The world of nutrition and supplements is a confusing one. There is SO much information how do you know what to believe? We thought it was time to demystify nutrients and guide you through the confusing maze of information.
Vitamin A is a nutrient that has received a fair amount of press. Please read on to understand why:
There are two forms of Vitamin A – A1 typically known as Retinol (animal form) and A2 which is sourced from plants. A2 gives us Beta Carotene which is our recommended source of Vitamin A.
Retinol – Vitamin A is associated with potential health risks in a developing fetus. Women were frightened into avoiding vitamin A because retinol can be stored in the body and result in toxicity and liver issues.
Beta Carotene works differently and the body uptakes this nutrient according to requirement.
Beta Carotene is an excellent antioxidant and is vital along with a broad spectrum of other antioxidants to support the body. It should be noted that the best way to take any antioxidant is in a multi formula. This ensures you receive good coverage of all the nutrients you need to maintain good health
Why are Antioxidants important?
Antioxidants help us counteract the impact of free radicals. To understand free radicals think of a cut apple left in the air. It goes brown quite quickly this is the effect of free radical damage. Antioxidants limit or stop this type of activity within our body.
Antioxidants are further broken down into carotenoids and flavonoids. Today, we are concentrating on beta carotene which is a carotenoid along with lycopene, vitamin C, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are yellow, orange, and red pigments synthesized by plants.
Flavonoids are a large family of polyphenolic plant compounds. Dietary flavonoids are naturally occurring in fruit, vegetables, chocolate, and beverages like wine and tea.
Free radical damage or oxidation damage is linked to illness such as dementia heart disease and cancer. The use of antioxidants helps reduce the inflammation that is part of these diseases and repair the damaged cells.
Uses of Beta Carotene
This powerhouse antioxidant
- Slows the impact of ageing
- Can add years to your life!
- Offers free radical protection
- Boosts immunity against invaders like hay fever
- Strengthens our eyes
- It supports the skin by keeping it strong enabling it to resist infections
- Prevents scarring
- Aids the removal of age spots
- Along with other nutrients it helps the body to detoxify
Food Sources of Beta Carotene
- Red Pepper
- Sweet Potato
- Yellow Pepper
- Orange Pepper
- Watermelon juice
Food Sources of Retinol
- Cod liver oil
Who needs Beta Carotene?
- Anyone exposed to free radicals such as
- Too much sun
- Traffic pollution
- Environmental pollution i.e. smoke or chemicals
- Anyone who exercises strenuously
- Those who suffer chronic infections or inflammatory diseases
- Medications and drugs
- Mental or emotional stress
- People with a low intake of vegetables in their diet
- If you are prone to frequent infections that are then hard to shift
- You experience
- Easy bruising
- Slow healing
- Thin skin
- Excessive wrinkles for your age
- Hay fever or allergies
- Cancer patients
- Anyone with a reduced appetite
- Heart attack patients
It is important to note that smokers need to use a broad spectrum antioxidant and should not use beta carotene as a stand-alone supplement, we recommend this because there are some studies that have indicated an increase in lung disease in those who smoke and take beta carotene.
If you take beta carotene and find that you are experiencing a yellowing of your skin stop the supplement, you are taking too much. This is another reason to take a multi formula it will be correctly balanced to ensure you receive the correct proportion of each nutrient.
How do I get enough Beta Carotene?
- Eat the foods we have listed above – there are plenty of delicious ones to choose from
- Make sure your food is organic to ensure you are not exposed to more chemicals from pesticides and growth hormones
- Take a supplement we recommend multi formulas that include Vitamins C, E plus minerals Selenium and Zinc
Why do I need to supplement?
Sadly, we will repeat this statement throughout this series of blogs. The nutrients in our modern diet do not compare to those of our ancestors. In previous times, our ancestors ate approximately 20 times more beta carotene than we do today.
The ancestral diet was comprised berries, fruits and other vegetables. Today, we eat processed ready meals that lack the nutrient content our bodies need. In addition, the intensive farming of our land means that nutrients are vastly depleted from the soil. It is going to take a long time to recover this situation. The processing of our food removes even more nutrients.
This means we are exposed to a nutrient deficiency. We simply do not get the nutrients we need to thrive in this modern world. It is our aim for our customers that they do not just survive but achieve optimal health. In our opinion, it is extremely difficult to achieve this without the help of supplements.
One final note some studies indicate mixed results with regard to the use of supplements. As ever sensible use of mixed formulas is unlikely to have an adverse impact but we need to present the current facts as they stand.
We hope that this simple explanation helps you understand this powerful and effective nutrient; we will continue this series next week.