Many experienced physicians, doctors and health care professionals tout the value that vitamins provide for overall health.
Research that has been published over the past 20 years has consistently shown that certain vitamins like A, C and E profoundly impact the overall strength of the body's immune system.
Vitamin C has been proven conclusively to produce germ-busting interferon in the body.
What Are RDAs?
Recommended Dietary Allowances or RDAs are the minimal doses calculated to prevent vitamin deficiency in the average healthy person.
Published RDAs have their critics. First of all, the experts argue that there is no such thing as an average biochemical person. Just as every living person responds differently to shampoo and conditioners, every human has their own unique nutritional requirements.
Therefore, RDAs don't tell the whole story for the majority of people. Nutritional requirements can vary widely for people depending on a wide range of life conditions.
Researchers published studies in the 80s that demonstrated that laboratory rats varied widely in their Vitamin A requirements. Some rats required as much as forty times (Biochemical Individuality by Roger J. Williams) the amount of Vitamin A as their rat buddies.
Bottom line, it is not easy to predict a one size fits all list of daily recommended vitamin and mineral allowances for all people.
Some super healthy people can thrive happily on a C diet of caffeine, chocolate and carbohydrate junk with little or no vitamin supplementation.
Other less fortunate people must have vitamin supplements just to function. Of course there are many people who fall somewhere in the middle of the vitamin scale.
A key point to note is that the majority of people do not fit any pattern for their nutritional and vitamin supplementation needs.
Vitamin Attitudes Have Changed
Back in the early 1980s, attitudes about vitamins changed.
Physicians and nutritionists started advocating super nutrition and the need to feed humans a diet that was better than natural diet and food selection.
Vitamin dosages recommended in the 1980s were cranked up to much higher levels than what had been previously recommended in the 50s and 60s.
Health experts also recognized that essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids (EFAs) are, as a general rule, harmless, even under toxic levels.
Since the 1980s a lot of nutritional research has actually been performed on live humans.
The results and process of using actual patients has provided a more rapid and more accurate results.
Other Vitamins Uses
Vitamin A has been proved to help guard against cancer. In 1982 the National Research Council published a report that indicated that a diet low in fat and abundant in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of cancer. The key ingredient targeted in this study was beta-carotene, the chemical origin of Vitamin A.
In a study that examined the eating habits and health history of over 250,000 people, it was found that those who followed a diet rich in beta-carotene had approximately 50% risk of developing cancer in their live.
Beta-carotene produces the yellow-orange color in foods that include carrots, squash, cantaloupes and apricots. It is also present in most green leafy vegetables. If you eat these foods 5-7 times a week or more you may get sufficient dietary protection against cancer. If not, it might be wise to take beta-carotene supplements. Even better, take multiple vitamins that include Vitamin A. A complex capsules which provide both Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene are ideal.
Vitamin C & E
Nutritional studies have indicated that Vitamin C and E are helpful for building a strong immune system. Not only do they maintain health and help the body to guard against disease, they promote a longer life.
Vitamin C strengthen the body's capacity to fight off illness and also raises the level of interferon in the blood.
Vitamin E is an antagonist of free radicals, unstable chemicals produced when oxygen is used up by the cells.
Because free radicals react readily with other chemicals within the cells, they can cause damage to cellular control mechanisms and are believed to be at the root of the aging process.
Since Vitamin E is a potent antidote to free radicals, some researches have called it the youth vitamin.
Research over the past 25 years suggests that other nutrients such as amino and fatty acids are also important to maintaining health.
GLA is gamma-linolenic acid. It is the by-product of an essential fatty acid called linoleic. In the normal human body, GLA is manufactured from ordinary linoleic acid, a substance found in dietary fat and oils.
The body then uses GLA to make PGE, a prostaglandin that may be helpful in inhibiting blood clotting, dilating lood vessels, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation. Some people are unable to product GLA because of disease, stress, aging, a high-fat diet, and excessive use of alcohol, among other reasons.
Low levels of GLA may lead to PMS, eczema and ultimately arthritis. There are only two natural sources of GLA. One is mother's milk and the other is the oil of Evening Primrose. Evening Primrose if a flower used medicinally by the American Indians and exported by the early settlers back to England, where it has been used as an herbal remedy for over two hundred years. It is only recently that the active ingredient in evening primrose oil was found to be GLA.
Clinical research has found many uses for evening primrose oil. Dr. David Horrobin, D.D., a Canadian endocrinologist discovered that it produced dramatic improvement in suffers of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
His results have been confirmed by studies in Scotland, Wales, Finland and the United States. British experiments have shown that evening primrose oil causes significant improvement in many cases of chronic eczema. Another British research group has reported significant improvement in hyperactive children who were given evening primrose oil
One of the most promising uses of GLA has been for the treatment of alcoholism. B.E. Leonard, professor of pharmacology at University College, Galway, Ireland, discovered in animal experiments that alcohol damages the brain cells by interfering with the fat composition of the membranes surrounding the cells. When the oil is administered, says Leonard, most of these damaging effects are reversed.
Supplements of evening primrose oil, together with B complex vitamins (especially thiamin) might help some alcoholics. Ian Geln, MD, a Scottish psychiatrist, administered evening primrose oil to 120 alcoholics in withdrawal and noted that they recovered more quickly and had fewer symptoms (hallucinations, nervousness) than would ordinarily be expected.
In other experiments with primrose oil, a number of heavy drinkers reported that they were no longer able to get as drunk, had less desire for alcohol than before, and experienced milder hangovers.
Evening primrose oil contains 45 milligrams of GLA per 500 milligram capsule. The recommended daily dose for PMS systems is 6-8 capsules. After two to three months, the dosage can be reduced to two capsules.
A key point to note is that the majority of people do not fit any pattern for their nutritional and vitamin supplementation needs. Therefore everyone needs to do their own research on their ultimate vitamin, nutrient, amino and fatty acid balances for maintaining your own health.
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- Revised Publication Date: 04/29/11