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Vitamin Supplements for Preventive Health
By Raquel S. Hunter
Taking a megadose of vitamins for preventive health is still being researched. There are hopes that certain vitamins will be proven to prevent certain diseases and disorders from developing. Yet, there are many in the medical community who believe that vitamin supplementation will never take the place of modern medicine, and "miracle'statements will never be made about vitamins.
However, what cannot be disputed are the medicinal properties found in vitamins, and more specifically in antioxidants. Antioxidant vitamins include vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene--which is a compound of vitamin A. Mineral antioxidants include manganese, zinc and selenium.
These antioxidants work together to protect the body from free radical damage. While it is virtually impossible to rid the body of all oxidative stressors, antioxidants work as a team to greatly defend the human body and boost the immune system. Vitamin C protects proteins in the body, while vitamin E protects the fat in cell membranes. Beta-carotene protects our bodies from free radicals which are formed by ultraviolet light. Selenium enzymes station themselves close to the energy producing part of our cells, while zinc stands guard and stops free radicals which may have slipped by unnoticed by the other antioxidants.
Why are these combination of antioxidant vitamins important? There is an array of diseases which are thought to be connected to free radicals. These diseases can include heart disease, arthritis, cataracts, cancer, and even early onset aging. It is thought if individuals have a high intake of these vitamins that it can greatly lower their chances of acquiring one of these diseases or disorders, or slow down the degenerative process.
The problem with stating that a specific vitamin has stopped the formation of a disease is that we do not know if the disease would have occurred in the individual if he or she was not taking them. It is pure speculation. Therefore, vitamin supplementation should be looked at as health insurance for the body, as science will probably never say it is a "cure for many illness and disease. Yet, we do know that vitamin supplementation does prevent deficiency diseases, such as scurvy. Only time and research will unravel the mystery of vitamin supplementation for preventive health.