Post about "Nutrition"

Nutritional Supplements – Are They Necessary and Safe?

Are Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements Really Needed?

According to the FDA, “[v]itamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life” and according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many people consume more calories than they need without taking in recommended amounts of a number of nutrients. This suggests that we need to evaluate our eating habits as well as consider nutritional supplements in order to achieve the recommended levels of nutrient intake.

Numerous reports suggest that the average American diet contains too much saturated fat, processed sugars and lacks the full compliment of 13 vitamins that are essential to human body functions. We ingest too much “bad” stuff and not enough “good” stuff. In addition to this, doctors may also recommend nutritional supplements for certain health problems, if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding (American Academy of Family Physicians – AAFP). The 13 essential vitamins are A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate).

Are There Risks Associated with Taking Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements?

Quality nutritional supplements manufactured in accordance with the FDA’s “current Good Manufacturing Practice” (cGMP) are believed to be safe; however, excessive or inappropriate use may have side effects or not produce the desired results. The body handles vitamins differently depending on whether they are Water-soluble or fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins (Vitamin C and Vitamin B) are easily absorbed by the body and are not stored in large amounts. Excessive amounts above what is needed are removed by the kidneys and passed through the urine. Taking too much of these vitamins generally result in a waste of money but may also cause side effects such as:

  • Vitamin B-3 (niacin): Flushing, redness of the skin and upset stomach.
  • Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine): Nerve damage to the limbs, which may cause numbness, trouble walking, and pain.
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Upset stomach, kidney stones and increased iron absorption.
  • Folic Acid (folate): Masking of B-12 deficiency, especially in older adults, which is a condition that can cause nerve damage.

Fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) are absorbed into the body and stored for use as needed. One should be especially careful about not over-doing it with these vitamins. Some of the side effects that may accompany ingesting too much of these vitamins include:

  • Vitamin A – Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, clumsiness, birth defects, liver problems and possible risk of osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin D: Nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, weight loss, confusion, heart rhythm problems, deposits of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues.
  • If you take blood thinners, you should talk to your doctor before taking vitamin E or vitamin K pills according to the AAFP.

There are, of course, nutritional supplements other than the essential 13 noted above. These include herbal remedies, amino acids, digestive enzymes, probiotics and various minerals each of which are believed to provide certain benefits to aide the body’s various functions.

How Do I Safely Take Vitamins and Nutritional Supplements?

There are numerous scientific studies as well as anecdotal evidence suggesting specific benefits for each available vitamin and nutritional supplement; however, everyone has unique needs so a health care provider should always be consulted prior to taking any medicine, vitamin or other nutritional supplement in order to determine which ones may be needed and to also discuss any possible adverse interactions with other medications.

Nutritional supplements are called “supplements” for a good reason. They are not intended to replace good dietary habits. They are intended, however, to supplement good eating habits in order to make up for particular nutrients that may be lacking or to address particular issues. An effective nutritional supplement program, along with a healthy diet, are widely believed to help the body in a number of different ways but vitamins and other nutritional supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure diseases or illnesses. Be wary of advertisements that suggest otherwise and always consult your healthcare provider to ensure your nutrition plan has the right balance of healthy foods, vitamins, nutritional supplements and/or any medications that you may require.

According to Vasilios Frankos, Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs, “Vitamins are not dangerous unless you get too much of them.” So, consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while limiting the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol. Meet recommended nutrient intakes by adopting proper eating habits and using nutritional supplements as deemed appropriate by your healthcare provider based on your body’s nutrient levels, age, whether you are pregnant or may become pregnant, have dark skin, do not receive sufficient sunlight exposure or meet other criteria requiring supplementation. Following these guidelines and the advice of your healthcare provider should make taking vitamins and nutritional supplements both safe and effective for healthier living.

For additional information about the recommended upper limits of intake (ULs), visit the National Academy of Sciences site at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6432#toc.

Discover the Secrets to the Best Natural Skin Care Methods

Treating skin properly is something that everyone should be concerned with. You should be aware that proper skin care can also reap benefits that go beyond beautiful-looking skin. There are a number of ways to perform regular skin maintenance. Yet natural skin care has emerged as a way to avoid perfumes and other chemicals that supposedly treat the skin, but potentially can harm it. In the UK, the best natural skin care methods can involve some unorthodox measures – but primarily is easy to accomplish if you’re dedicated to better skin and better overall health.One recommended method to enhance the skin involves the sustenance that goes into the body every day. Plenty of people find that they need to observe a better diet anyway, yet many may be unaware that a proper diet might just lead to improved skin health, as well. The first and foremost staple in a healthy diet is plentiful amounts of water. We all need a large (though not excessive) daily water intake to boost our body’s waste disposal systems. Not only can lack of hydration lead to constipation of the body…it can “constipate” the skin, as well, through clogged pores and the like. In addition, one should be certain they are eating right. In many cases, when people are experiencing skin problems, the lack of certain nutrients may play a huge role in contributing to those problems. Fiber – whole grains, in particular – is vital to boosting your skin health. Be sure that you do your best to limit sugar intake, as this can hinder skin progress.One other need those who have skin issues must address is getting more exercise. In fact, getting up and doing a modest amount of daily exercise can increase circulation to the point that skin health shows improvement. The more exercise you do, the more dramatic skin improvement can be!The type of skin products that can inadvertently harm your skin can be avoided by looking into organic products. Using organic products can be a way to better your skin – and you don’t have to spend a lot to do so. Although there are companies that sell these products, you can also use items like honey and olive oil to revitalize skin.By obtaining the methods necessary to achieve the best natural skin care possible in the UK, you can see results that refresh and invigorate your skin.