Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lecithin Benefits for Health: Food Sources and Side Effects

Lecithin is a fatty material found in the body that is of vital importance for the normal functioning of the liver, gall bladder and nerves. It also exerts some cholesterol lowering properties. Lecithin is however associated with certain side effects and increase intake by natural food sources is always safer and more beneficial.

What is Lecithin?

Lecithin Gel
Lecithin is a fatty substance that is found in several plant based and animal based foods. It is also manufactured by the body. In addition, it is frequently used as an emulsifier in ice cream, chocolate and lad dressing.

Benefits of Lecithin
Here are some health benefits associated with consumption of Lecithin,
  • Lecithin builds cell membranes and facilitates the movement of fats and nutrients to and from the cells.
  • Lecithin plays a pivotal role in reproduction and in fetal and infant development. Lecithin supplements taken during pregnancy help prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida.
  • Adequate amounts of lecithin are necessary for the healthy working of liver, gall bladder and heart. It helps manage a host of liver and gall bladder disease. Low levels of lecithin in the body cause a precipitation of gall stones; consequently boosting your lecithin levels will help treat gall stones effectively. Lecithin has the potential to reduce damage in a liver that has been damaged by alcohol. It helps reduce scarring and cirrhosis to some extent.
  • Being a nerve-building nutrient, it helps preserve memory and wards off Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Food Sources of Lecithin, Lecithin Rich Foods. Soy Lecithin

Excellent food sources of this nutrient are: liver, eggs, soy, peanuts and wheat germ. There is no RDI for lecithin; and by and large, deficiencies are rather rare.
Soybeans are packed with Lecithin
Soybeans are the primary commercial source of lecithin. Unrefined soy contains 3 % lecithin.
During the process of refining, lecithin is removed and sold for use in baked goods and pharmaceutical preparations.

Lecithin Supplement, Lecithin Granules, Lecithin Dosage

Lecithin supplements are available in the form of capsules, powder or granules, tablets and gels. Supplements ought to be taken with meals, in order to enhance their absorption. Lecithin granules have a nutty taste and can be sprinkled over foods or added to drinks.

Supplements vary widely in their content of the active ingredient phosphatidylcholine; for it to be effective, the supplement must have 35 % or more.

Usually, the doctor prescribes 1200 mg capsules twice daily. In the granular form, you may take about 1 teaspoon, it supplies1200 mg of lecithin.

Lecithin Side Effects
In general moderate overdose of Lecithin is not associated with severe side effects. Very high doses can have certain adverse effects; bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and too much sweating has been observed in some cases of over dosage.
Always consult your doctor before embarking upon supplementation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zinc Supplement for Health: Zinc Rich Foods and Side Effects

Zinc is an essential mineral that is required by practically every cell in the body; it is concentrated in the muscle, bone, skin kidney, pancreas and prostate. Zinc health benefits are innumerable; it is a vital mineral that does everything from manufacturing DNA to healing wounds. Zinc supplementation is essential for those who have a weak immune system and are prone to frequent colds and coughs; it is also one of the remedies for acne.

What are the Benefits of Zinc?
Here are some important health benefits of including zinc supplements in your diet regularly,
  • Fights colds and coughs, and reduces their intensity and frequency.
  • Helps in the management of osteoporosis and arthritis
  • Helps heal a host of skin disorders and ailments. In fact, zinc is one of the most important natural treatments for acne.
  • Is helpful in cases of tinnitus (buzzing / ringing in the era)
  • Helps treat hair fall, keeps the scalp healthy and boosts the growth of healthy hair.
  • Improves fertility
    Zinc Treats Acne Effectively
     Benefits of Zinc for Skin:Zinc Supplements For Acne

    Zinc is one of the most important treatments for acne. It helps reduce flare ups, maintains a healthy skin, fights bacterial infection and prevents unsightly scarring that is associated with acne.
    It reduces skin irritation and skin inflammation and heals the scars and marks that occur due to acne, pimples and blackheads effectively and rapidly.
    Incorporating zinc rich foods promises you a clear, flawless and radiant skin that is blemish free.

    Zinc DeficiencySymptoms: Zinc Supplements and Recommended Intake

    The body does not produce zinc, thus it depends on external sources. Deficiency symptoms are seen as: poor wound healing, recurrent head colds, skin disorders, and a muted sense of taste and smell.

    Severe deficiency increases the risk of developing diabetes and having a low sperm count.
    In case of a severe deficiency, supplementation becomes necessary. The RDI for the mineral is 12 mg everyday; the dosage may increase in case of medical disorders.

    Natural Sources of Zinc: Side Effects of Zinc and Implications of Zinc Overdose

    Nuts are an Excellent Source of Zinc
    Excellent sources of zinc are: beef, pork, liver, eggs, seafood, oysters, beans, wheat germ and nuts. However, zinc from the non vegetarian sources is better absorbed than the vegetarian ones.

    Over dosing of zinc is fraught with certain adverse effects. Consuming more than 100 mg daily leads to impaired immunity and decreased levels of HDL or good cholesterol. You will experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Hence, it is crucial that you confer with your health care professional before staring zinc supplements.

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Folic Acid Health Benefits: Dosage, Natural Food Sources and Folic Acid Deficiency

    Folic acid belongs to the vitamin B group and has an important part to play in the maintenance of health and prevention of a host of disorders. You must ensure that you consume foods high in folic acid; there are several natural sources of folic acid; or boost the daily intake with a supplement.

    What is Folic Acid?

    Folic acid is a water soluble B vitamin; it was first extracted from spinach in 1940. The body does not store the vitamin; consequently, your daily intake of folic acid ought to be adequate.
    Cooking or long storage can destroy half of the folic acids in foods; therefore, consuming plenty of raw, fresh vegetables or a folic acid supplement is the best way to get sufficient amounts of this nutrient.

    What Does Folic Acid Do? Benefits of Folic Acid
    Green Leafy Vegetables are
     loaded with Folic Acid
     The primary functions of folic acid are:
    • Synthesis of red blood cells
    • Building of muscle
    • Quick healing of wounds
    • Manufacture of chemicals of the brain and nervous system
    • Vital for DNA and RNA formation, and makes sure that the cells replicate normally.
    • Crucial for normal fetal development

     Folic Acid Health Benefits: Importance of Folic Acid Supplements

    Here are a few important health benefits of folic acid supplements,

    • Folic acid is necessary to prevent birth defects
    • It protects the heart and diminishes the risk of developing cardio-vascular disorders. Folic acid plays a role in the synthesis and use of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine tend to damage the lining of the blood vessels, making the vulnerable to plaque buildup, and consequently cardiac diseases.
    •  Folic acid is known to prevent cancer, particularly, colon, skin, rectal and cervical cancer.
    • It is also an important weapon against depression. High levels of homocysteine cause depression as well, thus, folic acid can help manage depressive cases effectively. The vitamin also improves the efficacy of the prescribed anti-depressants.
    • The nutrient also helps maintaining healthy bones
    • It is also of some help in the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
    Foods Rich in Folic Acid: Folic Acid Intake: Recommended Dosage
    The RDI for folic acid is 200 mcg per day, however, the need increases during pregnancy and with age.
    Good food sources are: spinach, lettuce, fenugreek, asparagus, and practically all green leafy vegetables, beans and whole grains.

    Folic Acid Deficiency: Folic Acid Deficiency Symptoms
    Some of the symptoms associated with the deficiency of folic acid include, 
    Those who are taking medicines for cancer or epilepsy or suffer from a malabsorption disease have a severe folic acid deficiency.

    Folic Acid Supplement

    Folic Acid Crystals
    Folic acid supplements are available as tablet and capsules. Supplements are advisable during pregnancy and for elderly people. Doctors advocate taking 400 mcg daily. However, do confer with your health care professional before embarking on the supplementation.

    Folic Acid for Pregnancy

    Folic acid has a pivotal role to play during pregnancy. This vitamin protects against fetal birth defects. Taking adequate amounts of folic acid during conception and during the first 3 months of pregnancy greatly decreases the risk of serious birth defects, such as spina bifida.
    Incorporate plenty of folic acid rich foods in your daily diet. Your gynecologist will also recommence a supplement; 400 mcg during pregnancy.

    Folic Acid Side Effects, Folic Acid Overdose

    Very large doses of folic acid are not recommended. In fact, doses like 5000-10000 mcg may be dangerous, especially for people who have hormone related cancers, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer.
    Folic acid overdose may also trigger seizures in people having epilepsy. Experts say the upper limit for folic acid is 1000 mcg per day.