What is Vitamin B2 and am I Deficient in It?

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is an essential vitamin that can be found in meats, plants used for food, dairy, and grain products. Your body needs riboflavin to easily breakdown food components, absorb other needed nutrients, and for proper maintenance of tissue.

Like most vitamins, Vitamin B2 is organic by nature. When a compound is said to be organic, it only means that it is present in living things and contains carbon and oxygen. It is a water soluble vitamin which must be replenished every day so that the body can get the ultimate benefits that riboflavin can give your body. The molecular representation of riboflavin is C17H20N4O6, and it was discovered in 1920.


Benefits of Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is a wonderful anti-aging benefit for your body as well. It plays an important role in metabolism and keeps your body full of energy, and it doesn’t stop there as it also helps you maintain that youthful glowing skin you long for.

Riboflavin is needed to metabolize fats, ketone bodies, carbohydrates, and proteins properly.

Having the correct daily dose of Vitamin B2 can help prevent:

Vitamin B2 Deficiency

Vitamin B2 Deficiency symptomsThere is a thing called Vitamin B2 deficiency you need to be aware of. Before your body suffers from the harm it can bring, it must be prevented from occurring. When your body is running low on riboflavin, the effects of having a Vitamin B2 deficiency is not far away. Your body might experience some irritating and unfavorable symptoms which include:

  1. light sensitivity or photo-sensitivity
  2. soreness or itching around the eye, lips, tongue and mouth area with a burning sensation
  3. sore throat
  4. peeling of the skin without any reasons
  5. cracking of the skin at the mouth’s corner
  6. reddening of the lips
  7. problems with the eyes such as cataracts
  8. skin inflammation or dermatitis
  9. cracked lips
  10. hair loss
  11. dizziness
  12. swelling
  13. trembling
  14. insomnia
  15. and delayed response or retardation in children

Absence of proper amounts of Vitamin B2 that lead to deficiency can affect the proper distribution of other B Vitamins in your body. If other B Vitamins are not be distributed properly, it could mean trouble for you.

What is Vitamin B3 or Niacin and How Does it Benefit You?

The other name for Vitamin B3 is called Niacin. Vitamin B3 is an organic compound that is one of the most essential nutrients your body needs for optimum function. Although the terms Vitamin B3 and Niacin are used interchangeably, they both represent two different compounds – niacinamide and nicotinic acid respectively.

These two compounds have minor differences in terms of chemical structure but essentially have similar biochemical activity. Because Niacin was initially isolated during the oxidation of nicotine, it was given the name of nicotinic acid. However, it is not at all similar to nicotine in terms of molecular structure.

Vitamin B3 is one of the most stable of the B Vitamins and is resistant to:

  • heat
  • air
  • acid
  • alkali
  • and light

Niacin is a white crystalline compound that is readily soluble in water and alcohol. This compound is easily absorbed within your body from the small intestine.

Your body doesn’t really store much Niacin, barring small amounts that are stored in your liver but the bulk of the excess of Niacin is removed from your body through urine. This makes it necessary for you to consume foods that contain Vitamin B3 on a daily basis.

Nicotinic acid or niacinamide gets converted into active forms, known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinuucleotide phosphate (NADP). NAD and NADP are responsible for several metabolic reactions. Their most important role is glycolysis – i.e. extracting energy from glucose, carbohydrates and proteins.

They are also involved:

  • in the production of fatty acids
  • in deamination of amino acids
  • and in production of steroids and RBC

It is interesting to note that your body can convert the amino acid, tryptophan, into vitamin B3. So if your diet is deficient in Niacin, it is important that adequate amounts of protein, containing tryptophan, is consumed. While a protein rich diet could make up for the lack of niacin in the foods you eat, if you have a deficiency of Vitamin B1, B2, B6, C and iron, then the conversion of tryptophan to niacin is much more difficult to convert.


What are Electrolytes and What are the Most Common Sources of Electrolytes?

Electrolytes, Home Made Electrolyte Sports Drink
Electrolytes, Home Made Electrolyte Sports Drink—madaise (Flickr.com)

You’ve heard about it. You know it’s important for your health, but what are electrolytes and why are they so important? Well, in its simplest form, electrolytes are just various forms of salts, especially ions. So, electrolytes are really electrically-charged ions and these ions either move to a positive electrode (anode) or a negative electrode (cathode). Positively charged ions. called cations move, to the cathode and negatively charged ions, called anions, move to the anode.

Just like seawater, your blood has high concentrations of sodium chloride which contain numerous electrolytes. Other fluids in your body that contain electrolytes are plasma and interstitial fluids (between tissues and within organs).

Sodium chloride contains the following electrolytes:

Although this video is about electrolytes, I think this dude overdosed on the stuff. He’s a little whacked out but I think he explains pretty well…sort of…kind of???

Voltages across the cell membranes are maintained by the cells using electrolytes and electrical impulses to other cells and across themselves are carried using electrolytes too. This is the reason electrolytes are so important. The blood acidity, fluid levels, muscle and organ function, are also affected by electrolytes. Changes in the body can affect the levels of electrolytes and can result in the loss of electrolytes as well.

Despite the changes in the body, the concentrations of electrolytes in the blood are kept constant by the kidneys. For instance, electrolytes, especially potassium and sodium, are lost in the sweat produced during heavy exercise. The only way the electrolyte concentrations of the body fluids can be kept constant if by replacing these electrolytes. Many sports drinks contain potassium chloride or sodium chloride in them. These drinks also provide the body with additional energy and also have a nice, flavorful taste because of the flavorings and sugar added to them.

Children suffering from chronic diarrhea or vomiting, probably because of intestinal flu viruses, are also given electrolyte drinks. Children lose electrolytes when they have diarrhea or vomit. In order to prevent dehydration and seizures, replacing these electrolytes and fluids becomes necessary. Just like sports drinks, drinks like Pedialyte also contain potassium and sodium. However, giving sports drinks to children who are ill is not recommended by pediatricians. The concentrations of sugar in sports drinks are a lot higher than Pedialyte, which is not good for children, especially if they are ill.

How Vitamin B7 Also Called Biotin Benefits Your Health

Biotin Benefits for Hair GrowthBiotin, also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, is a colorless, water-soluble member of the B complex group of vitamins. Discovered in 1901 as a special growth factor for yeast, biotin plays a key role in the human body, supporting the health of skin, hair, digestive tract, metabolism and cells. In 1942, its chemical structure was identified and was grouped in roster of water soluble vitamins. There are 8 different forms of biotin, out of which only one- D biotin occurs naturally and has full vitamin activity.

Significant amounts of Biotin are synthesized by bacteria in the large intestine. The absorption of nutritional biotin occurs in all the cells of the body in minute quantities. Made from two precursors, alanine and pimeloyl-CoA, the structure is bound to protein, in which it serves its co-enzymatic functions.


Food Sources of Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Bacteria present in intestines can create small quantities of biotin. Additionally, biotin is taken from dietary sources such as:

  • organ meats
  • cooked eggs
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • whole grains
  • bananas
  • soya beans
  • and sardines

Do You Need Hair Growth Vitamins For Healthier Hair

Hair Growth Vitamins possible results
Possible results of taking hair growth vitamins ???

Before you decide if you need to take hair growth vitamins to help improve the health and growth rate of your hair, it might be a good idea to learn how your hair grows.

Hair forms an integral part of a person’s appearance and overall personality. It plays an important role in defining a person’s individuality. Hair type and hair growth is different for different people and not everyone is blessed with perfect hair quality and growth rate. While hair may look dead cells to us, the hair follicles under the scalp are alive.

These follicles or roots of hair are connected with veins which supply nutrients and oxygen to the follicles through blood. If a person is suffering from any kind of health problem related to stress or trauma, going through medication due to a medical condition, smoking, toxins in food, water etc can impact the hair growth and hair quality. In order to maintain good hair health, it is vital to provide proper nutrition to the body.

(See what this girl is doing to help her own hair grow healthier…)

So yes! By all means get good multivitamins because chances are you are not getting all the nutrition you need from just food alone. You need good vitamins for all levels of health, but growing hair has its own specific needs.

What are Amino Acids and How Do They Affect Your Body?

Amino acids are actually just protein but in a form that our bodies can use. Your body is like its own processing plant that takes in raw materials and transforms these materials into usable forms.

Because our bodies are made up of fats, carbohydrates and protein, we need to keep replacing them by eating those types of foods which are all readily available from meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and dairy…which is just about all the food we ever need to survive and survive well.

When you eat fats, proteins and carbohydrates these large molecule foods need help from your body if it is to absorb nutrients contained within that food. Before it can do this your stomach needs to break these foods down into much smaller units through a process called digestion.
Digestion causes fats to be broken down into fatty acids; carbohydrates break down into smaller glucose molecules and protein breaks down to amino acids. Because each food type is different, they all have their own specific enzyme to help make this digestion successful. Protein requires the enzyme called “protease” to help break it down into amino acids.

But like anything else, all proteins are not created equal. There are 10 different amino acids that our bodies can produce by itself. The other 10 need to be supplied by the foods we eat. (These are called “essential amino acids“). Sometimes it can be unclear as to what are essential and non-essential amino acids because some acids can be used to make other amino acids.

The quality of that protein, let alone all food, will determine the amount of amino acids available to be supplied to your precious body. When a protein can supply all of the essential amino acids that your body needs and in the right proportions, then it is called a “complete protein”. As per Wikipedia, there are 9 amino acids that you need to supply your body with.

Skin Nutrition – What Vitamins for Healthy Skin Can I Use?

While there is no conclusive proof that antioxidants keep skin from aging, experts do agree they have the ability to ‘capture’ free radicals and may protect us from certain diseases. Antioxidant-rich foods can also give us a healthier, glowing complexion.

The best vitamins for healthy skin you can use are those that are also antioxidants. Your skin is continually being bombarded by outside world. Remember that your skin is also the largest organ we have. It has nerves and blood vessels and everything that makes us what and who we are. But our skin really could use some help. Too much exposure to the sun can cause a painful sunburn at best, and cancer at worst. What are we to do?

So, why antioxidants? Damage to your skin from excess sun causes free radicals to form. Antioxidants fight those free radicals from causing too much damage.  While there is no conclusive proof that antioxidants keep skin from aging, experts do agree they have the ability to ‘capture’ free radicals and may protect us from certain diseases. Antioxidant-rich foods can also give us a healthier, glowing complexion.

According to Susan M. Kleiner, R.D., Ph.D, a Seattle-based nutritionist, eating foods rich in vitamin antioxidants is best. “There’s no replacement for getting nutrition through food. The body absorbs and assimilates them far better than in supplement form.”

Susan suggests following the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid, and eating three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit each day. Choose at least one citrus fruit, such as an orange, a tangerine, or a grapefruit, for vitamin C. To increase beta-carotene intake, eat at least two orange-yellow or leafy green vegetables each day.

Do You Take Prenatal Vitamins for Hair Growth?

Recently, there has been a lot of hype around the use of prenatal vitamins for hair growth. Prenatal vitamins are given to pregnant women as a nutrient supplement and many believe that they also aid in healthy hair growth. There are many people who want to find out the answer as to whether or not these prenatal vitamins actually do help your hair grow.

It is rightly said, “Hair is a woman’s crowning glory” and losing excessive hair or even thinning of it can be a very disconcerting issue for women. Your hair, skin and nails too are among the first parts of your body that reflect the internal state of the health your body.

This might imply that untimely hair fallout manifests signs of hormonal imbalance, poor nutrition and/or illness. As the root cause of the problem of hair loss is the deficiencies or imbalances within your body, the solution for it focuses on ironing out these imbalances and deficiencies from within. Researchers have introduced many hair growth supplements that deal with these deficiencies inside your body, which in-turn helps in improving the overall health of your hair…

…that is, until prenatal vitamins came onto the scene. Let us explore whether there is any truth behind all this hype about prenatal vitamins and their role in promoting healthy hair growth in women.

What are Prenatal vitamins?

Prenatal vitamins are specially-formulated multivitamins made for pregnant women to help them meet the high nutritional demands of pregnancy. Prenatal Vitamins provide essential nutrients that ensure the healthy development of the baby and also the general health of the pregnant woman.

Many women who have taken prenatal vitamins during pregnancy have reported improved hair growth and hair thickness. Prenatal vitamins are loaded with essential nutrients that help hair to grow, however this drastic change in hair growth pattern is not completely due to prenatal vitamins.

Beautiful hair, Hair flick
Beautiful hair, Hair flick—Luciano Consolini (Flickr.com)

According to studies, estrogen levels are significantly higher in pregnant women. This high level of estrogen boosts hair growth in pregnant women. Estrogen locks the hair in the growth phase, which allows it to grow much longer. The result is thick, shiny and healthy hair during pregnancy.

What are the Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Lately it seems almost every chocolate product on the market has come out with a dark chocolate version. Now probably the chocolate manufacturers were just looking to create some brand extension but what they didn’t know was – a new healthy snack was born. The cocoa bean like the coffee bean comes from a plant.

Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

I always just ate chocolate because it was a sweet tasting junk food item. Who knew that dark chocolate is good for you. One thing I like about it is that it is so fun and tasty to use in cooking that dark chocolate benefits seem secondary.

Lately it seems almost every chocolate product on the market has come out with a dark chocolate version. It may be that chocolate manufacturers were just looking to create some brand extension but what they didn’t know was that a new healthy snack was born. The cocoa bean like the coffee bean comes from a plant.

The secret ingredient in dark chocolate is the flavinoids which are type of antioxidant. Antioxidants keep the body from aging caused by free radicals which can cause damage to your body. If you can prevent free radicals from being created you can retard the aging process. In terms of antioxidants, you can think of dark chocolate as kind of a super hero with super powers and fights these free radicals that is trying to damage your body. In fact, dark chocolate contains a significant number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries).

One long term study tracked cardiac patients aged 45 to 70 who consumed chocolate for a period of ten years. The group that ate a few ounces of chocolate twice a week or more were 66 percent less likely to die from cardiac disease than those that didn’t eat chocolate. Even if the person only ate chocolate once a week the risk was reduced by 50%. Eating chocolate only once a month still dropped the risk by 27 percent. So even occasionally including it in your diet is beneficial as well. Heck, Even Dr. Oz hails the health benefits of dark chocolate.

One that that Jonny Bowden forgot to mention was that there was a new study on animals suggesting that eating dark chocolate may play a role in the prevention of colon cancer.   Cocoa, the raw material in dark chocolate, contains a type of antioxidants called polyphenols, and it was shown to reduce the risk on colon cancer.

What is Vitamin K and How Important is It for My Health

The K vitamin is essential for the blood to clot to repair injuries. Whenever a person has a bleeding wound, it is the K vitamin that is present in the blood that stops the bleeding and enables most minor cuts to heal quickly.

A fat soluble vitamin, Vitamin K is actually a set of similarly structured vitamins that that act together to perform the functions it needs to do to keep your body healthy.  As well as within bones and tissues, Vitamin K is most famous for its important role in the clotting of your blood. Athletes benefit from this vitamin as it helps in repairing sports injuries. Whenever a person has a bleeding wound, it is the K vitamin that comes to the rescue by stopping the bleeding and enables most minor cuts to heal rather quickly.

The 3 Different Types of Vitamin K

There are three different types of Vitamin K that you should be aware of.

The first variant of the K vitamin is vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone. This is the form of the K vitamin that is found in types of plant foods. The second form of the K vitamin is called vitamin K2, or menaquinone. This type of the K vitamin is formed by friendly bacteria in the intestines. Thirdly, there is vitamin K3 which is also known as menadione and is actually an artificial form of the K vitamin. All three of these types of K vitamin end up in the liver where it is used to create the blood clotting substances.

Food Sources of Vitamin K

The best natural food sources of this vitamin are green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. However, because the friendly bacteria in the intestine makes one of the forms of the K vitamin it is extremely rare for a person to have a vitamin k deficiency and so vitamin K supplements are not needed by the majority of people.

Apart from the main function of helping blood to clot, the K vitamin, specifically the Vitamin K1, has an important part to play in the bone building process. This K vitamin is required to retain the calcium in the bones and redistribute it to where it is needed.

Although a K vitamin deficiency is relatively rare there are certain groups of people who may suffer from it. Vitamin K for newborn babies may also help. Many babies do not have enough of this vitamin in  their systems as they have insufficient bacteria in their intestines to produce it.

The majority of newborn babies in developed countries are therefore given a vitamin K injection to tide them over until the natural process takes over. That is the only time that a K vitamin supplement will be taken by most people throughout their lives. However, an extended course of antibiotics may lead to a vitamin K due to the fact that antibiotics kill the intestinal bacteria as well as those being taken to cure. Again, a vitamin K supplement may be given if the course of antibiotics has to continue for a long period of time.

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