To Your Health
September, 2011 (Vol. 05, Issue 09)
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Vitamin B6

vitamin b6 - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Another of the B complex vitamins that has profound health benefits is vitamin B6 or pyridoxamine. This essential nutrient facilitates coenzyme activities, helps to maintain a healthy immune system, and provides protection against conditions such as heart disease, multiple sclerosis, anemia, arthritis, and influenza, among others.

Vitamin B6 is found in a variety of foods, including whole grains, walnuts, eggs, meat, bananas, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and spinach. The vitamin effectively works together with a number of enzyme systems in the body to promote proper functioning of the nervous system.

Additionally, vitamin B6 plays an important role in restoring the immune system, helping to prevent and protect against damage from infections. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of vitamin B6 is its ability to promote healthy skin. It helps protect against the development of eczema, dandruff, acne, hair loss, and dry skin. Even further, it helps in treating serious skin diseases such as melanoma and psoriasis. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg, but up to 50-100 mg a day are commonly and safely taken as a therapeutic dose.

Dietary sources: Beans, meat, poultry, fish, walnuts, some fruits and vegetables (e.g., bananas, cauliflower, spinach).

Vitamin C

vitamin c - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark As you probably already know, a daily dose of vitamin C is one of your easiest and most effective weapons against illness. Vitamin C protects the body with its powerful antioxidant properties and has a significant impact on the state of your health. Most commercial multivitamin supplements contain both vitamin C and zinc, which is another important antioxidant that supports your thymus gland and helps to promote immune function. Vitamin C's profound ability to protect cells from free radical damage can help lower your risk of various diseases and conditions, while improving iron absorption to promote healthy blood cells. Excellent food sources of vitamin C include broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, strawberries, spinach, oranges, grapefruit, and tomatoes, and the recommended daily allowance is 1,000-2,000 mg a day. Dosages as high as 50-100 grams of vitamin C can be used intravenously under the supervision of a doctor for detoxification, to help chronic inflammation and as part of integrative cancer care.

Dietary sources: Fruits and vegetables, particularly cantaloupe, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, green and red peppers, tomatoes and winter squash.

Vitamin D

vitamin d - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Vitamin D is actually a hormone the body creates naturally from diet and sunlight, and more and more research is showing just how important it is for growth and development. It is vital for maintaining a strong immune system, regulating inflammation, assisting in calcium absorption, and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases.

There are two main types of vitamin D: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is available from plants and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is created from exposure to the sun's ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. The kidneys are responsible for turning both forms into calcitrol, which is the active form of the vitamin that the body can use.

Since vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and enables normal mineralization of bone, it is needed for healthy bone growth and remodeling. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen, leading to the development of rickets in children and osteoporosis in older adults.