The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals – Part V (Selenium, Zinc and Iron)

Minerals (selenium, zinc, copper)

(Continued from Parts I, II, III and IV)

SELENIUM

Benefits of Selenium

Selenium supports efficient thyroid hormone synthesis, and protects from oxidative stress.

It is responsible for regulating the delivery of zinc (see below) to zinc enzymes throughout the body for proper zinc metabolism.

Selenium also supports cognitive function, immune system and fertility for both men and women. Studies have confirmed strong positive correlation between selenium and testosterone levels in males (good for both muscle building and sex drive).  On top of that, selenium increases sperm count and enhances sperm quality.

Severe selenium deficiency in adults is pretty rare, though minor deficiency is common and can have some unpleasant effects on our health.

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The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals- Part IV (Potassium and Sodium)

Potassium-sodium-salt

Continued from: Part I; Part II; and  Part III;

POTASSIUM

Potassium is another mineral many people do not get enough of –especially if they overcook meat (the juices leaving the meat leach out potassium) or avoid tubers and fruits (both high in potassium) – or don’t eat meat to begin with.

Benefits of Potassium

Potassium is an electrolyte that is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure (it works in conjunction with – and counterbalances the effect of – sodium) – low levels of potassium, however, are not only associated with a risk hypertension, but also with heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders, and infertility.   As such, potassium is important for proper functioning of heart, kidneys and other organs and maintaining acid-base balance.

Potassium’s primary functions in the body include regulating fluid balance and controlling the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles.  Basically, it helps nerves and muscles communicate. It also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells.

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The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals – Part III (Magnesium and Calcium)

minerals-magnesium-calcium-others

(Continued from Parts I and Part II)

This installment of the series starts the discussion on minerals that are essential for your health and deserve special mention. Starting with calcium and magnesium (and moving on to other minerals in subsequent articles), we will cover how to make sure you get the most out of them, what their adequate intakes are and some of the caveats with their supplementation.

Before we start, however, let’s look at a few factors that are important to consider.  These factors are common for many of the minerals we will discuss and need to be understood before their absorption and the effect they have on health is discussed.

Factors affecting mineral absorption and availability

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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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Overstated benefits of juicing: the ugly truth

Overstated Benefits of Juicing

Juice detox websites are abundant and continue to thrive. Most people believe that our bodies accumulate some inordinate amounts of filth and toxins and that some magical juice cleanse is going to flush all that bad stuff out of their systems.  Organic cleansing juices are among the most expensive items on grocery shelves and the variety of guided juice cleanse protocols and home detox systems is quite impressive.  “What is the best juice to drink to detox?” still remains a popular question.

Rarely does anyone stop to think (or properly research) the real benefits of juicing and the dangers of juice diets that overstate the pros and understate the cons.  Let’s look at what juicing really is (and what it is not) and how you may be scammed into paying big bucks for something very questionable.

Juice Detox: do not fall for the hype

While smoothies involve blending liquids and solids together – and ensure you consume the whole fruit (including fiber and, sometimes, even seeds) – juicing involves straining, to filter out all solids.

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