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  • Vitamin E

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    Vitamin E is a group of eight fat soluble compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Vitamin E deficiency, which is rare and usually due to an underlying problem with digesting dietary fat rather than from a diet low in vitamin E, can cause nerve problems. The crucial function played by Vitamin E that makes it a vitamin is poorly understood, but may involve antioxidant functions in cell membranes. Other theories hold that vitamin E – specifically the RRR stereoisomer of alpha-tocopherol – act by controlling gene expression and cell signal transduction. Worldwide, government organizations recommend adults consume in the range of 7 to 15 mg per day. As of 2016, consumption was below recommendations according to a worldwide summary of more than one hundred studies that reported a median dietary intake of 6.2 mg per day for alpha-tocopherol. Research with alpha-tocopherol as a dietary supplement, with daily amounts as high as 2000 mg per day, has had mixed results.

  • Vitamin C

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    Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement. It is used to prevent and treat scurvy. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters. It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function. It also functions as an antioxidant. Evidence does not support use in the general population for the prevention of the common cold. There is, however, some evidence that regular use may shorten the length of colds. It is unclear if supplementation affects the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or dementia. It may be taken by mouth or by injection. Vitamin C is generally well tolerated. Large doses may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, trouble sleeping, and flushing of the skin. Normal doses are safe during pregnancy. The United States Institute of Medicine recommends against taking large doses. Vitamin C was discovered in 1912, isolated in 1928, and in 1933 was the first vitamin to be chemically produced. It is on the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Vitamin C is available as an inexpensive generic medication and over-the-counter drug. Partly for its discovery, Albert Szent-Györgyi and Walter Norman Haworth were awarded the 1937 Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine and Chemistry, respectively. Foods containing vitamin C include citrus fruits, kiwifruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, raw bell peppers, and strawberries. Prolonged storage or cooking may reduce vitamin C content in foods.

  • Vitamin B12

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    Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body: it is a cofactor in DNA synthesis, and in both fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. It is particularly important in the normal functioning of the nervous system via its role in the synthesis of myelin, and in the maturation of developing red blood cells in the bone marrow. Vitamin B12 is one of eight B vitamins; it is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin. It consists of a class of chemically related compounds (vitamers), all of which show physiological activity. It contains the biochemically rare element cobalt (chemical symbol Co) positioned in the center of a corrin ring. The only organisms to produce vitamin B12 are certain bacteria, and archaea. Some of these bacteria are found in the soil around the grasses that ruminants eat; they are taken into the animal, proliferate, form part of their gut flora, and continue to produce vitamin B12. There are no naturally occurring notable vegetable dietary sources of the vitamin, so vegans and vegetarians are advised to take a supplement or fortified foods.

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