The First Group of Players on Your Team - Vitamins
The first group of players on your team is vitamins. If you're like most teenagers, you've probably heard one of your parents say, "Eat your vegetables - they are packed with vitamins!" Vitamins are compounds found in abundance in whole, fresh foods. Your body needs them to function properly and each one has a special role to play.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body, mainly in fat tissues and the liver. Vitamins A, D, E. and K are fat-soluble, meaning they dissolve in fat but not in water. They are happy to remain stored in your body and the body's own intelligence will send them to where they are needed at the right time.
Water-soluble vitamins are different. They really can't be stored in the body for very long. That's because these vitamins dissolve in water, so extra amounts are carried out of your body. Because they don't stick around, you need to replenish them every day. Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are watersoluble. Click here for more information.
Nutrients and the Body's Defenses
In order for the immune system to function at its best it must have access to nutrients. For this reason, individuals who are malnourished develop more infections than individuals who are well-nourished. Some of the effects of malnutrition on the body's immune system are a thinning of the skin with less connective tissue, weakness, poor wound healing, and a lack of defense against disease. So, an important key to health and longevity is a nutritionally well balanced diet and supplementation when necessary.
Here is a smal sampling of nutrients and their relationship to a healthy functioning immune system:
- Vitamin A helps support immunity by playing a role in the development of helper cells.
- Vitamin A maintains healthy epithelial tissues to fight infection by preventing the invasion of bacteria and viruses.
- Vitamin C strengthens our resistance to infection.
- Vitamin E protects white and red blood cells, thus participating in the body's defenses against foreign material and disease.
- Iron helps fight infection.
- Magnesium supports normal functioning of the immune system.
- Manganese is a facilitator, with enzymes, of many cell processes.
Source: Understanding Nutrition, 7th Edition
Antioxidants and Health
Just like rust on a car, oxidation can damage our body's cells and may contribute to the breakdown of healthy immunity and speed up the aging process. Oxidation happens as the result of damaging free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that form in the body as a result of normal body metabolism, over-exercise, stress, being exposed to dirty air and other environmental pollutants.
Antioxidants help prevent oxidation by counteracting free radicals.* They do this by binding to them and transforming them into non-damaging compounds. Consequently, antioxidants are integral in supporting the body's natural defense system.*
Powerful antioxidants include vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, Coenzyme Q10, and garlic. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and green tea all contain antioxidants as well. These important nutrients and foods support a healthy body in the production of healthy cells which is the best strategy for protection against free radical damage and consequently the development of serious health challenges.
As we age, free radical levels in the body increase so that a continuous intake of antioxidants is important to assure overall health and protection. Antioxidant intake along with exercise, a positive attitude and an overall healthful diet are invaluable tools to defend against cell damage and prolong a healthy life, full life.
*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease.
This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Ester-C Tolerated Better than Regular Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
A randomized, double-blind clinical study performed in Germany reported that Ester-C calcium ascorbate caused fewer epigastric (stomach) discomfort than regular Vitamin C. Vitamin C is the most important water-soluble antioxidant in the body, but the body cannot make it – it must be taken in by foods or supplements. But high doses of the ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C – called AA – can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, heartburn, and diarrhea. Ester-C is more rapidly absorbed, which researchers believe may contribute to its ease on the stomach. Seventy-two percent of study participants rated Ester-C tolerability "very good." AA was ranked "very good" by only about half the participants – a "statistically significant" difference, according to researchers. For more information go to the Advances in Therapy, Jan/Feb 2006, Vol. 23. Source: Advances in Therapy, Jan/Feb 2006, Vol. 23.
Vitamin C Helps Smokers Maintain Vitamin E
Cigarette smokers have an accelerated rate of Vitamin E disappearance. According to a recent US study, Vitamin C helps smokers maintain their levels of Vitamin E, a vitamin which may protect against certain cancers. As part of the study, a group smokers and non-smokers were given Vitamin C over a period of time. This group maintained a 45% higher level of Vitamin E when compared with the control group, who did not receive Vitamin C. The study summarized that the oxidative stress from smoking can be counteracted by increasing Vitamin C intake. Source: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Volume 40, Issue 4, 15 February 2006
Japanese Research Study Shows Vitamin C May Reduce Frequency of Common Cold
A recent randomized, controlled five-year trial conducted by Japanese researchers suggests that vitamin C supplementation significantly reduces the frequency of the common cold but had no apparent effect of the length or severity of the common cold. However, considering a number of limitations due to protocol amendment, the findings should be interpreted with caution. More research in this area would be helpful. Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2005.
Researchers Conclude That Vitamin C Reduces The Risk Of Pregnancy Complication
According to researchers at Mexico’s National Institute of Perinatology, women taking 100mg of a vitamin C supplement a day from the 20th week of pregnancy may reduce the risk of their waters breaking too early. Their conclusion was based on a recent double-blind trial involving 120 women in their 20th week of pregnancy. One randomly assigned group received 100mg of vitamin C each day while the other group received a placebo. Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 81
Vitamin C Deficiency May Be Linked To Respiratory Disorders
In a recent two-year study, researchers found that vitamin C may prevent symptoms linked to airway diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The scientists discovered that vitamin C supports the normal hydration of airway surfaces, while a deficiency in the vitamin may contribute to dry, sticky mucus membranes lining the airways. Consequently, poor levels of vitamin C may contribute to the progression of common inflammatory airway diseases by making airways conducive to infections. Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 101, Number 10, 2004
Study Supports The Intake Of Antioxidants For Cognitive Decline
At this summer's Alzheimer's Association research conference, a presentation was made on a cognitive decline study funded by the National Institute on Aging. This study tracked a six-year change in the cognitive function of men and women and found that human brains are susceptible to damage from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful, unstable oxygen molecules produced naturally by the body when it is over exerted. Free radicals also can get into the body as a result of exposure to pollutants such as radiation, UV light, car fumes, and cigarette smoke. The study found that participants who took the antioxidant vitamin C and ate fruits and vegetables high in carotenoids did better on cognitive tests over time than those who did not follow the eating plan. Foods rich in carotenoids are those with red and yellow pigments. To confirm these findings, more research need be done within the scientific community. Source: www.alz.org
Scurvy Is Serious Health Problem In U.S. - Vitamin C Intake Recommended
Scurvy, which is a vitamin C deficiency, has historically been associated with pirates and early pioneers. Researchers, however, have found that it is once again a serious problem that the medical community needs to take seriously in the United States. Some of the problems associated with scurvy are hair damage, gum disease and poor wound healing. Researchers used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to arrive at their conclusions and found that a percentage of adult males, adult females and children were either deficient in vitamin C or depleted in vitamin C. The researchers suggest that health professionals recommend consumption of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C and should recommend supplementation for individuals at risk of vitamin C deficiency. Source: American Journal of Public Health, May 2004, Volume 94, Issue 5
Increase Of Antioxidant Intake May Lower Asthma Risk In Youth
In a large nutrition survey of youths between 4-16 years of age, researchers found that increases in intakes of antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and the trace mineral selenium were associated with a lower risk of asthma prevalence. Asthma is respiratory disorder characterized by wheezing and is usually of allergic origin. Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care
Vitamin C Supplementation May Help Prevent Heart Disease
University of California researchers recently completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study showing that vitamin C appears to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation and predictor of heart disease. Study participants who took a little over 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day saw a 24% reduction in CRP after only two months. The study, published in April, is the first to show that vitamin C can decrease levels of CRP. Researchers, therefore, suggest further investigation be done to confirm their findings. Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Volume 23, 2004
Vitamin E And C Together At High Doses Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease
Johns Hopkins University researchers recently reported that the intake of vitamins E and C in combination reduced both the prevalence and incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Using data gathered from a large group of respondents age 65 and older, the researchers' investigation revealed that high doses of certain antioxidants may mitigate age-related cognitive deterioration by protecting neurons from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that can damage the body from our exposure to environmental toxins, intake of chemicals found in processed foods, overexertion, etc. Because of the results of this study, researchers suggest that antioxidant supplements merit further study as agents for the primary prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Source: Archives of Neurology, Volume 61, January 2004
Antioxidant Supplements May Improve Heart Health In Children
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, recently conducted a double blind, placebo-controlled research study involving 15 hyperlipidemic children to see if the intake of vitamins C and E would have any effect on their condition. Hyperlipidemia is associated with endothelial dysfunction, an early event in the development of atherosclerosis and predictor of risk for coronary artery disease. After six months, the children taking the antioxidants exhibited restored endothelial function, which might protect them against atherosclerosis and the future coronary heart disease. Source: www4.infotrieve.com
Vitamins E And C May Counter Oxidation Leading To Early Artery Damage
Two leading research institutions, John Hopkins in Baltimore and the University of California at Berkeley, have found that early artery damage may be prevented by the intake of vitamin E and vitamin C. This is due to their ability to counter free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that bombard the body with stress caused by psychological strain, pollution, over exercise and a variety of other negative factors. It was also determined that women may need higher amounts of antioxidant vitamins than men. Source: www.npicenter.com
Low Levels Of Vitamin C Linked To Artery Disease
Researchers recently reported that individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a form of atherosclerosis, appear to have low levels of vitamin C in their blood. It is theorized that having PAD may cause inflammation and the release of free radicals-compounds that contribute to aging and the development of other diseases. According to the research group, headed by Dr. Michel Langlois of Ghent University in Belgium, while antioxidants such as vitamin C can “neutralize” free radical compounds to help reduce harm, free radicals can also deplete antioxidants from the body when the overall levels are low. In their study, the researchers found that participants with PAD had vitamin C blood levels nearly twice as low as those without PAD. For more information, go to Source: Circulation 2001;103.
Increased Vitamin C May Help People Live Longer
A recent study conducted at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine shows that vitamin C may reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses. It also shows that those who have higher levels of vitamin C in their blood may actually live longer, compared to those who had lower levels. The researchers found that vitamin C is an antioxidant and removes free radicals from the body. A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule that gets into the blood from environmental toxins, food chemicals, over exertion, etc. For more information, go to the journal. Source: Lancet, March 3, 2001.
Vitamin E And Vitamin C Taken Together Over Time May Help Maintain Cognitive Function In Elderly Women
In a recent scientific research study, researchers tested the cognitive function of a group of elderly women who were participating in a Nurses’ Health Study. It was determined that the women in the group who were taking both vitamin E and vitamin C supplements together, long-term, had better cognitive performance than women who took only one of the vitamins or none at all. Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 77, April 2003
Popular Nutrients May Protect Against Bladder Cancer
Research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health surrounding the relationship between bladder cancer and macro/micronutrients found that vitamins E and C had an antioxidant effect on the cancer. The study involved a group of men from a Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. During the studies 12 years, participants answered questions about food frequency and nutrient intake. Throughout the course of the trial, it was determined that 320 cases of bladder cancer had been diagnosed. No relationships were observed between bladder cancer and calories, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron or water-soluble vitamins. However, an inverse relationship between dietary vitamin E and vitamin E supplements was found, as well as a dose-relationship for vitamin E and vitamin C supplements. For more information go to Source: American Journal of Epidemiology 2001; 152(12): 1145-53.
Vitamins C, E And Grapeseed Extract Shown To Help Improve Smokers' Response To Gum Disease Treatment
In a study recently conducted at the University at Buffalo's Periodontal Research Center, scientists showed that smokers who took a supplement containing vitamins C, E and grapeseed extract were able to improve their response to gum disease treatment. This was illustrated by the patients' better gum attachment and overall general, improved oral health while undergoing standard dental care for gum infection. Source: www.buffalo.edu
Vitamin C Important In Preventing Stroke
According to researchers from the University of Kuopio, Finland, low plasma vitamin C levels may indicate a 2.4-fold increase in the risk of stroke. In the 10-year study, it was found that those participants with the lowest levels of plasma vitamin C had an increased risk of stroke compared with those who had the highest levels. In addition, hypertensive men with low vitamin C concentrations had a 2.6-fold increased risk, and overweight men a 2.7-fold increased risk.
Source: Stroke, Volume 33, pages 1568-1573, 2002.
Positive Results Stem From Ester-C Research
PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A study published in the Sept. 1999 issue of the Journal of Periodontology indicated that Ester-C may increase production of bone-regeneration substances in human tissue in laboratory tests. Researchers at the University of California/San Francisco School of Dentistry conducted a series of three laboratory experiments, all of which demonstrated that treating cells derived from oral ePTFE membranes with Ester-C calcium ascorbate increases the production of collagenous protein and mineralized tissue, as compared to plain calcium ascorbate. The positive effects observed in bone production cells in the laboratory were significantly enhanced by the presence of calcium threonate, a vitamin C metabolite which is present in Ester-C calcium ascorbate, but not present in generic vitamin C products, such as ascorbic acid. The researchers also noted that the formation of mineralized tissue by cells in laboratory culture is a well-established indication of the capacity of cells to form new bone in the body.
Source: Natural Products Industry, Insider®, Volume 5, No. 2, February 7, 2000
Vitamins Kill Cancer Cells in Mice
NEW YORK - A combination of vitamins C and K3 appears to destroy prostate cancer cells, a discovery that could lead to new anti-cancer therapies, according to researchers. Dr. Jaczues Gilloteaux of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pa., and colleagues administered doses of a vitamin C/vitamin K3 combination to mice that had tumors composed of human prostate cancer cells. The vitamins were administered to the animals either orally, by injection or both.
According to Gilloteaux, all three groups of treated mice survived longer than the untreated mice (about 70 versus 60 days, respectively). Furthermore, 25 percent of mice treated via mouth survived long-term, compared with 12 percent of the animals treated via injection and none of the untreated animals. These results suggest that the vitamin therapy is more effective when administered in pill form, the researchers added.
Source: Natural Products Industry, Insider®, Volume 5, No. 2, February 7, 2000
Vitamin C Can Lower Blood Pressure
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Heart patients with high blood pressure may receive substantial benefit from a daily dose of vitamin C - something researchers said could be an inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs.
Research Indicates Tie Between Vitamin C and Stress
A recent study suggests a link between the body's consumption of vitamin C and stress.
This research, conducted at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, showed that increased levels of vitamin C consumption reduced the level of cortisol in the system. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is released in times of stress.
The study also found that during times of high stress, the body uses more vitamin C than normal. Additionally, vitamin C strengthens the body's immune response while stress impairs immune response.
These findings were presented by Dr. P. Samuelson Campbell, a professor at the University of Alabama, at the 1999 annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Source: HSR Health Supplement Retailer, Vol. 5 No. 12, December 1999