Monday, 25 January 2010

All You Need To Know about Vitamin D

Vitamin D is formed by the skin’s exposure to the sun. This fat-soluble vitamin is found in dietary supplements and in some foods. The two types of vitamin D are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is also known as cholecalciferol, which is caused by the response of the body to the sun exposure as well as by certain foods. On the other hand, vitamin D2 ergocalciferol is the type commonly used in many supplements. Vitamin D2 is used in fortifying foods including milk.

Vitamin D is necessary in maintaining the normal calcium levels and the phosphorus in our blood to sustain the mineralization of the bone as well as in improving the functions of nerves, cells and muscles. It acts as a hormone, which is responsible in improving the calcium and phosphorous absorption in the small intestines.

Vitamin D is necessary for normal growth especially for young children. Without vitamin D, the bones will be deformed and weak, which may result to osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. A person that is vitamin D deficient may have high risk in having osteoporosis.

According to different studies, vitamin D is helpful in the prevention of cancer as it blocks the growth of the cell. The risk of having prostate, ovarian, breast and other types of cancers has more cases in areas in higher latitudes than in geographical areas in lower latitudes where there is sufficient sun exposure. Vitamin D is also necessary for the immune system, which is helpful for autoimmune disease. It is also necessary to prevent diabetes, bone and muscle pain, gum disease, fibromyalgia and mood disorders.

Besides the sun’s ultraviolet rays, vitamin D is found in fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon. Eggs and milk are also good sources or vitamin D as well as cereals and some juice products.

A person is vitamin D deficient if he or she is experiencing too many teeth cavities and brittle or weak teeth as well as bone growth defects. If the condition of diabetes gets worse due to the affected production of insulin in pancreas, there is lack of vitamin D. Lack of energy, insomnia and other sleeping problems, diarrhea and nervousness are also caused by vitamin D deficiency.

People who have insufficient sun exposure are required to have more vitamin D. Moreover, people who frequently use sunscreen need vitamin D because sunscreen prevents vitamin D formation. If you have dark skin, you need to consume more vitamin D because melanin absorbs ultraviolet rays that actually lessen the ability of the skin to manufacture vitamin D.

Too much vitamin D may cause excess calcium in the blood or hypercalcemia. This may result to muscle weakness, vomiting and confusion and may lead to different complications including kidney failure and kidney stones.

You must not take vitamin D if you have sarcoidosis or hyperparathyroidism unless recommended by the doctor.

Avoid taking vitamin D and calcium together with thiazide diuretics because it may cause too much calcium levels in your body. In addition, if you are having calcium-channel blockers, you must prevent having calcium and vitamin D. You need to consult your doctor before taking these supplements.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Good and the Bad Side of Vitamin A

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for a strong and healthy body. Vitamin A helps in the maintenance of good vision, healthy hair, teeth, bones and skin. Vitamin A is also important for enhancing the reproductive and the immune system functions. It helps in preventing night blindness as well as keeping moisture in the eyes. Vitamin A strengthens the body’s defences to infections. It is helpful in delaying the form of melanoma, a certain form of skin cancer. Vitamin A helps in the development of the foetus as well as the placenta throughout pregnancy. It is important in maintaining mucous membranes, epithelial tissues, lining in the gastrointestinal tract, bladder, lungs, vagina, skin and cornea. It also prevents the dryness of skin.

Fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A are absorbed in our body may lead to several side effects. Excess vitamin A may cause headaches, hair loss, blurred vision, liver damage and yellow pigmentation. If you are consuming too much vitamin A, you may experience symptoms such as dry skin, low-grade fever, bleeding gums, drowsiness, sore mouth, severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Congenital abnormalities and fetal malfunction may also be experienced.

Vitamin A is naturally found in foods such as liver, egg yolks, fish liver oils and cream. Fresh vegetables that have beta-carotene are also good source of vitamin A.

Vitamin A deficiency may cause weak immune system, dry skin, hair, and broken nails. Night blindness and moisture loss in the eyes are also obvious signs of vitamin A deficiency. It may cause dysfunction to the respiratory and digestive system. If you are experiencing symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, it is best to consult your doctor for necessary treatment.

Vitamin A is believed to help in the prevention of acne and certain types of cancer as well as in treatment of psoriasis. It is efficient in the treatment of wrinkled and dry skin and in the protection against pollution. Vitamin A heals sunburns and treats inflammatory bowel disease, kidney stones and deafness.

Children must be careful in taking vitamin A because they are more prone to the side effects caused by too much consumption of vitamin A. Excessive vitamin A intake of children may cause increased brain pressure, paralysis, swelling of optic disc and cranial nerve dysfunction. Other symptoms of vitamin A overdose are itching, loss of appetite, irritability, weight loss, swelling and bone tenderness.

Adults may also experience symptoms due to over dosage of vitamin A including skin roughness, dryness and cracking of the corners in the mouth. Adults may suffer alopecia or hair loss, increased pressure in the brain, loss of appetite and other symptoms comparable to brain tumour.

If you have hypersensitivity to vitamin A, you must avoid taking vitamin A supplements. Pregnant women must prevent excessive intake of vitamin A to avoid dangerous effects to the fetus such as malformation.

Foods with Olestra, mineral oil and cholestyramine may have harmful effects in the accumulation of vitamin A. People who are taking Soriatane or Tegison and Accutane must prevent using vitamin A supplements.

Before taking any vitamin and mineral supplements, make sure that you are aware of the benefits as well as the side effects they may cause.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Ayurvedic Treatment: Magic Potion for All

Indeed, Ayurvedic treatment does not mean suppressing the main symptoms and creating some new ones as side effects of the main treatment, although it removes the root cause and gives lasting relief. In conjunction with medicine, proper diet, proper yoga (exercise prescribed in Ayurveda) and living style is also advised. If you wise to take medicine to remove the root cause at the same time living a life style which is increasing the cause of concern, there is no chance of getting well or securing relief.

Basically, the word ‘Ayurveda’ is a system of medicine prescribed in Indian scripture i.e., Veda. This is known as the science of life, which is practised in other parts of the world also as a form of alternative medicine. Ayurveda entirely relies on five basic elements that are known as Panchtatva (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space). On the other hand, Blood, flesh, Fat, Bone, Marrow, Chyle, and Semen are considered as the primary constituent elements of the body. In that, Ayurvedic treatment gives impetus on a balance of three substances: wind/spirit/air, phlegm, and bile. These three basic things represent divine forces.

Upon following the actual Ayurvedic treatment, the concept of Panchkarma crops up to eliminate the toxic elements form in the human body. For that, eight discipline of Ayurvedic treatment has been categorised. They are shalya-chkitsa, salakyam, kaya-chikitsa, Bhuta vidya, kaumarabhrtyam, agadatantram, rasayanam, and vajiykaranam. Apart from this, there are four main classifications of management of disease in Ayurveda: shodan, or cleansing; shaman or palliation; rasayana, or rejuvenation; and satvajaya, or mental hygiene.

Ayurvedic medicine mainly comprises of powders, tablets, decoctions, and medicated oils etc., which are prepared by natural herbs, plants and minerals. These medicines are extracted from natural sources and not synthetic, they are accepted and assimilated in the body without creating any side effects.

In Ayurvedic treatment, any disease is seen as an imbalance in the dosha system, so the diagnostic process strives to determine which complication is under-active or overactive in a body. The diagnosis is often taken over a course in order that the Ayurvedic physician determines accurately what part of the body is being affected. To diagnose problems, Ayurvedic physicians often use long questionnaires and interviews to find out a person’s dosha patterns and physical and psychological history. Ayurvedic physicians also intricately examine the pulse, tongue, face, lips, eyes, and fingernails for abnormalities that they can indicate deeper problems in the internal systems. Some physicians also use laboratory tests to assist in diagnosis.

In the present day scenario, Ayurvedic treatment is successful running by professionals both in the urban and the rural areas. Even statistics of World Health Organisation shows the popularity of traditional medicine, on which a significant number of population depends on Ayurvedic medicine for their primary health care.

Ayurvedic treatment is known as the science of life that is practised in other parts of the world also as a form of alternative medicine. It removes the root cause and gives lasting relief. In conjunction with medicine, proper diet, proper yoga (exercise prescribed in Ayurveda) and living style is also advised.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Vitamin E – Benefits and Side Effects

Vitamin E is known to have antioxidant properties that are effective for eliminating free radicals in the body. It is necessary for treating cardiovascular illnesses as well as in enhancing cognitive functions, which is helpful for Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E is essential for keeping the heart, skin, red blood cells and the nerve muscles healthy. It keeps the cells capable in fighting infections and preventing arteries from being clogged. This way, blood can freely flow in the arteries.

Vitamin E is commonly found in foods such as nuts, vegetable oil, fortified cereals and green vegetables. Sweet potatoes, wheat germ, spinach, broccoli and avocados, as well as canned tuna, salmon and eggs are also great sources of vitamin E.

Vitamin E is usually taken with vitamin C for treating skin wounds and to fight cigarette smoke and other environmental pollutants. The vitamin also has the capability to eliminate harmful toxins in the body including mercury, which is present in most fish. The vitamin is important in protecting the body against certain cancers and it is beneficial for the immune system. Vitamin E has properties that can benefit people who have rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. It also protects the skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays that can cause sunburn and radiation.

Over dosage of vitamin E may cause weakness, headache, fatigue, nausea, flatulence, diarrhea and blurred vision. If you are experiencing such symptoms, consult your doctor.

Vitamin E deficiency is common and may affect people who have difficulty in dietary fats absorption. Lack of this vitamin may affect muscle coordination and may damage the nerves. It can also cause inability of walking. According to research, vitamin E deficiency may be result of genetic disorders as well as various conditions including intestinal and pancreatic disorders, hepatobiliary, primary biliary cirrhosis, short bowel movement, chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, blind loop syndrome and Whipple’s syndrome among others.

Vitamin E is known to be a blood thinner so people who are into blood thinning medication such as anticoagulants or aspirin must seek advice from a doctor before taking Vitamin E supplements. You must follow the Recommended Daily Allowance in taking Vitamin E to avoid over dosage.

Vitamin E supplements have various types including beta-tocopherol, alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol and delta-tocopherol. The most effective form of vitamin E is alpha-tocopherol, which is most absorbed by our body.

People who have anemia, burns, and children with epilepsy, elder people who have immune system dysfunction, tardive dyskinesia, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease, must take Vitamin E.

Studies show that natural vitamin E is better than synthetic vitamin E. Alpha-tocopherol is present in natural vitamin E as well as the other types of vitamin E. There is little evidence of the value of delta and beta forms of vitamin E but some researchers agree that gamma tocopherol has the same level of importance with alpha-tocopherol. On the other hand, some studies suggest that gamma tocopherol is more useful than alpha tocopherol in terms of the protection against different kinds of oxidative damage. Some experts say that high dosage of alpha tocopherol may result to the decrease of blood levels and increase of breakdown.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Facts about Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is one of the most important vitamins needed for our body to function well Vitamin B6 is known to have many benefits and it is responsible with more than one hundred chemical reactions in the body. This vitamin is necessary in amino acid production, which is needed in building proteins. Proteins are necessary for tissue growth and repair. Vitamin B6 is beneficial to the brain because it helps produce neurotransmitters, which are essential for the communication of the cells. Neurotransmitters include dopamine, GABA serotonin and norepinephrine. They are necessary for mood regulation as well as in eliminating depression.

Vitamin B6 helps metabolize food and convert the food into energy. It is also responsible in the prevention of brain and vascular diseases such as stroke and heart disease.

Vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 have important effects in lowering the levels of holocysteine in the body, resulting to lower risks of having vascular disease. These vitamins are also essential for the proper brain functions. Some studies prove that lack of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

The body produces lymphocytes with the help of vitamin B6. Lymphocytes are the white blood cells that fight harmful substances in the body such as bacteria, viruses and toxins. Chronic illnesses develop over time, which can cause suboptimal intake of nutrition. Vitamin B6 is necessary to prevent certain chronic diseases.

Vitamin B6 is naturally found in foods such as chicken, turkey, salmon, bananas, tuna, and potatoes with skin, nuts, soybeans, and brown rice. Baked potato with skin has the highest benefits from vitamin B6, which has about 0.07 milligram of the vitamin. On the other hand, banana has 0.68 milligram of vitamin B6 while a cup of fortified cereal contains around 0.5 to 2.5 milligram of vitamin B6. Usually, vitamin B complex supplements or Vitamin B products have twenty-five to fifty milligrams of vitamin B6.

Serious side effects in using vitamin B6 supplements are rare but these side effects may be experienced due to excessive intake of vitamin B6. If you take more than two hundred milligram of vitamin B6 in a day, you may suffer several symptoms of over dosage. Too much vitamin B6 intake may damage the sensory nerve functions and may cause numbness in the feet and hands, which can result to difficulty in movement or walking. If you are starting to experience these problems, it is necessary to consult your doctor immediately and stop taking vitamin B6.

Pregnant women and lactating mothers must not use vitamin B6 in excess. The recommended amount of vitamin B6 for lactating and pregnant women is 10 milligram. For adults, the supplemental amounts of pyridoxine are about two hundred to three hundred milligrams everyday. Harmful symptoms of over dosage of this supplement are not common. If you are planning to take more than one hundred to two hundred milligrams of vitamin B6 for a few months, you need to ask your doctor’s approval. To be safe, everyone is recommended to consume no more than five hundred milligrams of vitamin B6 everyday.