A favorite quote from Thomas Edison goes something like this, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”
We may not be to Edison’s future yet, but we are finding that more and more diseases and health disorders can be reduced or eliminated by making informed nutritional choices. For those of us who are health conscious, an obvious health improvement factor is to ensure that we are getting a sufficient variety and amount of vitamins. With easy access to supplements and consumption of fortified foods, it’s wise to ensure we are not consuming excessive amounts of vitamins, too. A quick review of the benefits and cautionary steps to avoid over-taking standard vitamins is a great way to get maximum advantage while avoiding health pitfalls. Some of the favorite and beneficial vitamins include—
Vitamin A: This important nutrient is known to be important for healthy eyes—not only for improved vision, but also to decrease night blindness, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Other reported advantages include being an antioxidant cancer-buster, increasing dentin—a tooth strengthener, supporting vibrant skin and cell growth, fighting inflammation, and aiding in a healthy reproductive system. It is essential to point out the cautionary side of vitamin A because it may not be metabolized as effectively as we age, leading to increased blood levels. Studies have connected these increased levels to a potential for osteoporosis and hip fractures. Bestnaturalfoods.com notes that “All vitamin A toxicity issues pertain to retinol intake (in foods and supplements containing retinol, retinyl palmitate or retinyl acetate) and NOT supplemental or food-based carotenoid intake (like beta-carotene).”
Vitamin B: Better known as the vitamin B complex, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12 are frequently collectively taken to stimulate peak performance. While this is reason enough to ensure sufficient intake of the B vitamins, there is even more favorable data about the Bs. Once believed to be one nutrient, researchers have since identified the individual B vitamins and their separate though inter-related relationships to our good health. Their wellness effect may surprise you and include wound-healing, assistance with alcohol withdrawal, reduction of anxiety, improvement to digestion, and increased bone-density. Encouraging research also show that vitamin B6, B9, and B12 reduce levels of homocysteine. This toxic amino acid is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and brain atrophy. In a two year study, scientists noted a significant reduction in brain atrophy in participants who took B vitamins—half that of the placebo group. The B vitamins are water soluble so it is difficult to take too much. As one site noted—the main side effect of taking too much is expensive urine. Still, you will want to consider all factors such as dosage and medication interactions with B vitamin as with any other vitamin or supplement.
Vitamin C: Topping the list of have-to-have nutrients, vitamin C is a work horse nutrient that promotes desired wellness in so many ways. Benefits of taking a regular daily dose may include protection from cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and stroke; improvement or prevention of complications due to the common cold and macular degeneration; and reduction of wrinkling and other aging skin conditions. Because vitamin C is water-soluble, it is extremely difficult to reach toxicity levels. In fact, experts assert that most of us do not get enough vitamin C. The FDA recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 75-90 milligrams for adults or about five servings of vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables. However, nutrition experts suggest considerably more—up to 13 cups daily. Researcher Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, of the University of Michigan says, “The more we study vitamin C, the better our understanding of how diverse it is in protecting our health.” Noting that only 10% to 20% of adults get the recommended serving amounts, Moyad suggests adding a 500 milligram vitamin C supplement in addition to five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. A non-acidic buffered form of the vitamin can prevent irritation to the stomach. See the article at ‘Benefits of Vitamin C’ at webmd.com.
Understanding the role all vitamins and nutrients play in staying fit is important and though we have only covered three, the A, B, C vitamins are a great launching point if you are considering adding supplements to your diet. If you, or someone you know, have challenges in preparing consistently nutritious meals, I encourage you to contact us about our home delivered meals service. The Sedona Community Center is the only weekday provider of Meals on Wheels in the Sedona and Village of Oak Creek. To find out more about the home delivered meals service, please contact Donna at 928.282.2834.