Supplements in the diet are considered as outside sources for the body's essential nutrients when diet is not supplying them. Many people take daily vitamins, for example, to make sure they are meeting their daily doses. However, oftentimes people take many more supplements than necessary, which can lead to certain vitamin toxicities. This article provides information on the vitamins and minerals your body needs and discusses when supplementation is really necessary.
There are two general types of vitamins in your diet: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins get stored in the fatty tissues of the body and do not need to be replaced daily. These vitamins are found in fatty foods such as meat, and since they are not excreted by the body everyday, large amounts can be harmful to the body. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A is found in most vegetables and fruits and is important in vision, growth, cell function, and immunity. Deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to anemia, abnormalities in the senses, and spots in the eyes. Vitamin D is found in butter, eggs, milk, and fortified foods, and is also obtained from the sun. It is required for calcium to be absorbed by the body, and deficiency can lead to bone mineral loss, osteoporosis, and Rickets Disease in children. Vitamin E is from fats, meat products, and fortified foods, and is important for maintaining cell growth and preventing some diseases. Deficiency in Vitamin E presents as decreased vision, speech, and coordination. Finally, Vitamin K is found in green, leafy vegetables, and is important in blood clotting and binding calcium to the bone. Deficiency in Vitamin K is usually never seen. Although deficiencies in these vitamins can produce serious symptoms, it is quite rare to be deficient with a normal, balanced diet since the vitamins are stored in the body. Deficiencies are often seen in poorer countries where starvation is prevalent. Taking supplements of these vitamins can lead to too much vitamin in the body, which can lead to a decreased immunity and an increase in sickness. With a balanced diet of three meals a day including all the major food groups, supplementation of these vitamins is unnecessary and can be potentially harmful.
In contrast, water-soluble vitamins are excreted by the body and need to be replaced daily. These vitamins are the B Complex (riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, B6, B12, Folate) and C. The B complex vitamins are found in cereals, grains, meat and fish, and some green leafy vegetables. They are often lost during food preparation, but usually enough can be spared as an adequate daily serving. B Complex vitamins are responsible for working the nervous system, growth and disease prevention, fat and sugar use in the body, red blood cell formation, metabolism, and as an important factor in pregnancy (folate). Deficiency of these vitamins include fatigue, mood swings, anemia, burning and itchy eyes, diarrhea, skin rash, headache, and muscle weakness. Vitamin C comes from fruits and vegetables and is an important anti-oxidant and lowers disease risk. Deficiency in vitamin C includes muscle weakness and fatigue, depression, and swelling. Although these vitamins are excreted daily, proper diet should provide enough vitamins for the daily recommended dose and supplementation is unnecessary. Instead, supplementation is warranted for those with poor eating habits or eating disorders, those who are pregnant, and those who may be at more of a disease risk, such as older adults and young children. Since these vitamins are excreted by the body, toxicity is rare unless taken in large doses. Put simply, if supplementation is not necessary then taking vitamins is a waste of money.
There are twenty-two minerals essential for life, and all can be provided in the diet. Some of these minerals include Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Zinc, and Copper. Calcium is the most abundant mineral and is important in bone formation, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, and blood clotting. It is found in milk and cereal, and a deficiency leads to osteoporosis. Calcium supplementation is important in ALL women for an increase in bone mass, as well as some children who are not taking in enough milk. Otherwise, the diet should provide enough recommended daily Calcium. Phosphorus is found in animals and plants and is important in bone and blood health. A deficiency may lead to muscle weakness, anemia, and bone pain. Iron is important in carrying oxygen from the blood to the tissues, and is essential for survival. It is found in meat, fish, nuts, and dried foods. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, fatigue, and decreased immune function, and is often found in vegetarian eaters and people with eating disorders. In these two groups, supplementation is warranted. The other minerals are also important in bone and tissue growth, energy, and immune function, and are plentiful in a balanced diet. Like vitamins, supplements of minerals are only necessary with pregnancy, eating disorders, and unbalanced eating habits.
In conclusion, vitamins and minerals are essential to the everyday function of the body, however, supplementation is often unnecessary if one is eating an adequate diets including the four basic food groups daily. Supplements should only be taken where there is a deficiency, such as in poor eating habits and eating disorders. You should always consult your physician before taking any supplement to make sure it is warranted for your body so other problems do not occur.
Bunk Bed Safety: Tips and Guidelines for Bunk Bed Owners
When children see bunk beds, days of fun play begin to materialize before their eyes. Bunk beds become the new fort, castle, or house that children will play in all day long. But bunk beds can also be the source of band-aids, bruises, and tears. To keep everyone happy and safe, we have created this Bunk Bed Safety Guide to remind children and adults alike of the rules that go with owning a bunk bed. Even if your bunk bed purchase is not for children, the tips shared here are still an important and valuable part of owning a bunk bed.
Let's start with some general safety tips!
Children under 6 years of age should not be allowed on the top bunk
Do not use water or sleep flotation mattresses with your bunk bed
Prohibit jumping and general horseplay on or under the bunk bed (Sorry kids!)
Periodically check the bunk bed to ensure that all hardware is tightened and in its proper position, and that the bunk bed in generally free from damage
Do not use any substitute hardware or parts. Please contact us immediately if there any parts or hardware are missing from your bunk bed when it is delivered. We will be able to assist you in getting the correct replacement parts delivered, free of charge.
More detailed guidelines...
Mattresses: Please use only standard mattresses on the upper bunk. By law, manufacturers must label bunk beds with information on the appropriate size mattress to be used with their bunk bed. Follow these instructions to prevent entrapment or injury. On the top bunk, ensure that the mattress and foundation do not exceed 8" and that there is at least 5" of space between the top of the mattress and the top of the guardrails. Again, please do not use any type of water or sleep flotation mattress with your bunk bed.
Guardrails: Guardrails are included on bunk beds for everyone's safety. Whether a child or adult is sleeping on the top bunk, always use guardrails on the long sides of the top bunk. Even if you are placing the bunk bed against a wall, use the full-length guardrail on the top bunk to ensure no one gets trapped between the bunk and the wall. Again, please do not use any substitute parts. Call us and we will be happy to get replacement parts shipped to you, free of charge.
Top Bunk Safety: Always use the ladder for getting into, and out of, the top bunk. Do not allow more than one person on the top bunk at a time. Young children, (under 6 years of age) should not be allowed on the top bunk. A night light may be especially helpful for children who get up in the middle of the night and need to get down from the top bunk. The maximum weight capacity for top bunks is provided by the manufacturer. Do not exceed the manufacturer's maximum weight capacity. Again, please check your bunk bed from time to time to make sure that it is free from damage, and that all hardware is tightened and in working condition.
Finally, one of the most important safety guidelines for bunk beds: To prevent strangulation, never attach or hang anything to the bunk bed that is not designed for use with the bunk bed. Examples would be jump ropes, belts, or any type of hooks.
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