Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals

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Vitamin E Functions

1. Protects cell membranes from oxidation, 2. Protects polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from oxidation, 3. Protects vitamin A from oxidation, 4. Protects white blood cells and enhances immune function, and 5. Improved absorption

Vitamin E RDA

Men: 15mg; Women = 15mg

Vitamin E Toxicity

Toxicity: Inhibition of blood clotting, increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, and intestinal discomfort.

Vitamin E Deficiency

Deficiency: Red blood cell hemolysis, anemia, impairment of nerve transmission, muscle weakness and degeneration, leg cramps, difficulty walking, and fibrocystic breast disease.

Vitamin C Functions

1. Antioxidant in extracellular fluid and lungs, 2. Regenerates oxidized vitamin E, 3. Reduces formation of nitrosamines in stomach, 4. Assists with collagen synthesis, 5. Enhances immune function, 6. Assists in the synthesis of hormones, neurotransmitters, and DNA, 7. Enhances absorption of iron, and 8, Assists with carnitine synthesis.

Vitamin C RDA

Men = 90 mg; Women = 75mg; Smokers = +35mg

Vitamin C Toxicity

Toxicity: Nausea and diarrhea, nosebleeds, abdominal cramps, increased oxidative damage, increased formation of kidney stones in those with kidney disease.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Deficiency: Scurvy, bleeding gums and joints, loose teeth, weakness, hemorrhaging of hair follicles, poor wound healing, swollen ankles and wrists, diarrhea, bone pain and fractures, depression, and anemia

Vitamin A Functions

1. Necessary for our ability to adjust to changes in light, 2. Protects color vision, 3. Cell differentiation, 4. Necessary for sperm production in men and fertilization in women, 5. Contributes to healthy bone growth, and 6. Contributes to healthy immune system.

Vitamin A RDA

Men = 900ug; Women = 700ug

Vitamin A Toxicity

Toxicity: Fatigue, bone and joint pain, spontaneous abortion and birth defects in fetuses of pregnant women, loss of appetite, blurred vision, hair loss, skin disorders, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and liver and nervous system damage.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Deficiency: Night blindness, xerophthalmia (which leads to permanent blindness), hyperkeratosis, impaired immunity and increased risk of illness and infection, inability to reproduce, and failure of normal growth.

Selenium Functions

1. Part of glutathione peroxidase (an antioxidant enzyme), 2. Indirectly spares vitamin E from oxidation, 3. Assists in production of thyroid hormone, and 4. Assists in maintaining immune function.

Selenium RDA

Men = 55ug; Women = 55ug

Selenium Toxicity

Toxicity: Brittle hair, and nails, skin rashes, vomiting, nausea, weakness, and cirrhosis of the liver.

Selenium Deficiency

Deficiency: Keshan disease (a specific form of heart disease), Kashin-Beck disease (deforming arthritis), impaired immune function, increased risk of viral infections, infertility, depression, hostility, and muscle pain and wasting.

Good sources of Vitamin E

Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables.

Destroys Vitamin E

Exposure to oxygen, metals, UV light, and heat.

Good sources of Vitamin C

Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, broccoli, spinach, and other leafy greens. Fortified beverages and cereals.

Poor sources of Vitamin E

Dairy products and animal products

Destroys Vitamin C

Heat and oxygen

Good sources of Vitamin A

Animal foods, such as beef liver, chicken liver, eggs, and whole-fat dairy products. Fortified reduced fat milks, margarine, some breakfast cereals. Carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, and tomato juice (because they contain beta-carotene).

Good sources of Selenium

Both animal and plant foods, more reliable in animal foods, such as organ meats (liver and kidney), pork, and seafood. Dependant on content of soil in which plants are grown.

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