Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vitamins: 4 Things You Didn't Know About Vitamins

When vitamins were first created synthetically, their creators may not have foreseen the extent to which they would become a part of everyday life. It seems odd to consider that vitamin C, the first vitamin made in a laboratory, was actually synthesized in 1935. The world was an entirely different place then - most people cooked and ate nutritious, well balanced home meals. The pace of life was more orderly. Work was not the dominant and demanding force it is now. Images of bone thin women weren't plastered on the covers of magazines. In all, there seemed to be a more healthy relationship with the body, and what was needed to take care of it.

Fast forward to today, and vitamins are even available in the supermarket. They seem to fit well into the demands of our modern society too. We certainly need every little bit of help to keep up with what's required of us.

But some good things have come out of the development and acceptance of vitamin supplements. One powerful understanding is the effect that nutrients like vitamins can not only prevent diseases, but they can actually treat some. For example, way back in 1747, people knew that citrus fruits like lemons could help people with scurvy. But it wasn't considered very credible in the mainstream. Although those whose lives depended on it, those individuals on long sea voyages, knew this truth and used it well, even when it wasn't official policy.

Here are 4 more little known facts about vitamins:

* Energy Boosting Vitamin

Niacin, one of the B group vitamins, is great for tiredness, irritability, and digestive problems. This is due to the fact that it improves our ability to absorb nutrients from food. Niacin is found in cheese, peanuts, beef, liver, chicken, eggs, fish, and whole grains.

* Our Intestines Do Double Time As A Vitamin Factory

We actually produce two vitamins in our intestines - biotin and vitamin K. They are made there by the 'good' bacteria that also keep harmful bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms at bay. When our gut bacterial population is imbalanced, one of the things that is affected is our ability to make these vitamin. That's why probiotics are so important.

Biotin is stored in the skin, and when we're in the sun, it becomes a good source of vitamin D. Vitamin K is important for bone health.

* When A Vitamin Is Not A Vitamin

The supplement group often called Vitamin P are actually not vitamins. These are bioflavanoids, which help keep the capillaries and blood vessels healthy. They prevent vitamin C from oxidizing, and the bioflavanoids actually increase the effectiveness of vitamin C.

Bioflavaoids also help prevent bleeding and bruising, and support the immune system, preventing infection. They are often found in the same places as vitamin C, such as the skin and pith of citrus fruit, grapes, papaya, and cherries. They are also found in peppers, onions, and garlic.

* Magnesium, Heart Health, And Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition where people have high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high levels of fats in their blood,, and low levels of healthy cholesterol. Often it is challenging for people with metabolic syndrome to lose weight, but more seriously, if can develop into diabetes and heart disease.

But scientists found that having a diet high in magnesium lowered the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by as much as 31%. Magnesium can be found in green vegetables, avocados, whole grains. bananas, nuts and milk.

Rebecca Prescott presents more on the history of vitamins: For up to date vitamin advice, check this site out: