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What’s so Good about Fish Oil?

Fish oil is known to act as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-coagulator, to have an immune boosting effect and to increase neural network connectivity in the brain. It has been implicated as an effective treatment for many kinds of depressive disorders, for skin complaints, for inflammatory conditions and countless others, but probably the most dramatic results you will have heard about have been for its impact on brain function and on heart disease.

Fish oil has been found not only to lower the risk of developing heart disease but can dramatically cut the risk of sudden death in heart attack patients. How do we know all this? We know this because countless research studies have been conducted in many countries across the world and the results made public.

One of the reasons that fish oil is thought to have such an impact is because of changes in our diet over the past century. Long ago, we ate a very balanced diet containing roughly equal amounts of Omega 6 and Omega 3; however, in recent years our Omega 6 consumption has massively increased whereas our intake of Omega 3 had dropped to an all time low. Omega 6 is known to promote inflammation, tumour growth and blood clotting whereas Omega 3 does the exact opposite.

As our fish are now polluted and can contain dangerously high levels of mercury and other toxins, we are advised to restrict our consumption of oily fish. No wonder there has been such a great deal of interest in fish oil, because fish oil that has been purified is perhaps now the safest way of obtaining these fatty acids as we cannot find them anywhere else in any significant amounts.

However, in order to be sure that we are getting the right information, it’s absolutely essential that the results of any research studies are reliable, with proper controls in place, and accessible to the public.

Media publicity

Currently there is a huge amount of media publicity regarding the benefits of fish oil for improving concentration, learning and behaviour problems in school children. Where did the media get their information from? Everyone is talking about the number of research studies and trials that have been completed and the results that have been found, but where are they?

Sadly, most of these reports are coming from the results of so called trials that have not yet been made public. Why not? If the results are as dramatic as claimed, then we need to know all the details.

Published Results

There are some studies that have been conducted into the benefit of fish oil for children with some kind of developmental or learning disorders and these include the following:

– Voigt et al conducted a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial in 2001 involving 63 children with ADHD and found no significant difference between those taking the fish oil and the placebo group

– Richardson et al conducted a trial in 2002 involving 41 children with learning difficulties and found a small improvement in those taking fish oil

– A pilot study in 2003 conducted by Stevens et al on 50 children with attention and behaviour problems found a small improvement in those taking fish oil

– One trial involving 40 participants with ADHD conducted by Hirayama et al found no difference for those taking fish oil and ironically, an improvement in the placebo group

– Richardson et al conducted a large scale trial involving 117 children with dyspraxia and found no significant difference in the symptoms of dyspraxia but there were improvements in both reading and spelling


Get Better Sight with These Vitamins

Vitamin A

Most mothers will tell their children to finish their carrots as it is good for the eyes. Carrots are loaded with Vitamin A. One carrot contains double the USA. recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. This vitamin is critical in preventing many diseases connected with eyesight. Most importantly it prevents night blindness. Vitamin A deficiency also leads to xerophthalmia, dryness in the eyes, corneal ulcers and swollen eyelids. All these can lead to blindness. Vitamin A is also important as people age, as it prevents cataracts from forming and helps in preventing blindness from macular degeneration. The recommended intake for males is 1000 retinal equivalents (RE) while females need about 800 RE per day, if you feel you are not meeting this with your diet then you may wish to consider an eye health supplement. It is important to read labels if taking Vitamin A eye health supplements as is can be toxic if large amounts area taken. This is also particularly important when you are pregnant as excess Vitamins A can cause birth defects.

Most red, yellow or orange foods contain beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Along with carrots, fruits like cantaloupe, mango, vegetables like pumpkin, red pepper, papaya and mango are excellent sources of beta-carotene. Vitamin A is also found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables, sweet potato, fish, especially cod liver oil and chicken or meat liver.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is often called a superhero and is certainly a key ingredient in any eye health supplement. It helps in preventing many age-related vision problems such as cataract. This occurs when there is a buildup of protein which eventually clouds the vision. Vitamins C may also help in delaying age-related macular degeneration which has no cure. A survey showed that if the onset of cataracts could be delayed by ten years, then related operations could be avoided. This is because most cataracts set in as people get older and surgeries are usually done above the age of 65 or 70 meaning that if they are delayed by ten years, cataract will not develop in the person’s lifetime.

Vitamin C is found in all citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, raspberries, tomatoes, plums, green leafy vegetables, red and green peppers, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, grapes, potatoes, spinach kiwifruit and cranberries. In fact most fruit and vegetable sources contain some Vitamin C. It can also be found in some animal sources but cooking destroys Vitamin C. The USA recommended allowance for Vitamin C in both males and females is 60 milligrams per day. The human body cannot synthesize this vitamin nor does it stay in the body for long. Factors like smoking, pollution, diabetes and other problems affect its absorption. Processing destroys Vitamin C so it is best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to get the maximum benefits.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E also helps in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration and optimizing eye health. The USA recommended daily allowance is 10 mg for males and 8 mg for females. This is found in all nuts, legumes and some fruits like mango, again if dietary intake is not adequate then an eye health supplement may be a good idea.

Research has shown that bioflavonoids also act as important antioxidants and they help us to absorb Vitamin C better. These are the compounds that give fruits their color. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two other antioxidants found naturally in vegetables and fruits also help in eye health. It is also important to consume foods rich in essential fatty acids and minerals for better eyesight. All in all, it would be best to increase the daily fruit and vegetable intake to keep those peepers in good shape, if this kind of food doesn’t tickle you fancy then it may be worth considering an eye health supplement.


Tips to Pick Mutivitamins for You

The typical pressures of the modern day to day life, along with a sedentary indoor lifestyle coupled with deficiencies of essential daily nutrients due to junk food intake, puts our bodies under a tremendous amount of pressure. That’s why it has practically become a requirement to take nutritional supplements for daily nutrition.

Multi vitamins are not only laden with vitamins, but also minerals and anti-oxidants.

These include Vitamin A – required for good vision, vitamin C – essential for body immunity and overall health, vitamin K – vital for bone health, vitamin E – which boosts the immune and cardiovascular function, as well as the various vitamin B’s.

Essential minerals include calcium – which is necessary for good muscle functioning and bone development, magnesium – for nerve and heart functioning, and zinc – which is required for proper immune function, eye health and cardiovascular well being.

Antioxidants effectively defend the body against the perils of free radicals, and therefore are an important component of any good multi vitamin. The most popular antioxidants are coenzyme Q10 – necessary for heart and liver health, selenium – helps cope with certain degenerative diseases, such as cancer; and lutein – good for eyesight.

Some multivitamins also contain herbal extracts such as ginger – helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, Asian ginseng – helpful in diabetes, provides energy etc.

How to choose a multi vitamin?

Nowadays, one can get a vitamin supplement for any ailment, any deficiency – eyes, heart, brain, allergies, skin disorder, vitality, cardiovascular problems, sex related, even weight management. You just have to name the problem – and the chemist will probably put you in a fix on which one to take.

But before buying one, it is crucial to read the labels on these supplements, because many daily vitamins may be lacking in the basic key nutrients essential for overall health.

The best way to choose a multi-vitamin is to look for:

– Quantity of nutrient being provided. Look for 100% of the Daily Recommended Allowance of minerals and vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, and D. Plus at least 20 micrograms of vitamin K, for strong bones.

– Quality of the vitamin being provided. Its best to go for one with no added colours, flavours, preservatives.

– Form – whether well packaged, free of moisture etc.

– Date of expiry.

A good multivitamin is not a magical pill to solve all your problems – but will give you a guarantee that one is getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals needed for maintaining good health.

Who are more likely to need multivitamin supplements?

* Persons over the age of 60 as they do not get all the nutrients they need. This can be due to a variety of causes such as ageing itself may make the absorption and utilization of certain nutrients more difficult.

* Pregnant women and lactating mothers – This group of people need about 400 IU of folic acid daily, which can be from a multivitamin. Folic acid found in supplements is better absorbed by the body than the vitamin found naturally in food.

* Pre-menopausal women – need extra amount of iron, Vitamin B12 and calcium, so as to prevent problems like osteoporosis in old age.

* Weight-watchers and persons who are heavy alcoholics

* Any person who is short of a balanced diet – a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and small servings of chicken or fish is sort of a balanced diet. So, check out your daily diet. Are you falling short of folic acid, B6, and B12 as they help lowering homocysteine levels in the blood and thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Precautions while taking a multi vitamin –

Some basic caution is required before taking multivitamins, especially if any medical conditions exist, such as pregnancy or if aged.

About Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet and many nutritionists recommend that between 40 and 60% of your food intake should be carbs. Carbs give you energy and fuel. You body converts these carbs into glucose or ‘blood sugar’ to give you energy. If you follow a diet which is low in carbs, you will probably feel lethargic because your body is not producing the energy you need. Starch and sugars are two of the main carb groups. Natural sugars include lactose (milk sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar). Many carb sources also contain a lot of fat. Starches contain carbs as well as natural sugars. Basic starchy carbs are bread, potatoes, rice and such. Complex carbohydrates include yams and oats and are generally preferable than basic carbs.

Carbs and Energy

If you eat more carbs than you burn off, the excess is stored as body fat. This is especially true for carbs which are processed starches or simple sugars because they enter the blood stream quickly to give you a rapid rise in energy levels. Unless you need that energy there and then, the carbs will be stored as fat. These types of carbs are best avoided unless you are extremely active and burn them off as you eat or drink them. They can be stored as fat in less than half an hour! Your body uses energy all the time, even to sleep and breathe. You use a much greater amount when you exercise. When you begin your exercise, your body uses the glucose in your blood for fuel. When there is no glucose left, the carbs stored in your liver and muscles is used. If you do more than about forty minutes of cardiovascular exercise – something that gets your heartbeat up such as jogging, elliptical, fast cycling or similar – only then does your body start to burn its stored fat for fuel.

Carbs in a Healthy Diet

For a healthy diet including carbohydrates, you should eat whole fruits rather than just the juices. Whole fruits contain more nutrients. Remember that complex carbs are usually better for you than simple ones, so sweet potatoes or oats can be beneficial. Eat as few simple carbs or processed starches as possible. If you eat bread or pasta, try not to eat more than 2 servings a day. Wholegrain pasta and bread is better for your body than more heavily processed products. A gram of carbohydrate gives you 4 calories. The reason that a lot of athletes prefer to eat complex carbs (whole grains, oats etc) is that they need a low body fat level. Complex carbs are longer molecule chains. They need more digestion to turn them into glucose so that blood sugar levels stay more level without spikes. If they were to eat simple carbs instead, they would get energy spikes, which is insulin overload, causing them to release a fat storing hormone. All carbohydrates have some effect on your body’s insulin production and your blood sugar levels so it is prudent to watch your intake. Carbs for Diabetics

Diabetics have to watch their carb intake because of how carbs react with blood sugar levels. A diabetic has to check their blood sugar (or glucose) levels regularly because they suffer from insulin resistance, meaning that their blood sugar levels can remain dangerously high if not monitored properly. It is possible to cause organ damage over time by regularly eating high levels of glucose so a diabetic should plan their meals well in order to limit the intake of carbs and manage their glucose levels. It is also important to balance your fats, proteins and other macronutrients in order to work out how much glucose is being produced.


About Protein

Protein has about 4 calories per gram. While your body’s primary fuel sources come from carbohydrates and fats, protein can step in and take that role when there are insufficient amounts of those macronutrients. When carbs and fats are adequately provided for in the diet, protein is used for tissue building and maintenance.

Some of the primary hormones are largely comprised protein components called amino acids. Insulin and other critical hormones are also of amino acids. They are responsible for metabolic rate, growth rate, and sexual development.

Enzymes are the catalysts for a myriad of chemical processes that take place in your body. They are also amino acids, protein. Enzymes are required to perform digestion, produce viral and bacterial antibodies, and a host of other necessary processes.

Your digestive system’s enzymes break down large protein molecules, which are basically chains of amino acids, into each individual amino acid. These amino acids are reserved” by the body and used when we need the building blocks to create complex tissue.

Proteins are classified into two categories:

* Essential Amino Acids
* Non-Essential Amino Acids

“Non-essential amino acids” are not really “non-essential.” The body needs them just as it does “essential” ones. However, they are called “nonessential” because the body can synthesize them itself. On the other hand, “essential” amino acids cannot be synthesized and must be gotten from the diet.

While it’s true that the bodybuilding and fitness communities tout a fairly high consumption of protein per pound of bodyweight to be optimal, in fact, most nutritionists now teach that our dietary level of protein should be much lower. We should focus on “enough” protein, and you can, indeed, get “too much protein.”

Your protein sources should come from lean meats, such as lean beef or skinless chicken, or fish. If you’re a vegetarian, you can get ample protein just from high protein plant sources, such as beans and legumes. Even if you’re not vegetarian, it’s a good idea to include beans and legumes in your diet because of the soluble fiber they provide. They’re also high in essential nutrients besides protein, like folic acid. It should also be noted that it is not at all true that plant or vegetarian sources of protein are inferior or “incomplete”. Now we know that the body does not need a full compliment of amino acids in each meal to build tissue, and simply ingesting enough calories and enough of these types of foods is enough. That’s where the concept of “amino acid pool” was developed.

In short, it’s only of benefit to get a lot (or even all) of your protein from plant-based foods, and not hard at all. And give greens a try, too. They’re chock full of nutrition and fiber (and after all, that’s how a bull grows big and strong, with lots of greens, or grass).


About Vitamin E and Heart Disease

Vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol is beneficial to over all cardiovascular health primarily because of the role it plays in protecting low density lipoproteins (LDL) from oxidization. This form of cholesterol is considered to be harmful when it is not in proper balance with high density lipoproteins (HDL). In this manner atherosclerogenesis, or plaque deposits on the inner wall of the arteries, may be prevented. This condition is a leading precursor to heart disease. To understand the importance of vitamin E it is important to understand the process referred to as myocardial infarction or heart attack.

Plaque forms in the interior of the artery walls. Sometimes this is caused by excessive amounts of cholesterol, a solid sterol, in the diet or frequent and prolonged consumption of saturated fats or trans fats without enough of the mono saturated or unsaturated fats which can offset these. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Trans fatty acids are those found in hydrogenated shortenings. In some there is no association between fat consumption and elevated levels of serum cholesterol. These people’s bodies produce too much cholesterol because of an inherited tendency. These people will often need a doctor’s prescription to control their cholesterol levels. The body normally produces an adequate amount of cholesterol to supply necessary cellular functions.

A heart attack occurs when a person with this condition engages in excessive physical exertions, which are activities more strenuous than the person normally experiences or the heart is stressed in some other manner. The heart reacts to the narrowing in the arteries by attempting to pump harder. This increased blood flow causes plaque to dislodge then flow to another location where it gets stuck on more plaque. It seems that LDL becomes a problem in the body when it oxidizes, the blood is an oxygen rich environment. Vitamin E being a fat soluble antioxidant is thought to be well placed in order to counter this problem and keep damage from being done.

Red blood cells collect on this plaque forming a blood clot. Eventually, the overstressed heart manages to pass the blood clot into one of the heart chambers causing it to seize and stop. This is a myocardial infarction or heart attack and causes an area of the heart to suffer paralysis. This can be a very small area of damage or a massive area. Mostly once this damage occurs, it is permanent.

The Daily Value of Vitamin E is 22IU’s per day. The average American diet includes less than half that so there is a big gap in what the FDA recommends and how much of the vitamin we take in daily. Some studies recommend dosages of 400 to 900IU’s daily for those suffering from heart disease. A heart healthy diet and regular attention to routine medical examinations combined with medically appropriate exercise can be the best way to prevent this very painful and often fatal occurance. Heart disease can be avoided with early and careful attention to various risk factors in many Americans.


Learn More about Iron

Purpose of Iron

# Iron is found in the haemoglobin, a protein inside red blood cells that helps transport oxygen out of the lungs, so that it can be carried to the body parts that require it. Therefore, its main role is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

# Iron assists with the metabolisation process and it is crucial for the body to regulate temperature.

# Iron is part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen. Without enough iron, ATP (adenosine triphosphate – the fuel the body runs on) cannot be properly synthesized.

# Iron prevents fatigue and promotes good skin tone.

# It increases resistance to stress and disease.

Deficiency of iron

If the quantity of iron in the body become below normal levels, iron-deficiency anaemia can occur. This is characterized by weakness, tiredness, muscle fatigue, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, a person’s skin may become pale due to a lack of red blood cells in the body.

In children, iron deficiency is usually the result of an inadequate iron intake.
In adults, iron deficiency is most commonly due to chronic blood loss, such as during heavy menstruation in women, intestinal bleeding from peptic ulcers, cancer, or hemorrhoids.

Individuals with renal failure, especially those being treated with dialysis, are at high risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia.
Vitamin A helps mobilize iron from its storage sites, so a deficiency of vitamin A restricts the body’s ability to use stored iron.

Signs of iron deficiency anaemia

# Feeling tired and weak

# Difficulty maintaining body temperature

# Insomnia

# Decreased immune function, which increases susceptibility to infection

# Glossitis (an inflamed and sore tongue)

# Eating substances such as dirt, (referred to as pica or geophagia)
Who all need extra iron supplements to prevent a deficiency?

# individuals who tend to lose more iron, such as pre-menopausal women

# people who do not absorb iron normally

# pregnant women

# people who take aspirin

# pre-mature and low birth weight infants

# teenage girls

# women of childbearing age, especially those with heavy menstrual bleeding

# people with renal failure, especially those undergoing routine dialysis

# people with gastrointestinal disorders, who do not absorb iron normally

Recommended Daily Allowance

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iron in healthy adults is 10 milligrams per day for men and 15 milligrams per day for premenopausal women. Premenopausal women’s needs are higher than men’s needs because women lose lots of iron during menstruation.

Pregnant women will need as much as 30 milligrams of iron per day because the unborn baby needs iron for development.

One interesting fact about iron is that it has the ability to regulate how much the body absorbs. When current iron levels in the body are normal, no iron is absorbed. When level gets reduced, the body goes into iron absorption mode.

Good dietary sources of iron

Food contains two types of iron – heme iron and nonheme iron.
Heme iron is derived from haemoglobin, and is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meat, fish, shellfish and poultry. Iron from these sources is readily absorbed in the intestines.

Iron from plant foods include lentils, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, whole grains, fortified cereals and breads, peas and beans is arranged in a chemical structure called non-heme iron. Other sources of dietary iron include green leafy vegetables, tofu, chickpeas, and strawberries.

Heme iron is absorbed better than non-heme iron, but most dietary iron is non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is absorbed better when it is consumed along with animal protein and Vitamin C.

Therefore, it is beneficial to consume citrus fruits or juices which are high in vitamin C, along with foods that contain iron.

Is a high iron diet or excess iron supplement harmful?

There are some instances in which a high iron diet can prove to be harmful.
People suffering from hemochromatosis (a common hereditary disorder where the body is unable to adjust to the amount of iron that is absorbed and stored) need to avoid iron rich foods. This can lead to severe damage to the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Chronic liver disease can also result in excessive amounts of iron being stored in the liver – thereby aggravating the damage done to the liver.

The most common side effect from excess iron supplements is stomach upset including discomfort, nausea, diarrohea, constipation, and heartburn. Stools become dark green or black when iron supplements are taken orally.

Do not take iron supplements alongwith antacids or calcium supplements at the same time – give a gap of atleast 1-2 hours.

Food That Fights Bacteria

The downside to using antibiotics to kill bacteria is that antibiotics also kill the good bacteria in the intestines. These good bacteria actually help in the digestion of nutrients and synthesize important vitamins such as vitamin K.

These good bacteria also play a vital role in keeping disease causing bacteria and yeasts at bay, by competing with them for space in the intestinal tract. Someone healthy will have a substantial amount of good bacteria in the intestines.

Candida is a yeast cell that inhabits the intestinal tract. Moderate amounts of candida live in every one of us without causing any harm. However, antibiotics can wipe out the bacteria surrounding the candida, giving it free rein to grow unchecked.

Candida will then change into its fungal form and spore through the intestinal wall into the rest of the body. Once through, it rampages around the body producing a multitude of symptoms, such as headaches and digestive problems etc.

Instead of taking antibiotics and drugs, we could take foods that kill disease causing bacteria. Onions, garlic and coconut are examples of such foods. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil make it especially good for fighting bacteria.

Lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid in coconut oil kills lipid-coated bacteria but does not harm the friendly intestinal bacteria, unlike antibiotics. It is thus better to take natural foods like coconut oil to prevent disease causing bacteria from growing in your body.

After all, prevention is better than cure and antibiotics is only prescribed when you are ill. It makes more sense to add coconut oil to your diet and taking the oil regularly to prevent the bacterial infection in the first place.

Coconut oil kills quite a few types of bacteria. These include streptococcus which causes pneumonia, ear infections and throat infections, staphylococcus which cause food poisoning and urinary tract infections, neisseria which causes gonorrhea, chlamydia which causes genital infections and helicobacter pyloris which causes stomach ulcers.


Why Dietary Supplements Are Necessary?

Dietary supplements are necessary to fight off the adverse consequences of improper food habits and age-related disorders. Most of the modern day diseases like diabetes, hypertension, chronic fatigue and anemia are lifestyle-related. As we cannot turn the clock back to the old era, we must therefore rely on dietary supplements as the manna for the new age.

Dietary supplements are essential for most people. Here are a few situations in which they play a vital role in giving positive health benefits:

– If you are a chronic poor eater and you do not get enough vitamins and minerals from your regular diet. You need to have three to four servings of fresh vegetables and fruits every day. If loading up on salad is not your idea of a great meal, then you need dietary supplements to give you what you miss out.

– If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, dietary supplements ensure that the developing fetus gets appropriate daily requirement of essential nutrients. For example, iron and folate deficiency could cause neural tube defects or poor mental development in the baby. Vitamin C deficiency leads to poor development of gums and Vitamin D deficiency causes impaired development of bones. If you have other pregnancy-related disorders like pica, reduced appetite, nausea etc., you would most probably be not eating right. Therefore, dietary supplements make up for what is lacking in your diet so that your baby is healthy.

– If you are a woman over the age of 45, you are more likely to suffer the effects of menopause. Menopause brings change in the hormone levels and consequently thinning of the bones. Osteoporosis leads to fractures unless women take calcium supplements regularly.

– If you suffer from diseases that interfere with normal absorption of nutrients from the diet, as is often the case in old age, supplements provide the additional quantity required in order to make up for reduced uptake.

– If you are convalescing after surgery or major illness and you have not started on your regular diet as yet, dietary supplements help in speedy recovery by providing the recommended daily allowance. This is true especially for the B group vitamins.

Although there are many benefits of dietary supplements, there are a few precautions one must take. Make sure that you are using pharmaceutical-grade products that have been tested for efficiency in the body. Overdose of some vitamins may be harmful, or wasteful. Many products on the shelves today, do not contain what they say on the label.

The Advantages of Calcium

# Calcium ion is essential for a large variety of important physiological functions, including muscle contraction, nerve stimulation, hormonal release, cell membrane, permeability, proper enzyme function.

# Calcium is necessary to stabilize the activity of a number of proteins and enzymes. The binding of calcium ions is required for the activation of “vitamin K-dependent” clotting aspects in the blood coagulation process.

# Calcium, especially calcium derived from dairy products help adjust body fat.

# Calcium helps slow bone loss in postmenopausal women, may reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and is associated with reduced threat of colorectal cancer.

# The body requires calcium to make strong teeth and healthy bones. The bones serve as the storage place for the body’s calcium. They continuously release calcium into the bloodstream, and then keep replacing it as the body’s requirement for calcium arises. When calcium intake is low, there is poor absorption; and there is a high probability of bone breakdown because the body uses up the stored calcium to perform normal biological functions.

# Calcium is also needed for muscle contraction and maintenance of cell membranes.

# Calcium supplements help alleviate mood swings, food cravings, pain, and bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome.
What is the recommended daily requirement of calcium?
Optimal calcium intake depends according to a person’s age, sex, and ethnicity.

The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance for calcium is 1,000 milligrams per day – given for adults (except pregnant or lactating women) and children over 4 years of age.

It is about 1200 milligrams for individuals older than 50 years of age.

The calcium intake of vegans tends to be slightly below the recommended optimal amounts but the body does adapt to lower intakes. Since vegetarians have a slightly lower protein intake and rule out meat from their diet, encourages their bodies to retain calcium so their dietary need is relatively lower.

Why Overdose of Vitamins is Dangerous?

It is mostly the fat-soluble vitamins that are dangerous. Water-soluble vitamins – such as the B group vitamins and vitamin C- cannot be stored by the body much, so if one takes in more than required by the body, they are simply excreted in the urine. However, the fat-soluble vitamins – A and D can accumulate in the body and lead to toxicity in the body. However, if a person takes them cautiously under medical supervision, they also as such do not pose danger to the body if consumed within safe limits indicated. The only exception, is for a pregnant woman, when large amounts of vitamin

A may pose a risk to the developing foetus.
As we age, our body become less efficient in absorbing the required nutrients from food, making it important to ensure that the right amount of important vitamins and minerals are consumed. On the other hand, old people are more prone to higher levels of toxicity as even excess water-soluble vitamins are not excreted because the kidneys do not function so well. This is especially important in case of illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure, since large doses of some supplements can interfere with the functioning of some medications.

What side-effects does vitamin overdose lead to?

High doses of vitamins over a long period of time can lead to side-effects. General symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrohea, rapid breathing, rashes are common with any vitamin overdose. Each vitamin also has specific symptoms associated with its overdose

A few examples of the risks include:

Vitamin A – an increased risk of broken bones, headache, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, blurred vision and frontal headaches are often the first signs of toxicity.

Vitamin B6 – loss of feeling in the arms or legs called peripheral neuropathy, rapid breathing, burning pain, loss of muscle coordination, paralysis.

Vitamin B2 – turns the urine yellow-orange.

Vitamin B1 – rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, irregular heart beat, headache, convulsions

Vitamin B3 – Signs include skin flushing, itching, wheezing, headache, diarrohea, and vomiting.

Vitamin B 9 – central nervous system damage.

Vitamin D – muscle weakness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and bone pain.
Overdose during pregnancy can cause mental and/or physical retardation in infants.

Vitamin E – overdose toxicity symptoms include nausea, headache, fatigue, easy bruising and bleeding, double vision and muscle weakness.

Vitamin C – high doses can cause diarrohea and upset stomach, and can also cause newborn scurvy.

There is also evidence that taking high doses of antioxidant vitamins A, C and E may increase the risk of cancer.

What to do in case of an overdose?

If there is a suspected overdose of a vitamin, don’t stop taking it completely and that too immediately. It is usually suggested to reduce intake to about half of current dosage. This is because, the body has adjusted itself to handle a large dose of the vitamin, and so if stopped altogether, it could trigger a major deficiency. Try reducing it gradually, and of course do not forget to consult a doctor.

Vitamins are natural nutrients, and it is best to take the required amounts from food itself. However, in case of certain situations where it becomes imperative to take external supplements of a vitamin, it is always best to take it in consultation with a doctor. Our body is designed in such a way that it can cope with natural vitamins and mineral, but the body has not developed any cushion to deal with artificial vitamins, which is why overdosing with many different vitamins can and is dangerous. One also needs to be aware of the guidelines for specific supplements (which can be obtained either from a doctor or from the specifications on the capsule).