Vitamins have some connection with chronic disease:
Vitamin A: RETINOIDS and CAROTENOIDS.
Compounds belonging to the retinoid family occur only in foods of animal origin, such as liver, butter, milk, and egg yolks.
Compounds belonging to the carotenoid family are made from the body by dark-green, leafy vegetables and in yellow and orange vegetables and fruits. Beta-carotene is the most common carotenoid.
Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.
Vitamin A supplements have not been shown to lower cancer risk, and high-dose supplements may be toxic. Long-term use of high dose supplements increases the risk for lung cancer. Smokers particularly are at high risk.
Vitamin A is a nutrient important to vision, growth, cell division, reproduction and immunity. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that might protect your cells against the effects of free radical molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
As a supplement, vitamin A mainly benefits people who have a poor or limited diet and have a condition that increases the need for vitamin A, such as pancreatic disease, eye disease or measles.
Vitamin A supplements might not offer the same benefits as naturally occurring antioxidants in food.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) for adult men and 700 mcg for adult women.
Vitamin A deficiency causes anemia and dry eyes. Getting too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, and cause birth defects.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has been claimed to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases such as stomach cancer and artherosclerosis.
There’s no evidence that vitamin C alone can cure cancer, however; Including plenty of food rich in vitamin C in your diet is a good idea.
Vitamin D’s main purpose is to increase the amount of calcium that goes into bones, by increasing the intestine’s ability to absorb calcium from digested food, and It improves the kidneys capacity to recycle calcium.
Vitamin E and selenium work together to protect your body from cell damage and chronic disease.
Studies have found that if selenium consumption is low, then an inadequate amount of vitamin E can increase the risk of breast and lung cancer.
Low levels of Riboflavin may allow alcohol or substances in chewing tobacco to promote cancer of the esophagus. So, if you drink alcoholic beverages or chew tobacco, make sure to include some riboflavin-rich foods in your diet.
Vitamins and Alcoholism
In the United States, alcoholism is probably the number one cause of multivitamin deficiency.
Alcoholics are often deficient in many of these nutrients: vitamins B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folacin.
After years of heavy drinking, liver damage is tied to vitamin deficiencies, because alcohol damages the intestines ability to absorb vitamins from the digested food.
Alcoholic malnutrition: alcoholics tend to get a large share of their calories from alcohol, and they do not eat enough of other foods. As a result, their consumption of many vitamins is very inadequate.
In general, dairy products are very good sources of calcium.
Human bones reach their maximum mass at about age 25 to 30, so it is imperative that children, teenagers, and young adults eat calcium-rich foods.
To achieve peak bone mass, adolescents and young adults 11 to 25 years of age should consume about 1200 mg of calcium per day. Once bones reach their maximum mass, they stabilize for the next 10 to 20 years, and the need drops to 800 mg/day.
Between ages 35 and 45, bones start losing their calcium (even if the diet is high in calcium), a process that accelerates in women immediately before and after menopause.
If calcium intake is low during childhood and adolescence, then later in life could translate into weaker bones and eventually osteoporosis.
Note: Calcium and vitamin D are important for keeping bones strong and reducing bone loss;
Decreases the risk of certain birth defects.
Iron is an element present in all body cells. It is part of the hemoglobin found in red blood cells, where it carries oxygen in the blood stream. Good food sources of iron include red meats, poultry, fish, whole and enriched grain products, and dark-green leafy vegetables.
The most obvious disorder related to iron is Iron-deficiency anemia and is the most common and widespread nutritional disease in the world.
The most frequent causes of iron deficiency are poor nutrition in infants and small children, blood loss and pregnancy.
If you do not eat many calories in your diet, you might be depriving yourself of iron. Women are particularly vulnerable to this cause of iron deficiency because they lose iron during menstruation and they eat less food than men, but their requirements for iron are greater.
Excess iron causes nausea and vomiting and may damage the liver and other organs.
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements
People take supplements mostly due to a desire for better health and well-being.
The odd thing is, people who take vitamin and mineral supplements tend to consume greater amounts of these nutrients in their foods than do people who do not take supplements.
People who take supplements are more likely to meet their nutrient needs just from diet alone.
The Eat for Life guidelines emphasize eating a balanced diet and you will obtain all the vitamins and minerals you need to maximize your chances of staying in good health.
There is no reason for you to waste money on Vitamins and mineral supplements, Unless your doctor specifically directs you to do so for a specific medical reason.
Some vitamins and minerals are harmful in large doses, and people can get sick from overdosing on dietary supplements.
Low levels of dietary supplements are safe, although they have not been shown to have any beneficial effect on health.