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The essentials of good health and the need for supplementing vitamins

Vitamins and Minerals

Trace minerals carry out a diverse set of tasks. Here are a few examples: Iron is best known for ferrying oxygen throughout the body. Fluoride strengthens bones and wards off tooth decay. Zinc helps blood clot, is essential for taste and smell, and bolsters the immune response. Copper helps form several enzymes, one of which assists with iron metabolism and the creation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood.

The other trace minerals perform equally vital jobs, such as helping to block damage to body cells and forming parts of key enzymes or enhancing their activity.

  1. Fluoride strengthens bones and wards off tooth decay.
  2. Calcium Over 40 percent of the U.
  3. This vitamin is also hard to come by in food, which is why Taub-Dix says to look for this ingredient in your multi. Carotenoids such as lycopene in tomatoes and lutein in kale and flavonoids such as anthocyanins in blueberries, quercetin in apples and onions, and catechins in green tea are antioxidants.

Words to the wise Trace minerals interact with one another, sometimes in ways that can trigger imbalances. Too much of one can cause or contribute to a deficiency of another.

Here are some examples: A minor overload of manganese can exacerbate iron deficiency. Having too little can also cause problems. When the body has too little iodine, thyroid hormone production slows, causing sluggishness and weight gain as well as other health concerns. The problem worsens if the body also has too little selenium.

  • This vitamin is also hard to come by in food, which is why Taub-Dix says to look for this ingredient in your multi;
  • This site is for information only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

A closer look at antioxidants Antioxidant is a catchall term for any compound that can counteract unstable molecules such as free radicals that damage DNA, cell membranes, and other parts of cells. Your body cells naturally produce plenty of antioxidants to put on patrol. The foods you eat—and, perhaps, some of the supplements you take—are another source of antioxidant compounds. Carotenoids such as lycopene in tomatoes and lutein in kale and flavonoids such as anthocyanins in blueberries, quercetin in apples and onions, and catechins in green tea are antioxidants.

Top 5 Supplements for Good Health

The vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium also have antioxidant properties. Why free radicals may be harmful Free radicals are a natural byproduct of energy metabolism and are also generated by ultraviolet rays, tobacco smoke, and air pollution. They lack a full complement of electrons, which makes them unstable, so they steal electrons from other molecules, damaging those molecules in the process. Free radicals have a well-deserved reputation for causing cellular damage. But they can be helpful, too.

When immune system cells muster to fight intruders, the oxygen they use spins off an army of free radicals that destroys viruses, bacteria, and damaged body cells in an oxidative burst. Vitamin C can then disarm the free radicals.

How antioxidants may help Antioxidants are able to neutralize marauders such as free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. When a vitamin C or E molecule makes this sacrifice, it may allow a crucial protein, gene, or cell membrane to escape damage. This helps break a chain reaction that can affect many other cells.

Each of the nutrients that has antioxidant properties also has numerous other aspects and should be considered individually. The context is also important—in some settings, for example, vitamin C is an antioxidant, and in others it can be a pro-oxidant.

Words to the wise Articles and advertisements have touted antioxidants as a way to help slow aging, fend off heart disease, improve flagging vision, and curb cancer.

According to Nutritionists, These Are the 7 Ingredients Your Multivitamin Should Have

And laboratory studies and many large-scale observational trials the type that query people about their eating habits and supplement use and then track their disease patterns have noted benefits from diets rich in certain antioxidants and, in some cases, from antioxidant supplements. But results from randomized controlled trials in which people are assigned to take specific nutrients or a placebo have failed to back up many of these claims.

One study that pooled results from 68 randomized trials with over 230,000 participants found that people who were given vitamin E, beta carotene, and vitamin A had a higher risk of death than those who took a placebo.

There appeared to be no effect from vitamin C pills and a small reduction in mortality from selenium, but further research on these nutrients is needed. These findings suggest little overall benefit of the antioxidants in pill form. On the other hand, many studies show that people who consume higher levels of these antioxidants in food have a lower risk of many diseases. Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get your antioxidants. Adapted with permission from Making Sense of Vitamins and Minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthya special health report published by Harvard Health Publications.

This site is for information only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

  • Choosing the foods and nutrients you need to stay healthy , a special health report published by Harvard Health Publications;
  • However, magnesium may have more benefits than that.

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