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Nutrients & Vital substances Overview of micronutrients C – E

PABA

Paraaminobenzoic acid

PABA is a substance that only relatively recently became the focus of interest of vitamin researchers; since then, PABA has been regarded as the beauty vitamin.

This is due to the fact that, according to American biochemists, PABA has the ability to slow down the ageing process and prevent the formation of wrinkles, lines and grey hair. When grey hair appears too early, or when large parts of our hair turn grey very quickly, a lack of PABA is often to blame.

What is certain is that PABA is concentrated in the skin cells. It reacts biologically with certain protective substances when exposed to intensive sunlight. This filters out of the ultraviolet light spectrum those rays that can cause sunburn or even skin cancer.
PABA is contained in some sun oils as a protective factor, but oral intake of 1-2 g PABA before sunbathing also protects the skin.

PABA helps everywhere where pigment formation plays a role, e.g. in hair, but also in the treatment of so-called check skin (vitiligo), in which pigment-free white spots form on the skin, which become increasingly larger.

Even amounts of 1000 mg, regularly taken over 6 months, have led to dramatic improvements. In the case of lupus, a skin disease caused by immunodeficiency, from which many people have recently been suffering, it is suspected that this disorder is possibly due to a lack of PABA.

PABA is a component of folic acid and has many other functions: It activates the intestinal flora, protects the intestinal walls, and helps prevent the unpleasant reactions in the stomach and intestines in cases of gluten sensitivity.

Dosage range:

Healthy adults form sufficient PABA in the intestine, which is why an additional intake is only advisable in summer. For certain skin diseases such as scleroderma, doctors who know about nutrients prescribe doses of between 6-20 g per day; at this level, of course, medical supervision is required, as the nutrient
can cause stomach and intestinal problems when administered in mega doses.

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has such a fundamental importance for our health that there is hardly a disease that cannot be improved by vitamin C.

From the common cold to cancer, from high blood pressure to asthma, in the plethora of scientific reports available, the beneficial role of vitamin C has been impressively demonstrated.

However, it is the right amount that counts. And the right amount is by no means within the range recommended by the D.G.E. (with 100 mg for adults).

Nutrient researchers today agree that we need rather 1,000 mg a day to maintain health and certainly often much more for the treatment of diseases.

Vitamin C is one of our most important protective substances in combating free radicals and viral or bacterial invaders. At the same time, vitamin C prolongs the effectiveness of other important antioxidants, such as vitamin E and glutathione. The broad biological activities of vitamin C can be summarized in one sentence:

Those who take vitamin C live longer.

Some advice on how to use vitamin C follows.
It is best to take the vitamin, either as ascorbic acid or as ascorbate, which is more pleasant for many, together with biolavonoids that improve vitamin activity. Then, 500-1,000 mg plus 500-1,000 mg of biolavonoids daily are normally sufficient for healthy adults.
Higher doses have been shown to be harmless, and the claims sometimes made that too much vitamin C can cause kidney stones or a B-12 deficiency have also been proven to be unfounded

(HIV patients, heroin addicts and also patients undergoing chemo-therapy sometimes receive daily mega-doses of 50 – 100 g vitamin C over a longer period of time, without negative side effects)

It is easy to determine the individual intake limit, because the bowel movement becomes soft if the intake is too high.
It makes sense to share the daily intake, either by taking tablets with delayed release or by taking 1/3 of the daily ration in the morning, at noon and in the evening.

You should not start with more than 1,000 mg daily and gradually increase the amount to the required level over the course of a week.

The intake should also not be stopped abruptly. If you have temporarily taken higher quantities than the daily dose, these should be slowly reduced to the usual level.

Digestive enzymes cause a better concentration of vitamin C in the blood. If no additional digestive enzymes are taken, the vitamin should always be taken with a meal.

Biolavonoids

The biolavonoids belong to the plant pigments that give many of our plant flowers and their leaves their colour.

There are about 4,000 of them. Not all of them have a biological activity, but their importance for human health was already recognised in the 1930s (at that time, bioflavonoids had a temporary vitamin status, vitamin P).

The natural flavonoids of plants are among the substances that influence the oxidation metabolism of the cell. They are usually extracted from the white skin of citrus fruits. Among the most important biolavonoids are hesperidine, rutin and quercetin, which is closely related to rutin.

One should not take vitamin C alone as ascorbic acid, but always in combination with organicavonoids, as is naturally the case when eating fruit, for example. Biolavonoids prevent the vitamin C from being oxidized in the body. Conversely, vitamin C promotes the biological effectiveness of the bioflavonoids and protects them from destruction.

One of the most important functions of bioflavonoids is their ability to inhibit the release of histamine in the body. Bioflavonoids are therefore natural antihistamines. This is of particular interest in allergic reactions, because the allergic reaction is caused by an excessive release of histamine.

Bioflavonoids also have a beneficial effect in cases of high blood pressure and temporary deficiency of blood circulation in the heart. They help to keep the capillary vessels elastic and strengthen the connective tissue. Specific effects of plants that have long been known to be bioactive, such as ginkgo biloba, hawthorn, blueberries (bilberries) or green tea, are mainly due to the flavonoids present in them. The same applies to grape seed extract (OPC), which has become known in recent years.

Dr. Atkins counted the biolavonoids among the 12 most important nutrients. He believes that they will soon become part of routine prevention (and treatment) of cancer, heart disease and inflammation.
He prescribes them to his patients who react to certain foods or chemicals with headaches or other intolerance reactions, and mentions that rutin and quercetin are among the few nutrients that are therapeutically effective for varicose veins.

Quercetin

Quercetin belongs to the bioflavonoids that were called vitamin P 70 years ago – when vitamin research learned its ABC.

The special feature here is that it is not, like most other bioflavonoids, extracted from the inner peel skin of citrus fruits (lemons, oranges), but from onions, zucchini or grapes.

The body cannot produce bioflavonoids on its own, but is dependent on the supply via nutrition or suitable preparations. Bioflavonoids strengthen the capillary vessels and have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Some American authors report anti-cancer properties in the early stages of the disease as well as cancer preventive abilities.

Quercetin earned the honorary title “King of Bioflavonoids” not least as a hardly surpassable natural anti-histamine.
Due to its ability to inhibit the excessive release of histamine in the body, quercetin is first choice for hay fever and other allergies.

Dosage range:

To protect against allergies, arthritis or other inflammatory diseases, it is best to take 500-1,500 mg spread over the day.

Rutin

The main task of rutin is to strengthen the capillary vessels. A weakness of the capillary vessels can manifest itself in bruises and bleeding of the gums, but also in varicose veins, haemorrhoids and generally in a lack of resistance to infections.
 
Rutin prevents the destruction of vitamin C by oxidation; it supports this vitamin in strengthening and maintaining connective tissue and helps in the treatment of oedema.
 
Rutin is also used therapeutically in the treatment of vertigo caused by diseases of the inner ear.
 
 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.”

supports the absorption of vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for healthy bones and teeth It is also used in the treatment of conjunctivitis. Vitamin D deficiency is favoured by haze and smog, as the body’s own production on the skin (which is caused by exposure to sunlight) is hindered.

The theory is often advanced that adults do not need vitamin D because it is produced on the skin by the sun.

Dr. Burgerstein recommends all those who are not very exposed to the sun (and in times of the ozone hole we can only really enjoy the sun with caution anyway) to take 400 i.U. vitamin D daily, because – as he writes – “there is very little vitamin D in food.

In the past, vitamin D was mainly associated with bone growth in children (a lack of vitamin D leads to rickets). Dr. Burgerstein impressively points out the important role of this vitamin in the prevention of heart disease.

He writes: “Vitamin D has two functions: Calcium absorption from the intestines and calcium deposition in the bones.
When needed, calcium is mobilized from the bones for vital organs, such as the heart. Sufficient calcium supply (in combination with vitamin D), i.e. also for the heart, is extremely important. Some sudden, unexpected heart failure in an otherwise “perfectly healthy” person may have been caused by vitamin D deficiency”.

Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common in old people because old skin produces less vitamin D when exposed to the sun and also because the intestines can absorb less vitamin D absorbed with food.

Here, supplementation with 400-800 mcg is beneficial, especially to reduce the loss of bone mass and the risk of fractures (in a study published by N.H. Bell in 1995, the rate of hip fractures fell by 43% in a group of elderly people who took 800 I.U. vitamin D plus calcium daily).

Vitamin E

Vitamin E (tocopherol) has been known as a food component since about 1930.

But it was to take until 1968 before vitamin E was recognised as a vital nutrient in humans. In the years in between, it was even ridiculed by orthodox medical circles and described as a vitamin that “still has to find a disease!

This is mainly due to the fact that a clinically clearly recognizable vitamin E deficiency in adults is very rare.

Deficiency symptoms can occur when absorption (absorption in the intestine) is disturbed in intestinal diseases.

A deficiency leads to decomposition symptoms of the red blood cells and muscle weakness. However, latent deficiency symptoms of vitamin E are of great importance and are associated with numerous diseases, e.g. arteriosclerosis, cancer, infections, ageing, rheumatism, diabetes, nervous diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), cataracts (cataracts, senile cataracts) and strokes.

According to studies by the World Health Organization, people with low vitamin E levels have a four times higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease than those with high levels of vitamin E in their blood.

In these studies, an even more precise correlation between vitamin deficiency and the consequences of arteriosclerosis could be demonstrated.
The figures are impressive: If a man lacks vitamin E and also vitamin A, he will suffer a heart attack with 73% probability; if a lack of vitamin C and beta-carotene is added, this risk increases to 89%.

According to Dr. Plugbeil, the most important biological function of vitamin E is its antioxidant effect against free radicals. It makes it a valuable aid against two other major diseases of our time:
cancer and rheumatism.

As Dr. Plugbeil informs us, vitamin E can stop inflammation and support healing in rheumatic diseases, reduce the consumption of medication and thus limit their side effects.

“Both in chronic polyarthritis and in activated arthrosis, high doses of vitamin E relieve the pain in the affected joints, it improves the grip strength of the hand or extends the walking distance,” writes Dr. Plugbeil.

Vitamin E is considered the most important fat-soluble antioxidant. It protects the fat-like structures of the cell membrane from the inclusion of free radicals. Antioxidants are found in every cell and in larger amounts in body fluids and blood. Different cell components are protected by different antioxidants.

Structures containing lipids (cell walls, lipoproteins in the blood, nerve sheaths) are particularly rich in vitamin E and A and coenzyme Q10. Vitamin C, cysteine and beta-carotene circulate in body fluids outside and inside the cells. Most of these antioxidants detoxify free radicals by donating an electron to the “electron-hungry” free radicals, thus transforming them into stable, non-reactive compounds.

However, the antioxidant is “used up” or oxidized by this process. Therefore, the body’s stores of antioxidants must be constantly replenished.

Without vitamin E we would “rust” like old iron. Together with vitamin C and beta-carotene, this vitamin forms the protective shield against oxidative attack on cell structures.

It supports the immune system and improves the repair mechanisms of the cells. The oxygen supply of the tissue and the blood flow is improved.

Vitamin E and its functions

Vitamin E fulfils numerous tasks in our body. They are mainly due to the antioxidant function of vitamin E to protect against free radicals.

  • Vitamin E plays an important role in the following physical processes:
  • Protection of cell walls, cell membranes and hormones –
  • Promotion of protein metabolis
  • Support of the nervous system
  • inhibition of platelet aggregation
  •  Strengthening of the immune system
  • Improvement of the oxygen supply in the tissue

It has been proven that a lack of vitamin E favours the development of many diseases of civilisation.
In existing illnesses, the intake of high-dose vitamin E preparations can help line the course of the disease and accelerate healing.

Everyone would do well to take vitamin E as a dietary supplement. It is difficult to absorb vitamin E from food alone in such quantities that the body is sufficiently supplied with it.

Vitamin E is preferably taken with meals. Then the fat-soluble vitamin is best utilized with the dietary fats in the intestine. The vitamin can only unfold its preventive or curative effect if it is taken regularly.

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) in Frankfurt/Main recommends a minimum daily intake of 12 mg alpha-tocopherol for adults. However, this amount is only calculated to prevent deficiency symptoms.

The health benefit that could be achieved by an additional intake of vitamin E is not taken into account. A solid dosage is a vitamin E preparation with 400 i.U.

This can be taken as a maintenance dosage, but can also already show therapeutic benefits in the above-mentioned diseases.

The intake of high doses of vitamin E, i.e. up to 1000 i.U., is also highly recommended to develop its healing effect. By the way, no toxic reactions have been reported at these doses either.

Even quantities of up to 2000 I.U. per day have been taken over a longer period of time without any side effects having been observed.

However, people taking blood-thinning medication should be careful with very high doses. Because vitamin E naturally dilutes the blood, people who use these drugs might have an increased tendency to bleed.

Diabetes patients should be careful when they start taking high doses of vitamin E, because the vitamin could reduce the need for insulin and produce low blood sugar for the same amount of insulin. Here, a gradual increase in dosage is recommended after an initial intake of 200 i.U. per day.

Unsaturated fatty acids consume vitamin E

Many high-fat foods are not only rich in vitamin E, but also contain large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids). These are constantly exposed to the risk of oxidation in the body. And to protect them from this, the body uses vitamin E as an antioxidant.

In other words, a large proportion of the vitamin ingested is immediately consumed by the fatty acids supplied with the same food, which are also essential for our diet. Fish, for example, are relatively rich in vitamin E, but their high content of fish oil fatty acids means that the body uses more vitamin E than is present in fish to protect them against oxidation.

It is therefore advisable to take additional vitamin E supplements when consuming fish oil capsules as a dietary supplement. This can be the case, for example, with rheumatism or arteriosclerosis. Per gram of unsaturated fatty acid an additional dose of 0.9 mg vitamin E is recommended.

Tocopherols

Vitamin E is not a single chemical substance, but in nature there are four slightly different tocopherols and four other substances, the tocotrienols, which have a vitamin E effect.

Although they are all chemically closely related to each other, they differ strongly in their effectiveness. The most important substance is alpha-tocopherol because it is already effective in small doses.

It is also the most important component in the body: About 90 % of its vitamin E content is composed of alpha-tocopherol.
But there are also remarkable amounts of beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherol in our food.

Due to the different effectiveness of the individual compounds, it is difficult to compare vitamin E contents in food. For example, soybean oil has a higher tocopherol content than sunflower oil. Nevertheless, the vitamin E activity of sunflower oil is higher because the vitamin E in soybean oil is present in form of gamma-tocopherol whereas in sunflower oil it mainly consists of alpha-tocopherol which has a 10 times higher potency.

Therefore, the amounts of vitamin E are often stated in so-called “International Units” (IU). This quantity refers to the biological effectiveness. The following conversion factor applies: 1 milligram alpha-tocopherol = 1.49 i.U.

Tocotrienols

The four “cousins” of the vitamin E family mentioned above, the tocotrienols, were long regarded as substances that seemed to have little significance for our health. This has changed abruptly in recent times since the results of a five-year double-blind study were published, showing that tocotrienols are 40-60 times more effective in combating oxidative damage to our cells than tocopherols, which are classified as vitamin E.

This study involved 50 patients between 49 and 83 years of age whose carotid artery was constricted by arteriosclerotic deposits (plaques). The carotid artery is the main artery supplying blood to the brain and its narrowing naturally increases the risk of stroke. The degree of constriction ranged from 15-79%. Many of the patients had already suffered a stroke without disabling consequences.

In addition to 100 mg vitamin E, the participating patients received 650 mg mixed tocotrienols (alpha-tocotrienol and gamma-tocotrienol) daily. After 18 months, the overall condition of 25 patients had improved significantly, and in 7 other patients, the cholesterol deposits in the artery had decreased to such an extent that the risk of stroke was significantly reduced.

“In any case, the study clearly showed that vitamin E, mainly in the form of tocotrienol, was able to somehow scrub the artery walls clean and wash away the calcifications,” said Dr. Marvin Bierenbaum, the cardiologist conducting the study.

He calls it a “groundbreaking study” that proves “that there is an alternative to surgery”.

Dr. Bierenbaum naturally uses alpha-tocopherol, or common vitamin E, to treat his patients, but he blames the tocotrienols mainly for the breakdown of calcifications in the carotid arteries.

Other studies with tocotrienols have shown similarly promising results. For example, A. Qureshi reports on a trial in which subjects were given 200 mg gamma-tocotrienol daily for one month. This showed
a reduction of (excessive) cholesterol levels by no less than 30%.

It was also remarkable in this study that thromboxane, a blood component that promotes undesirable clumping and inflammatory tendencies, decreased by more than 20%.
Tocotrienols are contained in barley and rice bran, although not in therapeutically effective amounts. By far the best natural source is the Palm oil, but not in its hardened form as palm fat.

Hardened palm fat – like all hardened fats – is better not to be used for nutrition. The tocotrienol supplements on offer are usually obtained from palm oil. The recommended daily dosage is between 100 and 300 mg.

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