Jasmine essential oil (Jasminium officinale) has a rich, sultry aroma that makes this oil feel alluring and romantic. It’s extracted from the flowering jasmine plant—part of the olive family—through absolute extraction.
To maximize the fragrance of Jasmine oil, the flower must be picked at night before sunrise, adding to the oil’s mystique and allure. Additionally, this precious oil requires more than 10 pounds of flowers to make one 5-ml bottle.

In addition to its romantic and exotic qualities, Jasmine essential oil uses include support for healthy-looking skin. In fact, Jasmine oil is found in many Young Living personal care products, including Sensation™ Massage Oil and Evening Peace™ Bath & Shower Gel. Add it to your favorite lotions or skin treatments to enhance your natural glow and support the appearance of healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Jasmine Essential Oil Uses:
Apply 2–4 drops directly to the skin or add a few drops to a neutral lotion and massage onto skin.
Rub a few drops onto wrists or the nape of the neck for an empowering, confidence-boosting personal fragrance.
Diffuse the relaxing aroma in the evening to unwind after a long day.
Add a few drops during your conditioner application or include it in a DIY hair mask to nourish your hair and scalp and create healthy-looking hair.
Include 5–10 drops in your evening bath for a calming, spa-like experience.
**Jasmine is an absolute or essence, rather than an essential oil.

EarthKosher Certified EarthKosher Certified

Jasmine Essential OilHow to Use
Topical: Apply 2-4 drops directly to desired area. Dilution not required, except for the most sensitive skin. Use as needed.

Aromatic: Diffuse up to 1 hour three times daily.

Caution: Keep out of reach of children. If pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a healthcare practioner prior to use.

Storage: Keep in a cool dark place.

Ingredients:
Jasminum officinale** (Jasmine) oil
**100% pure absolute

Source:  https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/jasmine-essential-oil

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

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Peppermint essential oil is at the top of our essential EO list! We can’t resist Peppermint oil’s invigorating aroma or the wonderful cooling sensation it creates.

Fun facts:
  • Our Peppermint oil is created by steam distilling the leaves and flowering tops of peppermint plants.
  • One pound of peppermint goes into every 15-ml bottle of Peppermint essential oil.
  • Peppermint plants originated in Europe, but today, 75 percent of the world’s supply is grown in the United States.
How to use it:
  1. Use Peppermint topically for a cool, tingling sensation that’s refreshing after a tough workout or a long day.
  2. Diffuse it to make your space feel more stimulating and energizing.
  3. Inhale or apply Peppermint topically to your chest for a stimulating scent.

YL tip: Add Peppermint essential oil to your bath! We love the contrast of the hot water and the cooling sensation of the oil. Relax and take deep breaths of the soothing, aromatic steam.

Simple Peppermint diffuser blend:

Peppermint essential oil benefits and usesRefresh and Unwind Blend

3 drops Peppermint essential oil

3 drops Lemon essential oil

4 drops Lavender essential oil  

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

Image result for Essential OilsEssential oils have enhanced lives for thousands of years, offering a variety of benefits from cosmetic and dietary purposes to spiritual and religious use. Young Living has always been at the forefront of bringing this ancient tradition to modern users, introducing millions to emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness that can be truly life-changing.

Extracted through careful steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing, the purest essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they come. Any time you hold a bottle of Young Living’s powerful essential oils, you hold nature’s pure essence.

How To Use Essential Oils

You can access the power of essential oils many ways, but the most common practices include aromatic diffusion, topical application, and dietary consumption. These methods bring the pure essence of health-promoting botanicals to your home, family, and life.

Inspire a positive emotional state

Love the way the fragrance from a fresh orange peel brightens your day? Each essential oil’s complex, pleasant, and unique scent triggers emotions and memories, which can help in your search for a more fulfilling and balanced life.

To help you rediscover peace, balance, and joy, use these essential oils and blends for diffusion, soothing baths, massage, inhalation, or topical application.

Enhance Your Physical Wellness

Modern lifestyles don’t always create optimal conditions for physical wellness. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and an overabundance of environmental toxins can leave the body unbalanced and diminish energy levels. From weight management to supplemental support, our essential oils and essential oil-infused products can provide the targeted solutions you need to restore balance and feel your best. Check out our Slique® weight-management system or Vitality™ line of dietary essential oils to discover the best way to infuse your life.

Feel revived every day with the whole food-based nutrients, powerful antioxidants, and pure essential oils found in these products.

Enhance Spiritual Awareness

Incense and essential oils from plants have always played an important part in religious and spiritual ceremonies, helping participants transcend the trivial and connect with something larger than themselves. The pure constituents in these oils stimulate olfactory receptors and activate regions in the brain’s limbic system associated with memory, emotion, and state of mind. To enhance your spiritual practice, dilute and apply empowering essential oils directly to wrists, feet, and behind the ears or diffuse the oils in a quiet space. Popular essential oils and blends for spiritual focus include:

Purify Your Home

Harsh chemical formulas aren’t your only option when it comes to cleaning your home. Enjoy peace of mind without compromise when you polish countertops, wash sticky hands, and clean laundry with the safe and effective power of essential oils and our Thieves® line of products.

Refine Your Beauty Routine

Purge unsafe ingredients from your personal care products and rediscover your natural glow. An ancient beauty secret, essential oils help promote a clear-looking complexion, soften the appearance of signs of aging, and nurture healthy-looking hair. Using naturally derived ingredients, these advanced skin and hair care solutions make it easy to enjoy the beautiful benefits of essential oils every day.

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

No nutritional program is complete without a high-quality source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. USANA® BiOmega fish oil supplement contains a balanced, concentrated source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in a convenient capsule format.

Omega-3 fatty acids support cardiovascular health, proper brain, neural, and visual development, as well as maintenance of bone, joint, immune, and cellular health*.

Summary

– EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are required for optimal health*.

– Because our bodies are inefficient in making EPA and DHA it is recommended to get these omega-3 fatty acids through the diet or nutritional supplementation.

– Dietary sources of EPA and DHA include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and anchovies. However, most individuals only obtain 30-100 mg of EPA/DHA daily falling far below the recommended amounts of between 250 mg to 2 grams EPA/DHA per day.

-Adequate intakes of omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA have been found to support healthy joints, brain development, cell membrane integrity, skin and eye health, cardiovascular function, child development, and a healthy immune system.*

– USANA’s BiOmega is produced from cold water, deep-sea fish oil from a fishery that uses sustainable practices and renewable resources. BiOmega includes more potent dosages of DHA and EPA than many competitors in a highly bioavailable form and fortified with vitamin D.

– BiOmega is purified to be virtually free of contaminants and flavored with lemon oil to minimize the fishy aftertaste.

The Science of BiOmega

Fats are an essential part of our diet. However, we should limit unhealthy fat intake and encourage consumption of healthy fats. Saturated fats found in meat, milk, and cheese help to promote the formation of artery-clogging fatty deposits. The trans-fatty acids (found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) are even more harmful to our health. Monounsaturated fats found in vegetable oils do not promote arterial fat deposits and polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as the omega-3 fatty acids, are the most beneficial to overall health.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play many roles in our bodies. They are the biosynthetic precursors of a family of compounds called eicosanoids (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes). These compounds are hormone-like substances that control many naturally occurring health processes in our bodies.

It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of omega-3 and omega-6 either from the diet or nutritional supplement, as these two classes of fatty acids work together to promote health.* Yet despite the clear health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids, dietary surveys indicate that most of us do not obtain enough omega-3 fatty acids from our diets.

In 2002, the American Heart Association issued new guidance on fish and fish oil consumption because results of large-scale epidemiological studies and randomized controlled studies showed that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil support cardiovascular health. For example, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) help maintain healthy high-density lipoprotein and triglyceride levels in plasma, which are important for supporting healthy arterial function and blood flow. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One serving of BiOmega provides 1050mg of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. [See nutrition information for total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol content].*

Omega-3 fatty acids support brain development and structural integrity, impacting biochemical efficiency in the brain and neural development. It is important that women of childbearing age who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding get proper nutrition including consuming adequate amounts of DHA and EPA to support the growth and development of their child. DHA is one of the dominant fats in the nerve cells of fetal and infant brains and plays a role in the healthy development of the visual system. Neural phospholipid membranes selectively concentrate DHA in photoreceptors and some cell-signaling sites, while the retina selectively incorporates EPA to support eye fluidity.*

In addition to those listed above, EPA and DHA are also important components for overall health in young children, adolescents, and adults. Studies have also shown fish oil supplements to be effective in supporting healthy joints, articular cartilage, aid in joint comfort, and supporting bone health. Many studies also indicate that taking omega-3 dietary supplements help support the body’s normal, healthy inflammatory response in response to exercise and everyday activities.*

Your cells have a phospholipid bilayer that acts as a selective barrier—keeping things out or letting them in. Key components of that bilayer, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids play a significant role in maintaining our good health at the most basic level. Sufficient levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help maintain skin’s barrier function to keep it looking healthy.*

In addition, combining fish oil intake with regular exercise is more supportive than exercise alone for helping to maintain a healthy weight and supporting metabolic health.*

The Benefits of BiOmega™

Many experts believe a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 is ideal, as they work together to promote health.*

However, as mentioned above, average diets contain significantly more omega-6 fatty acids. Eating fatty fish can be one way to increase your omega-3 intake. However, it is recommended to consume at least two, six-ounce pieces of fatty fish every single week (104 pieces a year) to meet expert recommendations!

In spite of clear benefits of including fish in the diet, health authorities have warned us to limit our intake of certain species of fish due to concerns about potential contaminants, especially during pregnancy. This is where USANA’s BiOmega comes in.

Supplementing with BiOmega is an effective way to increase omega-3 levels to help maintain a proper balance and support health without the fear of contamination that can come from eating whole fish.*

USANA’s BiOmega is produced from cold water, deep-sea fish oil that comes from a fishery that uses sustainable practices and renewable resources. BiOmega is purified to be virtually free of contaminants and flavored with lemon oil to minimize the fishy aftertaste.

Most purification processes for fish oil remove any vitamin D from the product. Yet, experts now widely believe that an overwhelming majority of people are deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin D has been shown to have many health benefits and is necessary to support normal bone mineralization and growth, maintenance of muscle strength and coordination, cardiovascular health, and robust and balanced immune function.*

One serving of BiOmega provides a total of 2000 mg fish oil concentrate, 1200mg of total omega-3s including 1050 mg of EPA and DHA, 200 IU of vitamin D, 4 mg of mixed natural tocopherols, and is free of trans-fatty acids.

The USANA Difference

BiOmega is a whole-body oil (not a liver oil) made from anchovies and sardines – small fish with short lifespans, which are naturally much lower in contaminants than larger fish species such as salmon and tuna. In fact, the raw material (pre-refining) oils used in BiOmega are already lower in PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) than established guidelines for finished products. It is then purified using repeated high vacuum molecular distillation, and the finished product is tested again for heavy metals and other contaminants.

BiOmega is purified using repeated high vacuum molecular distillation. This distillation process removes undesirable impurities leaving only the key beneficial components of the fish oil. Because of this molecular distillation process, BiOmega is purified to be virtually free of contaminants and free of trans-fatty acids.

Source:  https://askthescientists.com/qa/usana-biomega/

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

The liver is an essential organ. It plays a role in metabolism, digestion, energy storage, and hormone production. It is also the major detoxifying organ in the body.

Detoxification in the liver is broken into two categories. They are known as Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification pathways.

Phase I Liver Detoxification Pathway

Phase I liver detoxification is the first line of defense against toxins. It consists of a group of enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 family. The enzymes help neutralize substances like alcohol and caffeine. They offer protection by converting these toxins into less harmful ones.

The byproducts of Phase I liver detoxification can still pose a toxic threat to the body. If the toxins are allowed to build up and stay in the liver, they can damage DNA and proteins. It is the role of Phase II liver detoxification, to make sure that those toxins do not build up. Which provides final neutralization of the toxins so that they can be removed by the body.

Phase II Liver Detoxification Pathway

Phase II liver detoxification neutralizes the byproducts of Phase I liver detoxification and other remaining toxins. This is done by making the toxins water-soluble. That way they can be excreted from the body. This process is known as conjugation. Glutathione, sulphate, and glycine are the primary molecules responsible for this process.

Under normal conditions, Phase II liver detoxification enzymes produce low levels of glutathione. Under times of high toxic stress the body increases production of glutathione.

Glutathione

Glutathione is so important for humans, it is known as the “master antioxidant.” It is called this, because it is the most abundant antioxidant in the body and it can regenerate itself in the liver.

Glutathione is found in asparagus, avocado, spinach, broccoli, and some supplements. Sadly, food sources of glutathione are poorly absorbed into the body. Digestive enzymes can break it down before it can be absorbed. There is also no direct transport system for glutathione.

Although glutathione is poorly absorbed, diet does play a part in the body’s levels. The body needs key building blocks to manufacture glutathione. Certain foods and nutrients are known to provide them. Eating these building blocks can increase the body’s production of glutathione. These include seleniumvitamin Ecruciferous vegetablesalpha-lipoic acid, milk thistle, and N-acetyl cysteine.

glutathione foods

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also important in liver detoxification pathways. It helps protect liver detoxification enzymes, created in phase I and phase II liver detoxification pathways, from oxidative damage. Vitamin C helps protect liver tissues from oxidative damage. Some research also suggests that vitamin C may play a role in toxin removal.

Vitamin C is tightly controlled in the body. Blood levels are mainly determined by vitamin C intake and kidney regulation. Research shows that some phytochemicals may increase plasma vitamin C, even in the absence of vitamin C consumption.

Foods richest in vitamin C

  • cantaloupe
  • grapefruit
  • honeydew
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • oranges and other citrus fruits
  • strawberries
  • watermelon

Clinical Research on Increasing Glutathione Production

Scientists conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on a blend of nutrients. The purpose was to determine if they promoted increases in plasma glutathione and vitamin C.

The study intervention group used the product Hepasil DTX, provided by USANA Health Sciences. Hepasil DTX contains biotin, choline, milk thistle extract, N-acetyl L-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, broccoli concentrate, green tea extract, olive fruit extract, and turmeric extract.

Fifteen healthy volunteers participated in the study. Subjects were given Hepasil DTX or placebo for 28 days. On days 1, 14, and 28, blood samples were drawn to measure plasma vitamin C and glutathione.

Study Results

  • Hepasil DTX increased plasma glutathione two hours following the first treatment and significantly increased plasma glutathione eight hours after treatment.
  • Plasma glutathione levels increased 74 percent by the end of the study.
  • Hepasil DTX significantly increased plasma vitamin C as soon as two hours
    following the first treatment. This was maintained during the entire acute phase (0-8 hour time points)

The results showed a synergistic effect of these nutrients. The treatment formula boosted both glutathione and vitamin C levels. It upregulated the body’s ability to utilize glutathione in detoxification reactions. It also increased the body’s antioxidant capacity.

A follow-up report showed that the increases in both glutathione and vitamin C have clinical benefits. Subjects taking Hepasil DTX were significantly more resistant to oxidative damage than those taking the placebo.

Study Conclusion

The results back up previous research showing that some phytochemicals may increase plasma vitamin C, even in the absence of vitamin C consumption. It also offers a specific blend of ingredients that can be used to increase the body’s glutathione production.

Source:  https://askthescientists.com/qa/liver-detoxification-pathways/

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

The Usanimals were designed to be an optimal nutritional supplement for children. While developing the Usanimals formula, our scientists conducted extensive taste-testing panels to develop the best flavor profile possible.

Unfortunately, it is just not possible to make a multivitamin supplement that every child will like. Some children are more sensitive to taste than others. In addition, Usanimals provide additional nutrients not generally found in common store-brand children’s vitamin supplements. Because of the advanced levels of vitamins and minerals contained in Usanimals, there will always be a certain amount of vitamin/mineral aftertaste as some of the vitamins and most of the minerals have flavors that are very difficult to mask.

Image result for My Children Do Not Like the Taste of the USANIMALS. How Can I Get Them to Take It?When it comes to getting children to actually consume the tablets, there are several simple solutions. We suggest giving your child a glass of juice or having them eat almost any food (applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, crackers or some other snack) right after chewing a Usanimals tablet. This will immediately erase any unpleasant aftertaste and help your child have a great experience with the Usanimals. Or, you can simply crush the tablet and add it to foods such as applesauce, yogurt, or a fruit smoothie.

In addition, please encourage your child(ren) to take Usanimals with a complete meal to better enhance the bioavailability of the nutrients.

Source:  https://askthescientists.com/qa/my-children-do-not-like-the-taste-of-the-usanimals-how-can-i-get-them-to-take-it/

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

Products that can be used during pregnancy and lactation:

  • Active Calcium
  • BiOmega – Research has clearly shown that essential fatty acids are important for developing babies, and many women don’t get enough from diet alone. During pregnancy, omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, support brain, eye, and nerve development, especially during the last trimester.
  • Celavive – When used as directed, there are no known health or safety concerns regarding use of Celavive products during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Digestive Enzyme
  • USANA® MagneCal D™
  • Prenatal CellSentials – The CellSentials are not designed specifically for use during pregnancy and do not contain iron. Therefore, it is best to use the USANA Prenatal supplements if possible. Otherwise, we would suggest pregnant individuals discuss the CellSentials with their health professional and add appropriate levels of iron if they are going to be used as a prenatal.
  • USANA Probiotic
  • USANA Food Products – Although the USANA food products are safe to consume during pregnancy, they should not be used for weight loss during pregnancy. Sufficient calorie intake is important to support normal fetal growth and development during pregnancy and breast milk production in lactating women.
  • Vitamin D

All other USANA products should be discussed with a healthcare professional prior to use during pregnancy and lactation. Many of them contain herbal compounds and other ingredients that lack sufficient safety data for USANA to recommend their general usage during pregnancy.

Source:  https://askthescientists.com/qa/pregnancy-and-lactation/

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

You can’t simply make the minerals you need. And you’re not alone. Living things all over the planet deal with the same existential issue. Fortunately, the Earth is a one-stop shop for all the essential minerals your body needs to run smoothly.

Minerals aren’t like vitamins. Plants, bacteria, and other microorganisms can’t simply synthesize calcium or magnesium. Vitamins are bigger molecules made of a few molecular parts. Minerals are atoms or ions—elements right off the periodic table.

Lucky for you, plants can extract minerals from the soil. That’s why you don’t have to go around eating dirt or sucking on rocks to fill up on zinc and iron. Save the bowl of fresh soil for another night and enjoy a hearty salad instead. But have a glass of water (you can get minerals this way), too. Don’t make the plants do all the work.

You need minerals for cellular metabolism and to build bodily structures (from bones to blood to amino acids that impact DNA). And now you can learn about all the minerals you need. Use the table of contents to discover what makes each of these minerals essential for your health.

Amount Matters: Macrominerals and Trace Minerals

You literally need essential minerals to live. But you need some more than others. The amount you need in your diet is the basis for how minerals are described.

Those requiring large amounts (up to several grams a day) are called macrominerals. You’ll find the most recognizable minerals in this category—calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. If you want to go further, you could split macrominerals into bulk minerals and electrolytes (those minerals often found in your body fluids).

The other category could be called microminerals or trace minerals. As the names suggest, you only need small amounts of these essential minerals to support your health. Even though you need a small quantity (a few micro- to milli-grams a day) of trace minerals, they’re no less important. This category has some familiar names (zinc and copper) and some lesser-known minerals (selenium and molybdenum). One quick note: You’ll see this category referred to as trace minerals in the article. Mostly to avoid confusion with macrominerals and macronutrients.

CALCIUM

dairy products isolated on white background

  • What is it? The most plentiful essential mineral in your body.
  • What does it do for you? Calcium is crucial for bone health, cell signaling, muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve function, and it helps support blood clotting and cardiovascular health.
  • Where can I find it? Dairy products are the most obvious dietary sources of calcium. But it’s also found in large quantities in tofu, beans, oranges, broccoli, cabbage, and kale.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. Most of it—99 percent—is stored in bones and teeth. The stored calcium is part of the bone matrix and gives bones color and structure. So, it’s essential for maintaining bone density and strength.

Your body tightly controls the amount of free calcium in the bloodstream. If your levels dip below normal, the parathyroid gland springs into action. This gland (located in your neck, near your voice box) activates vitamin D, which pulls calcium from kidney filtrate and bone.

This process quickly restores healthy calcium levels, but can impact your bone health. You don’t want the calcium from your bones constantly used without being replaced. So, it’s important to acquire enough dietary calcium to keep bones strong and your blood calcium levels normal.

Calcium is responsible for more than bone health, though. The remaining one percent of the essential mineral serves many important functions—starting with cardiovascular health. This link comes from calcium’s role in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure already in the normal range.

Cell signaling is one of the little-known roles of calcium in the body. The essential mineral is required to relay a variety of messages:

  • from the brain to nerve endings
  • mediating the expansion and contraction of blood vessels
  • controlling muscle contractions
  • triggering the breakdown of stored glucose molecules called glycogen, which fuels muscle contraction

CHLORIDE

  • What is it? A trace mineral and electrolyte that keep body fluids in balance.
  • What does it do for me? Chloride helps you maintain a balance of body fluids. It’s also needed to make the hydrochloric acid that helps break food down in your stomach.
  • Where can I find it? Table salt, tomatoes, olives, celery, and lettuce.

Chloride is mostly talked about in conjunction with sodium. That makes sense because they’re the two components of table salt. And together, they support the proper balance of fluids in your body.

But chloride has a role all its own.

It’s a main component of stomach acid. The hydrochloric acid in your stomach is an important part of the digestive juices that help further break down the food you eat. That way it can be absorbed in your small intestine and the nutrients can be used throughout your body.

Since it’s part of salt, most people get enough chloride.

CHROMIUM

  • What is it? Trace mineral that impacts insulin activity and macronutrient metabolism.
  • What does it do for me? Enhances your cells’ interface with insulin, helping your body maintain healthy blood glucose already in the normal range.
  • Where can I find it? Broccoli, whole wheat, garlic, basil, turkey, seeds, legumes, red wine, and dark chocolate.

Insulin regulates your body’s levels of blood glucose. Chromium helps insulin be as effective as possible doing this important job.

The trace mineral binds to amino acids and other compounds to create the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). It allows insulin to bind to receptors on the surface of cells, enhancing the uptake of glucose from the blood. That’s how chromium helps maintain healthy blood sugar already in the normal range.

It’s not just glucose, though. Chromium also takes part in metabolizing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. So, it helps turn the macronutrients of your diet into useful cellular energy.

Chromium isn’t hard to find in the diet, but it is poorly absorbed. Bonding chromium to various amino acids (or their derivatives) appears to increase its bioavailability. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) also promotes the absorption of the essential mineral.

COPPER

  • What is it? An essential trace mineral that helps build bodily structures and more.
  • What does it do for me? Copper helps with red-blood-cell production, supports healthy connective tissues, brain and nervous system, energy, cellular respiration, and cardiovascular health. It also impacts your immune system, bone health, and indirectly acts as an antioxidant.
  • Where can I find it? Oysters, shellfish, nuts, lentils, mushroom, whole grains, and organ meats are good sources of copper.

Copper is most well known as a popular building material found in plumbing and wiring. And it also helps build important structures of your body.

It combines with iron to assist in the production of red blood cells. Copper plays an important role in making your connective tissues as strong as possible. It helps link two of the most prevalent structural proteins—collagen and elastin.

Because copper can accept and donate electrons, it also indirectly functions as an antioxidant. It has an essential role in the superoxide dismutase (SOD) class of enzymes. They’re some of your body’s most important antioxidant enzymes.

That’s just the beginning of how copper is used in your body. It also:

  • aids in respiration and the release of energy
  • has a link to cardiovascular health by supporting healthy blood vessels
  • helps maintain brain and nervous system health through different copper-dependent enzymes

Copper is usually easy for your body to absorb, so bioavailability is typically between 55 and 75 percent. And it’s relatively nontoxic to humans. A Food and Agriculture Organization-World Health Organization Expert Committee specified intakes of 0.5mg per kg body weight as safe, or about 25mg per day for a typical adult.

IODINE

A delicious fresh seaweed salad.

  • What is it? A trace mineral that helps produce thyroid hormones.
  • What does it do for me? Iodine supports healthy metabolism and can play a role in maintaining a healthy body weight—through its connection to thyroid hormones. It’s also important for fetal and infant development.
  • Where can I find it? Iodized salt, seafood, milk, and beans. Iodine content in fruits and vegetables vary depending on the soil where they’re grown.

Iodine is more than an addition to your table salt. You need this essential trace mineral to make thyroid hormones that impact your metabolism and can play a role in body weight.

Pregnant women and infants especially need iodine. The mineral helps promote proper fetal and infant development—especially bones and the brain.

If you don’t have enough iodine in your diet, your thyroid will try to trap as much of it as possible. This can cause problems.

Iodine is pretty easily tolerated by your body. In adults, intakes of 2,000 mcg have generated reports of intolerance, but humans can generally tolerate levels up to 1,100 mcg per day.

IRON

  • What is it? A trace mineral that makes up important proteins in blood and muscles.
  • What does it do for me? Iron is a component of the protein that allows your red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body. It’s also part of the protein that helps muscles absorb oxygen. It even has links to energy production and DNA formation.
  • Where can I find it? Meat, seafood, poultry, beans, raisins, and nuts.

Your blood’s ability to carry oxygen is built on iron.

It’s a major part of hemoglobin. This protein in red blood cells allows them to grab oxygen from the lungs and usher it to the rest of the body. Iron doesn’t just help the blood carry oxygen, though. It’s a component of myoglobin—a protein in muscles—which is essential for the absorption of oxygen by your muscles.

Helping supply oxygen to your body apparently isn’t enough for iron. It also supports energy production and assists in the building of DNA.

Dietary iron is found in two forms—heme and nonheme. Most of your nonheme iron comes from plants. Meat is a source of both types of dietary iron.

MAGNESIUM

  • What is it? A macromineral that plays a role in over 300 enzyme systems in your body.
  • What does it do for me? You need magnesium to support bone health, energy production, healthy blood glucose levels already in the normal range, and maintain calcium levels.
  • Where can I find it? Magnesium is an essential component of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. You should turn to green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, meats, and milk. Water can be a source of magnesium, but it’s highly variable. Harder water contains magnesium salts, which can help your body meet its daily requirement.

Magnesium is a multitasking essential mineral, necessary for more than 300 enzymes. Your body needs this macromineral to produce energy, maintain calcium levels, and help maintain normal, healthy insulin function. At any time, you contain approximately 25 grams of magnesium.

One of magnesium’s main roles is in energy production. The cellular process that turns your diet into useful energy requires several magnesium-dependent reactions. The biggest one is the protein that makes adenosine triphosphate, or ATP (the usable form of cellular energy) in the mitochondria. This energy molecule (ATP) exists largely as Mg-ATP, a magnesium complex.

But if you’re looking for it, sixty percent of your magnesium is stored in your bones. So, it’s no surprise the essential mineral helps maintain bone density. Healthy amounts of magnesium also promote normal calcium serum levels and reinforce the positive effects of vitamin D. Magnesium can enhance the action of parathyroid hormone, which is responsible for regulating calcium and vitamin D levels in the blood. These two nutrients (calcium and vitamin D) help sustain bone strength.

Several studies have also indicated a possible link between magnesium supplementation and maintaining healthy insulin function. These findings suggest healthy magnesium levels may help you support healthy blood glucose levels already in the normal range.

Magnesium is a macromineral. You need a lot of it. That makes it difficult for magnesium to become toxic, especially when obtained through food sources, unless you have impaired kidney function. Some people have experienced indigestion and gastrointestinal disturbances after taking magnesium salts. These salts are used therapeutically as laxatives, and some people may experience cramping and diarrhea in high doses.

MANGANESE

  • What is it? A trace mineral important for metabolism and cell function.
  • What does it do for me? Manganese is part of enzymes that aid in metabolism. It also helps protect mitochondria (cellular power plants) from free radical damage stemming from energy production.
  • Where can I find it? Pineapple, nuts, whole grains, beans, spinach, and tea.

The creation of cellular energy is a necessary, but risky business. One of the most important protectors of mitochondria—the place in cells where energy is produced—is partly comprised of manganese (not to be confused with magnesium).

How does this trace mineral play such a big antioxidant role? It starts with the creation of manganese superoxide dismutase. This enzyme starts the conversion of harmful oxidative energy byproducts to harmless water.

It also helps metabolize components of your diet, supports normal bone development, and plays a role in collagen formulation.

Manganese deficiencies are relatively rare, because it’s abundant in nature and only required in trace amounts. Isolated cases of manganese toxicosis have occurred from dietary exposure. Dangerous levels are typically only seen in individuals exposed to high levels of manganese dust in the air (like those found in certain work environments).

MOLYBDENUM

  • What is it? A trace mineral that’s a component of four important enzymes.
  • What does it do for me? Molybdenum aids in the metabolism of drugs and foreign compounds. This means it supports healthy detoxification processes. It also contributes to the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur throughout your body.
  • Where can I find it? The richest food sources are milk and milk products, dried legumes, organ meats, cereals, and baked goods.

Molybdenum is a relatively recent addition to the list of essential minerals. It wasn’t until 1953 that this agent in oxidation-reduction reactions was found to be necessary for health.

Working through enzymes, molybdenum helps transport electrons in a variety of reactions. Four different enzymes require molybdenum to metabolize amino acids with sulfur, and make uric acid (a normally healthy process). Molybdenum-containing enzymes also support the detoxification processes of drugs and foreign compounds.

Molybdenum is readily absorbed from your diet. The estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake for adults is 45-50 mcg. The upper limit has been established at 2000 mcg/day for adults.

PHOSPHORUS

  • What is it? The second most abundant mineral in your body (second to calcium).
  • What does it do for me? Phosphorus supports bone health, energy production, cellular health, protein synthesis, and cell signaling. B vitamins and phosphorus team up to impact kidney, muscle, nerve, and heart health.
  • Where can I find it? Dairy products, nuts, beans, cereal grains, salmon, and halibut are good places to turn for phosphorus.

You’re about 1 percent phosphorus. It makes up 1/100 of your body weight. These big numbers make this macromineral second to calcium in prevalence. And like calcium, phosphorous is mostly found in bones and teeth. So, it supports bone health.

But it’s also inside every one of your body’s cells. That’s because it accounts for part of the P in the molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate). You literally can’t make your body’s main means of energy without phosphorus.

The importance of phosphorus also extends to cell signaling, protein synthesis, and building cell membranes and genetic material. This essential mineral also teams up with B vitamins to support healthy kidney, muscle, heart, and nerve function.

Balancing your intake of phosphorous and calcium is crucial. Too much phosphorous can impair calcium absorption and negatively affect bone health. But the two are found in a lot of the same food sources.

POTASSIUM

Two bananas and pieces isolated on white background as package design element

  • What is it? A macromineral and electrolyte that impacts several areas of health.
  • What does it do for me? Potassium is important to build muscle and proteins. As a conductor of electricity, it plays a role in the electric activity of the heart.
  • Where can I find it? Look for potassium in bananas, spinach, meats, fish, lima beans, tomatoes, and squash.

Potassium is electric. That’s why this essential mineral is also considered an electrolyte. And this electrical ability is important for your heart. Your heart beat is regulated by electrical impulses and potassium plays a role in maintaining a normal heart beat.

Your body also needs potassium to build proteins and muscles. It’s required for growth throughout your body and helps regulate the use of carbohydrates.

Potassium is abundant in the average diet. But some individuals taking certain medications may require additional potassium.

SELENIUM

  • What is it? A trace element that contributes to important antioxidant molecules.
  • What does it do for me? Selenium is a building block of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant made in your body. It also plays a role in DNA building, thyroid function, and reproduction.
  • Where can I find it? Grains, seeds, seafood, liver, and other meats are high in selenium.

Selenium helps shield your cells from free-radical damage. The trace mineral helps keep glutathione—the powerful and abundant antioxidant molecule—in the reduced state. Glutathione molecules are great at donating electrons and neutralizing a variety of free radicals. It also plays a major role in detoxification.

Your body also needs proteins that contain selenium to produce DNA. It also has links to thyroid function and reproduction.

In adults, no adverse effects have been observed for selenium intakes under 400 mcg per day. But consumption of very large amounts can lead to negative effects on hair, nails, skin, and teeth.

SODIUM

  • What is it? A macromineral electrolyte that supports a balance of fluids in your body.
  • What does it do for me? Sodium supports healthy muscle and nerve function. But it’s main role is helping your body balance the amount of fluids.
  • Where can I find it? Salt and processed foods are your best bet for sodium. But seek out natural sources, like dairy products, meats, shellfish, and vegetables.

Sodium is usually part of a conversation about excessive amounts and health risks. But it’s an essential mineral controlled by your kidneys and partially responsible for keeping your body’s fluids in balance. This includes blood plasma and the fluid between your cells.

You’ve probably experienced this balancing act firsthand. If you have too much salt (which contains sodium), you retain water and get thirsty. That’s your body trying to keep a good ratio of sodium to water.

Sodium is also necessary to maintain healthy muscle and nerve function.

Most people in the U.S. get more sodium than they need, even though it’s not found naturally in high concentrations in many foods. That’s because salt is used in cooking and food processing. Turn to fresh vegetables and fruits to help you avoid excessive sodium in your diet (which can contribute to high blood pressure).

ZINC

Raw oysters with ice on a white background

  • What is it? A trace mineral that acts as a cofactor in over 300 enzymes.
  • What does it do for me? Zinc supports immune function, aids in DNA formation and repair, and provides structure for proteins that affect gene expression. It’s also important for the healthy function of eyes, kidneys, muscles, skin, and bones.
  • Where can I find it? Meat, liver, eggs, and seafood are considered good food sources of zinc.

Zinc is a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes needed for cell function in kidneys, muscles, skin, and bones. But zinc’s biggest impact happens deep inside your cells.

The trace mineral is heavily involved in the creation of genetic material, including DNA. It also serves as a necessary structural component of DNA-binding proteins that affect gene expression. Many proteins that bind to DNA contain zinc.

Zinc supports healthy eyes, as well. It’s part of an enzyme that’s important in the conversion of retinol to retinal (two forms of vitamin A). Zinc also appears to provide an additive effect to other antioxidants involved in supporting visual acuity.

When you’re a part of more than 300 enzymes, you create quite a list of health impact. Zinc also:

  • affects the activity of enzymes attached to plasma membranes
  • helps protect cells from oxidative damage
  • frees the vitamin folate to move across cell membranes
  • aids in the manufacture of heme (a component of blood)
  • participates in essential fatty acid metabolism
  • helps release vitamin A from its storage place in the liver

Even though zinc is a trace mineral—and the last on this list—it’s impact can’t be overstated. High intakes of zinc for an extended period of time can negatively affect copper absorption. Generally, zinc intake is considered completely safe at levels below 40mg a day for adults.

Source:  https://askthescientists.com/qa/minerals/

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba

You need vitamins like your life depends on it. Because it does. Vitamins—not the pills or gummies, but the actual molecules—are essential for human life. Your body needs vitamins to maintain your health. And there’s so many, you need a vitamins guide, too.

You’ve come to the right place. You’ll find the basics about these essential micronutrients. Learn what vitamins are. Look back at how science discovered them. And understand how they work in your body.

Then you’ll find a list of all the essential vitamins. Use the links in the table of contents to jump to different vitamins and explore all the vital substances that keep your body going.

A Crash-Course in Vitamin Basics

The simplest definition for a vitamin is “a substance that helps your body work properly.” They’re vital for your health. That’s where the “vita” in vitamin actually came from.

But that’s probably too basic. Minerals are essential for life. They help your body work properly, too. So, what sets a vitamin apart?

Vitamins are organic substances that act as coenzymes (non-protein parts of enzymes) and are important components of cellular chemical reactions. But they don’t provide energy the way carbohydrates do. And they aren’t building blocks like amino acids or fats.

Vitamins are all about getting a reaction. Remember, your cells are basically bags of chemical reactions. All the reactions require materials and machinery. Your cellular structures provide the machinery. Vitamins constitute an important part of the materials. They help enzymes spark a reaction—that’s what a coenzyme does.

Without vitamins, vital (there’s that word again) reactions don’t happen efficiently. Or they don’t happen at all. This throws off your metabolic processes—the same ones vitamins help regulate—which isn’t good for the maintenance of health. (And that’s putting it lightly.)

Since they’re so important, you’d think humans would have a long history of understanding vitamins. Nope. For thousands of years, people had no idea what vitamins were.

Sailors figured out a little citrus would stave off scurvy. But they didn’t know why. Eventually, researchers figured out that the absence of some substances had dire consequences for health. These substances were eventually isolated and identified. The mechanics of their cellular impact were mapped out.

When a new vitamin was discovered, it was assigned a letter. (The letters started at “A,” skipped a few—“F” to “J”—and eventually ended at “K.”) And today there are daily values to help you avoid deficiency, and information about optimal levels for health.

Now, science has shined a light on these essential substances, and showed how each play a different role in the body. Now you have the information you need to plot a course for your best health through diet and supplementation. Explore the essential vitamins and see why and how you they’re an essential part of your diet.

The Two Main Categories of Vitamins

Vitamins are split into two major groups—water soluble and fat soluble. The difference is in the absorption and storage.

Water soluble vitamins (C and the B vitamins) are easily taken into the body with a little help from water. Those substances are not stored long-term, and are tightly regulated by the kidneys.

Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) require fat for absorption into your body. Once they’re inside, these four vitamins are used or stored for later in—you guessed it—fat. They’re also packed away in the liver.

Knowing whether a vitamin is water or fat soluble is valuable information. The way a specific vitamin is absorbed and stored helps you understand how to optimize your intake. That might mean taking a different approach to meal planning or timing your supplementation to maximize their absorption.

VITAMIN A

  • What is it? Fat soluble forms of retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid.
  • What does it do for you? Antioxidant protection against free-radicals, support for cellular differentiation—cells growing into specialized roles in your body—eye health, skin health, reproduction, and the health of tissues throughout your body.
  • Where can I find it? Vitamin A’s retinol forms are found in eggs, shrimp, and dairy products.

Vitamin A isn’t a single molecule, but a complex collection of health-promoting molecules. Let’s start with the easy part: the variety of health benefits that have been linked to vitamin A.

The A doesn’t stand for antioxidant, but maybe it should. The molecules under this category act as powerful protection against free radicals. That’s only one reason vitamin A is important for your total-body cellular health.

Dietary vitamin A is converted into forms that aid in cell growth, differentiation, and communication. Cellular growth and communication are pretty self-explanatory, but you may not be familiar with differentiation. This important process helps cells in your body specialize to take on the many unique tasks your body performs.

Vitamin A also has been shown to support healthy tissues, skin, immune function, and reproduction. But one of the most important things this vitamin does is protect your vision. Vitamin A is a building block of an important light-absorbing protein (rhodopsin) in your eyes’ retina receptors.

Your diet provides two types of vitamin A: preformed and provitamin A. The best way to keep them straight is that preformed vitamin A’s must be converted into active forms like retinol. Carotenoids (plant pigments) fall into the category of provitamin A nutrients. Beta-carotene is the most common example. It’s basically two vitamin A molecules stuck together. So, it’s easily and efficiently converted to retinol. No matter the type of preformed vitamin A they all provide your body with retinol after conversion in your intestines.

Whatever form your vitamin A takes initially, it’s an essential fat-soluble vitamin critical for eye health, healthy organs and tissues, immune function, your skin, and a healthy pregnancy.

VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN)

  • What is it? Water-soluble B vitamin that acts as a coenzyme essential for turning your diet into cellular energy.
  • What does it do for me? It helps metabolize components of your diet, making it available as energy for your body. It also supports cell division, and systems throughout your body—including skin and brain.
  • Where can I find it? Eating brown rice, pork, and squash can provide thiamin.

Without vitamin B1, eating would be little more than chewing and tasting. Thiamin—another name for B1—helps convert what you eat into energy your body can use.

This role in energy metabolism comes from its ability to act as a coenzyme. Different configurations of thiamin and phosphate are made in the intestine to facilitate vitamin B1’s role in metabolism. Thiamin diphosphate (two phosphate molecules connected to free thiamin molecules) is the most important form.

The forms of thiamin help other enzymes start chemical reactions that break down carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. The process turns starches, sugars, amino acids, and fats into usable energy for the cells of your body.

Thiamin isn’t just involved in energy metabolism. It’s impact on cellular sugar production makes it essential for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. Vitamin B1 also helps build fatty acids and supports healthy cellular function.

This important vitamin is stored in the liver, but not for long. So, you need to constantly replenish your stockpile through a healthy diet or smart supplementation. Those with a limited diet or pregnant women are at risk for B1 deficiency. Don’t be afraid of eating too much, even very high oral doses of vitamin B1 haven’t been found to cause adverse effects. Only a role in minor GI distress has been reported.

VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN)

  • What is it? Water-soluble B vitamin involved in complex chemical reactions for energy production and other metabolic processes.
  • What does it do for me? Vitamin B2 acts as a part of coenzymes aiding in reactions that turn what you eat into energy your body can use.
  • Where can I find it? Dairy products, spinach, almonds, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin B2.

Vitamin B2 (also known as Riboflavin) is all about energy. And it does its job as a coenzyme that catalyzes redox—short for reduction/oxidation—reactions. They move electrons between different molecules during a chemical reaction.

All redox reactions require a molecule with extra electrons. You may be familiar with the redox reactions that happen between antioxidants and free radicals. The same mechanics of electron transfer are at work here, for a different purpose—energy.

Riboflavin is part of two energy-catalyzing coenzymes: flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN). Memorizing the names aren’t as important as knowing the coenzymes’ ability to donate an electron in reactions help your body produce energy from your diet.

As your body breaks down food, it breaks the chemical bonds. One result of breaking these bonds is the release of electrons. One of riboflavin’s jobs is to capture these electrons and help squeeze every last bit of energy out of it so your body can put it to work.

Vitamin B2 doesn’t just aid in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. Riboflavin also helps your body metabolize drugs and steroids, and helps convert tryptophan to niacin.

Riboflavin deficiency shows up alongside deficiencies in other B vitamins, particularly niacin and pyridoxine. Athletes, alcoholics, and pregnant women are at higher risk for deficiency. But riboflavin is widely available in the diet, with no oral toxicity reported.

VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN)

  • What is it? A water-soluble B vitamin involved in energy production from dietary intake.
  • What does it do for me? Supports the transformation of food into useful energy. Niacin also supports a healthy nervous system, brain, digestive system, and skin.
  • Where can I find it? Many foods contain niacin, but chicken, leafy green vegetables, corn, wheat, and fish are good sources.

Niacin, like many of its B-vitamin brethren, is essential for energy production. So, it helps turn the food in your gut into the energy your cells and body need to function.

Vitamin B3 completes these important functions because it’s part of two coenzymes—nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP). Don’t get hung up on the long, complicated names. Focus on their functions.

NAD and NADP are very similar in function to the coenzymes in which riboflavin is involved. They spark the transfer of electrons in redox reactions, especially during the molecular breakdown of macronutrients. Do you see another common theme here? Electron transfers provide a lot of the energy your body uses. And B vitamins—including niacin—play important roles in these processes.

If you don’t get enough niacin and niacinamide (a niacin derivative) you’re in danger of developing pellagra. But niacin is widely distributed in plant and animal foods, and vitamin B3 intake is essentially non-toxic below 50 mg a day.

VITAMIN B5 (PANTOTHENIC ACID)

  • What is it? Water-soluble B vitamin essential for energy production from your diet.
  • What does it do for me? It is part of a coenzyme (coenzyme A) that’s essential for sustaining life. It plays a role in synthesizing fats, hormones, and components of your blood.
  • Where can I find it? Organ meats, milk, avocados, seeds, and broccoli contain this important vitamin.

You aren’t alone in needing pantothenic acid—also known as vitamin B5. It’s essential for all mammals. This water-soluble nutrient is synthesized by plants and bacteria. It’s the primary precursor to one of the most important coenzymes in your body—coenzyme A.

You’ll find the vast majority (95 percent) of your coenzyme A in cellular mitochondria (the cell’s power plant). Vitamin B5, as part of coenzyme A, is required to produce energy from dietary carbohydrates, fat, and protein. This role in energy metabolism is fairly complex—involving several chemical cycles. But it’s very similar to the way other B vitamins participate in energy production. If you’d like to dig deeper, take a look at how the Krebs cycle works.

Coenzyme A also needs to be present for reactions that include synthesis of cholesterol, hormones, vitamin A, vitamin D, and melatonin (the sleep hormone). Vitamin B5 is also involved, through coenzyme A, in your liver’s breakdown of toxins.

Pantothenic acid is pretty easy to find in nature, so deficiency is incredibly uncommon. And you don’t have to worry about oral toxicity. None has been reported in humans.

VITAMIN B6

  • What is it? A water-soluble B vitamin that aids over 100 enzymes in your body.
  • What does it do for me? Plays a role in sleep (through different neurotransmitters), immune function, and cardiovascular health. Helps metabolize amino acids.
  • Where can I find it? Beans, bananas, potatoes, meat, and nuts.

Versatility is the keyword for vitamin B6. It’s involved in at least 100 reactions in your body, and it takes many forms. All of them help make coenzymes that assist in the metabolism of proteins and amino acids. These coenzymes help transfer amino acids, break them apart, strip them of carbon-containing groups of atoms, and more.

All cells require these functions, so vitamin B6 has a wide-ranging impact on your body. Here’s some of the important systems and processes in which this vitamin plays a role:

  • Transformation of glycogen (a large sugar molecule stored in the body) into glucose (a sugar that can be used for energy)
  • Immune function—by supporting immune-cell production
  • Modulating hormones
  • Fat metabolism
  • Synthesis of neurotransmitters that affect your nervous system
  • Regulating blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which is important for the maintenance of cardiovascular health

Vitamin B6 needs riboflavin, niacin, and zinc for activation. So, you need a balance of B vitamins and zinc to go with the food and supplementary sources of vitamin B6. But chronically exceeding 100 mg per day has been associated with adverse effects, including neurological toxicity.

VITAMIN B7 (BIOTIN)

  • What is it? A water-soluble B vitamin that contains sulfur and supports energy production.
  • What does it do for me? Regulates gene expression, supports your hair and bones, facilitates cell signaling, and helps in a process that makes glucose out of non-carbohydrate materials.
  • Where can I find it? In many foods, but especially fish, whole grains, yeast, liver, and avocado.

Biotin (or vitamin B7) is part of a transformational magic trick of sorts.

Glucose is a simple sugar your body uses as energy. It usually comes from carbohydrates. But biotin is part of enzyme reactions that make this important energy source out of fats and proteins.

Vitamin B7 also aids in the regulation of which genes are expressed. That’s because it affects important proteins called transcription factors (proteins that help read the DNA code for the cell). Biotin’s entanglement with DNA doesn’t end there. It also modifies special proteins in the cell nucleus that help organize DNA. This packaging process also impacts gene regulation.

Biotin works on a more visible scale, too. The vitamin supports healthy bones and hair.

Deficiencies are rare. That’s because vitamin B7 can be synthesized by intestinal bacteria—although we don’t know how much you can actually absorb. Biotin is also found throughout a healthy diet, and has no reports of toxic reactions. High doses can interfere with certain lab tests. Make sure to tell your doctor if you are taking high doses of biotin before you have lab tests.

VITAMIN B9 (FOLATE)

  • What is it? A water-soluble B vitamin that is crucial to building DNA and RNA.
  • What does it do for me? It regulates cellular metabolism and cell division. Coupled with its role in DNA and RNA, it supports healthy tissue growth and the regeneration of red blood and immune cells. It’s essential for fetal development, so it’s critical for pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to get enough folate.
  • Where can I find it? Look for folate in legumes, enriched grains, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach.

Folate’s importance during pregnancy makes sense when you consider its function in the body. Vitamin B9 is essential for building DNA and genetic material. It also plays an important role in cell division. Both of those processes are critical for the rapidly growing tissues of a fetus.

Vitamin B9’s roles in DNA and cell division are also important throughout the human life cycle. So is folate’s connection to coenzymes that regulate cellular metabolism. Your red blood and immune cells need folate, too.

If you don’t have enough vitamin B9, you may be putting your cardiovascular health at risk. Folate helps convert the amino acid homocysteine to methionine. High levels of homocysteine in the blood have been shown to adversely affect your cardiovascular system.

Folate requirements increase during pregnancy. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) go from 400 mcg for a normal adult to 600 mcg for pregnant women. Deficiencies during pregnancy are associated with low birth weight and increased rate of neural tube defects. To avoid these issues, all women of childbearing age should supplement with 600 mcg of folate per day.

VITAMIN B12 (COBALAMIN)

  • What is it? A water-soluble B vitamin that acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of folate and more.
  • What does it do for me? It’s been found to support cardiovascular and neurological health, protect nerve cells, and plays a role in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells.
  • Where can I find it? Animal products contain B12 because it can only be made by bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts. Seafood, beef, fish, and eggs are foods that contain vitamin B12.

It’s a good thing you don’t have to diagram the chemistry of vitamin B12 to get all the benefits. B12 is the most chemically complex vitamin and the only one to contain cobalt—a metal that’s scarce in your body.

Complexity doesn’t get in the way of vitamin B12’s ability to help maintain your health in many ways. It aids in:

  • the metabolism of folate
  • the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells
  • maintaining normal mood
  • maintaining healthy homocysteine levels, which protects your heart and brain

Absorbing vitamin B12 isn’t simple, either. A two-stage process enables you to take in B12. Microorganisms make the B12 you get in your diet, which means they’re attached to proteins. First, your body breaks the B12 from the protein with which it came into the body. Then, it combines the vitamin with a different protein made in the stomach. But the two steps are worth it to make sure it gets absorbed.

Vegetarians and vegans are susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency because they don’t eat meat products—the main source of this B vitamin. They will likely need to turn to supplementation. There have been no observable adverse at any level of recorded use.

VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)

  • What is it? A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, a coenzyme, and catalyzes many processes in the body.
  • What does it do for me? Protects you against free-radical damage, supports healthy collagen production, which impacts your skin and connective tissues throughout the body. Vitamin C also has ties to immune function and cardiovascular health.
  • Where can I find it? You probably already know about the vitamin C in citrus fruits. But you also acquire it from spinach, bell peppers, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Vitamin C may be one of the most well understood topics in human nutrition. And that’s a good thing.

The essential vitamin works in the body as an antioxidant. It readily gives up electrons, neutralizing compounds that cause oxidative damage. So, it helps protect cells throughout your body and supports optimal health.

The skin is one of the main benefactors of vitamin C. It helps stimulate skin-cell proliferation and supports collagen production in the skin. Collagen is a necessary connective tissue protein in skin and throughout the body. It’s involved in wound healing and helps reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

There is also ample evidence to support the role of vitamin C in immune health. Vitamin C helps encourage the production of germ-fighting cells, like leukocytes (a type of white blood cell). Strong white blood cells help protect your body against potential invaders and maintain health. Leukocytes also accumulate vitamin C to protect themselves from the oxidants they use to destroy pathogens. The essential vitamin and antioxidant saves leukocytes from self-inflicted oxidation.

Supplementing with vitamin C is a good way to fill in the gaps that can exist in the average diet. Vitamin C is generally non-toxic, but very high dosages (several grams or more) may cause or contribute to gastrointestinal distress.

VITAMIN D (CALCIFEROL)

  • What is it? Often called the sunshine vitamin. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that can also be created when skin is exposed to the sun. And while commonly referred to as a vitamin, it acts more like a hormone in your body.
  • What does it do for me? Vitamin D supports bone health because of its role in calcium absorption and utilization. It also supports healthy immune function, mood, and cardiovascular health—through the maintenance of healthy blood pressure already in the normal range.
  • Where can I find it? The sun helps you make vitamin D, but many people are still deficient. So, turn to fatty fish or fortified grains and dairy products.

There are two major forms of vitamin D. Ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol are known as vitamins D2 and D3, respectively. Vitamin Dis often man-made and used to fortify foods. Your body manufactures Vitamin D3 with the help of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Just 15-30 minutes of sun exposure is enough to produce ample amounts of vitamin D. But how does that process work?

UVB rays from the sun react with a preform of vitamin D called 7-dehydrocholesterol that exists in your skin’s epidermis. When these rays hit 7-dehydrocholesterol, it changes the molecular structure to become a pre-activated form of vitamin D called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Once the conversion is complete, 25-hydroxyvitamin D enters the blood stream. The liver and kidneys then get involved to ensure the circulating vitamin D is further activated into its fully usable form.

One of vitamin D’s main uses in your body is bone growth and bone-health maintenance. That’s based on vitamin D’s ability to help regulate the amount of calcium in your blood serum. This delicate calcium balance is controlled by the parathyroid glands. When low calcium serum levels are detected, the glands secrete a hormone that increases the amount of active vitamin D in the bloodstream.

The increase of vitamin D leads to changes that normalize the serum levels of calcium. Here’s how it happens:

  1. Increases the absorption of dietary calcium by the intestines.
  2. Promotes resorption of calcium filtered by the kidneys.
  3. Recruits calcium from the bone when dietary calcium levels are insufficient.

Vitamin D also has been shown to support healthy immune function, mood, and the maintenance of healthy blood pressure already in the normal range.

It’s true your body can make vitamin D with the sun’s help. But a lack of vitamin D—and all out deficiency—are common, especially the further you live from the equator. This has a lot to do with the angle of the sun—the lower the sun is in the sky, the more UVB the atmosphere filters out. That’s why vitamin D supplementation is an effective, and safe way to get the vitamin D you need.

VITAMIN E (TOCOPHEROLS and TOCOTRIENOLS)

  • What is it? Any of the eight fat-soluble molecules that show antioxidant abilities.
  • What does it do for me? Functions as a potent antioxidant. Vitamin E provides protection from oxidative damage and helps maintain cell membranes. It’s also involved in cell communication.
  • Where can I find it? Plant oils, nuts, green vegetables, blackberries, and broccoli are some of the foods that contain vitamin E.

Most vitamins are helpers—acting as coenzymes that aid in chemical reactions. Vitamin E likes to work independently. And you can’t argue with the results this potent antioxidant achieves.

Free radicals are created whenever your body converts food to energy. And that’s on top of what you get from your environment. These can cause damage if they aren’t dealt with.

Antioxidants like vitamin E protect your cells by neutralizing these potential sources of oxidative damage. Since it’s fat soluble, vitamin E is especially effective in preventing fat oxidation wherever it occurs—the gut, blood stream, tissues, and cell membranes.

Vitamin E also plays a role in immune function. It helps promote the junction of different immune cells and works in immune cell signaling—both support your immunity. The essential vitamin even supports cardiovascular health by maintaining healthy blood vessels.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults ranges from 15-19 mg/day. But average dietary intake of vitamin E among adults is less than 10 mg per day. Reported therapeutic benefits of vitamin E intake generally require supplementation of 200-800 mg per day.

That may seem like a lot, but vitamin E is relatively non-toxic when taken orally. In rare cases involving people deficient in vitamin K or participating in coumadin therapy, levels higher than 1,000 mg per day may potentially increase bleeding time.

VITAMIN K (PHYLLOQUINONE, MENADIONE)

  • What is it? A fat-soluble vitamin that can bind calcium and impact blood coagulation processes.
  • What does it do for me? It aids in protein activation, supports blood clotting, and bone health.
  • Where can I find it? Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, olive oil, eggs, and grapes.

The K comes from koagulation, which is the German word for coagulation. That gives you a big clue about the primary role vitamin K plays in your body. This fat-soluble vitamin is key to supporting the process that helps your blood clot normally. It’s involved in the synthesis of at least five proteins that regulate coagulation activity.

Vitamin K also helps create places for calcium to bind on proteins throughout your body. This is the connection between vitamin K and bone health. And it’s important in bone remodeling (the replacement of old bone tissue with new material), which is essential for the maintenance of bone health.

There are three forms of vitamin K. The first (K1) is found in green plants and supplements. K2 is produced by bacteria—some of which live in your intestines. The final form (K3) is man-made and used in animal feed. The natural form—vitamin K1—has no known toxicity is associated with high doses. Since vitamin K is essential for your body’s clotting process, getting too much vitamin K from your diet can interfere with medications that may be necessary to keep your blood thin. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before supplementing with vitamin K if you are taking blood-thinning medications.

Time to Meet Vitamin’s Nutritional Companion—Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are both essential for your health. In fact, they often work hand-in-hand. Check out the minerals guide to get the other half of the essential micronutrient picture.

Source:  https://askthescientists.com/qa/vitamins/

Bless and be blessed!

Lanelle Milanie Torralba