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Vitamins - A Nutritional Insurance Policy
Many people do not get the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, so vitamin supplementation can be extremely beneficial. Taking a multivitamin is an important foundation on which you can add in specific vitamins depending on your specific health concerns
Vitamin A is essential for good eyesight and for growth. It stimulates the production of white blood cells and it regulates cell division and cell growth. Beta-carotene is a precursor compound that the body uses to produce vitamin A; since it has no toxic level, it's ideal for vitamin A supplementation. Too much vitamin A may inhibit the benefits of vitamin D, so you should take care.
Scurvy is the most well-known disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, but it can also lead to other problems such as poor carbohydrate metabolism. Vitamin C is also essential to wound repair and producing collagen, which is necessary for healthy bones and blood vessels. Much-debated, vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections and may ease symptoms of colds if taken at the onset of the disease.
Prothrombin formation in the blood depends on the presence of vitamin K, making it essential for clotting. It actually helps form four of the thirteen proteins necessary for clotting and is so important to the process that people on anticoagulants have to specifically regulate their vitamin K intake. Most people do not get sufficient levels from food intake.
Our bodies produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, yet most people are unknowingly deficient. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium and phosphorous. It also improves skin, elevates mood, controls infections, and protects against cancer by inhibiting cancer cells' growth and division. Studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation may also reduce mortality generally, from any cause.
There's a great range of B vitamins, many of which are important to health. Folic acid is vital to the formation of red blood cells and may lower risks of heart disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer. B6, B12, and folic acid decrease homocysteine levels, protecting you against heart disease and stroke. Some studies indicate that deficiencies of these three may increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants, which neutralise free-radicals, generally good for health. But people with cancer should be cautious since these vitamins can actually protect cancer cells in the same way they protect healthy cells. You should always consult your healthcare professional before starting a new vitamin supplementation regime, especially if you have serious health conditions.