10 March 2008 ~ Comments Off on Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

We have heard the expression that if it is too good to be true then it probably is. However, there is no easier method of filling in the gaps that your diet leaves open than to supplement with proper vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Yet we still overlook this overly simplistic method of filling this void. As a matter of a fact, I was visiting my family today for spring break and noticed that I forgot to bring my vitamins. No problem, I thought, I’ll just ask my parents. To my surprise, they had no vitamins. None, zilch, nada. Don’t they know the benefits of these important elements? Do you?

Do not take too many vitamins!Vitamins are essential to regulating our bodily functions and allow for growth. From metabolizing energy to maintaining proper eye care, these little micronutrients make a big difference. Many diseases can also occur from a deficiency in any vitamin. However before cramming vitamins down your throat, make sure that you take them properly. A standard over the counter multivitamin should suffice for most people.

Below, you will find the benefits of every vitamin, signs of deficiency and overdose symptoms. You will also be provided with foods that contain these vitamins and the proper dosages for both men and women. I took a great deal of time to compile a very concise list that tells you what you need to know about every vitamin. I thought it was pretty interesting รขโ‚ฌโ€œ especially to note which foods appeared the most in this list. It definitely helps you develop a stronger diet when you are aware of the benefits of various foods. Just from glancing from a few of these vitamins, you can see how essential these little micronutrients really are.

Vitamin A (Men: 1000mcg, Women: 800mcg )

  • Benefit: Maintains eyesight, skin, hair, mucus membranes.
  • Sign of deficiency: Bad skin, night blindness.
  • Sign of overdose: Yellow skin, blurred vision, vomiting, hair loss, headache.
  • Foods found in: Milk, carrots, eggs, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, fruits

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) (Men: 1.2-1.5mg, Women 1-1.1mg)

  • Benefit: Maintenance of nerves and muscles. Helps metabolism.
  • Sign of deficiency: Beriberi.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: Breads, cereals, meat, fish, pasta, beans, whole grain foods

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) (Men: 1.3 mg, Women: 1.1 mg)

  • Benefit: Antioxidant. Maintains vision, skin, hair, and nails. Helps metabolism.
  • Sign of deficiency: Skin problems.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: Meat, eggs, peas, nuts, dairy products, green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, cereals

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) (Men: 16mg, Women: 14mg)

  • Benefit: Aids metabolism and maintains skin.
  • Sign of deficiency: Sensitivity to light, fatigue, skin problems.
  • Sign of overdose: Flushed face, neck, and hands.
  • Foods found in: Red meat, fish, cereals, nuts

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) (5mg)

  • Benefit: Maintains skin and nerves. Needed for energy production and utilization.
  • Sign of deficiency: Fatigue, nausea.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: Bananas, blue cheese, chicken, liver, meat, milk, oranges, nuts, peas

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) (1.3-1.7mg)

  • Benefit: Protein synthesis and fat metabolism. Regulates fluid balance. Aids red blood cell production.
  • Sign of deficiency: Nerve and muscular failure.
  • Sign of overdose: Numb feet, bad hand coordination, impaired brain function.
  • Foods found in: Potatoes, bananas, beans, nuts, seeds, red meat, cereals

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) (2.4mcg)

  • Benefit: Formation of red blood cells. Metabolism of protein and fat. Helps growth in children.
  • Sign of deficiency: Weight loss, confusion, pale skin, depression.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: Fish, red meat, milk, cheese, eggs and breakfast cereals

Biotin (30mcg)

  • Benefit: Enables metabolism.
  • Sign of deficiency: Dermatitis, depression, muscular pain.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: American cheese, bananas, brown rice, eggs, nuts, oatmeal, salmon

Folate (Folic Acid) (400mcg)

  • Benefit: Forms red blood cells. Utilizes protein. Very important during pregnancy.
  • Sign of deficiency: Anemia, stomach problems.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: Green vegetables, fruits, enriched breads and cereals

Vitamin C (Men: 90mg, Women: 75 mg)

  • Benefit: Antioxidant. Maintains skin, cartilage, bones and teeth. Heals wounds and maintains immune system. Aids iron absorption.
  • Sign of deficiency: Bleeding gums, weakness, slow wound healing, bad immune system.
  • Sign of overdose: Stomach problems.
  • Foods found in: Pretty much all fruits, especially oranges

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) (5-10 mcg)

  • Benefit: Regulates calcium metabolism.
  • Sign of deficiency: Bone softening.
  • Sign of overdose: Stomach problems, lethargy.
  • Foods found in: Milk and the sun ๐Ÿ˜‰

Vitamin E (Men: 10mg, Women: 8mg)

  • Benefit: Antioxidant.
  • Sign of deficiency: Diarrhea, anemia, problems with the pancreas.
  • Sign of overdose: Unknown.
  • Foods found in: Nuts, vegetables, avocados, whole grains

Vitamin K (Men: 70-80mcg, Women: 60-65mcg)

  • Benefit: Needed for blood clotting.
  • Sign of deficiency: Excessive bleeding when injured.
  • Sign of overdose: Anemia, potential liver damage.
  • Foods found in: Asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cheese, eggs, green vegetables

Choline (Men: 550 mg, Women: 425 mg)

  • Benefit: Maintain cell membrane integrity; metabolize fat, proper liver functioning.
  • Sign of deficiency: It may lead into hemorrhagic kidney disease and liver problems.
  • Sign of overdose: Nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
  • Foods found in: Breast milk, egg yolk, beans, red meats, rice, cabbage

Next, we will discuss the functions of the different minerals.

A list of foods that contain minerals
Minerals also play a huge role in our metabolic processes. They aid in helping the body metabolize energy, grow, and the reproduction and health of our cells. Minerals often work with vitamins and other minerals to fully optimize your bodily functions. For example, zinc is required for the body to convert Vitamin A into its active form. Without Vitamin A is not in this form, then problems will occur such as vision deterioration. Some minerals can also function as an antioxidant (next page). Again, I have sifted through the emporium of knowledge available online and added my own touch to compile a complete, detailed yet concise list of essential information about every mineral. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Boron (2-5mg)

  • Benefit: Promotes bone health.
  • Sign of deficiency: Poor bone development
  • Sign of overdose: Nausea, hair loss, skin rash, diarrhea, kidney damage and shock
  • Foods found in: Apples, beer, grapes, nuts, raisons

Calcium (1000-1200 mg)

  • Benefit: Builds bones, teeth, maintains proper heart function and controls blood pressure.
  • Sign of deficiency: Muscle cramps, insomnia, stunted growth
  • Sign of overdose: Confusion, constipation, nausea, bloating, and kidney stones.
  • Foods found in: Almonds, broccoli, cereal, milk, cheese, vegetables, yogurt.

Chloride (750mg)

  • Benefits: Regulates fluid and acid-base balance, aids in digestion, and helps proper functioning of liver and is essential for joint care.
  • Sign of deficiency: May lead to digestive problems, muscle issues, hair loss, tooth loss.
  • Sign of overdose: Weakness, confusion, and coma.
  • Foods found in: Salt, processed food

Chromium (50-200 mcg)

  • Benefit: Metabolizes Insulin, may help in weight loss
  • Sign of deficiency: Numbness in fingers and toes, high blood sugar, clumsiness and nerve disorders.
  • Sign of overdose: Rare, but may lead to skin, liver, and kidney problems.
  • Foods found in: Apples, broccoli, cheese, chicken, nuts, sweet potato

Copper (1.5 – 3 mg)

  • Benefit: Aids in iron absorption. synthesizes hemoglobin, produces energy.
  • Sign of deficiency: Rare, but may lead to skeletal defects, loss of skin pigment, heart disease, high cholesterol, or nervous system disorders.
  • Sign of overdose: Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, muscle ache and anemia.
  • Foods found in: Fish, nuts, oats, oysters, spinach

Flouride (Men: 4mg, Women: 3mg)

  • Benefit: Health of bones and teeth.
  • Sign of deficiency: Increased dental cavities
  • Sign of overdose: Tooth problems, stunted growth, calcification and organ damage.
  • Foods found in: Apples, eggs, cheese, tea

Iodine (150 mcg)

  • Benefit: Regulates thyroid hormone.
  • Sign of deficiency: Dry hair, irritability, nervousness, slow metabolism and obesity
  • Sign of overdose: Irregular heartbeat, confusion, breathing difficulties, swollen neck
  • Foods found in: Milk, fish, nuts, salt

Iron (Men: 10mg, Women: 15mg)

  • Benefit: Formation of red blood cells.
  • Sign of deficiency: Anemia, poor concentration, pale skin or shortness of breath.
  • Sign of overdose: Live, spleen and tissue damage
  • Foods found in: Beans, egg yolk, fish, red meats, seeds, green vegetables

Magnesium (Men: 400-420mg, Women 310-320 mg)

  • Benefit: Aids muscle function, supports teeth and cardiovascular system.
  • Sign of deficiency: Common symptoms include muscle weakness, poor coordination, hypertension, irritability, depression, and even hair loss.
  • Signs of overdose: Rare, but may include weakness, nausea and breathing trouble.
  • Foods found in: Nuts, almonds, whole wheat bread, and milk.

Manganese (2.5 to 5.0 mg)

  • Benefit: Helps formation of bones and collagen, metabolizes carbohydrates, synthesizes fatty acids and protein.
  • Sign of deficiency: Seizures, epilepsy, poor muscle coordination, twitching, and general weakness
  • Sign of overdose: Anemia, delusions, insomnia, depression or even impotence
  • Foods found in: Beans, berries, brown rice, nuts, spinach, tea, whole grains

Molybdenum (75 to 250 mcg)

  • Benefit: Metabolizes iron. Regulates enzymes.
  • Sign of deficiency: No symptoms have been reported
  • Sign of overdose: Stunted growth, diarrhea and copper deficiency
  • Foods found in: Beans, dark green vegetables, lean meats

Phosphorus (700mg)

  • Benefit: Health of bones and teeth. Regulates enzymes.
  • Sign of deficiency: Bone pain, loss of appetite, weakness
  • Sign of overdose: Seizures, heartbeat irregularities, shortness of breath
  • Foods found in: Almonds, eggs, nuts, red meat, beans, milk

Potassium (2000 mg)

  • Benefit: Supports function of nerves, metabolizes protein and carbohydrates. Aids in fluid balancing and muscle contraction.
  • Sign of Deficiency: Muscle cramps, heart irregularities, low blood pressure, insomnia and dry skin
  • Sign of Overdose: Any potassium intake greater than 18k mg a day can cause kidney problems, improper fluid balance, infections or even cardiac arrest.
  • Foods found in: Asparagus, bananas, carrots, milk, nuts, beans, spinach, cereal

Selenium (Men: 70 mcg, Women: 55 mcg)

  • Benefit: Antioxidant. Protects cells from damage by free radicals.
  • Sign of deficiency: Premature aging, muscle aches, nerve damage, retardation or even infertility
  • Sign of overdose: Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, tooth decay or hair loss
  • Foods found in: Broccoli, brown rice, chicken, milk, nuts, onions, seafood

Sulfur: (100mg)

  • Benefit: Is essential for the formation of nails, hair, cartilage, and tissue. It is also needed to provide a healthy nervous system.
  • Sign of deficiency: There are no harmful effects of not having enough sulfur.
  • Sign of overdose: Excess is secreted through urine so it is pretty much non-toxic.
  • Foods found in: Beans, cabbage, eggs, meat, milk, onions

Zinc (Men: 15mg, Women: 12mg)

  • Benefit: Contributes to maintaining immune and reproductive systems. Aids enzymes.
  • Sign of deficiency: Anemia, stunted growth, birth defects, mental problems, skin problems, hair loss
  • Sign of overdose: Drowsiness, nausea and vomiting
  • Foods found in: Beans, eggs, fish, milk, nuts

In addition to vitamins and minerals, there is another important micronutrient to be aware of. Antioxidants.

Eat your berries, they are important for antioxidants!Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. When you workout, your body releases lactic acid as well as other free radicals. Free radicals are harmful compounds which occur when weak bonds in molecules are split. This makes the compounds instable, and the only way for it to find balance again is to take another electron from another molecule. This can start a chain reaction and eventually kill cells. Damage can occur if not enough antioxidants are available.

Antioxidants help to neutralize these free radicals by donating one of their own electrons to the free radicals. This ends the electron stealing chain. The neat thing about these compounds is that they do not become free radicals by donating electrons for they are stable either way. What does all of this mean? It means that stopping these bad boys can prevent heart disease, cancer, reduce blood pressure and slow the effects of aging. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are the most abundant antioxidants.

Here is a list of the 10 most anti-oxidant dense foods:

  1. Berries
  2. Broccoli
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Red Grapes
  5. Garlic
  6. Spinach
  7. Tea
  8. Carrots
  9. Soy
  10. Whole Grains

Ok, I believe that I have made my point of how essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are for any person, especially fitness enthusiasts. Just take your vitamins and eat your fruits. Rant over.

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