Overdosing on Vitamins and Supplements

People who have experienced the positive effects from vitamins and supplements sometimes get carried away and think that if a low dose works okay, then a higher dose will work much better. In some cases this is true, like if you are trying to prevent a cold by taking extra vitamin C. However in some cases this is not true. In fact, taking high doses of some vitamins can make someone ill or even cause death. That is why it is very important to make sure that the vitamins and supplements you are taking do not build up in your system to become a lethal dose.

One of the most harmful supplements to take too much of is iron. This is especially true for many older people who fear that their blood is iron-poor and will begin taking supplements to make sure that they are getting enough iron so that they don’t become anemic. This is the worst thing that they can do.

Excess iron can be very dangerous because it helps free radicals to damage cells. For example, excess iron can change benign LDL cholesterol into the toxic type that wrecks the arteries and causes heart failure. Studies have shown that men with the highest amount of iron in their blood were twice as likely to have heart attacks. Other studies have shown that eating too much meat with iron in it will speed up the process getting heart disease.

Because excess iron speeds of the creation of free radicals, it has been implicated as a carcinogen as well. Cancer patients who have been studied for higher levels of iron in their blood have been found to have a greater risk for cancer, especially those who ate a diet high in red meat. Those who ate about five ounces of iron-rich meat a day were 250 percent more like to develop colon cancer than those who did not.

There are several other vitamins and supplements that can be deadly when taken in high doses or for too long a period of time. Vitamins A and D, and niacin can all have adverse effects, resulting in liver damage, heart disease, loss of nerve function, and increased risk of cancer. Overdoses of other supplements can cause milder medical problems like diarrhea, stomach pain, and sleeplessness. Large doses of niacin should not be taken by those who are pregnant or suffering from gout, peptic ulcers, glaucoma, liver disease, or diabetes.

Vitamin A should not be taken in large amounts in pill form or as cod liver oil by those suffering from liver disease. Pregnant women should avoid amounts of vitamin A over 25,000 IU. Children who are going to be taking vitamin A for more than one month should not take over 18,000 IU. If you are on any medication, check with your doctor before taking vitamin A as a supplement, as it can interfere with some medications.

These are only a few of the situations where taking too many vitamins and supplements can turn deadly. If you are going to take a vitamin or supplement other than a multivitamin for a special reason, make sure to read up about it before you start a vitamin regimen. You may find that taking a combination of vitamins can be harmful, or that what higher doses you want to take may not be necessary. At any rate, it is always best to stick with a premeasured multivitamin if you don’t feel like you have enough information to successfully treat an illness with supplements.

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Where to buy Vitamins and Supplements

These days, you can buy vitamins and supplements almost anywhere, including the gas station and the convenience store. It seems odd that vitamins and supplements are so readily available these days. It used to be that the only serious place you would really buy vitamins was the pharmacy. However, with the new surge of health foods stores and supplement outlets, there seem to be quite a lot of places to buy vitamins and supplements. Of course, if you don’t want to go shopping at all, you can always order vitamins over the internet.

There are pluses and minuses to buying vitamins and supplements at each outlet, so here is a breakdown of what you can expect at each retail outlet when it comes to purchasing vitamins.

Gas Stations
Amazingly, you can now boost your immune system at the same place where you fill your tank with gas. This is because gas stations and convenience stores now sell vitamins at the counters where you pay for gas and convenience items. These vitamins are sold in individual packages, usually labeled something like “Energy Blast” or “Immune Zap”. Obviously, these overpriced packages are a gimmick to get the harried worker or the professional truck driver to pay almost six dollars for a handful of vitamins. Avoid these vitamins and supplements at all costs.

Grocery Stores
The grocery store aisle used to have a few multivitamins and supplements, but that has changed dramatically over the past decade. Now, in the larger grocery stores, you can usually find an entire aisle dedicated to vitamins and supplements. If you know what you need to buy and you find it cheaper at the grocery store, go ahead and pick it up. In general, however, you should avoid shopping for vitamins at the grocery store unless you are just buying a multivitamin. This is because the vitamins sit on the shelf under fluorescent lighting, which zaps vitamins of their nutrients. They are also stored and stocked by grocery store employees, who probably aren’t educated in the fine point of vitamin handling. This means that you don’t know where the vitamins have been stored before they make it to the shelves.

Pharmacies
Pharmacies are also branching out to include all kinds of vitamins and supplements. Once again, however, these vitamins and supplements are stored under fluorescent lighting. Also, storage is still a concern. While prescription drugs are stored in a controlled environment, vitamins get stored with everything else. So before you purchase them, they may have been stored in extreme temperatures for months before hitting the shelves in the store. The one good thing, however, about buying vitamins and supplements at the drug store is that you can talk to the pharmacist about any interactions that the vitamins you are buying might have with medication that you are already taking.

Supplement Stores
Supplement stores, usually found in shopping malls, are a good place for athletes to find vitamins and supplements. Here, you will find all kind of supplements to boost performance, gain lean muscle mass, and heal sport injuries faster. Many supplements are sold together in packages that claim to produce a desired result in a much more effective and superior way than regular doses of vitamins alone. There are a lot of good products here, but beware of companies that want to sell you overpriced supplements that seem too good to be true.

The Health Food Store
This is the best place to shop for vitamins and supplements if you have a specific brand or type of supplement that you are looking for. If you have read about a new supplement in a magazine or on the internet, the best place to find it is at the health food store. Here, you will not only find almost every vitamin and supplement imaginable, you will also find it in every form. Supplements at the health food store are also stored properly. They are out of the way of sunlight and fluorescent lighting, and kept at the right temperature.

The Internet
The prices are definitely cheaper, and you can find almost anything you want. Again, the only warning here is that you can’t see where these vitamins are stored before you get them. So what you get in the mail may be exposed to almost any condition imaginable.

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Vitamin E as a Supplement to Fight Aging

Are you looking for a solution to fight the aging process? Vitamin E supplements have long been used to keep people feeling and looking younger. Vitamin E is the number one supplement that is universally accepted to fight aging above all other antioxidants. In fact, the anti-aging properties of Vitamin E supplements have become legendary among researchers worldwide. The claims of success with Vitamin E supplements to fight aging have become so strong, that some medical professionals feel that Vitamin E is the most important supplement consumers should take to fight the aging process.

But what makes Vitamin E supplements so powerful? Vitamin E supplements fight the gradual clogging and hardening of the arteries, technically known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs mainly because bad-type LDL blood cholesterol is chemically altered by attacks from free radicals in the blood stream. This chemical alteration, or oxidation, makes this cholesterol able to enter the artery walls, where it becomes plaque. This plaque then builds up on the artery walls and eventually clogs and hardens the arteries. Vitamin E enters the LDL cholesterol molecule and prohibits it from oxidizing, thus preventing heart disease in older adults.

Vitamin E supplements also rejuvenate the immune system. A university study on aging proves this point. A group of people over the age of sixty with poor immune systems were given Vitamin E for thirty days. The results were that their immune systems shot back up to almost the level of people in their twenties. This was an improvement of almost 80-90%. It is believed that this works because Vitamin E as a supplement helps guard the fat in the membranes of immune cells from being oxidized by free radial attacks. It must be noted that because the people in the study were not deficient in Vitamin E, it was the extra dose of Vitamin E from the supplements that caused the improvement in the test subject’s immune systems.

Because it stops the free radical chain reaction that destroys cells, Vitamin E supplements fight a lot of other illnesses caused by aging as well. Vitamin E also prevents cancer and blocks the growth of cancer cells and protects the brain from degenerative diseases. It relieves arthritis symptoms; fight cataracts, and helps with decreased blood flow to the arteries. Incredibly, Vitamin E supplements are almost a one-stop shop when it comes to fighting the aging process in the human body. Vitamin E can also be applied topically to the skin as well. Vitamin E creams and lotions have all kinds of healing and anti-aging properties to reduce the look of aging.

If you are suffering from any ailments caused by free radicals that are destroying healthy cells in your body, Vitamin E supplements may help stop this process. Studies show that as little as 100 IU’s of Vitamin E daily, in addition to the Vitamin E that you get from food can produce measurable results. However, in order to see real benefits, the daily dosage should be at least 400 IU’s on a daily basis. This seems to be the agreed upon amount of Vitamin E needed to effectively tackle the free radicals that may be destroying healthy cells. Studies further show that it appears safe to take up to 800 IU’s of Vitamin E a day for this purpose. However, like any alternative medication, it is important to check with a doctor before you take any dosage of Vitamin E to fight free radicals in your bloodstream to fight aging.

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Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Loss

A well balanced diet along with vitamins and supplements definitely promotes optimal health, but it also promotes healthy hair, and in the process slows down hair loss. Vitamins and supplements are able to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, so why not hair loss? While there are no miracle cures to be found at the health food store, there are quite a few vitamins and supplements that can improve the quality of your hair.

While you should always make sure that you are getting enough of every vitamin and mineral in your diet, there are a few vitamins and supplements that be taken to specifically stop hair loss to some degree. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough of these vitamins and supplements in your diet to promote healthy hair.

PABA, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid are considered to be the most important vitamins for the hair. These vitamins not only improve the overall quality of the hair, but they also reduce the amount of grey in the hair. It has been shown in studies that these four vitamins used together significantly reduced the amount of grey hair in test subjects in a recent study. Brewer’s yeast, a supplement rich in vitamin B, is also shown to darken hair as well.

Vitamin E is another important vitamin for the hair. The beauty industry has promoted Vitamin E for many years as a hair improvement supplement, and with good reason. Vitamin E has been proven to work to make hair healthy, thick, and luxurious. Besides taking the vitamin itself, there are many other ways to get healthy doses of vitamin E in your diet. Wheat germ and wheat germ oil, rich in Vitamins E and B, are great dietary supplements for getting enough vitamin E to stimulate hair growth.

Minerals are also important to promote healthy hair. Two minerals that promote hair growth, magnesium and potassium, can be found in common multivitamin supplements. Silicon (Silica) is a supplement usually sold as a “healthy nails, skin, and hair” supplement. Silicon is necessary for bone and connective tissue (collagen) formation. Iodine is another trace mineral helpful for hair quality, usually purchased in the form of kelp tablets. The recommend daily dose of vitamin D, which is found in a multivitamin, is important for the proper assimilation of these minerals in the intestines.

Vitamin A and Vitamin F are also important vitamins to take when you want to have healthy hair; however, the best way to get them is through food intake. Vitamin A is more of a benefit to the scalp. It can be helpful with dandruff, and also a dry itchy scalp associated with other medical conditions. It is usually included in a multivitamin in small amounts, but the best place to find it is in cod liver oil. Vitamin F, or the essential fatty acids, are abundantly present in all unsaturated vegetable oils and in raw seeds and nuts. Unsaturated oils in the diet are considered to be valuable to the sebaceous glands, which are located in and around the hair follicles.

While a multivitamin can take care of the basics needed to stop or slow down hair loss, the extra benefits come from the vitamins and supplements that can be found at your local health food store. Taking vitamins and supplements aimed specifically at hair loss is the best way to stop it and the best way to keep a fuller head of hair.

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Vitamins and Supplements for Sports Nutrition

If you are training for sports, whether it’s competitive or recreational, you may be thinking about taking vitamins or supplements to enhance your performance. These aren’t supplements for health, exactly. They are vitamins or supplements to make you stronger, faster, leaner, or maybe to heal a sports injury. No matter the reason, if you are active in sports and want to see improvement, you are looking for something above and beyond the vitamins and supplements that will just make you healthy.

If you go to the health food store, you will find shelves and shelves of vitamins and supplements that promise almost everything you can possibly imagine. But just how many of these products are worth buying and how many are really just rip-offs? While some of these products are genuine, the majority of them are from companies that manufacture supplements and vitamin combinations in order to make money. For most of these companies, the bottom line is profit. This means that they make their supplements for a little cost as possible and mark them up as much as they can. Combine this with some slick advertising and you have a product that promises much more than it delivers.

Wild exaggerations have been made about products that may only help the user to achieve minimal or no results. The rule of thumb here is that the wilder the manufacturer’s claim, the more likely it is to be untrue. The real vitamins and nutritional supplements that will help you make physical gains aren’t so exciting. They don’t come in really neat packaging and they don’t work miracles. However, they do work. These are the vitamins and supplements that will help you achieve success, not overpromise unnatural results.

1. The first supplement to take is the standard multivitamin. Taken regularly, it will do more for you than any other products combined. Even if you do decide to take extra doses of vitamin C and E, you should still take the multivitamin everyday to make sure that you are getting enough of all the other vitamins you aren’t loading up on.

2. Extra multi-minerals can be taken before or after training. These should help replace any minerals lost through sweat and muscle contraction.

3. Liver tablets are a great endurance supplement. The vitamin B properties of liver help the body use its glycogen more efficiently.

4. Chromium is good for keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day and keeps energy high. If you are on a special diet, it also helps with junk food cravings.

5. Amino acids like L-Carnatine helps maintain lean body mass if you are trying to burn fat. L-Carnatine has been shown to transport long-chain fatty acids into the muscles where they are oxidized and most efficiently burned.

6. There are also protein powders, but these should only be consumed when you can’t possibly consume the amount of calories that you need in order to reach muscle building goals. Be careful with these, however, if you stop exercising or don’t exercise enough, the extra calories from protein powder will go right to the waistline.

Of course, these are vitamins and minerals that can improve your performance, but what if you get hurt? There are vitamins and supplements for that, too.

1. Proteolytic enzymes taken between meals speed healing by destroying free radical that are released during an injury.

2. Protein, in the form of free form amino acids, helps to repair and strengthen connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons.

3. Calcium plus magnesium repairs bones, connective tissue, and also is very important for the entire skeletal system.

4. Vitamin B complex, in addition to the vitamin B already in a multivitamin should be taken during any stressful situation.

As you can see, there isn’t any great mystery to taking vitamins and supplements. Any other promises that manufacturers make are just that, empty promises. If you find that you need more help than what standard over-the-counter supplements can give you, it is best to consult a doctor, preferably one who specializes in sports medicine. They will be able to tell you if there is another product out there that can help you, or if your Olympic dreams will just have to wait.

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Using Garlic Pills as a Supplement

As far as vitamins and supplements go, the benefits of taking garlic pills are incredibly vast. Garlic itself is hailed as an anti-aging wonder drug and virtual cure-all. The use of garlic dates back nearly five thousand years, when it was originally used as an ancient medicinal herb. This is because the garlic bulb contains about 400 hundred different substances including antioxidants, which gives it great power when it comes to guarding cells from the outside threat of free radicals.

This is all good news for people who love to eat garlic, but for the many that don’t care for it, garlic supplements are the way to go. Like most other vitamins and supplements, garlic pills have been stringently tested and for the most part have been proven to have the same qualities as fresh-cut garlic. Garlic supplements, like fresh garlic, are able to act as antibiotics, antiviral agents, cholesterol reducers, anticoagulants, blood pressure reducers, cancer inhibitors, decongestants, and anti-inflammatory agents. So if you don’t like garlic and don’t want garlic breath, garlic supplements can help you in the same ways as the real thing.

The first serious illness that regular doses of garlic supplements can help you with is cancer. Studies show that people who eat garlic on a regular basis are less likely to get certain cancers, like stomach and colon cancers. Other studies show that garlic supplements also inhibit the growth of existing cancer cells. This means that garlic supplements can be helpful to prevent cancer as well as inhibit its spread after a patient has been diagnosed with this illness.

Regular doses of garlic supplements also lower cholesterol on an average of 9%, researchers find. This is close to the effectiveness of cholesterol reducing drugs, which lower cholesterol on average about 15%. When attempting to reduce cholesterol with garlic supplements, it is recommended to take them for at least one month before expecting any significant results. Besides reducing cholesterol levels, garlic supplements also block free radicals from oxidizing bad type LDL cholesterol, thus crippling its ability to clog arteries.

Another important way that garlic supplements fight heart disease is by slowing down the formation of blood clots. The chemicals in garlic supplements do this by stopping blood platelets from sticking to one another and the walls of the arteries, which is the first step to getting clogged arteries. Garlic supplements also specifically fight aging and clogging in the peripheral and heart arteries as well. This prevents the narrowing and clogging of arteries in the legs, which can make walking extremely painful. Researchers recommend at least five weeks of daily garlic intake before expecting noticeable results.

Garlic supplements can even act as a mild antidepressant. Researchers have learned that taking garlic supplements releases the substance serotonin into the body. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that regulates a wide variety of mental states, including depression. Some studies have shown that garlic supplements, taken on a regular basis can be almost as 60% effective as Valium. Garlic supplements have also been proven to slow down aging by suppressing attacks from free radicals found in the body.

In order to see positive health benefits, medical researchers recommend either eating three garlic cloves a day or taking garlic supplements according to the directions on the package. Taking more than this can cause diarrhea, gastric bleeding, and other minor health problems. Taking garlic supplements is not something that you need to over-indulge in, but rather something to take in normal quantities on a regular basis. When it comes to taking vitamins and supplements, garlic pills are definitely beneficial to overall health and also easier to swallow than raw garlic cloves.

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