies and chips
•    Be careful about sugar in coffee and soda pop. It can add up quickly, and these drinks aren’t filling
•    Start right now; never put off.