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Tag: Vitamins

Lycopene text with colorful fruits on table.

Lecithin, Omega-3, Lycopene, and More: Nutrition Beyond Vitamins and Minerals

As the pandemic continues, people have become more and more acquainted with the variety of vitamins and minerals available in the market offering various health claims. But did you know that some dietary supplements can give you beyond your usual vitamins ABC’s and minerals?

Not all supplements are formulated the same. Aside from the price, check how many and how much of the active ingredients do your supplements offer. Apart from your usual vitamins and minerals, here are some important nutrients to look for in your supplements:

LECITHIN: A nerve-building nutrient

Also known as phosphatidylcholine, lecithin is a large class of fat-like substance that is essential for creating and maintaining the covering of the cells. Lecithin is important in the normal functioning of a wide range of essential body systems, including the digestive, reproductive, and circulatory systems. Lecithin can improve cardiovascular and liver health. It lowers levels of blood cholesterol and increases HDLs levels (high density lipoproteins, aka “good cholesterol”).

Among its many functions, lecithin has been specially touted for its benefits to the nervous system, giving it the moniker “nerve-building nutrient.” Clinicians find lecithin useful in helping improve memory and in sustaining endurance in strenuous physical and mental activities.

LYCOPENE and RUTIN: Not your usual antioxidants

Lycopene, a carotenoid or “colorful nutrient,” is an antioxidant abundantly found in tomatoes and tomato-based products. Lycopene is regarded as the most abundant carotenoid in the human blood. Lycopene has been demonstrated to have a strong association to a reduced risk for certain cancers, mainly of the prostate, stomach, and lungs. Lycopene has also been found to be efficient in ameliorating diabetes mellitus, heart complications, skin, bone, liver and reproductive diseases and disorders.

Rutin, also known as Vitamin P or Rutoside, is a naturally-sourced flavonoid. Rutin has demonstrated several beneficial activities, including antioxidant and anticancer properties. As a flavonoid, rutin has been shown to have a strong scavenging activity or the ability to combat deleterious substances that may damage the body cells.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: The fat your heart loves

Omega-3 fats, which include ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), belong to the family of unsaturated fats that are not produced by the body, and are obtained from food sources such as fish and vegetable oils.

Omega-3 fats have been shown to lower the risk for heart diseases and strokes. Omega-3 fats were also reported to help in lowering blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. At higher doses, omega-3 fatty acids are reported to lower triglycerides and may ease inflammation, thus preventing thickening of the arterial wall.

LUTEIN and ZEAXANTHIN: Looking after your eye health

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two chemically similar carotenoids shown to have health benefits for the eyes. They are specifically concentrated in the macula, the area in the eye responsible for color recognition. Because lutein and zeaxanthin have antioxidant properties, they help protect the eyes from deleterious substances that may cause damage.

Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin have also been linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts by increasing macular pigment density, thus preventing vision impairment and blindness.

It is important to be familiar with the various nutrients available in different supplements and their health benefits. Reading product labels and knowing the right ingredient to look for helps us become informed and smart consumers.

Consult your doctor regarding supplementation to get proper guidance in choosing the best supplement suited for your needs.

Healthy foods and white beans on gray table.

The Importance of Micronutrients

Micronutrients, often referred to as vitamins and minerals, are vital to the healthy development of the body, well-being, and disease prevention. However, not everyone manages to eat a healthy diet. Dietary supplementation can play an important role when nutritional requirements are not met through diet alone.

Though micronutrients are only needed by the body in small amounts, their impact on our health is critical. Therefore, regularly taking the recommended amount is important. Failing to maintain even those small quantities required by the body may cause severe and even life-threatening conditions.

Some of the functions of essential micronutrients are outlined below:

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is important for normal brain development and for keeping the nervous and immune systems healthy.

Iron

Iron is the essential component of hemoglobin, the compound which allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the different parts of the body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A supports healthy eyesight, skin, and immune system functions.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important in building strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a role in wound healing and controlling infections. It is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals that are harmful to the body.

Vitamin E

Its main role is to act as an antioxidant, scavenging “free radicals” that can damage body cells. Vitamin E also enhances the immune function and prevents clots from forming in the arteries.

Zinc

Zinc promotes immune system functions and helps the body resist infectious diseases including diarrhea and pneumonia.

References: 

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/micronutrients/index.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/micronutrients-have-major-impact-on-health

www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-c/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b6/art-20363468

Woman wearing white sando taking vitamin pill, smiling.

4 Vitamins to Take Note of for a Healthy Skin

Taking care of your skin should be an essential part of your health regimen.

Our skin needs the right balance of nutrients to do its main job as a barrier that protects the rest of our body. To help keep our skin looking good from the outside, we should feed it well from the inside. 

It is essential that we take right vitamins to supplement our diet as good skin care starts with proper nutrition.

Below are four vitamins to take note of for a healthy and glowing skin.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, commonly called the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. When our skin absorbs sunlight, cholesterol is converted to Vitamin D.

It is then taken up by our liver and kidneys and transported throughout the body to make healthy cells. This includes the skin, where Vitamin D plays an important role in skin tone.

Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin naturally found in fruits and vegetables.

The antioxidant properties of Vitamin C and its role in collagen synthesis make Vitamin C vital for skin health.  Potential benefits from this nutrient include diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as making the skin look youthful and plump. Adding Vitamin C to your health regimen will not only brighten your complexion but will also protect you against skin damage caused by sun exposure and free radicals. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient with potent antioxidant properties. Vitamin E helps support the immune system, and skin health. It is also beneficial in reducing skin damage from ultraviolet light, pollution, and free radicals. 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin required in the proper development and functioning of our skin, eyes, respiratory tract, immune system, and other parts of the body. Vitamin A stimulates the production and maturation of new cells. This is particularly important for the skin which constantly needs to replace the dead cells it sheds away.

Vitamin A is also known for its antioxidant properties that serve to protect the skin from pollutants and free radicals.

References: 

Getting the right vitamins

Harvard education listing of vitamins: August 31, 2020

NUTRICAP Tablet

Fill the gap in your daily nutrient intake! Get a broad antioxidant protection and immunity boost with 26 vitamins, minerals and special nutrients in one Nutricap Tablet. Nutricap is your practical and cost-effective choice of a comprehensive dietary supplement, reinforced with energy enhancing and body rejuvenating agents, and helps promote heart, brain, and eye health. 

Antioxidant protection and immunity

Vitamins A, C, and E, together with the minerals zinc and selenium, plus the natural ingredients lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and rutin act together to support the immune system and fight against the damaging effects of pollutants and free radicals.

Heart health and circulation

Lycopene, lecithin, ginseng, gingko biloba, rutin, B Vitamins, Vitamins C and E help keep the heart healthy and blood flowing smoothly.

Sharp mind and healthy nerves

Keep focused and protected against mental stress with the brain and nerve-enhancing B vitamins, lecithin, Ginseng, and Gingko biloba.

Healthy eyesight

Together with Vitamin A, the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin support eye health and maintain good vision.

Energy boost and body rejuvenation

Iron, Ginseng, Gingko biloba, B Vitamins, Vitamins C and E work against stress and fatigue to help you keep going the whole day.

The Strong Protective Cover by the Gentle Vitamin C

So much has been said about the multiple health benefits of vitamin C which is touted as the body’s “prime” immune system boosting nutrient.  Vitamin C is popularly known for its host of benefits in protecting the body against stress and certain diseases such as anemia, immune system deficiencies, asthma, viral illnesses and cardiovascular illnesses.

Vitamin C, a widely used water-soluble vitamin is known to play a vital role as a co-factor in a variety of body functions.  It is one of the most essential nutrients needed for building and strengthening body tissues owing to its action in the formation of a firm collagen, the cement-like substance that binds the body cells together to form strong tissues.  Vitamin C is therefore important in the formation of healthy skin, blood vessel walls, cartilage, strong bones and teeth, as well as in promoting faster healing of wounds.

Vitamin C is also reported to promote cardiovascular health and helps lower blood cholesterol.

As a potent antioxidant, Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and increases body resistance to stress and infections.  Specifically, Vitamin C protects the body’s soldiers, the white blood cells, from the damaging effects of free radicals with its antioxidative properties and at the same time stimulates the white blood cells in clearing away infectious microbes. 

Though it does not offer a cure for diseases such as the common cold, several studies suggest that vitamin C helps in alleviating the disturbing symptoms of cold and in shortening its duration.  This can reduce the risk for dreaded lung infections such as pneumonia.

In a scientific review published on January 2020 in the journal Nutrients by a team of researchers led by Adrian Gombart of the Linus Pauling Institute, the role of Vitamin C in preventing and managing infections was explored.  In terms of reducing the risk for infections, the authors found that among people who regularly engage in intense physical exercise, vitamin C supplementation lowered the occurrence of common cold by more than half.  Furthermore, the risk of developing pneumonia in adults and children was also lowered by vitamin C supplements, particularly when dietary vitamin C was low.

There were also evidences gathered to support the use of vitamin C in managing infections. Vitamin C intake among adults and children with the common cold led to significant reductions in symptom duration and severity, shortened the time of confinement indoors, and resulted in the relief of cold symptoms including pain, fever, and chills.  In older patients with pneumonia, vitamin C was also found to significantly lower disease severity and the risk of death, especially if blood levels of the vitamin were initially low. 

The Gentle Protective Cover

Many are quite reluctant in taking ascorbic acid or the so- called ordinary or “acidic” Vitamin C because of its potential effect in irritating the lining of the stomach of susceptible individuals.   Thus the alkaline form, sodium ascorbate, provides a safer and better choice of ascorbic acid.

Labeled as the “non-acidic” Vitamin C, sodium ascorbate is buffered or neutralized with the mineral sodium as the salt of vitamin C and is often called mineral ascorbate.  Sodium ascorbate delivers the same benefits of vitamin C to the human body without causing the possible gastric irritating effects of the “acidic” Vitamin C.

Sodium ascorbate is in alkaline or buffered form, therefore it will not cause adverse reactions encountered when taking ascorbic acid.  Since sodium ascorbate does not cause hyperacidity, this alkaline or buffered form of Vitamin C is commonly recommended to individuals who experience gastrointestinal complaints such as heartburn, flatulence, nausea and diarrhea.

How Safe is Vitamin C?

Despite its sodium content, Sodium ascorbate in recommended doses is safe for hypertensive individuals. Adults, especially those with cardiovascular disease, on a low-salt diet are advised to limit their total daily sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg/day.

Sodium ascorbate contains only 10% – 11% sodium.  Approximately, 1000 mg of sodium ascorbate, equivalent to two 500mg capsules,  provides 889 mg of vitamin C and only 111 mg of sodium.  1-2 capsule(s) of 500 mg of sodium ascorbate taken daily will only give approximately 111 mg sodium.

Vitamin C is usually well tolerated and generally no adverse reactions are expected when it is taken at recommended doses.Vitamin C may cause diarrhea if taken in large amounts.

Vitamin C should be given with caution in patients with hyperoxaluria because large amounts may lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones in the kidney. Urinary stone formers appear to be at higher risk for calculi if individuals take large doses of vitamin C daily. 

Large doses of vitamin C may also result in a false positive glucose test in the urine and may interfere with the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.


Reference:

Vitamin C. Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.

Gombart AF, Pierre A, Maggini S. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System-Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection.