Introduction to Vitamins and Supplements

If you haven’t ever used vitamins or supplements to increase the nutrients you get on a daily basis, finding the vitamins you need to take can be confusing. Deciding which vitamins or supplements to take or how much will be helpful to your health is a difficult decision because there are so many brands available these days. The quality of these vitamins and supplements is also hard to measure because so many of the brands may be unfamiliar to the average consumer. So, the best way to start learning about the vitamins and supplements that may be beneficial to your health is to simply start reading about them.

Vitamins and supplement are nutritional enhancements that include a wide variety of products and are available at almost any store. Generally, vitamins and supplements are classified as items for consumption that are composed of, derived from, or byproducts of foods that are considered to provide a multitude of health benefits. This definition also includes vitamins and supplements that are synthetically manufactured to recreate the same properties of these food derivatives. The health benefits of vitamins and supplements are based on uses in both traditional medicine and modern research.

Vitamins and supplements can be used for a variety of purposes. The can be high in certain nutrients, may used to cure a specific ailment, or be taken for an overall increase in general health. While most vitamins are trusted for their health benefits, you have to be careful that you don’t raise your expectations too high when you start taking them. This is because some manufacturers make false claims as to how helpful their vitamins and supplements will be. Remember that while vitamins and supplements can benefit your health in many ways, they aren’t necessarily miracle cures. If a manufacturer makes claims that seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Vitamins come in every shape and form including tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, jellies, creams, wafers, etc. Because vitamins and supplements are essentially derived from food, their potency and shelf life will vary. Always check the expiration date before buying any vitamins or minerals. Also, look at the way the product has been stored on the shelf. What kind of packaging is it in? Is it stored in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lighting? Is the store cooled and heated properly? All of these factors will affect the potency of the vitamins or supplements you would like to purchase. So make sure that the vitamins you buy are stored correctly.

If you don’t understand how to use a particular vitamin or supplements ask questions. The person at the store where you are buying your vitamins and supplements may just be a clerk and have no working knowledge of what they are selling; so you may have to ask a friend or your doctor about the effect of certain vitamins. If you don’t have anyone to ask, you will have to rely on the product labeling and the information that you find on the internet or local library to answer your questions. Make sure to take a dosage of the vitamin or supplement that will be effective for your intended purposes, but make sure that you do not take too high of a dosage. Vitamin and supplements in large doses can be harmful. Also, find out if the vitamins that you are going to be taking will interfere with any other medication you might already be taking.

You may be uncomfortable taking vitamins and supplements at first, and you may not get the same effect from them right away as you would from traditional medicine. This is perfectly normal. The positive effect of vitamins and supplements happens gradually; unlike traditional medication, which can have an immediate effect. Also, if you tell someone that you are taking a vitamin or supplement for an illness, they might not understand why you are not taking medication. The main thing to remember is that whether you take vitamins and supplements for general health or specific reasons, stay educated on the positive effects they can have on your health and on your quality of life.

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Using Folic Acid as a Supplement

As vitamins and supplements go, folic acid is a B vitamin that is known mainly for its ability to fight cardiovascular disease. Folic acid is found naturally in green leafy vegetables and legumes, but if you don’t eat enough of these, it’s a good idea to take folic acid as a supplement. If you don’t get enough folic acid in your diet, you may be unnecessarily risking the possibility of heart problems and other serious illnesses. Studies have proven that the right amount of folic acid in your blood stream can go a long way towards fighting cardiovascular disease, specifically the blocked arteries caused by having high levels of homocysteine in your blood stream.

If you never heard of homocysteine, you are not alone. This is a fairly newly discovered danger to the arteries in the head and neck, and is partially responsible for the blockage of these arteries. Homocysteine is a type of amino acid in the blood, which becomes oxidized and releases an excess of the vicious free radical called superoxide. Homocysteine is similar to cholesterol in the way that it begins to block blood vessels, which can trigger a heart attack or stroke. This danger can affect some 30 to 40% of older adults in the United States.

The good news is that deficiencies in folic acid are easy to fix. Just taking a folic acid supplement of 400 to 1,000 micrograms a day can help save someone with low folic acid levels form a heart attack. The right amount of folic acid can be found in an over-the-counter multivitamin. Along with vitamins B12 and B6, you have the perfect formula to help prevent heart attacks.

Folic acid supplements can also help block and reverse cancer, even after premalignant cells are found. This is because the levels of folic acid may not be uniform throughout the body. So, targeted cells for cancer can actually be deficient in folic acid. Studies on cervical cancer have shown that women with lower folic acid levels in the blood cells around the cervix were five times more likely to develop pre-cancerous cells in the cervix area. By taking folic acid supplements and raising the level of folic acid in the entire body, the spread of cancer to healthy cells in unprotected areas of the body may be blocked.

Folic acid supplements can also help preserve normal brain function as you grow older. Regularly taken folic acid supplements can help prevent memory loss, depression, and dementia, which are much more common in older people who have low levels of folic acid. For younger people, folic acid seems to improve memory, concentration, and emotional stability. All of this can be accomplished with moderate doses of folic acid supplements.

Folic acid is available in foods like dried beans, spinach, collard greens, and citrus fruits. However, your body only generally absorbs about fifty percent of the folic acid in food. Foods rich in folic acid are still good for you, but if you want all of the benefits of folic acid, it is still wise to take a folic acid supplement. This is especially true if you want the added benefits of preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other more serious illnesses.

Remember the power of folic acid becomes even more powerful when combined with vitamin B12 and B6. The recommended dose of all three is available in a standard multivitamin, available at pharmacy or grocery store.

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Vitamins and Supplements vs. the Doctor

Medical doctors have very strong opinions about the value of vitamins and supplements. Some of them view vitamins and supplements as helpful with preventing illness. Others see them as a new way to practice alternative medicine. Then there are those who discourage their use entirely, except for taking a standard multivitamin.

This leaves the patient in an awkward situation. This is because if a person is serious about finding an alternative to traditional western medicine, a doctor can’t help them. Doctors can’t prescribe vitamins and supplements like they would medication. In fact, they can’t even recommend that you take them. The vitamin and supplement industry isn’t regulated like the drug industry, so if a doctor tells you to take vitamin C for a cold, it is really just an informal suggestion and not a prescription.

Talking to a doctor puts them in an awkward position as well. Whether they believe in the healing powers of vitamins and supplements or not, if you come to them with a medical condition, they have a legal obligation to prescribe the correct medication to remedy your situation. If not, they open themselves up to all kinds of malpractice suits. Even when doctors do get creative and try to prescribe an alternative drug or treatment that they know will heal someone, the insurance companies will refuse payment.

This leaves patients who want to explore alternative treatments for illnesses off on their own. However, there is alternative help if you want to try options other than traditional medicine. While a doctor can’t recommend a heavy vitamin regimen, he can give you tests to monitor your progress. If you decide to treat an illness with vitamins or supplements, it takes a lot longer to slow down or regulate a medical condition than with traditional medicine. For example, it can take up to two years to lower high cholesterol using only vitamins and supplements. As long as you get regular tests from a doctor, you can monitor your progress.

Always tell your doctor what vitamins you are using and how much you are taking. He may not like it, but unless he has a valid medical reason why you can’t take them, he’ll have to understand. If he doesn’t, then find another doctor. Alternatively, you can also talk to your pharmacist about what you are taking and what you hope to accomplish. They can be very helpful in assisting you with choosing the right vitamins and supplements and check to make sure that any vitamins you are taking don’t conflict with your current medication.

You can also go to a holistic practitioner if you are looking to remedy a minor situation or are looking for preventative medicine. Holistic practitioners are licensed professionals who can recommend more specific vitamins and supplements and more radical forms of alternative treatments. The vitamins and supplements they will recommend will be more organic and potent, so make sure to follow their directions specifically and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any side effects or other symptoms. Holistic practitioners are caring knowledgeable professionals, but unfortunately they still aren’t substitutes for doctors.

This is the right way to go about using the healing power of vitamins and supplements to help prevent or cure a serious illness. If you suspect you have a medical condition, you should never try to heal it by yourself by using vitamins and supplements. Not only is this dangerous, it can also be life threatening. Vitamins and supplements are mainly used to prevent illnesses and promote overall strengthening of the body. They are not to be used as a substitute for medical drugs or treatment. Even when they are, they are used under a doctor’s supervision, usually in addition to more traditional medicines. Taking vitamins and hoping they will cure an illness is not ever recommended by anyone. If you want to use vitamins and suppliants to cure illnesses, it is much better to go to a doctor who believes in their incredible and natural ability to heal.

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Tips for Using Vitamins and Supplements

When you take prescribed medication, it comes with a warning label and usually an entire pamphlet explaining how to use the medication. It also comes with the advice of a doctor and a pharmacist; two medical professionals who are at your disposal if you need them. This is, however, not the case for vitamins and supplements. With vitamins, all you get in the way of directions is usually the dosage suggestion on the bottle. This can be somewhat disconcerting, especially when you consider that you are taking vitamins and supplements for health reasons. So, here are a few tips on using vitamins and supplements that you won’t find on the warning label of your vitamin bottle.

1. Always take vitamins with some kind of food. Vitamins are not a meal substitute, they are a meal supplement. If you take vitamins or supplements on an empty stomach, they will simply wash right out of your system. Also, don’t take vitamins with fresh fruit for breakfast. The citrus acids in the fruit can change the chemical makeup of the vitamin and strip away its nutritive values.

2. Always take vitamins and supplements with water. While it seems healthier to take them with fruit juice, all you are doing is subjecting your vitamins to a bath of citric acid, thereby stripping them of their nutrients. Also, do not take vitamins and supplements with caffeine. The caffeine will leach the nutrients out of the vitamins and they will simple flush out of your system.

3. If you miss taking your vitamins during the day, let it go. Do not try to take the vitamins you forgot during the day before bedtime. Doing this may keep you awake all night. Also, don’t try to “make up” for the vitamins you missed the day before. Taking too many vitamins or higher dosages will not be beneficial. In fact, it may make you sick.

4. If you are taking a sports enhancement supplement, make sure that you take it as directed. Some sports supplements need to be taken before or after a workout in order to be effective.

5. Make sure that you are not taking vitamins that conflict with each other. When taking several different vitamins at the same time, they can actually cancel each other out; making both of them null and void. For example, taking too much extra zinc can zap the positive effects of any copper you might be taking.

6. Make sure you store your vitamins properly. Keep them out of direct sunlight and fluorescent lighting. Too much exposure to sunlight depletes the vitamins of their nutrients, making them ineffective. Also, store supplements at the right temperature. Vitamins that have been exposed to too much heat and cold also lose their potency. Check the label. If the temperature of your refrigerator is right to store the supplements you have, then this is the best place to store them.

7. Never mix vitamins together in the same bottle. They can merge into each other, possibly forming unknown substances.

8. Always check the expiration date. Vitamins and supplements have a long shelf life, but once that is over, throw them out.

9. Don’t take large doses of any vitamin thinking that it will have more of an effect. In some cases, people will take large doses of vitamin C, B-complex, and E for serious illnesses, but this should be done under the care of a doctor. Don’t try to experiment on your own to cure a serious illness with vitamins and supplements. Also, vitamins in large doses can be poisonous and even fatal.

10. Don’t use vitamins as a substitute for taking medication or going to the doctor. Vitamin and supplements are incredible healers and prevent many illnesses; but if you have a serious medical condition, you should always try to get to a doctor first. The medical miracles that you hear about concerning vitamins and supplements are true in some cases, but like the labels say, “results may vary.” Don’t assume that your medical condition is like anyone else’s or that it can be solved by taking vitamins and supplements alone.

Remember vitamins are most helpful for preventing illness and maintaining overall health, but they are not a cure-all. A sensible diet, moderate exercise and routine checkups are still strongly recommended to achieve maximum health.

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Cheapest Vitamins and Supplements

If you’ve decided to start purchasing vitamins and supplements, you will notice one distinct characteristic about them. They are extremely expensive! If you go to the health food store and only purchase three or four bottles of supplements, the total can easily be well over a hundred dollars. Assuming that each bottle has only a month’s supply, if you are on a serious supplement regimen, it could possibly cost you up to a couple of hundred dollars a month if you buy the premium brands of vitamins. So here are a few tips on how to get your vitamins for the cheapest price and still enjoy the benefits associated with the most expensive name brands.

Tip #1: Don’t pay more for the fancy label. Many vitamins and supplements come in very ornate looking packaging. However, once you start reading the fancy label, if you don’t see any difference between its ingredients and the cheaper brands’ – that’s probably because there is no difference. A lot of times, you are paying more for the name on the bottle because you are paying for the advertising the company puts out. In reality, vitamins from companies with a huge difference in price from other brands actually come from the same factory.

Tip #2: Generic brands are just as good as name brands and cost about half as much. Again, read the label. If the generic has the same ingredients as its competitors; it is the same thing. In fact, many companies put out a generic brand along with their name brand to capture price-conscious shoppers along with their more discerning customers. On some generic labels, you can even see a “distributed by” in fine print on the back of the bottle. Always buy generic when you can to save money.

Tip #3: Most chain supplement stores have a preferred member discount card. If you shop on certain days of the week or by certain products, you can really save a lot of money. These stores also have frequent sales for members-only on all kinds of name brand vitamins and supplements. Most cities have one of these types of stores at the mall, so they are convenient to get to as well.

Tip #4: If you have a favorite brand, check out their website on the internet. They almost always have coupons and special offers that you can take advantage of online, or coupons that you can print off and use locally. It might even be a good idea to get on their e-mail list. That way you can be alerted when they are offering discounts.

Tip #5: Do a search for “cheap vitamins” on the internet. You will be able to find all of the discount vitamin warehouses that deliver cheaply priced name brand vitamins right to your door. This is the best way to save money on vitamins and supplements, because some of these internet vitamin warehouses sell name brand vitamins for over half-off the regular price. Shipping charges are also usually nominal as well.

Tip #6: Buy your vitamins in bulk when you can. If you are buying something like vitamin C for example, and your whole family takes it, you will save money if you buy the larger bottles of it. The same is true of multivitamins. You can also go with a friend who is buying the same supplements and split the larger bottle in half.

Tip #7: Buy synthetic vitamins and supplements when you can. It is always better to buy vitamins that are derived from natural sources. The whole point of buying vitamins is to get nutrients from a natural food source, as opposed to using a synthetic drug. However, the difference between a lot of synthetic and naturally produced vitamins has yet to be determined. In many studies, the difference between synthetic and real vitamins is negligible at best.

Saving money on vitamins and supplements isn’t hard if you pay attention and are always alert for deals. While vitamins and supplements can be expensive, there isn’t any reason to pay more than necessary to stay healthy.

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Vitamins and Supplements for Heart Disease

You probably haven’t ever heard of an antioxidant known as coenzyme Q-10. It doesn’t exactly have a ring to it, but it is one of the vitamins and supplements that are coming to the forefront when it comes to fighting heart disease. Coenzyme Q-10 is a vitamin-like substance that resembles vitamin E, but which may be an even more powerful antioxidant. It also goes by the name ubiquinone.

Coenzyme Q-10 is being hailed by scientists as one of the brightest new antioxidants around for postponing aging and preventing or treating heart disease. It is most easily found in salmon, but it has been synthesized into a supplement that is available at health food stores. Because it hasn’t been tested as much as other vitamins and supplements no one is quite sure of the dosage to take, but as you age, your body produces less of it. This happens around the age of twenty, often leaving most people with a deficit by the age of forty. Studies on the cells of aged and diseased hearts have shown them to have serious deficiencies of coenzyme Q-10. The most sensible way to correct this appears to be to take coenzyme Q-10 as a supplement.

However, no one is quite sure how this untested antioxidant actually works. What they do know is that coenzyme Q-10 is an antioxidant that works similar to vitamin E in that it protects fat molecules being oxidized or damaged by free radicals. It does this by stabilizing the membrane of the fat cells and then giving them a sort of spark of energy to keep them functioning at a normal rate. When you consider that it is the free radicals job to destroy the membranes of good cells and then zap their energy, it easy to see how important coenzyme Q-10 is.

This is why coenzyme Q-10 maintains concentrations in the heart’s muscle cells, which need tremendous amounts of energy to keep a healthy heart pumping at a pace of one hundred thousand times per day. This is also probably why a weak and diseased heart will show very few traces of coenzyme Q-10 when it is autopsied.

Coenzyme Q-10, however, appears to do even more than this to prevent heart disease. This supplement is exceptionally strong when it comes to halting the relentless oxidation of blood cholesterol by free radicals in the blood stream. This is the first step for free radicals to start wreaking the arteries, which will eventually trigger heart attacks and strokes. While it does this more effectively than vitamin E or beta carotene, the difference is that it takes a lot more coenzyme Q-10 to do to this than the other antioxidants. That’s why researchers are puzzled over how much off a dosage to recommend.

There’s even more that Coenzyme Q-10 does for the cardiovascular system. It can even help reduce blood pressure. Taking 225 milligrams of coenzyme Q-10 on a daily basis reduced blood pressure in 85% of the patients who took it during one university study. It has been used for this purpose in other countries for decades and has been approved in Japan and Europe for the treatment of congestive heart failure.

Coenzyme Q-10 appears to do a lot more as well. It has also been proven to boost the immune system, lessen allergy attacks, treat asthma, help with ulcers, and also brain disorders. As scientists keep researching, only time will tell how many advantages this antioxidant will provide to the human body. As it becomes more researched, it will hopefully become more understood.

If you are going to take coenzyme Q-10, it is best to take it with food. It comes in pressed tablets, powder-filled capsules and oil-based gel caps. It works well with vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin B complex. Once again, there doesn’t seem to be any downside to taking coenzyme Q-10, so the dosage isn’t limited. The main thing about coenzyme Q-10 is that there doesn’t seem to be a time that is too early to start taking it if you are concerned about heart disease.

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Vitamins and Supplements for Brain Power

When it comes to improving brain power, there is no better vitamin or supplement than Ginkgo Biloba. This is because Ginkgo supplements promote more oxygenated blood to flow through the tiny blood vessels in the brain, heart, and limbs than would normally occur. This additional blood flow not only helps to restore memory to the brain, but also eases muscle pain in the limbs. Ginkgo Biloba is so powerful, that in the past decade, Ginkgo supplements have been widely studied as a remedy to offset the serious effects that aging can have on the mind and body.

This is important, because as people age, their body’s ability to get enough oxygen rich blood to the brain decreases. This is due to the fact that later in life, capillaries become rigid and narrow, diminishing the amount of blood supplied throughout the body – including the brain. Eventually, this low blood flow can cause the onset of senility. A person with senility will experience short term memory loss, confusion, absent-mindedness, dizziness, and depression. In cases like this, doctors will usually recommend a prescription drug to remedy the situation. However, in many clinical studies, Gingko supplements have been proven to work almost as well as the pharmaceutical drugs commonly prescribed for senility. Many of the studies also went on to show that test subject ages fifty to seventy who took Ginkgo supplements experienced an increase in blood flow to the brain by 70%.

In addition to increasing blood flow to the brain, Ginkgo supplements also improves peripheral circulation. For people with poor circulation, the problem of leg pain from restricted blood flow to the legs can be painful. Leg pain results when blood circulation is too weak, causing oxygen deprivation of muscles and production of toxins and free radicals. Ginkgo supplements alleviate this pain by directly stimulating the circulation. In studies on patients with leg pain due to poor circulation, patients who took Ginkgo supplements were able to walk farther and with less measured pain.

Ginkgo supplements can also slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, boost memory, lower blood pressure, restore memory loss, and raise good type HDL cholesterol. While it seems like this may be a remedy for the aged, it is never too early to start taking Ginkgo supplements before you experience the symptoms of aging. Many natural supplements like Ginkgo are best taken as preventative medicine, and are most effective when they are taken before symptoms arise. Ginkgo seems to work best for people who are just beginning to experience the decline in memory and poor blood circulation due to aging.

Many experts agree that taking Ginkgo supplements at a younger age can delay the need for more serious medicines and treatments. Taken early on, Ginkgo supplements can even lessen the permanent effects of aging on the blood vessels and the brain. Medical experts agree that a dose of Ginkgo supplements of 40 to 80 milligrams daily and started during middle age will preserve brain power well into the declining years.

This is great news for people who are starting to experience memory loss and other symptoms of aging, but aren’t quite ready for retirement. Combined with other supplements like Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, and Selenium; Gingko supplements can effectively improve the signs of aging. Incredibly, these signs of improvement are noticeable after four to six weeks. While these supplements work faster for older people, it’s never too early to start taking Ginkgo Biloba supplements to boost brain power significantly.

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Vitamins and Supplements for Everyday Use

Vitamins and supplements have incredible healing powers for those that are suffering from illness, but what about people who are already fairly healthy? If there’s nothing wrong with your health, should you still take vitamins and supplements? The answer is a resounding yes. This is because while vitamins and supplements can help those who are ill, they are really better used as preventative medicine for healthy people rather than cures for the sick. In fact, many people become ill because they have deprived their body of the nutrients it needs for a long period of time.

Believe it or not, everyday life robs us of important nutrients all the time. Whether you feel it or not, many of our modern day lifestyles aren’t particularly healthy. Most Americans, for example, rarely get the recommended daily amount of five servings of vegetables per day. Then things like smoking, fast-food, excessive drinking, and caffeine rob us of more nutrients we aren’t even consuming in the first place. So, if you are feeling run down, a good multivitamin is the best way to start replenishing all of the nutrients that your body is missing.

A multivitamin is inexpensive and easy to take. A multivitamin also has most of the recommended doses of the vitamins and supplements you need on a daily basis to stay healthy. This includes vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, zinc, chromium, and potassium. There are two reasons to take a multivitamin, even if you are feeling fine. The first is to get the vitamins and minerals you aren’t getting in your diet, and the second is to replace the vitamins and minerals you are depleting because of bad eating habits.

If you drink large amount of caffeine, you are depleting your body of biotin, inositol, potassium, and zinc. Zinc, a mineral that boosts your immune system is essential for fighting off the common cold and flu. Potassium helps keep you blood pressure in check. Remember, if you take vitamins and supplements to replace what caffeine is taking out of it, make sure to take them with water and not caffeine. Taking vitamins with a caffeinated beverage will leach the nutrients right out of the vitamin, and they will merely pass through your body.

If you eat too much bacon, sausage, and cured ham – check the ingredients. If the pork you are eating contains nitrates, you are depleting your body of niacin, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Vitamin C and E are the two most important vitamins you can have in your system as protection from heart disease, cancer, brain malfunction, premature aging, and other major illnesses.

Excess alcohol consumption depletes your body of almost every vitamin and supplement you can imagine and should be avoided whenever possible. When you drink too much alcohol, you are depleting your body of magnesium, vitamin B complex, and vitamins C, D, E, and K. Since these are the main vitamins your body needs to function, alcohol can be very damaging to your system.

Oral contraceptives also deplete the body of vitamin B complex and vitamins C, D, and E. These vitamins are the foundation for health and must be replaced if you are taking an oral contraceptive. Consult your doctor about this when you get a prescription, and also if you plan to conceive after taking the pill. This is in order to prevent birth defects. Taking estrogen can also deplete your body of folic acid and B6. If you are experiencing menopause or other age related conditions, is imperative that you take vitamins and supplements to replace what your body needs to function.

Even the most mundane items can deplete your body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function on any level. For example, using fluoride can lessen the amount of vitamin C you have in your system. This is a getting a little picky, but hopefully you can see that even if you are a fairly healthy person, you still need vitamins and supplements to keep your body running in peak condition. Without them, you are looking at experiencing unnecessary illnesses and overall poor health.

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The Myths about Vitamins and Supplements

When it comes to vitamins and supplements, there is so much misinformation out there that it is hard to know what to believe about them. There are many false claims from manufacturers, self-proclaimed health gurus with misleading information, and all of sorts of well-meaning people who simply don’t know what they are talking about. Combined with the desire for people’s need to believe that vitamins and supplements will perform miracles for them, many myths and misunderstandings have developed surrounding vitamins and supplements.

Myth #1: Vitamins and supplements cure disease.
Facts: Vitamins and supplements can help prevent disease, help cure disease, and help lessen the effects of disease; but vitamins and supplements alone cannot cure disease. No one who is seriously ill should ever take vitamins in place of prescribed medication or medical care. The main benefit of vitamins and supplements is their preventative nature. For example, if you have a history of cancer in your family, you might want to take beta carotene to prevent the disease before you have any signs of it.

Myth#2: Vitamins and supplements are not medication.
Facts: While there are many people who take vitamins and supplements seriously, there are others who take them like candy, and don’t feel like they have any major effect. The truth here lies somewhere in the middle. While technically vitamins and supplements are not medication, when taken in the right doses, they can take on the same qualities. Studies that researchers conduct with higher doses of vitamins and supplements show that these kinds of doses can have almost the same effect as real medication. Taken liberally, they can interfere with other medications and have serious side effects. So, while technically vitamins are not medicine, they should be taken like they are.

Myth#3: You can’t take too many vitamins and supplements.
Facts: This is completely false. There are several vitamins and supplements that can be deadly when taken in high doses or for too long a period of time. Vitamins A and D, niacin, and iron can all have adverse effects, resulting in liver damage, heart disease, loss of nerve function, and increased risk of cancer. Other supplemental overdoses can cause milder medical problems like diarrhea, stomach pain, and sleeplessness. Taken together in large doses, some vitamins will also cancel each other out. For example, too much extra zinc can zap the effects of any copper you might be taking.

Myth#4: Vitamins are all the same.
Facts: Just because a substance is labeled “Vitamin C” doesn’t mean that it will have the same potency as every other “Vitamin C” on the shelf. For example researchers have questioned whether synthetic vitamin C is as effective as vitamin C produced from rosehips or other natural substances. Vitamins come in so many different forms and from so many different sources that it is important to read the label and also to be an educated shopper. This way, you will get the vitamins you need in the right form and potency.

Myth#5: Everything on the label is true.
Facts: The only thing that is true about any vitamin or supplement is what you read from independent studies or literature. Many manufacturers make claims based on research or information that is not accurate in order to make sales. If the label on a vitamin or a supplement makes claims that don’t sound believable, then they probably aren’t. Many of these claims are made so that the price can be jacked way up in order for the manufacturer to make a big profit. Save your money. Just because a supplement costs twice as much as the others, doesn’t mean that it will work better.

Myth#6: Vitamins and Supplements can replace healthy eating.
Facts: You can’t live on junk food and take a daily supplement and think that it will do anything. If you eat nothing but junk food and take a multivitamin every day, the only thing that it will do for you is make you feel less guilty about your bad eating habits. Supplements are just what they say they are: supplementary to healthy eating. They are definitely not a replacement for it.

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Vitamins and Supplements for Stress

Stress can come from many things in life and sometimes from a lot of things at once. Stress hits everyone on a daily basis, and most of us can deal with it, but long term stress is another story. This is stress that is beyond someone’s control, like long term financial problems or a family crisis. This kind of stress can wear a person down both physically and mentally, and over time can take its toll.

Although everyone experiences stress, not everyone handles it constructively. The body can handle some stress, whether it is physical or mental. Stress first physically manifests itself through the digestive and intestinal systems. This can result in ulcers, colitis, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. If these initial conditions are not handled properly, then more serious illnesses can result, including damage to the central nervous system. Anyone who is experiencing long term stress to this degree should seek medical help. In addition, there are vitamins and supplements that can help, especially under care from a doctor.

One of the better amino acid supplements to aid in relieving stress is glutamine. The research on glutamine shows that it is an essential supplement for anyone who is ill and under stress. Glutamine strengthens immunity, and hastens recovery from stress related illnesses. Glutamine does this by strengthening muscles weakened by stress and illness. If you are ill from stress, glutamine is the most important supplement to add to your diet.

If you are going to take glutamine for stress, you should take it in the form of a powder. The powder doesn’t have a taste and dissolves easily in liquids. Glutamine can be taken in higher doses, up to 40, 000 milligrams, with no adverse side effects.

Pantothenic Acid or vitamin B5 is also helpful for healing the damages of stress. Known as the “antistress” vitamin, Pantothenic acid plays a role in the production of the adrenal hormones and formation of antibodies, aids in vitamin utilization, and helps to convert fats, carbohydrates, and protein into energy. It is found in every cell in the body, so if you are low on Vitamin B5, it will affect your entire system.

Plenty of B-complex vitamins are essential for fighting stress. The B-complex vitamins are very important for the proper functioning of the nervous system, which takes a beating during stressful times. Vitamin B-complex injections are immediately helpful in reducing the damage to the immune system. They also aid in improving brain function and reducing anxiety. These kinds of shots can be obtained from a licensed physician.

A combination of 200 to 400 milligrams of magnesium, 10 to 100 milligrams of B-complex vitamins, and 500 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C are recommended by the American Holistic Medical Association to relieve stress and repair stress related damage to the body. The magnesium blocks the damaging effects of excess adrenaline. Animal studies show that physical damage cause by stress is minimized by the vitamin B-complex and the vitamin C.

There are also other holistic remedies beside vitamins and supplements that can relieve temporary stress and help you feel relaxed. Holistic remedies include teas, herbs, flower concoctions, aromatherapy and reflexology.

No matter how you look at it, stress can have a great impact on your life. Vitamins and supplements can help a great deal, but they can only do so much. If you are dealing with long-term stress, then it probably best to work out a game plan about how you want to deal with the situation at hand. That is when vitamins and supplements will be of greater use.

If you feel stressed beyond the point where you think that vitamins and supplements will help, then you need to get professional medical help. This may include therapy and stronger medications that will help you until a major problem in your life has been solved. However, if you think you are experiencing minor, everyday stress, then it might be helpful to go the health food store and check out the selection of vitamins and supplements they have for stress.

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