Vitamin Breakdown Series (Part 6: Vitamin B5

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This week marks the half way point of discussing all of the B vitamins. Just to recap, in prior weeks we have discussed thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), and we discussed whether a vitamin B4 existed. I have attached the links to these posts at the bottom of this post. This week we discuss the next B vitamin in the vitamin B family. Vitamin B5 is also known as Pantothenic Acid. So let’s discuss the background history and some basic information that might not be so basic to everyone. Continue reading

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Vitamin Breakdown Series (Part 4: Vitamin B3)

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Welcome back for week 3 of discussing another B vitamin. This week I focus my time on the third child of the B vitamin family, B3. Just because it’s the third B vitamin in the B vitamin family it doesn’t become any less importance than any of the previous B vitamins. Let’s begin to discuss how this vitamin became known to the world.

Background History: 

So this little vitamin was discovered by Conrad Elvehjem originally as nicotinic acid in meat and yeast in 1937. This vitamin was a critical discovery because it helped create a cure for pellagra as mentioned last week in discussing vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Vitamin B3 is often used interchangeably with Niacin so don’t get be confused if you hear niacin more often. The recommended daily dosage to this vitamin is anywhere from 2mg for kids to up to 16mg for adults.

niacin-300x295Basics that are not so basic:

This vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin that is critical to our bodies as it can help reverse high cholesterol by boosting the good kind of cholesterol and lowering the bad type of cholesterol. Individuals with high cholesterol should know that taking high amounts of this vitamin might reduce your cholesterol  but one big side effect is that it can potentially lead to stomach and liver problems. For other users you would have to consume 2-6 grams per day to feel those kind of side effects, so don’t worry. Like other B vitamins, it is important for growth and it also impacts our nervous system. So that means it affects our brain, spinal cord, and sciatic nerve. So you wouldn’t want to be deficient with this vitamin.

Food sources for Vitamin B3:

Niacin is prevalent in many foods it just depends on the type of food you want to eat them in. This vitamin can be found in animal sources such as chicken, fish, and eggs. Or if you prefer to eat just fruits and vegetables, niacin can be found in avocados, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus. So be sure to eat your fruits and vegetables because at the very least you can be helping yourself win the cholesterol battle and ensure you are getting enough niacin in your system. Like always feel free to leave any comments you may have otherwise feel free to connect with me on twitter. 

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Vitamin Breakdown Series (Part 2: Vitamin B1)

article-vitamin_b1Last week we discussed vitamin A (retinol) and its importance to our bodies. This week we talk about vitamin B1, one of the 8 vitamin B’s out there. Rather than summing up the entire vitamin B family in one gigantic post, I will discuss each vitamin B separately because in my opinion each vitamin B equally deserves the spotlight as they bring something different to the table. I want you to think about each vitamin B as one part of an octuplet family and this week we are focusing our attention on the first of 8 children.

Background History:

This vitamin was first discovered in 1897 by Christian Eijkman, a Dutch physician. He observed this while he was trying to find causes to beriberi (pronounced berry berry), a disease that can be fatal if you lack enough vitamin B1 in your body. After Eijkman, scientist Casimir Funk picked up where Eijkman had left off and in 1912 he coined the word vitamin while isolating the “anti-berberi factor.” This would eventually lead to the vitamin being named B1 as it was the first of the B vitamins to be discovered.

sources_of_vitamin_b1-compressedBasics that are not so basic:

Another common name to B1 is thiamine. This B vitamin is water soluble like the other seven B vitamins so it does not stay in our bodies and must be replenished. This vitamin is instrumental for multiple functions in our body which include converting food into energy, improving brain function, and improving our immune system. As mentioned before, without this vitamin in our bodies, it can lead to beriberi if left untreated but to other health problems as well. These health problems include fatigue, paralysis, and heart damage among other problems.

Food sources for Vitamin B1:

Some food sources that have high amounts of Thiamine include beans, lentils, nuts, beef, pork, and various grains such as cereal and oatmeal. Keep in mind that there has been some research that has found when consuming coffee and tea that Thiamine is not fully absorbed. Recommended dosages of this vitamin vary in men, women, and children based on aged. You should consult your doctor based on your individual needs.This wraps up this weeks discussion of vitamin B1.  Next week I discuss another B vitamin. If you have any questions feel free to ask away below or follow me on twitter. 

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Vitamin Breakdown Series (Part 1: Vitamin A)

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What do Vitamin A, retinol, and beta-carotene all have in common? They are all the same thing! I don’t know if you have ever had this feeling I am about to explain. It’s a feeling of receiving too much noise and clutter over the newest health claim. Specifically, I am talking about receiving constant bombardments of ads, commercials, and statements daily regarding why you should have more of a particular vitamin, mineral, or antioxidant, in your body.

Personally, it can get overwhelming. I have to admit that it can make you feel like you’re not doing anything right in regards to your diet and what you’re eating. This is why I am creating this vitamin breakdown series where weekly I will summarize all that you need to know about a particular vitamin.  My intention is to provide you with helpful information that can help you determine what vitamins, minerals, or other necessary supplements are lacking in your current diet.  This isn’t meant to be negative rant towards any particular group, community, or entity but rather as another way of delivering basic information without having an interest on what you decide to eat or not eat. So let’s get to it.

Background History:

This vitamin got its name after Elmer McCollum performed studies to determine why someGut-bacteria-to-battle-vitamin-A-deficiency-Could-probiotics-be-modified-to-produce-beta-carotene_strict_xxl essential nutrients were missing in mice and he referred to these as components as factors A and B. This would later be result in the naming this compound as vitamin A. The reason it picked up the named retinol is because of its huge impact it has on our ability to see.

Basics that are not so basic:

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which literally means it gets stored as fat throughout your tissues in your body. This a good thing because our bodies can store vitamin A for a rainy day. This storage occurs primarily in our liver but vitamin A actually gets processed in our small intestine. We should care about this vitamin because it helps with our eyesight as previously mentioned, growing healthy tissue, and keeping a healthy skin among other reasons. The bad news when it comes to vitamin A is that there is such a thing of having too much vitamin A. Having excess vitamin A can lead to hair loss, upset stomachs, and headaches among other more serious side effects down the road.

Food sources for Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is abundantly found in many fruits and vegetables. Some vegetables with high sources of vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. Fruits with high vitamin A content include apricots, cantaloupes, mangoes, cherries, and watermelon. This gives you the perfect reason to get your vitamin A through different fruits and vegetables.  Eggs and in milk products also are good sources of vitamin A.

Hopefully you learned something about vitamin A that you might have not known already. After reading this do you think you are getting enough vitamin A? Feel free to comment below, share with your friends and family, or follow me on twitter. 

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Supplements are Complements to your Food

 

Itumblr_l6b37l3Q6E1qa5a9kn a fast paced society, like today it can be difficult to do many things like finding a good place to eat without having to sacrifice your diet. What can be even harder to find is the right supplements that can complement your food. I will share with you the questions that I asked and that you should also ask about every supplement before you buy and begin to use them.

So before I list the questions that I asked when I did my supplement research I think its appropriate for me to share why you should take supplements of some kind and why I decided to take supplements.

So why should you care about taking supplements? Well for starters, the food that you are eating everyday does not contain as many of the nutrients they once did. This is due to our food containing more pesticides than ever before, the soil not containing as many nutrients as it SupplementPillonce did, and the cooking method can also release many of the nutrients within our foods. These are all different factors that affect the quality of our food today. Secondly, do you really eat all your vegetable and fruit servings per day? I would find it hard to believe if I were to walk up and down a random street in America and find an individual that has had all their fruit and vegetable servings for the past day let alone a week. Supplements just help fill in the blank on lost or missing nutrients that our bodies need.

Personally, the reason I decided to take supplements was when I heard that the United States and Mexico were “the two fattest countries” back in 2013. This statement definitely peaked my interest, as I have lived in the United States my entire life but my ethnicity is that of Latino with Mexican-American parents. Reading that statement had a profound impact on me, that I began to research ways so I would not become part of that obesity statistic. In doing that research, I came across supplements and that turned into a research project in itself. I now share with you the due diligence I did by giving you a starting point on the questions to ask.

I found these set of questions to be helpful in determining and filtering what supplement was right for me. Please keep in mind the supplements that worked for me might not be the best supplement for you based on previous medical conditions, physical activity, fitness goals, and other life style factor. Here are the 5 questions, I started my research with. Are-supplements-necessary-226x300

1. What is the best form to take this supplement? Pill, powder, or in liquid form?

2. Where is the supplement manufactured in?

3. Do I really need this supplement? If so, what are the benefits to the supplement?

4. What are some of the best brands out there for each supplement?

5. Are there any side effects or consequences to taking this supplement?

At minimum, I highly recommend you ask these questions about every supplement you might take. These questions should serve as a guide in selecting the right supplement for you. Although, I didn’t mention price as a question that I was concerned with, I didn’t believe back then and I don’t believe now that price should be a factor in why you decide you should or shouldn’t take a particular supplement. The way I look at my health is that I would much rather make tiny investments in my body for the rest of my life instead of making a last-minute effort to fight for my life when it might be too late. What supplements are you currently taking? Would you recommend that supplement you are taking? 

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