An adequate intake of calcium is critical in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, blood pressure regulation and clotting, muscle contraction, and contributes to a healthy heart and nervous system. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, and may contribute to colon cancer.
The nutrient chromium makes up an essential part of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), a compound integral to the body´s normal metabolism of sugar and fat. A deficiency in chromium will lead to symptoms including high cholesterol, high blood fat levels, glucose intolerance, and other symptoms associated with diabetes. Marginal deficiency may be a factor in the development of diabetes or heart disease.
Copper is a necessary mineral for normal metabolism, healthy bones, joints and blood vessels. Copper also contributes to the healthy function of the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems. It also plays a role in the formation of hemoglobin and serves as an antioxidant, vital for protection against free radical damage. Symptoms of copper deficiency include anemia, diarrhea, weakness of blood vessel walls and overall reduced immune system.
Zinc has a profound impact on maintaining healthy immune and reproductive systems, healthy brain tissue, skin, teeth and bones, and detoxification of chemicals, including alcohol. It is essential for normal growth and development, energy and hormone production and plays a key role in the synthesis of genetic material. A zinc deficiency will induce skin problems, reproductive defects and fetal abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, immune deficiency, loss of eye function and osteoporosis.
Manganese plays an important role in energy production, protein metabolism, bone formation and a healthy nervous system. Manganese makes up one form of antioxidant which protects against free radical damage. Marginal deficiency may occur if one´s diet consists of mainly processed or refined foods. Manganese deficiency may increase the risk of osteoporosis and abnormal blood sugar regulation.
Magnesium is essential for production and transfer of energy, a healthy heart, bone structure, muscles and blood vessels. It is also necessary for protein synthesis and DNA manufacture. Magnesium deficiency affects all body tissues. Symptoms include fatigue, mental and heart problems. Deficiency may also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, migraine, PMS and kidney stones.
Marginal magnesium deficiency is considered to affect 15 to 20 per cent of the population, especially amongst alcoholics and those whose diets are high in processed foods.
Iodine is essential for normal metabolism, growth and development as it is a component of thyroid hormones. Deficiency would lead to hypothyroidism, goiter and cretinism; and may play a role in fibrocystic breast disease.
Glucosamine, which is made in the body, is needed to make glycosaminoglycans, proteins that are key structural components of cartilage. Glucosamine also stimulates the cells that produce these structural proteins and helps to normalize cartilage metabolism by inhibiting breakdown and exerting anti-inflammatory effects.
Chondroitin occurs naturally in the body, making up part of a proteoglycan, a protein molecule that gives elasticity to cartilage. For centuries, Chinese have been boosting their intake of this substance by eating the expensive sharks-fin soup. Chondroitin helps contribute to the health of cartilage in joints and alleviate pain of people suffering from osteoarthritis.
Dietary fiber encompasses fiber in plant foods that the human digestive system cannot digest. Including the many types of dietary fiber in your diet is one of the most important ways to help your digestive system to function efficiently. The fiber supplement also benefits lowering blood cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Fiber also help to reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds in the gut. It also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Bromelain and papain
Bromelain is the name given to a collection of protein-digesting enzymes and other compounds obtained from pineapple. It assists digestion in the stomach and small intestine; acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and pain after injury or surgery; has antibiotic activity; and has been shown in some small studies to have anticancer activity. It may also help to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing blood clotting and arterial plaque formation. Papain, which is extracted from papaya, also helps in protein digestion.
Coenzyme Q10 is also known as ubiquinone, and it is essential for energy production, ATP formation and antioxidant activity. Dificiency in Co Q10 would affect the heart. The lack of this nutrient has also been linked to other conditions such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, obesity, periodontal disease, lower immune function and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinsons disease.
Bilberry has a long history of use, both as food and medicine, but renewed interest was sparked when Second World War pilots noticed that their night vision improved after they ate bilberries. Bilberry helps to strengthen capillaries, stabilise collagen, reduce blood clotting, lower blood sugar, relax smooth muscle tissue and even contributes to preventing and curing ulcers. It also has antioxidant properties.
An essential ingredient in cooking, cayenne is also known as the chilli or hot pepper. It contains powerful antioxidant carotene molecules. Cayenne can also help digestion, improve circulation and lower cholesterol and blood fat levels. Topical cayenne pepper preparations are used to relieve pain in cases of arthritis, headaches and diabetic neuropathy.
A popular herbal tea, chamomile has many beneficial effects. It is anti-inflammatory, a relaxant, can reduce allergy symptoms, aids digestion, relieves muscle spasm, and contributes to wound healing. Accordingly, Chamomile is used to treat many conditions including asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual and menopausal problems, nervous tension, insomnia and tension headaches. Externally it can be used to treat skin problems and conjunctivitis.
Dong quai is well known as a very valuable remedy for women since it contains compounds which beneficially affect female hormone activity. Dong quai also lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body, and has also been shown to have mild tranquillising and pain-relieving effects.
Dong quai is usually used to treat premenstrual syndrome, menstrual problems, and menopausal symptoms (including hot flashes). It can also be used for treating arthritis, migraines, anaemia and abdominal pain.
Known throughout history as a treatment for eye problems, eyebright has anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. Eyebright is used to treat colds, conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, hay fever, ear disorders and catarrh.
While Fennel root is eaten as a vegetable, its seeds are used medicinally. Fennel has anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects. It also acts as a digestive aid and increases milk flow in breastfeeding women.
Fennel can be used to treat respiratory infections and digestive problems such as gas and bloating. It can be used externally as a gargle and as an eyewash to treat eye infections.
Hops have been used to brew beer for over a thousand years in Germany. Also highly valued for their medicinal properties, hops have sedative, soporific, diuretic and antibacterial effects. Hops also relieve muscle spasm and act to improve digestion. Hops are used to treat insomnia, restlessness and nervous tension. The herb can also be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and dyspepsia.
Peppermint has been used medicinally for thousands of years. These plants contain compounds, such as menthol, which help to eliminate intestinal gas, relieve gut and other smooth muscle spasms, stimulate bile flow, and have pain-killing effects. Peppermint oil is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, colds and topically, as a painkiller.
Green Tea Leaf Extract
Green tea leaves are powerful antioxidants, rich in bioflavonoids and other potent anti-oxidant and antibacterial compounds. It can help fight gastrointestinal tract, throat and respiratory infections, block actions of free-radicals and carcinogens, and lower cholesterol levels.
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex has eight water soluble vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin and vitamin B12. These vitamins act together in the body and if they are taken as supplements, they should be consumed in the proper ratios. Choline, inositol and PABA are part of the B complex in food but are regarded as factors rather than vitamins. Daily intake in necessary to for health since B vitamins are water soluble, excesses are excreted in the urine rather than stored.
B vitamins are necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins essential for growth. The health of the hair, skin, nerves, blood cells, immune system, hormone-producing glands and digestive system are maintained by the involvement of B vitamins.
B vitamin deficiencies cause a variety of disorders ranging from the severe deficiency diseases, beriberi and pellagra, to dermatitis and anemia. Marginal deficiencies of B vitamins may be relatively common in some population groups, such as elderly people, and may result in reduced mental functioning. B vitamin deficiencies are often found in psychiatric patients and may contribute to depression and other symptoms. Prolonged ingestion of large doses of one B vitamin can result in depletion of the others.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Vitamin B1 is essential for releasing energy from food, carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism. It is required for alcohol metabolism, and is needed for healthy growth, healthy skin, blood, hair and muscles, healthy brain and nervous system.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 is essential for the production of energy, normal growth and development, a healthy immune system, healthy skin, hair and blood cells, a healthy nervous system and brain, hormone function and iron, pyridoxine and niacin functions. Deficiency will induce symptoms including a red, swollen, cracked mouth and tongue; fatigue; depression; anemia; and greasy, scaly skin on the face, body and limbs. Deficiency may also contribute to cataract formation. Riboflavin has been used to treat anemia, skin problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine, stress and fatigue.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 is essential for the release of energy from food, healthy skin, blood cells, normal growth and development, hormone production, repair of genetic material and a healthy brain and nervous and digestive systems.
Deficiency eventually leads to pellagra, with symptoms of dermatitis on the hands and face, weakness, appetite loss, mouth soreness, diarrhea, anxiety, depression, and dementia. Niacin is used to treat diabetes, mental problems, high cholesterol, digestive problems, headaches, skin ailments and fatigue.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B5 is essential for the release of energy from food, cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism and healthy adrenal gland function, red blood cells, immune and nervous systems. Deficiency is rare in humans except in cases of general malnutrition. Symptoms in animals include graying of hair, decreased growth and adrenal gland abnormalities. Pantothenic acid have been used to treat fatigue, stress, allergies, headaches, arthritis and nerve disorders. Pantetheine has been used to lower high cholesterol and blood fat levels.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is essential for the release of energy from food, protein metabolism and hormone production, manufacture of the genetic material in the cell, the conversion of tryptophan to niacin. It benefits cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems and helps maintain healthy skin, hair and red blood cells. Deficiency will induce symptoms including weakness, poor appetite, dermatitis, mouth soreness, susceptibility to infection, and eventually, convulsions and anemia. Deficiency may play a role in heart disease, kidney stone formation, carpal tunnel syndrome and depression. Pyridoxine has been used in alleviating asthma, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, PMS, stress, carpal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, nausea of pregnancy, skin problems and kidney stones.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is essential for energy release from food, metabolism of amino and fatty acids, production of genetic material, growth and development, and maintaining healthy nerves, blood cells, skin and hair. Deficiency leads to pernicious anemia with symptoms of fatigue, lightheadedness, headache and irritability. Other symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, sore mouth, diarrhea, abnormal gait, loss of sensation in hands and feet, confusion, memory loss and depression. Supplements are used to treat pernicious anemia, immune deficiency, some psychiatric disorders, fatigue, allergies and sleep disorders. Some people use vitamin B12 injections as a general tonic.
Biotin is essential for the release of energy from food, protein metabolism, manufacture of genetic material, immune system and a healthy hair. Biotin deficiency leads to hair loss, dermatitis, anemia, muscle pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, hallucinations and lowered immunity. Biotin supplements are used to treat biotin deficiency; dermatitis and other skin disorders; hair problems; to improve blood sugar control and treat neuropathy in diabetes; to improve fat metabolism in weight loss programs; and to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Folate (Folic Acid)
Folic acid is essential for the synthesis of genetic material and protein metabolism. It is needed for healthy nervous, digestive and immune systems, healthy red blood cells, bones and hair and is essential for a health pregancy. Deficiency will induce symptoms including anemia, and mood and gastrointestinal disorders. Deficiency in pregnancy causes neural tube defects in babies. Low levels may increase the risk of heart disease and cancer. Accordingly supplements are used for the prevention of neural tube defects in pregnancy, treatment of anemia, fatigue, mental problems, skin disorders and prevention of heart disease and cancer.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is essential for the manufacture of collagen, a protein which forms the basis of connective tissues such as bones, teeth and cartilage. Vitamin C contributes to wound-healing, adrenal hormone production, healthy immune and nervous systems and can be used as an antioxidant to help presvent disease. Severe deficiency leads to scurvy with symptoms of bleeding gums, joint pain, easy bruising, dry skin, fluid retention, and depression. Long term marginal deficiencies may play a role in the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, lowered immunity, diabetes and cataracts. Vitamin C supplements aid the treatment and prevention of many disorders including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer, gallstones, cataracts, diabetes, asthma and infections.
Vitamin A is essential for cell growth, repair and differentiation, protection against infection, a healthy reproductive system, epithelial cells and healthy eyes and vision. Deficiency will induce symptoms of night blindness, xerophthalmia, dry skin, retarded growth, increased susceptibility to infection and cancer. Supplements are used to boost immunity, prevent cancer, treat skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis, and treat eye problems.
Vitamin D is essential for nervous and immune systems, normal cell growth and maturation, regulation of some hormones. It is necessary for the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for functions such as the development of bones and teeth. Deficiency in children leads to rickets in which bones lose calcium and become soft and curved. In adults, symptoms include bone pain and tenderness, and muscle weakness. Deficiency may also increase the risk of osteoporosis, arthritis and cancer. Supplements have been used to treat osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in elderly people. Synthetic vitamin D analogues are used to treat psoriasis.
Vitamin E is essential for antioxidant activity. It protects cells against free radical damage which may lead to disorders such as heart disease and cancer. It is particularly important in protecting fats, cell membranes, DNA and enzymes from damage. Vitamin E deficiency is rare, but the lack of Vitamin E will produce symptoms in infants including irritability, fluid retention and anemia; and in adults, lethargy, loss of balance and anemia. Ongoing marginal deficiencies may increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and premature aging.
Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, bone metabolism and kidney function. Vitamin K deficiency in adults is rare and is usually limited to those who have liver or food absorption disorders. Symptoms include prolonged clotting time, easy bleeding and bruising. It may contribute to osteoporosis. Deficiency can occur in premature babies. Vitamin K supplements are used to prevent hemorrhages and may also be useful in the treatment of osteoporosis.