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BUYER'S GUIDE TO VITAMINS

The environmentally conscious people of today are concerned about clean water and air for the health and safety of everyone. A direct result of clean air and water would be the lessening of illness and disease. People are what they breathe, drink, and eat. Whatever is natural, and pure, and without chemical additives is eaten and bought, in hopes that it will improve the chemical compositions of their bodies and minds. But, is there something else that people need? How can they be sure that what they are eating, drinking, and breathing is giving them the nutrients necessary to be disease free?

As insurance of proper nutrition, many people are turning to vitamin and mineral supplements. Vitamins are organic substances that are required in trace amounts for a number of essential biochemical reactions. Vitamins are grouped according to whether they are water-soluble (vitamin B complex & C) or fat-soluble (vitamins A, D, E, & K). Vitamins serve specific functions in the body; usually acting with our body's own enzymes to speed up reactions that are essential for cell construction and repair. In fact, these complex processes cannot take place without vitamins.

Deficiencies in levels of vitamins can lead to a variety of diseases. Conversely, diseases that prevent proper absorption of essential vitamins and minerals lead to deficiencies. Every vitamin or mineral deficiency is characterized as a disease: iron deficiency is known as anemia, thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency is known as beriberi, a deficiency of vitamin A causes night blindness, and vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in young children, and osteomalacia in adults, and the list continues... But, certain vitamins and minerals can be toxic in high dosages.

It is important to check the labels for the recommended daily allowances, and for any extra ingredients to which one may be allergic. Vitamin supplements, combined with a balanced diet can fill any nutrition gaps left in a person's quest for optimal health. Vitamins can prevent any deficiencies in a person's diet that arise from a lack of variety in food, or lack of absorption. And, amazingly, vitamins have been shown to prevent diseases other than those caused by vitamin deficiencies. The most impressive is the proven prevention of cancer by vitamins that act as antioxidants. An antioxidant is a substance that slows the deterioration (oxidation) of essential fats and similar substances.

It is a valid conclusion that there are many benefits from taking vitamin supplements. There are hundreds of sources for vitamins. Local grocery stores, drug stores, and specialty health food stores, just to name a few. There are as many types and brands of vitamin supplements as there are places to buy them. The decision making doesn't stop at which brand and merchant. There are women's formulas, men's formulas, stress formulas, and more. People should seek out more information to use vitamin supplements correctly. Written by: Anna M. Kumor


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