Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Health Benefits of Vitamin E: Vitamin E Uses for Skin and Scars

Vitamin E was discovered in 1922, when rats were given a diet that was lacking in vitamin E, and they were unable to reproduce. When wheat germ oil was administered to them, they could reproduce. Then, vitamin E was isolated and was called the anti sterility vitamin.

Vitamin E provides
Several Health Benefits
What is Vitamin E?: What Does Vitamin E Do?
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. It is also called tocopherol; ‘tokos’ meaning ‘offspring’ and ‘phero’ meaning ‘to bear’.

Vitamin E is essential vitamin that has several pivotal roles to play, ranging from fertility, cardiovascular health, skin care, optimal nervous system functioning and prevention of cancer.

Vitamin E Health Benefits: Vitamin E Uses

Vitamin E is associated with a host of health benefits. Here are a few health benefits associated with the use of the supplement,

  • Vitamin E is a powerful anti oxidant; protecting the cells from free radical damage (i.e. damage caused by pollution, smoke, chemicals, stress, etc).
  • Vitamin E plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the nerve cells.
  • The vitamin influences the reproductive system too and is often called the ‘anti sterility’ hormone.
  • Vitamin E is also known to protect the heart and stave off cardiovascular diseases.
  • Being a potent free radical, vitamin E has the potential to prevent the development of cancer.
Vitamin E Food Sources: Vitamin E Supplements
Vitamin E rich foods are: wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, whole wheat, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and avocados.

A number of conditions are associated with vitamin E deficiency; acne, anemia, gall stones, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer being the common ones. Severe deficiency of vitamin E is relatively rare.

Vitamin E supplements are recommended by health care professionals to mange a host f medical conditions. Typically, vitamin E is given in a dose of 400 - 600 I.U. per day. It is well tolerated in high doses as well. However, do consult your doctor before starting the supplements, especially if you have a medical condition or are onto anti coagulant drugs.

Vitamin E for a
Healthy Skin
Vitamin E for Skin: Vitamin E for Scars

Along with vitamin C and vitamin A, vitamin E is an important ‘beauty vitamin’. Vitamin is a powerful free radical scavenger and destroyer, and this halts the onslaught of ageing and decelerates its process. Vitamin E can help delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and keep the skin looking glowing and radiant.

Vitamin E promotes rapid skin healing. Application of vitamin E oil / cream along with internal administration of the vitamin promises to treat scars effectively.

Even as vitamin E supplementation is therapeutic to manage circulatory disorders like heart diseases, high blood pressure, and varicose veins, it is decidedly beneficial for cosmetic purposes too. Vitamin E oil effectively treats scars, stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, burns and cuts down skin cancer risk.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vitamin A and its Remarkable Health Benefits: Vitamin A Oils and Capsules

Vitamin A plays a significant role in the maintenance of a healthy visual system and strong immune mechanism. The initial discovery of vitamin A was made in 1913, when the researchers found that animals that were fed a diet deficient in natural fats developed weak immune systems and inflamed eyes.

What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. In fact, it was the foremost fat-soluble vitamin to be discovered. The RDA or recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A is 5000 I.U.

Sources of Vitamin A: Vitamin A Foods

Carrots are a excellent
source of Vitamin A
The most concentrated sources of vitamin A (preformed) are: whole milk and liver. Excellent sources of vitamin A (pro-vitamin carotenes, which are converted to vitamin A) are: dark green leafy vegetables, mangoes, papayas, broccoli, apricot, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, melons, and squashes.

Vitamin A benefits: What is Vitamin A Good For?

  • Eyes: Vitamin A is very essential to maintain good eye health. Adequate intake of vitamin A rich foods will ward off night blindness, poor dark adaptation and age related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and cataract.
  • Skin: Vitamin A is necessary for healthy skin. It maintains the health and the structure of the skin. A host of skin ailments, psoriasis, eczema, acne, etc., are responsive to vitamin A supplementation.
  • Immune system: Healthy immune and defense mechanisms are dependent on vitamin A as well. Vitamin A fortifies and reinforces your immune system and staves off infections effectively, making you less susceptible to them.
  • Hormone synthesis: Vitamin A is required for normal manufacture of thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones.
  • Cellular growth: It also plays an important role in cell growth.

Vitamin A is One of The Most Important Anti Oxidant Vitamins

Vitamin A has been touted as an important anti oxidant. It promises to fight free radical damage successfully. Exposure to free radicals (pollution, chemicals, refined foods, etc.) can cause cancer. Vitamin A prevents free radical oxidative damage to the DNA of the cells and thus checks the development of cancer.

Being a potent anti oxidant, vitamin A can also halt the onslaught of ageing; and appreciably decelerate its progress.

Vitamin A Oil

Vitamin A oil is recommended by innumerable health experts. It is an excellent supplementation and promises to boost your immune system functioning and also give you a radiant complexion.

Cod Liver Oil is the
best source of Vitamin A
Cod liver oil is the best source of vitamin A; add 1 spoon of cod liver oil to your daily smoothie, it will yield immense health benefits.

The oil exerts profound skin care and cosmetic benefits as well. Vitamin A oil when massaged in to the skin improves the skin cells’ turnover, makes your skin look healthy and eliminates scars, blemishes and lesions successfully.

Vitamin A capsules

Vitamin A capsules / supplements are advised in cases of severe deficiency or when sufficient intake of vitamin A rich foods is not possible. However, it is advisable to consult a health care practitioner before starting supplements. Toxicity due to vitamin A has been reported in individuals who take excessive doses of the vitamin for many months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vitamin A for Skin, Eyes and Immunity: Preventing Vitamin A Toxicity

Recent studies in Australia have shown that 25000 IU of Vitamin A prompts the ability of insulin to control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. However, with a Required Dietary Intake of 2500 IU, Vitamin A overdose is associated with serious diseases including liver cirrhosis. Scientists are working towards exploring safer Vitamin A derivatives which are effective and can be prescribed in higher doses.

What is Vitamin A?
Chemical Structure of
Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble nutrient which is stored in the liver. Vitamin A is present in the body in various chemical forms called retinoids.
Though the role of Vitamin A in preventing night blindness and cataract are well known, Vitamin A was used in early 1940s to treat a host of skin disorders including acne, pimples and psoriasis. However due to the high risk of toxicity associated with high dosage of Vitamin A, this was discontinued. Currently Retinoic acid, a vitamin A derivate and a prescription drug, is used for treatment of acne and a host of other skin conditions.

Major Benefits of Vitamin A: Vitamin A for Skin, Eyes and Immunity
The role of Vitamin A in enhancing health has been explicit. Vitamin A benefits humans in more than one way,
  • Vitamin A is known for its ability to maintain vision and fight conditions like night blindness. This Vitamin is a key constituent of the chemicals found in the retina, which are essential for a normal vision.  In addition Vitamin A helps the eye adjust to changes in the intensity of light. Vitamin A is effective in management of dry eye complains.
  • Vitamin A is considered beneficial in treatment of skin problems. The nutrient promotes healing of wounds, burns and ulcers. Its role in improving conditions like dry skin, eczema, psoriasis and rasacea has been proven time and again.
  • Animal Liver is packed
    with Vitamin A
  • Vitamin A is crucial in enhancing immunity of the body. Vitamin A is vital to fight common infections like common cold, flu and other types of upper respiratory tract infections.  Studies have shown that Vitamin A is effective in repairing lung tissue and reducing the attacks of auto-immune disorders like Asthma.  The role of this Vitamin in management of irritable bowel disease and gastric ulcers is noteworthy, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin A Toxicity: Natural Sources of Vitamin A
  • Vitamin A toxicity can manifest in the form of generalized weakness and vomiting.
  • Consistently high levels of the vitamin are associated with liver cirrhosis.
  • In addition other symptoms associated with Vitamin A toxicity include hair fall, brittle nails, bleeding gums, fatigue, nausea and irritability
  • Vitamin A intake in pregnant females should be limited. Studies have shown that consuming more than 2500 IU of Vitamin A each day is closely linked with birth defects in the infant.
Normal vegetarian diet comprising of carotenoid rich vegetables and fruits rarely result in Vitamin A toxicity. However inclusion of too much liver or oily fish may occasionally result in an overdose. It should be noted that a mere 125 grams of polar bear liver can provide as much as 2 million IU of Vitamin A, a situation that can result in acute toxicity.
Some of the natural sources of Vitamin A include egg yolks, organ meat such as liver (which provides Vitamin A in high concentration), Apple, green leafy vegetables, mango, tomatoes, prunes are some of the rich sources of Vitamin A.

Role of Vitamin C in Enhancing Health: Natural Sources of Ascorbic Acid and Precautions for Supplements

A study conducted on 119 patients who had undergone angioplasty, it was observed that Vitamin C was beneficial in preventing reblockage of arteries. Among the case group, who took 500 mg of Vitamin C each day for four months, 24% suffered from restenosis, compared to 43% in the control group. This study pointed towards the role of Vitamin C in preventing myocardial infraction and heart attacks.
Chemical Structure of
Ascorbic Acid

What is Vitamin C and Ascorbic Acid?
Vitamin C was initially known for it roles as early as the 17th Century, for prevention of scurvy, a condition that affected long distance sailors. Identified as one of the key components of Lemon juice, Vitamin C was referred to as Ascorbic acid due to its antiscorbutic (anti-scurvy property).
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid is a primary water soluble anti-oxidant, which is effective in preventing damage caused due to unstable oxygen molecules, often referred to as free radicals. Recent studies have focused on these properties of Vitamin C in protecting cells from free radical damage

Benefits of Vitamin C: Role of Ascorbic Acid in enhancing Health
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and plays a crucial role in healthy and disease free life. Here are some of the essential benefits that the vitamin offers to the human body,
1.    Ascorbic Acid plays a crucial role in enhancing immunity. Its role in minimizing the symptoms associated with common cold and its ability to shorten the duration of the illness are profound.
2.    It hastens the healing of wounds
3.    Its role in promoting healthy gums is noteworthy
4.    Ascorbic Acid has been found effective in treating chronic conditions like asthma and cataract
5.    Recent studies have also found Vitamin C to play a crucial role in preventing certain cancers and cardiac disease.

Precautions while Using Artificial Supplements of Vitamin C
The profound benefits that the Vitamin offers has resulted in increased use of artificial supplements available in the form of tablets and capsules. However there are certain precautions that need to be followed,
  1. Don’t consume more than 500 mg of Vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron and can poise a health threat for individuals with kidney disorders and haemochromatosis ( a genetic tendency to store iron)
  2. Vitamin C can alter or distort the findings of medical tests conducted for diabetes, hemoglobin and colon cancer. Hence inform your doctor about your consumption of the supplement
  3.  Excess of Vitamin C is linked with symptoms like diarrhea, flatulence and gassy stomach. Also dosage in excess of 2000 mg per day can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb trace minerals, which in turn can have other detrimental effects

Oranges are a great
source of Vitamin C
Natural Sources of Vitamin C: RDI for Ascorbic Acid
The Required Dietary Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C is about 40 mg per day in adult males and 30 mg per day in adult females. The RDI for smokers is twice the normal RDI, due to the increase demand for anti-oxidants
Using natural sources of Vitamin C is always safer and more beneficial compared to using supplements. The natural sources of Vitamin C include Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, dark green vegetables, Kiwifruit, strawberries and red capsicums.
A glass of 250 ml of freshly squeezed orange juice can provide up to 125 mg of Vitamin C, which is approximately 3 times the normal RDI for the vitamin.