The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals – Part II (Vitamin C and the B Family)

Vitamin C and others

(… Continued from Part I)

VITAMIN C

Benefits of Vitamin C

Just like vitamin E, Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid, or ascorbate) is also an anti-oxidant and, thus, protects from free radical damage.  Free radicals accelerate aging and are believed to cause, among other things, cancer, arthritis and heart disease.  In addition to that, vitamin C also triggers the production of intracellular glutathione – a master antioxidant in your body that has many beneficial effects, including pathogen deactivation

Vitamin C also aids in growth and repair of tissues (it forms a protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels), helps in healing wounds and is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions.

One of the most commonly known function of vitamin C is protection from common cold, however, the results of some studies actually suggest that Vitamin C shortens the duration of the common cold symptoms once they occur, but may do nothing to prevent it.  Still, if you already caught cold, loading up on vitamin C may be a great strategy.

Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, with such symptoms as bleeding gums, gingivitis, splitting hair, swollen joints, and decreased immunity – but the likelihood of such deficiency is very  low even if you don’t consume a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits that contain it and don’t specifically supplement, because it is so prevalent and is usually added even to processed foods and drinks.  However – especially when you need to a lot of it (such as when you need to fight an illness or if you are exposed to events that increase free radical production – such as smoking or constant stress, for instance) – it is also unlikely that you will get enough from whatever food sources you select – so make sure you read the “Recommended Intake” section

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The essential guide to vitamins and minerals – Part I

Vitamins and Supplements

In the day and age when you can pick up a wide variety of supplements that promise to satisfy your daily requirements in vitamins and minerals with only one pill a day and when many foods you might buy seem to be fortified with several of those essential elements, it is hard to imagine that people may still be deficient in them – even those who diligently take these multi-vitamin pills daily.

Sure, nobody expects you to get ALL your vitamins and minerals from synthetic supplements – you are expected to consume a certain amount of whole foods which serve as a major source, but when you look at many labels and see close to 100% of Recommended Daily Allowance noted beside a lot vitamins and minerals in a large list, you get some comfort, thinking that you are doing something right and taking appropriate insurance against diseases and supporting general health overall.

In reality, though, this might be an act of self-deception.  It is somewhat dangerous because you may think you are getting what you need when, in fact, you might be severely lacking in some very important vitamins and minerals.

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How to warm up before a workout (you’ve been doing it wrong!)

warm up and stretching

Do you know how to warm up before a workout?  Ask amateur athletes and the very first thing they do is stretch.  Sometimes – maybe jog lightly.  Many times – jog first and then stretch, regardless of what specific activity they are warming up for.

A lot of this “knowledge” about the importance of stretching is simply observational by nature – they see everybody else do this in the gym as their warm up routine – and jump on the bandwagon, wasting their time by stretch bars along the walls.  Flexibility (which stretching exercises should allegedly lead to) is viewed as a marker of good health and fitness level.  But is this really so?  As it turns out – not quite.

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