“By the proper intakes of vitamins and other nutrients…you can, I believe, extend your life and years of well-being by twenty-five or even thirty-five years,” said Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling. Modern research has confirmed Pauling’s belief as it has identified five vitamins that may improve overall health.
Vitamin D provides many important health benefits. It helps to build strong bones, regulates the calcium and phosphate levels in the body, encourages cell growth, strengthens the immune system, protects against certain forms of cancer, and improves mental health. Recent studies have also found that a person’s health can be improved at the most critical times when Vitamin D is given in combination with the nutritional supplement glutamine – an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. Glutamine benefits the body in several ways. First, it is an important building block of proteins, which are essential to a strong immune system. Second, glutamine improves intestinal health. Third, it helps the body’s healing during injury and illness. A 2017 study found that trauma patients receiving Vitamin D and glutamine had a 62% lower death rate. The best sources of Vitamin D are certain types of fatty-fleshed fish, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel.
Another health booster is Vitamin A. It benefits the body in many ways. First, Vitamin A plays an important role in vision. It is a key ingredient of the protein rhodopsin, which acts as a light receptor in the retina of the eye. Recent studies have found that Vitamin A may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which affects the vision of the elderly. A leading cause of blindness in children worldwide is Vitamin A deficiency. Second, the vitamin is vital to proper heart, lung, and kidney function. Dairy products, fish, and meat are good sources of Vitamin A. Another source of the vitamin is food containing beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A.
Vitamin C can also improve a person’s health. First, Vitamin C helps wounds heal faster. This is due to its vital role in the body’s production of collagen, which is a key building block of the body’s connective tissue. Second, Vitamin C is an antioxidant, a substance that can prevent oxidation. This is when unstable molecules called “free radicals” damage cells in the body, which can lead to many diseases. Vitamin C can help prevent or delay such damage. The foods rich in Vitamin C are citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Another important vitamin in health improvement is Vitamin K. It plays a major role in blood clotting and in bone function. Recent research also indicates that the vitamin may reduce abnormal calcification in blood vessels, which can lead to fatal cardiovascular conditions and chronic kidney disease. Scientists believe Vitamin K may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the fragile bone condition that affects over 10 million people in the U.S. Green leafy vegetables, cheeses, seafood, legumes, and nuts, are all rich in Vitamin K.
Vitamin E may also improve a person’s health in several ways. First, it is an antioxidant and may play a role and reducing cell damage from free radicals. Second, Vitamin E may boost the immune system. Third, it may prevent or delay heart disease due to its ability to prevent blood clots from forming. A study of 90,000 nurses found that Vitamin E supplementation lowered the risk of heart disease by 30% to 40%. Vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are rich in Vitamin E.
“[A vitamin is] a substance you get sick from if you don’t eat it,” quipped Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the Hungarian biochemist that first isolated Vitamin C in 1933. Scientific research in the following decades has proven Gyorgyi right – these five vitamins can lead to improved health.
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