Supplements, Fatigue and Lethargy Essay

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Supplements, Fatigue and Lethargy


Vitamin E (p 1- 1.5)

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant, which inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species or ROS when fat is oxidized (NIH, 2013). The body produces ROS when it converts food into energy. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E protects body cells from the ill effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules containing an unshared electron. They damage cells and contribute to the development of heart diseases and cancer. Unshared electrons are very active and quickly react with oxygen to form ROS. Health experts conjecture that limiting the production of free radicals may, alone or through other mechanisms, help prevent or delay the formation of these dreaded chronic diseases associated with the action of free radicals. Vitamin E may serve that function (NIH).

As an antioxidant, it also plays a role in the immune function of the body (NIH, 2013). In vitro studies of cells have illustrated its role in cell signaling, regulating gene expression and other metabolic processes. As Alpha-tocopherol, it inhibits the activity of the protein kinase C, which is an enzyme that participates in cell proliferation and differentiation of smooth muscle cells, platelets and monocytes. Alpha-tocopherol is its only form that is suitable for human needs (NIH).

The recommended intake of Vitamin E as well as other nutrients is developed by the Food and Nutrition Board and listed under the Dietary Reference Intakes (NIH, 2013). The intake depends on age and gender from 4-19 mg. The recommended dietary allowance for those 14 years old and older is 19 mg. The vitamin in the form of alpha-tocopherol has many food sources and best among them are nuts, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals. It is present in the American diets in the form of gamma tocopherol.
It can be obtained from soybean, canola, corn and other vegetable oils and food products. Wheat germ oil is an excellent natural source (NIH).

Many have claimed that Vitamin E protects against coronary heart disease, cancer, eye disorders like age-related macular degeneration and cataract, and cognitive decline (NIH, 2013). Research says that healthy or slightly ill persons need not take Vitamin E supplements to increase cognitive abilities or retard aging. While no adverse effects have been shown from consuming the vitamin in food form, high doses of alpha-tocopherol supplements have, in some cases, caused hemorrhage, interrupted blood coagulation and platelets or inhibited blood coagulation in animals (NIH).

Unit 4: Supplements and Lethargy

Fatigue and Felicia's Case

Felicia's fatigue is unlikely connected with any need to take supplements for energy. Women's fatigue is one of the top five health concerns of women, according to a recent health survey (Watson, 2014). More likely, Felicia's fatigue is the symptom of seven possible causes common to women. These are thyroid problems, heart disease, Vitamin D deficiency, iron-deficiency anemia, sleep apnea, lack of sleep and depression (Watson).

Thyroid problems appear to be more common in women than in men for still unknown reasons (Watson, 2014). The thyroid produces the hormones, which regulate the body's burning of fuel for energy. The thyroid may be overactive or under-active and sleepiness is a symptom of both. Vitamin D deficiency drains bone strength and may even lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. A blood test can detect this problem. The Institute of Medicine determined that most adults will avoid these problems by taking 600 international units a day. Those aged 70 or older should take 800 IU. Iron-deficiency anemia limits the amount of oxygen in the body and leads to sluggishness. A woman may be.....

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