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FACTS ABOUT OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS ALA DHA AND EPA


Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 07 December 2018

Facts about Omega-Three Fatty Acids

When you are using HRT (hormone replacement therapy) you should make sure to include good sources of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, include ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid), DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid).

ala molecule

ALA is an important dietary part of HGH, and Testosterone programs, including for programs which involve sermorelin and hcg diet.

dha molecule

You should be sure your diet includes DHA when you are doing any of our hormone injections programs (especially HGH, and Sermorelin)

epa molecule

EPA, like ALA and DHA, pays an important role in your diet, when exercising and using growth hormone and testosterone.

Omega-Three Fatty Acids are one of the many important nutrients needed to live a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, there are many people that do not get enough of these nutrients in their everyday diet. Omega-Three Fatty Acids provide a number of benefits and play a role in many vital processes of the human body. There is strong evidence that two Omega-Threes in particular, known as DHA and EPA, have the ability to help the cardiovascular system regulate both blood pressure and control triglyceride levels.

lab research-hgh-hormone-omega-3

There is a lot of research being performed with regard to the potential benefits of Omega-Threes going on today, and there is strong evidence that these nutrients may be able to vastly improve health in a number of areas, from depression to rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-Threes may sound complicated, but we will break down the essential things to know about these nutrients in this article. There are three Omega-Three Fatty Acids, ALA, DHA, and EPA, and they all perform interrelated functions within the human body.

The Basics of Omega-Three Fatty Acids

Omega Three Fatty Acids are also referred to as Essential Fatty Acids, and that is because they are essential for the proper function of the human body. Human Beings, unlike some other animals, do not have the ability to make their own Omega-3s, so we have to get what we require from our diets. It's also necessary to consume appropriate amounts of all three essential fatty acids, DHA, EPA, and ALA, because our bodies are not very good at converting them into one another and it has the potential to create physiological deficiency.

Essential Fatty Acids have a wide variety of benefits, and they are believed to be a major factor in alleviating inflammation all over the body, including the joints and the blood vessels. One issue with taking Omega-Three Supplements, however, is that they do have the capacity to thin the blood if taken in too large of a dose, and this issue is most concerning for patients that are already taking blood thinners and anticoagulants.

There are a number of different forms of Essential Fatty Acids, but there are three that are most important. Two of the most vital are DHA and EPA, and they can be found in significant amounts in fish. A third Essential Fatty Acid is ALA, which can be found in some plants, such as Flax, and the body has the ability to convert some ALA into EPA and DHA. Whereas Flax and Flax Seed can provide ALA, Algae Oil Supplements can provide DHA.

Although ALA does provide health benefits, most nutrition experts and biologists agree that EPA and DHA acquired from fish products have a stronger positive impact on the processes of the human body. EPA and DHA can be found on their own in a variety of animal products, but the only natural way to get both EPA and DHA in your diet is through algae and fatty fish. Some forms of algae only provide DHA. ALA is primarily found in plants, and the body can convert ALA into DHA and EPA when combined with energy through biological processes within the human body.

The Benefits of Omega-Three Fatty Acids

Controls Triglyceride Levels in the Blood Stream

There have been a number of scientific studies which have shown that the consumption of Essential Amino Acids via fish oil capsules has the ability to bring elevated Triglyceride levels back to normal. Elevated Triglycerides are widely documented to be associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. There is evidence that consuming DHA on its own has the ability to bring Triglyceride Levels down. Evidence is inconclusive thus far with regard to how this impacts cardiovascular risks.

Reduces Risk and Severity of Depression

There is some powerful evidence that countries and cultures that have diets that are high in Essential Fatty Acids are less likely to experience symptoms of depression. Studies have also shown that combining Fish Oil with antidepressant medication appears to have the ability to amplify the benefits of the medication. Finally, fish oil can soften the depressive symptoms associated with Bipolar Disorder.

Reduces the Severity and Frequency of Asthma Symptoms

A diet that provides high levels of Essential Fatty Acids has the ability to alleviate inflammation, which is a core component of the asthmatic response. It appears that fish oil supplements have the ability to help asthma patients cope with their disease, but at this point, it is unclear exactly to what extent that Omega-Three Supplementation can mitigate the effects of asthma. There is insufficient evidence to show the capability of Essential Fatty Acids to restore lung function or lessen the need for Asthma medication.

Alleviates the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is another condition which Essential Fatty Acid Supplementation appears to significantly alleviate. There is sound evidence that proves that DHA/EPA Supplements have the ability to both lessen joint pain, alleviate stiffness, and increase range of movement. Omega-Three Capsules also appear to enhance the success of drugs taken to treat inflammation.

Improves Attention and Cognition for Patients with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

There is some evidence that fish oil supplements can lessen the symptoms of ADHD in pediatric patients, enhancing their cognitive capacity. More studies need to be performed in order to properly gauge the effectiveness of this form of treatment, however, so fish oil capsules should not be substituted for other ADHD treatments which have been proven to be effective, although there is no harm in supplementing prescribed treatment with Essential Fatty Acid Supplementation.

Prenatal Health Benefits of Omega-Threes

Omega-Three Fatty Acids play a major role in both the neurological and visual development of infants. At this point, the body of evidence is incomplete with regard to whether fish oil supplements taken during breastfeeding or pregnancy impact the health of the baby. In spite of the lack of conclusive evidence regarding Omega-Threes for such purposes, there seems to be no downside to taking supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease Benefits

There is a large amount of study going on right now regarding the impact of Omega-Three Fatty Acids upon Dementia and Alzheimer's disease. It must be stressed at this point that the research needs to go through further vetting, but it appears that Omega-Threes have the ability to reduce the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. There is also evidence that Essential Fatty Acid Supplements may also have the ability to slow down the rate of cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's-associated Dementia, and it also seems to lessen the impact of memory issues related to age in general.

omega 3-fish-oil

DHA in particular seems to provide the optimal benefits with regard to Dementia, Alzheimer's, and Memory. More studies need to be completed in order to prove the preliminary data, but fish oil capsules appear to be a beneficial factor with regard to age-related memory loss as well as Alzheimer's and Dementia.

What is the Difference between Omega-Threes and Omega-Sixes?

In recent years, the importance of Omega-Threes has become more widely known, but there are still a lot of people that don't fully grasp the difference between the two primary forms of fatty acids. Omega-Sixes are very common in the American Diet, because they come from a variety of processed foods, as well as many meats and oils.

It is pretty much a given that Americans get enough Omega-Six Fatty Acids in their diet, so its important to ensure that Omega-Threes are purposefully included in the diet, because of their relative scarcity in the American Diet. Most Americans don't get enough Essential Fatty Acids, and this can easily be achieved through minor changes in diet or the addition of Fish Oil or other forms of supplementation.

Even though there is universal agreement that it is important to consume Omega-Threes, there is some debate regarding whether the ratio of Omega-Threes to Omega-Sixes is important. There are some that argue that a balance tipped too far toward Omega-Sixes increases the risk and severity of a number of chronic conditions, whereas other medical professionals are not convinced that the ratio itself is what's important, or simply getting enough of one and not too much of the other.

They also argue that Omega-Sixes do provide some health benefits, and we need to make sure that we aren't suggesting that people reduce their intake of Omega-Sixes too far. For now, just make sure you get enough Essential Fatty Acids in your diet and don't go overboard with Omega-Six Fatty Acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids foods - Omega 3 fatty acids benefit especially benefit the brain.

Sources of Essential Omega-Three Fatty Acids

In general, it is most beneficial to acquire Essential Fatty Acids from dietary sources rather than supplements. Coldwater fish have the highest levels of Omega-Threes, and some of the best sources of these nutrients include:

    tuna fish-in-ice
  • Tuna
  • fish source-of-omega-oil-lake-trout
  • Lake Trout
  • sturgeon
  • Sturgeon
  • sardines
  • Sardines
  • salmon
  • Wild Salmon (Farm-raised salmon has a lower concentration, but is still an option) - Salmon is a great source for omega-3 fatty acids.
  • mackerel
  • Mackerel
  • herring
  • Herring
  • bluefish
  • Bluefish
  • anchovies small-fish-omega-oil-sources
  • Anchovies

Omega-3 fatty acids are important because they provide anti-inflammatory properties, feed the brain and help maintain the cardiovascular system

Most nutrition professionals suggest eating a meal including these fish two or three times every week.

Dietary Sources of ALA

Fish are the best sources to get the Essential Fatty Acids that the body needs for normal function, but there are a number of plants that contain ALA, which the body can convert into DHA and EPA. It can be beneficial to add these to your diet since it is only recommended to eat fish a few times a week, however.

Good sources of ALA include:

    soya bean-oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • olive oil
  • Olive Oil
  • canola oil
  • Canola Oil
  • flax seeds
  • Flax Seed
  • walnuts source-of-omega-oils
  • Walnuts

It is important to note that most common sources of ALA are also high in calories, so they should be consumed responsibly, although they also provide quite a punch in regard to nutrient transfer.

Supplementary Sources of Omega-Three Fatty Acids

If you do make the decision to turn to supplementary sources of Essential Amino Acids, make sure you discuss this with your physician in order to ensure that you find a supplement that effectively fits your needs. Nutrition experts generally suggest one gram of EPA and DHA from fish oil capsules for patients suffering from heart disease.

For patients that are suffering from certain medical conditions, your physician may recommend taking as much as four grams of Fish Oil each day. Only take more than one gram of Essential Fatty Acids supplements a day with the guidance of a medical professional.

Omega Three Supplements do come with some risk of side-effect, most commonly very minor. The most commonly experienced side-effects are gas and indigestion. This is primarily simply because you are taking an oil supplement, and this may not sit perfectly on every stomach, especially when taken on an empty stomach. If you experience these symptoms, try to find a supplement that has an enteric coating, which is designed to mitigate the risk of digestive side-effects.

These supplements also have the potential to increase bleeding risk in some patients. Individuals that are suffering from conditions that are associated with bleeding risk or are taking anticoagulants or blood thinners are at the highest level of risk. Some examples of drugs that amplify this risk are Brilinta, Effient, Plavix, Coumadin, and some non-steroid anti-inflammatories.

If you suffer from any medical condition increases the risk and severity of bleeding or if you are taking any of the listed drugs or drugs like them, always talk to a doctor before starting any form of Omega-Three Supplementation.

Tips for Getting the Essential Fatty Acids that Your Body Needs

Choose Your Fish Responsibly

It is true that Fatty Fish have the highest levels of Omega-Three Fatty Acids, but there are some species that are more likely to contain toxins including PCBs and Mercury. Some fish that are more likely to contain these contaminants and should be eaten sparingly are shark, tilefish, wild swordfish, and mackerel. There is also a chance that any farm-raised fish will contain elevated levels of any number of contaminants, dependent upon the conditions that the fish was raised.

Young children and women that are pregnant should avoid all of these forms of fish. The average person should not eat more than seven ounces of these types of fish each week. Smaller fish like wild salmon and wild trout have much lower levels of these contaminants and can be eaten more often and more safely.

Add Algae Oil or Fish Oil to Your Diet

Fish oil capsules has both DHA and EPA, and Algae Oil has DHA. For most people, Fish oil would be superior, but vegetarians and people that don't eat fish would still be served rather effectively with algae oil capsules.

Because supplements provide high levels of Omega-Threes all at once, talk to a medical professional before utilizing these supplements. Your physician may have particular warnings or recommendations regarding your use of these supplements dependent upon both your health and your current medications.

You should be taking omega-3 fatty acids with your hormone replacement therapy (HRT) program (hgh, testosterone, sermorelin or hcg diet), call us to discuss how this supplement can help supercharge your HRT program.

References

The Facts on Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acid

Different fatty acid types

ALA - alpha-Linolenic acid, WikiPedia

DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid, Wikipedia

EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid, Wikipedia


Twelve Ways to Control Cravings


Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 23 February 2014

How to Lose Weight and Get Healthier without Quitting on the Foods You Love

As you know if you read the articles on our site, we believe that a consistent and conscientious diet low in sugars and empty carbs is the most effective way to lose weight quickly. Of course, there are multiple strategies for weight loss that can be effective, dependent upon the way you live your life, the things you enjoy, and your resolve.

Lack of Pleasure can Make Dieting Difficult

Many people struggle with a diet that revolves purely around caloric restriction and always eating healthy one hundred percent of the time. Other people simply enjoy the foods they like in moderation. A lot of people think that dieting means giving up the delicious, albeit unhealthy, foods that we so often enjoy. This means no beer, no french fries, no cream sauces, no candy, nothing fun ever.

The problem with a diet which is void of these sorts of guilty pleasures is that for many people, the lure of these foods becomes impossible to ignore, and an unhealthy obsession develops which revolves around intense cravings. Many dieters simply aren't capable of ignoring these cravings, and give in and give up on their diet in shame.

Indulging Responsibly Can Make Dieting Easier

Many weight loss experts agree that it is possible to have a sensible diet while also making room to give in to these cravings in a responsible and manageable way. One professional, Dr. David Grotto, even suggests that avoiding guilty pleasure foods is a bad idea which can hurt more than it can help.

Dr. Grotto believes in a dietary plan known as structured cheating. This type of diet revolves around eating a healthy dietmost of the time. The most important aspect of maintaining healthy eating habits is keeping control of your diet and understanding your habits and how to limit their negative impact on your health. The key is to recognize that many of the foods that you love are unhealthy and treating them with the necessary caution.

Maintaining Control is Most Important Aspect of Dieting

You must control your diet, you can't let food control you, even if it means indulging yourself responsibly from time to time. Another doctor, Carolyn O'Neil, feels the same way. She believes that indulging responsibly is the key to a healthy diet and a healthy way of living.

She explains that anyone can engage in a difficult diet for a little while, but the problem with highly restrictive diets is that temptation eventually becomes too great and all people but those with strong constitution will likely fail and give in, splurging heavily on the foods that they've been avoiding and quickly reversing the gains they worked so hard to achieve. The logical way to prevent this form of overindulgence is to recognize that in order to diet effectively, it may be necessary to cheat from time to time in a way that does not wreck your diet altogether.

The key to all of this is control and self-realization. You understand that your brain is going to drive you to certain foods, and you recognize that you can enjoy these foods safely without ruining your diet. For example, if you love cookies, always pay attention to the number of calories in a serving and limit yourself in a sensible way. The more you understand about yourself and the foods that you enjoy, the greater control you will have over your diet and the more success that you will likely experience.

Twelve Ways to Manage Your Diet through Cheating

Know Your Food Weaknesses

  • Understand what foods tempt you and accept your desire. Especially in the early months of your new lifestyle, your cravings for the unhealthy foods that you enjoy will only increase the longer that you deny yourself the pleasure. By recognizing the foods that trigger you to potentially overeat, you can take steps to mitigate the risk that these foods pose to your diet.

    Eat Filling Foods to Reduce Cravings

  • Eat foods that are filling. Another way to increase the success of your diet and reduce your desire for foods that will hinder you in the long run is to eat foods that will fill up your stomach while not contributing too heavily to your daily calories.

  • The nutrients that achieve this goal most effectively with the lowest contribution to your calorie count are fiber and protein. Some examples of foods that can fill you up quickly are seafood, lean meats, salads, soups made from broth, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and eggs. Even low-fat milk and dairy products can be good choices.

  • If you fill yourself up with these foods, you will limit your feelings of hunger and desire for foods which are more unhealthy for you. Another way to control your diet and your cravings is to pack healthy snacks with you so that you can quell your hunger with a low-calorie treat before it revs up into a full-blown craving.

    Don't Settle for Junk When Indulging Yourself

  • Instead of going for diet forms of the food you love that can be just as unhealthy as the regular foods, choose foods which fulfill your cravings with big flavor rather than big calories. For example, if salty foods are your favorite snacks, consider taking some kosher salt or sea salt and sprinkling it over a delicious and ripe tomato.

  • This way, you satisfy your desire for salt without turning to carbs or sugars, and you add a nutritious, low-calorie snack to your day. It will taste fantastic, and you'll quench your desire even more effectively than you would with a handful of peanuts or a pack of crackers.

    Enjoy Your Meal with All Five Senses

  • Stimulate all your senses when you eat. This applies to healthy meals as well as dietary indulgences. You will eat healthier if you ensure that all of your senses are fulfilled in a meal, even sight. When you make a meal, garnish it colorfully and arrange it in a way which pleases your vision.

  • Also eat the meal slowly so that you can savor the taste, smell, and sound of every bite. Take time to dwell on your meal, don't just gulp it down. Your brain desires satiation just as much as your stomach, and when you eat slowly and purposefully, you really let your brain in on the fun. Many people overeat because they simply don't take the time to enjoy their meals.

    Plan Out Meals from the Very Beginning

  • Always plan your meals. For example, if you are the type of person that absolutely loves desserts, don't eat a full and dense meal, then decide you can't leave the restaurant without dessert. Come to the restaurant knowing that you will be getting dessert, and ask for a dessert menu even before you order your entree.

  • Knowing that you are going to get dessert allows you to plan your caloric consumption around the entire meal, rather than giving in and tacking on more calories at the last minute. Planning your entire meal conscientiously will allow you to eat a smarter and healthier dinner to compensate for the splurge of the last course.

    Eat What You Love, not Just What's Close

  • If it doesn't fit your diet, eat only what you truly love. If you are going to cheat, don't just stick your hand in a bag of greasy potato chips, choose something that sates your craving in the best way possible.

  • Don't eat something unhealthy haphazardly just because you're hit with a craving, choose something that will truly make you appreciate your snack. For example, instead of buying a box of donuts to tempt you all week, go out for a small piece of that pecan pie that you love and take the time to savor and appreciate it.

    Make Your Own Treats

  • If you want it so bad, bake it yourself! If you want to splurge, take the time to make want you want on your own time. This way, you can make it in the healthiest way possible as well as appreciate the work that put into making the food that you love so much.

  • If you like to eat blueberry muffins for breakfast each morning with your coffee, take the time during the weekend to cook up a week's worth of breakfast. Don't just throw in muffin mix, make it yourself with whole oats, fresh blueberries, and whole wheat. This way, you get a higher density of nutrients, and you'll fill yourself up more effectively.

  • If you love pizza, don't call the local pizza place and sit on the couch for an hour, learn how to make it yourself. Pizza in particular is a food that is exactly as healthy or unhealthy as you make it. If you make it yourself, you can be sensible with toppings like cheese and tomato sauce and splurge on the foods that can make it a truly healthy meal, such as cherry tomatoes, spinach, grilled chicken, and artichokes.

  • You can even make foods that sound indulgent to their core, such as cheesecake, and take steps to make them much more sensible. For example, you can add less sugar to your personal batch, or you can substitute eggs and heavy cream for egg substitute and light cream cheese. You can even forgo the thick crust entirely for a modest base of cookie crumbs or broken up graham cracker. You can also add low-calorie ingredients to your dessert which add a real zing, including lemon zest.

    Don't Eat Where You Work, Where You Rest, or Where You Cook

  • Eat in specifically designated zones. How often do you find yourself zone out at your office or on your living room couch, eating far more than you intended to mindlessly, just because it was there? You eat hundreds of calories and then thirty minutes later, you can barely even remember stuffing your face with cookies.

  • One big problem with the way that Americans eat is that most Americans don't really give food the respect that it deserves. We are also so obsessed with maintaining productivity that we have a tendency to eat as an afterthought. By only eating in particular, designated zones, you force your brain to think about the foods that you eat, whether you choose to savor them or simply entertain the importance of a healthy diet.

  • In keeping with this theory, don't eat in the kitchen! Eating in the room you keep all your food is just asking for trouble, because there is nothing stopping you from preparing seconds or moving straight on to the freezer to fix some fatty ice cream as a dessert.

    Control Your Portions

  • Portion control is central to indulgence. You have to understand that you can eat the things that you truly enjoy, even if they aren't exactly healthy for you, you just have to eat them in small, sensible portions. If you eat smart, there is absolutely no food that should be considered off-limits to you so long as you remain cognizant of the importance of calorie control. Even dense foods like ice cream can be perfectly okay as long as you limit yourself to a small bowl and don't eat it too often.

  • You can also choose small portions which provide maximum flavor for the smallest bite. If you love chocolate, don't buy a milk chocolate candy bar every day, buy some exquisite dark chocolate and keep it in the freezer. When you have a craving, open the freezer and grab a couple of bites to consume slowly and deliberately to enjoy the escape responsibly.

    Learn to Compromise with Your Cravings

  • Make compromises when necessary. If there are certain things that you absolutely love or can't live without, meet your cravings halfway in order to create a balance where your indulgence isn't exactly healthy, but it isn't game-breaking either.

  • Take sweet tea, for example. This staple Southern drink is packed with calories the way that it is popularly brewed and consumed. Rather than dump sugar into every glass of tea you drink, start cutting unsweet tea with sweet tea in order to satiate your craving while also limiting your calories.

  • Also think about carrying an artificial sweetener with you, such as Stevia. Be very careful with these sweeteners, however, because most popular substitutes actually stimulate hunger, which can make dieting more difficult. Stevia is one of the few unique brands of artificial sweetener which sate your desire for hunger without unwanted side-effects.

  • In terms of food, think about ways that you can minimize the unhealthy portion of your meal while emphasizing the healthy part of your dinner. If you love pizza, make yourself a thin-crust pizza instead of ordering out a hand-tossed pizza. This way, you can add healthy toppings to your pizza while not consuming too many unhealthy calories from thick bread crust. Compromise puts you in control of your vices in a powerful way that will go a long way toward helping you lose weight successfully.

    Don't Change Your Whole Diet at Once

  • Make changes incrementally. Don't try to drastically change your diet over the course of a single day or week. Alter your diet a step or two at a time, getting your body acclimated to the changes you are making. So much of eating doesn't have to do with hunger, but habit. Your brain will start to rebel if you change too quickly, demanding that you go back to your old, reliable schedule, which just happened to involve overeating.

  • Also, implement small changes to your daily habits to both encourage a more sensible diet and encourage increased metabolism. If you choose to indulge in a piece of chocolate cake occasionally, go for a walk around the neighborhood afterward. If you like to eat a burger for lunch twice a week, think about just buying the burger and cutting down the fries, or keep the french fries and only indulge once a week. There are a lot of little commitments that you can make which will eventually add up to consistent weight loss gains.

    Stick with Your Diet Even if You Slip

  • Don't give up just because you slipped up. It is nearly impossible to diet perfectly. Accept your infallibility and recognize that you will screw up from time to time and splurge irresponsibly. Simply take it on the chin and stay true to your long term goals of sensibility and weight loss.

  • So many people diet for a little while, overindulge for one meal or one day, and think everything is ruined. Either that or they lose all composure and go back to overeating and eating unhealthy foods. Rather than give up, simply recognize the mistake that you made and try to get some meaning out of it.

  • What made you back-step? What made you overeat? Understanding why you do the things you do is incredibly important to a healthy and successful diet. By taking these conscientious steps, we are confident that you will find the inner composure to lose the weight and keep it off!


  • What Makes Vitamin C So Important to Health and Longevity?


    Written by Dr. Welsh, Published on 23 February 2014

    Importance of Vitamin C

    What Is Vitamin C?

    Vitamin C is one of the many essential nutrients that are necessary for a healthy and productive life. When you look at the Recommended Daily Value on the back of a product from the grocery store, the nutrient will be referred to as Vitamin C, but it goes by many other names as well. Vitamin C is also referred to as Ascorbic Acid, and the ingredients list on food products will always refer to vitamins and nutrients by their scientific names.

    This vital vitamin is a member of group of vitamins known as Water Soluble Vitamins. When you consume these nutrients, they circulate through the blood stream and they are used as needed. If not needed as they are consumed, the body simply releases them through the urine.

    What Does Vitamin C Do?

    Vitamin C Builds Collagen

    Vitamin C is a primary building block of a number of necessary structures in the body. Vitamin C is needed for the body to create collagen. Collagen is a protein which creates the connective tissue that holds the human body together. Mammals have high levels of collagen in their body. At least a quarter of the protein in the mammalian body is made up of collagen. Collagen is the main protein found in ligaments and tendons, and also forms the structural foundation of the skin. Finally, Collagen is found in connective tissue inside the muscles.

    Vitamin C is a Vital Antioxidant

    Vitamin C is also important to the body because it is one of the primary antioxidants that the body uses to protect itself from Free Radicals. Free Radicals are the byproduct of our body's ability to convert food into energy. As a result of the chemical reactions that sustain us as human beings, atoms are released as by-products, which can damage the body and lead to premature aging and increase the risk of a number of different health conditions. Free Radicals circulate through the body, reacting with cells that are going through vital processes, preventing them from accomplishing their ultimate goal of sustaining the homeostasis of the body.

    Of course, we have to have energy to survive, so the production of free radicals is an inevitable aspect of the physiological processes which keep us alive. Antioxidants are the body's primary line of defense versus the damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are highly reactive to these free radical compounds, and benefit the body by reacting with free radicals before they can do to much damage to the cells of the body.

    Vitamin C Supports the Synthesis of Other Antioxidants

    In addition to Vitamin C's importance to collagen production, the nutrient also supports the healthy production of other antioxidants that the human body is able to produce on its own, such as Vitamin E and L-Carnitine. As clearly evidenced in severe Vitamin C deficiency, the nutrient also plays a role in neurological health, encouraging the synthesis of particular neurotransmitters that the brain uses to send messages to the body.

    Vitamin C Helps the Body Absorb Iron

    Vitamin C is also incredibly important for energy because the nutrient helps the body absorb and distribute iron through the body. This is why Vitamin C deficiency can lead directly to exhaustion and anemia.

    Vitamin C Encourages Healthy Testosterone Production

    The vitamin even plays a vital role in the synthesis of Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone (which is also important for women as well). If you don't consume enough Vitamin C, your body won't be able to produce Testosterone as effectively, which leads to a wide variety of health complications and significantly increases a variety of age-related complications which increase mortality risk.

    What Are the Risks of Vitamin C Deficiency?

    Because Vitamin C is so important to the skin, a deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to significantly decreased healing ability, because the body does not have the necessary ingredients to rebuild the skin efficiently. Severe Vitamin C deficiency leads to a condition known as Scurvy. Scurvy leads to a number of different breakdowns in normal human function.

    The first symptoms are generally extreme exhaustion and malaise, and eventually the skin starts to break down, leading to open wounds if not treated for too long. It also affects neurology, leading to partial immobilization and severe depression.

    What is the RDA of Vitamin C?

    The Recommended Daily Allowance represents the government-suggested minimum nutrient intake needed to support the normal function of the human body. This minimum intake is dependent upon a number of factors, the most significant of which are age and gender. For adults, the following values are recommended:

    Vitamin C RDA For Men Over 18: 90 Milligrams

    Vitamin C RDA for Women over 18: 75 Milligrams

    Vitamin C RDA for Pregnant Women: 85 Milligrams

    Vitamin C RDA for Lactating Women: 120 Milligrams

    It is important to note that people that engage in the vice of smoking have higher needs for Vitamin C. This is because tobacco consumption of all forms significantly increases the incidence of Free Radicals bombarding the human body, which makes the body expend existing stores of Vitamin C, both through direct depletion and because it increases the body's production of other antioxidants such as Vitamin E.

    People that smoke need to intake an average of 35 milligrams more Vitamin C in order to counteract the effects of smoking.

    How Much Vitamin C Can I Take Safely?

    The Tolerable Upper Level Intake (abbreviated UL) represents the highest level of a nutrient that an individual can take without experiencing any significant complications as a result of overdose.

    Because Vitamin C is a Water Soluble Vitamin, humans can intake high levels of the nutrient without any negative symptoms, and it is very difficult to intake toxic levels of Vitamin C. The rule of thumb for maximum consumption of Vitamin C is 2000 milligrams per day. Beyond this level, individuals will be at risk of experiencing health complications as a result of consumption.

    If you take more than 2000 milligrams across the course of the day, you have a low risk of complications because water solubility means that your body is evacuating Vitamin C quicker than you are taking it in. It is vitally important to never consume more than 2000 milligrams over a short period of time, because your body needs time to release the vitamin.

    The optimal level of Vitamin C production for optimal health and immune optimization appears to be around 500 milligrams per day, but as long as you take fewer than 2000 milligrams per day, the risk of experiencing any negative symptoms is exceedingly low.

    What is the Difference between Water Soluble and Fat Soluble Vitamins?

    Water Soluble Vitamins are not stored by the human body, and are utilized as needed while they are available in the blood stream. Because they are water soluble, the body can send excess nutrients to the kidneys where they are processed out of the body. The primary water soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and the variety of B vitamins.

    Fat Soluble Vitamins, on the other hand, are taken and stored by the human body in fat cells. The most important Fat Soluble Vitamins are Vitamin D, A, E, and K. If you consume too much of these nutrients, the body will store way too much and you will experience illness as a result. If you consume an extreme amount, you can even experience major issues or even death. For example, bear meat contains toxic levels of Vitamin A because of their great size and strength. Consuming bear meat can make humans seriously ill.

    What Are Common Sources of Vitamin C?

    The foods with the highest concentrations of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. The foods with the highest levels of Vitamin C are Citrus Fruits and various forms of peppers. The most common sources of Vitamin C in the American diet are tomato juice, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and potatoes.

    Other fruits and vegetables that contribute to optimal Vitamin C consumption are cantaloupe, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi, green peppers, and red peppers.

    Vitamin C is also one of the most common vitamins that you will find in fortified foods. Vitamin C is not available in any appreciable amount in natural grains, but many breakfast foods and cereals are fortified with the nutrient.

    Top 5 Sources of Vitamin C Per Serving Among Common American Foods

    Red Peppers 95 Milligrams

    Orange Juice 93 Milligrams

    Oranges 70 Milligrams

    Grapefruit Juice 70 Milligrams

    Kiwi 64 Milligrams

    Orange Juice is Not Necessarily the Best Source for Vitamin C

    There is nothing wrong with modest consumption of orange juice and other fruit juices, but many people try to get their vitamins solely through the consumption of these juices. The problem with fruit juices is that they do indeed convey high concentrations of many vital nutrients, but they are also loaded up with carbohydrate calories.

    If you eat a healthy and conscientious diet, there is no real reason to consume fruit juices with high calorie content, because you will get Vitamin C most efficiently per calorie if you choose fruits and veggies with significant Vitamin C, and if you choose foods fortified with Vitamin C, there is even less reason to turn to juices to fulfill your need.

    If you want to maximize your nutrient intake and minimize your caloric consumption at breakfast, drink water or black coffee and eat the fruit rather than drink the juice.

    What Are Some Good Sources for Supplemental Vitamin C?

    If you do choose to turn to Vitamin C supplements, there are a number of excellent options available. Studies have shown that, although some vitamins are affected by the means they are ingested, Vitamin C is absorbed effectively no matter by what means that the body intakes the calories.

    Good multivitamins will generally have enough Vitamin C to provide you with an ample amount of the vitamin, especially if you intake some Vitamin C through your diet. If you are interested in taking larger doses because of the potential immune benefits, there are a number of powdered drink mixes like Emergen-C which provide a dose of around 1000 milligrams of Vitamin C while only adding a small number of calories to your diet.

    Are There Any Risks Associated With Excess Vitamin C Consumption?

    There are medical risks related to the over-consumption of Vitamin-C. The upper limit that can be taken with assured safety by an adult is around 2000 milligrams per day.

    It is important to note that babies, children, and adolescents have a lower need for Vitamin C and achieve toxicity at lower levels. For example, children from the age of one to three should only have a maximum of 400 milligrams of Vitamin C per day.

    The following are the symptoms of Vitamin C overdose:

    • Vomiting

    • Nausea

    • Kidney stones

    • Insomnia

    • Heartburn

    • Headache

    • Diarrhea

    • Bloating

    • Cramps

    If you consume high levels of Vitamin C in your diet, especially if only occasionally, you likely won't experience any of these symptoms, even if you consume more than 2000 milligrams over the course of the day. Vitamin C overdose generally only occurs when individuals take extremely high doses of Vitamin C all at once, overloading the body's ability to process the water soluble nutrient out of the body.

    Also, because Vitamin C is an acid, extremely high consumption can have a negative effect upon the teeth, weakening and softening the enamel, especially if you don't engage in responsible oral hygiene habits.

    Final Thoughts About Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is an incredibly vital nutrient and it is important to get enough every day, and it is very likely that taking more than the Recommended Daily Value, even five to ten times the base recommendation, can provide some supplemental benefits.

    The most important thing to recognize when trying to get your daily values of Vitamin C is that you get it from calorie-efficient sources. You can drink fortified artificial fruit juices or turn back glass after glass of orange juice to get your Vitamin C for the day, but you will also consume hundreds of calories in excess without getting other nutrients that you need in your diet.

    Get your daily Vitamin C from responsible sources and leave room for other important nutrients, and you are on the road to a truly Conscientious Lifestyle!


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