THE ROAD TO OPTIMAL HEALTH
The road to optimal health is a challenging one, and one that does not offer any shortcuts. But as complex as the human body is, with all the advances in modern science and so much information right at our fingertips, we are now nearing a full comprehension of what makes it tick. We know that a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoidance of self-destructive habits make up the foundations of healthy living.
Now recent research tells us that there are compounds in nature that effectively aid the human body in achieving optimal health, including essential nutrients like Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, and antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Resveratrol.
Research has proven that in order to achieve optimal health, one important step is maintaining a proper diet from which your body obtains essential nutrients that it needs to function effectively. However, global environmental changes have contributed to the lowered nutritional value of food sources today. It is no longer enough to just follow a balanced diet. Fortunately, these essential nutrients can also be obtained from health supplements.
One of the most prominent essential nutrients is calcium, which builds and maintains your bones and teeth. It strengthens your body’s primary support structure and regulates the rhythm of your heart. Additionally, the Linus Pauling Institute of the Oregon State University cited that it is consistently found to be the most important nutrient for attaining peak bone mass and preventing osteoporosis. They added that for maximum absorption of calcium in the body, another essential nutrient is required: vitamin D. This vitamin’s primary function is effectively utilizing calcium.
Apart from this, studies suggest that vitamin D may protect against various cancers as well. The Department of Cell Biology of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas indicated that there is a relationship between risk factors for prostate cancer and conditions that result in insufficient levels of vitamin D.
For maximum benefits, we suggest a dosage of two tablets in the morning and two tablets again in the evening for maximum benefits. Although calcium, magnesium and vitamin D are generally safe to take, it is best to consult your doctor first before taking any supplement or medication.
According to the Food and Nutrition Board, the Adequate Intake (AI) of calcium for adult males and females is 1000 mg/day; for vitamin D, it’s 5 micrograms/day for adult males and females. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 400-420 mg/day for adult males, and 310-320 mg/day for adult females.
Even amidst a world filled with viruses and diseases that threaten to break down the human body, nature is brimming with substances that can effectively help it survive. One such substance is vitamin B12, which maintains healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and helps produce DNA, the core genetic material in cells. Additionally, it boosts the immune system and enhances the nervous system.
Studies have suggested that vitamin B12 may help in preventing cardiovascular disease. Over 80 studies have indicated that elevated levels of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Homocysteine levels in the blood are regulated by folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. An analysis done by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver found that vitamin B12 deficiency among people over the age of 60 is a major cause of elevated homocysteine levels in their blood, putting them more at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
However, since it is a water-soluble vitamin and is easily excreted by the body, you need a continuous supply daily. The most effective way to get the dose of vitamin B12 that your body needs is by taking health supplements.
Vitamin B12 is generally safe and non-toxic. In fact, the upper limit of intake (UL) is not determinable at the moment due to lack of data of adverse effects. But the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to the Food and Nutrition Board is 2.4 micrograms per day.
Vitamin C is one of the most prominent essential nutrients largely due to the many health benefits it offers. It has been reputed to promote overall health by boosting the immune system and helping maintain healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the body by synthesizing collagen, assisting in brain function and turning fats into energy.
Aside from these, vitamin C has also been found to be a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from free radical damage which cause the hastening of the aging process and may lead to chronic diseases, including cancer. Even in small amounts, vitamin C can combat such damages, thereby prolonging lifespan and protecting you from diseases. Studies have also suggested that vitamin C stimulates the production and function of white blood cells, which protect your body by attacking foreign bacteria and viruses.
Needless to say, with all these health benefits, our body needs vitamin C to function well. However, since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it cannot be stored long enough in the body. It is also very easily washed out during food preparation. As such, you need a continuous supply of it. The most effective way of obtaining the amount of vitamin C that your body needs daily is by taking health supplements.
The Institute of Medicine has set the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C at 90 mg/day for adult males, 75 mg/day for adult females, 85 mg/day for pregnant women and 120 mg/day for breastfeeding women. Special dosages are given to individuals that may require less or more. It is best to consult your doctor to find out what dosage will best benefit you and your specific health concerns.
Vitamin C is generally a safe supplement to take as long as you do not exceed the upper limit of intake (UL) which was set at 2,000 milligrams per day in men or women (including pregnant or breastfeeding women). Over dose of vitamin C has been reported to cause discomforts like diarrhea, nausea and gastritis. As with any other supplement or medication, it is best to consult one’s doctor before taking anything.
We live in an age where, for the first time, we have near-limitless access to so much information. With the amazing advances being made in the field of modern medical science, people are now beginning to become more knowledgeable about health and nutrition—what’s beneficial to the body and what’s detrimental—and they are starting to take it very seriously. What is interesting is that we seem to be in both the deadliest and healthiest era, with all the viruses, infections and diseases cropping up together with the booming of health products and advocacies for healthy living.
How do you manage in such complex times? Knowledge is key. Aside from the basic foundations of healthy living that we all know, including proper diet and regular exercise, it is vital that we obtain sufficient amounts of essential nutrients which our bodies need to function well.
One important nutrient is vitamin E, which extensive research has found to be a highly effective antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that protect the body from free radicals, which damage body tissues and cells and lead to chronic diseases like cancer. Vitamin E protects essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents the breakdown of body tissues.
Apart from vitamin E’s antioxidant properties, it has also been indicated to help boost immune function. Several studies have suggested that vitamin E may enhance specific aspects of the immune response which decline as we grow older. A study done by the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, indicated that elderly adults who took 200 mg/day of synthetic alpha-tocopherol for several months showed an increased antibody formation.
Unfortunately, despite reaping so much benefit from this antioxidant, the body cannot make its own vitamin E. It is present in food sources, like wheat germ, vegetable oils, whole grain products and peanuts, but only in small amounts. The most effective way to obtain the amount of vitamin E that your body needs is by taking health supplements.
The US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin E is 15 mg/day (approximately 22 IU) for both adult men and women, including pregnant women. But for people undergoing anticoagulant therapy, it is recommended that your vitamin E intake be monitored by a medical professional. In general, there are no problems associated with taking vitamin E regularly as long as intake is within the prescribed upper limit of intake (UL), which the Institute of Medicine has set at 1500 IU or 1000 mg/day for men and women.
Resveratrol is found naturally in the grapes, Japanese knotweed, and some varieties of nuts and berries. Extensive research has found that it has antioxidant properties that protect the body from damage done by free radicals. If left unchecked, free radical damage can hasten aging and lead to chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Resveratrol’s antioxidant properties are reputed to aid in weight loss, prolong lifespan, boost the immune system and inhibit the growth of various cancer cells, among others.
A study done by the University of Texas Health Center cited resveratrol’s antioxidant and antiplatelet activities which enable it to benefit the cardiovascular system and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease mortality. Additionally, research done by the Institute of Medicine of the National Taiwan University probed into resveratrol’s chemoprevention of cancer and heart disease, citing its role as antioxidant.