With all of the nutritional supplements that flood the health food market, one may wonder what different vitamins are good for. Since much of what has been written about vitamins is more fiction than fact, let's explore some basic vitamin knowledge.
Vitamin 101: Separating Truth and Nonsense
So how does one determine what different vitamins are good for? First off, as a general rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Additionally, try to ignore any vitamin articles that do not reference specific research studies, and ignore articles that are sponsored by particular vitamin manufacturers. You should definitely avoid and article that suggests that you take vitamins instead of foods that are high in important nutrients. Furthermore, be sure to read this superb article about understanding the difference between RDA, RDI and DRI. It is the prerequisite to learning about vitamin benefits. What is helpful at one dose might be a disaster at a higher one.
What Different Vitamins are Good For
Developing an understanding of the benefits of each vitamin can help you make intelligent supplement choices. This understanding will also give you insight into the best high-nutrient foods.
Benefits of Vitamin A
Here are just a few of the benefits of vitamin A:
- Improves vision and protects your eyes from night blindness
- Assists in the formation of red blood cells
- Reduces the risks of stroke
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Promotes beautiful skin
Enemies of vitamin A include light, alcohol, coffee and smoking.
Benefits of the B Vitamins
The B vitamins are actually eight water-soluble vitamins, which play crucial roles in cell metabolism. They work as a team to support metabolism, maintain clear skin and enhance muscle tone. Additionally, B Vitamins promote red cell growth, which in turn prevents anemia. B Vitamins can also reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. However, it will only do this if consumed in food. When taken as a complex, B vitamins can help combat the symptoms of stress and depression.
Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is probably the most popular vitamin. It is taken for colds and to increase immunity. Some studies have shown that vitamin C may even act as an antihistamine. However, contrary to propaganda, no studies have proven that megadoses of vitamin C will actually protect colds.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen production. This makes it useful for wound healing. Some people use it post surgery. Topically applied, it protects the skin from free radical damage after excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects cells from damage and mutation. As such, it reduces the risk of almost all types of cancer.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Prevention of Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer are two of the most important benefits of vitamin D. It also aids in the absorption of calcium, which in turn prevents osteoporosis. According to an article published in the New York Times , new studies show that men and women who consume higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop colon cancer than people with lower levels. Are there any enemies of Vitamin D? Ain't no sunshine, then it's gone. Computer geeks should get out into the daylight.
Benefits of Vitamin E
"Skin care" are the words that most be think of when they think of vitamin E. Here are some of the other benefits.
- Menstrual pain
- Low sperm count
- Restless leg syndrome
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Now that you have a better understanding of what the different vitamins are good for, you can make informed choices. Choose wisely, and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.