Tag Archives: Vitamin A

Getting To Know Your ABC’s

ABCJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



If you are one of the more than two-thirds of American adults who regularly take nutritional supplements, bravo! You are likelier to have better dietary habits and an overall healthier lifestyle than nonusers. Surveys show that dietary supplement users are making concerted efforts to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, avoid tobacco products and improve their nutrient intake, all of which contribute to a healthier way of life. Evidence suggests that those who take dietary supplements as a part of their wellness plan are adopting positive lifestyle strategies that contribute to overall vitality and healthy aging.

According to surveys conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the majority take supplements to maintain or improve overall health, support bone and joint health and ensure adequate nutrient intake. Additionally, supplement users are seeking to prevent future health problems, boost immunity, improve digestion, reduce stress, enhance sleep and increase energy production. Why are sufficient amounts of micronutrients so important to our health, and how do vitamins, minerals and enzymes support your wellbeing?

Let’s start at the beginning with vitamins A, B and C:

Vitamin A is actually a group of retinoids that include retinol, retinal and retinoic acid. As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A is stored, largely by the liver, until needed. Naturally present in many foods, “preformed” vitamin A, found in animal tissues can be directly used by the body, while “provitamin A” carotenoids, found in fruits and vegetables, require conversion by the body into a bioavailable form for utilization. Sufficient amounts of vitamin A are essential for:

  • Vitamin A is necessary for regulating the growth and formation of all bodily cells. It’s needed for cellular communication and cellular differentiation, the ability of cells to specialize and perform their various functions.
  • Vitamin A is essential to embryonic and fetal development of the limbs, heart, eyes and ears, and is crucial to the proper development and maintenance of a range of organ systems.
  • Vitamin A supports the normal development and function of the immune system, and aids the production and efficacy of lymphocytes, white blood cells that produce antibodies to fight infections and defend against disease.
  • Vitamin A is critical to retinal health, function and proper vision, especially low light vision. Studies have shown that, as an antioxidant, vitamin A may help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and may help slow the progression of the disease to preserve vision.
  • Vitamin A helps to form and maintain healthy skin, tissues and teeth. Vitamin A supports the skin and mucous membranes that line the intestines, airways and urinary tract, assisting immune health by providing a more effective barrier against pathogens, bacteria and viruses.


Vitamin B consists of a group of 8 distinct water-soluble vitamins, often working in synergy, yet each performs unique functions. With the exception of B-12, B complex vitamins are not stored, requiring daily replenishment to support wellbeing. As multitaskers, B vitamins promote wellness by supporting cognitive functions, healthy mood, energy production and cardiac health.

  • Thiamine – Vitamin B1 acts as an antioxidant and has a positive effect on digestion, energy, growth, nerve cell health, carbohydrate metabolism, and cognition.
  • Riboflavin – Vitamin B2 supports red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and metabolism of fats, carbs and protein. B2 also helps to prevent cataracts, facilitates oxygen use in the tissues and aids the absorption of iron, B6 and other nutrients.
  • Niacin – Vitamin B3 is necessary for proper nervous system function, energy production, digestion, macro nutrient metabolism, and sex hormone synthesis. Niacin supports circulatory health and helps to lower cholesterol.
  • Pantothenic acid – Vitamin B5 aids in energy, adrenal hormone and neurotransmitter production, vitamin utilization, and antibody formation. B5 also enhances stamina and supports mood and normal functioning of the GI tract.
  • Pyridoxine – Vitamin B6 is a busy little nutrient required for physical and mental health. It helps to maintain fluid balance, aids digestion and absorption of nutrients, and promotes red blood cell formation. B6 is necessary for nervous system and brain function, for cellular growth, and for the synthesis of RNA and DNA.
  • Methylcobalamin – Vitamin B12 is a chemically complex group of essential nutrients known as cobalamins, which play critical roles in protein and DNA synthesis, red blood cell formation and healthy nervous system function. B12 is necessary for proper digestion, absorption and metabolism of nutrients.
  • Biotin – Vitamin B6 aids cell growth, metabolism of nutrients and utilization of other B complex vitamins. Biotin supports healthy hair, skin, nails, bone marrow and nerve and muscle tissue.
  • Folate – Vitamin B9, also called folic acid is very important before and during pregnancy as it helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation, which happens very early in pregnancy. Folate supports brain health, energy production, red and white blood cell production, and healthy cell division and replication.

Along with a multivitamin/mineral complex, water soluble, highly effective antioxidant Vitamin C is the most consumed nutritional supplement. Necessary for tissue growth and repair, collagen formation, adrenal function and wound healing, vitamin C must be obtained through the diet or supplementation.

  • Required for hundreds of metabolic functions, vitamin C works synergistically with other nutrients such as folic acid, beta carotene and vitamin E.
  • Vitamin C aids the formation and maintenance of bones and connective tissue, blood vessels and skin.
  • Recent studies show that vitamin C benefits cardiovascular health by reducing oxidative damage and lowering inflammation, seen as key to protecting against cardiovascular disease and the progression of atherosclerosis.
  • Vitamin C is believed to be cancer-protective by its abilities to fight free radicals and reduce cellular DNA damage. Vitamin C binds to heavy metals, aiding their elimination from the body, and helps to neutralize the effects of nitrate preservatives found in some processed foods.
  • By enhancing the absorption of iron, vitamin C helps the strengthen the body’s resistance to infection. Vitamin C supports healthy immune function by stimulating foreign invader fighting white blood cells, and protecting the integrity of immune cells.
  • Vitamin C has a positive effect on overall cholesterol levels, helping to raise HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Vitamin C aids in the management of H. pylori, a stomach acid-resistant bacteria that causes gastric distress and stomach ulcers.

Professional Supplement Center carries many quality brands that provide vitamins A, B and C:

Vitamin A 25,000 I.U. by Vital Nutrients

Vitamin A 25,000 IU by Vital Nutrients – One capsule provides 25,000 IU of vitamin A, sourced from fish liver oil, in support of proper immune function, vision health and the maintenance of skin and mucous membranes.


Vitamin A 25,000 I.U. (A97) by Thorne Research

Vitamin A 25,000 IU by Thorne Research – This high potency, stand-alone source of vitamin A provides support for healthy vision, cellular development and immune health. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Active B-Complex by Integrative Therapeutics

Active B complex by Integrative Therapeutics – This product provides a full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of neurotransmitter production, healthy mood, energy production, and overall wellness. Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formulation.


B Complex Plus by Pure EncapsulationsB Complex Plus by Pure Encapsulations – This popular product provides optimal bioavailable forms of all eight B vitamins in support of energy metabolism, nervous system function, hormone synthesis and a healthy GI tract. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Buffered Vitamin C Powder by Designs for HealthBuffered Vitamin C Powder by Designs for Health – This non-acidic vitamin C, buffered with calcium, magnesium and potassium, is formulated for support of immune health, adrenal function, collagen formation and cardiovascular health. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Liposomal Vitamin C by NuMedicaLiposomal Vitamin C by NuMedica – One teaspoon provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C delivered in phosphatidylcholine liposomes for optimal absorption and bioavailability in support of immune health, antioxidant protection and healthy collagen and connective tissue production. Gluten and soy free, vegetarian formulation.


Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. Penguin Group 2010.
Health habits and other characteristics of dietary supplement users: a review.  https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-13-14
Vitamin A – http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-A
Three Forms of Vitamin A Found in the Body. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/three-forms-vitamin-found-body-9563.html
What Does Vitamin A Support? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/vitamin-support-3037.html
Vitamin A and the developing embryo. http://pmj.bmj.com/content/77/910/489.full
The Benefits of B Complex. http://dailyburn.com/life/health/benefits-vitamin-b-complex/
Vitamin C. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02811/facts-on-vitamin-c
Immunity. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/immunity

Nutrients for Healthy Hair

HealthyHairJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



Healthy looking hair is a good visual indicator of overall health. Hair is growing tissue, the health of which is positively influenced by proper nutrition and physical wellbeing and negatively influenced by stress, inadequate sleep, hormonal imbalances, smoking and dietary deficiencies. Similar to other bodily cells, hair requires care and nutritional support to remain strong, yet soft, manageable and vibrant. A balanced, nutritious diet including adequate protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids and B-complex vitamins is vital to fortify both the hair and the scalp. As well, inadequate nutrition will affect not only overall health but will strip your hair of its natural beauty.

We are born with approximately 5 million hair follicles, 100,000 of which are located on the scalp. While hair is simple in structure, its growth process is not. Each hair travels through four stages over a period of years as part of the growth cycle. The hair that we can see and touch is composed of cells packed with keratin, a protein rich in sulphurous amino acids. These cells rapidly die as the amino acids form chains and the hair is gradually pushed upwards through the hair shaft.

A steady supply of nutrients is needed to maintain normal, healthy hair growth during the lengthy growth phase. As the root receives nourishment and hormones from blood vessels, the living cells divide, grow and build the hair shaft, which eventually emerges through the skin. Along the way, oil glands moisturize the hair. From the beginning of growth to the falling out stage, each hair will pass through the anagen or growing phase, the catagen or regression phase, the telogen or resting phase and finally the exogen or shedding phase.

The growth phase lasts an average of 3 – 5 years and may sometimes last as long as 7 years. Because each hair may be at a different stage of the growth cycle, it’s normal to lose 50 – 100 hairs a day, as the individual hairs progress to their shedding phase. Once an old hair detaches from the follicle, a new one will begin to grow to take its place. How can you know if your hair is truly healthy? It’s shiny and smooth and has lots of elasticity. It detangles easily and sheds the normal amount.

Nutrients that enhance the health of your hair and scalp and help your hair reach its full potential include:

Protein – Necessary for cell growth and repair, protein boosts hair strength and helps to keep hair healthy. A diet that is too low in protein can result in dry, brittle or weak hair. Extremely low protein intake may result in hair loss.

B-complex vitamins -Biotin, niacin and cobalamin help to restore shine and thickness and protect against hair loss and brittle hair. B vitamins promote new hair growth and healthier texture, and protect against dryness, flaky scalp and breakage.

Iron – Too little iron is a major cause of anemia-related hair loss in women of child bearing age. When serum iron levels fall, the nutrient and oxygen supply to the hair follicle is disrupted, which can affect the hair growth cycle and result in shedding. Premenopausal women should ensure their diet includes iron rich foods, such as spinach, beans or seafood. A simple blood test can indicate iron deficiency. Consult your healthcare provider before supplementing with iron.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C aids the absorption of food-based iron, and supports the production of collagen, which strengthens the capillaries that supply nutrients to the hair shafts. Vitamin C can improve hair growth, prevent hair loss and promote thicker, healthier hair.

Vitamin D – In addition to addressing vitamin D deficiency, a vitamin D supplement is important for hair follicle cycling and may help to activate hair growth.

Vitamin A – The body uses vitamin A to make sebum, an oily substance created by our hairs’ sebaceous glands. Sebum acts as a natural conditioner, supporting the health of the scalp and preventing dryness and itchiness.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids – EPA and DHA not only support heart and brain health, they also regulate oil production and help to keep the skin, scalp and hair hydrated. Omega-3’s help to boost hair shine and prevent dry hair and flaky scalp.

Zinc and selenium – Zinc and selenium support hair growth and help to prevent hair loss and dry, flaky scalp.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements to support and enhance the health of your hair:

Hair, Skin & NailsHair, Skin & Nails by Now Foods – This clinically advanced formula provides the nutrients that nurture the health of hair, skin and nails, including a patented and bioavailable form of solubilized keratin that helps to maintain full, lustrous hair. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.


Hair/Skin/Nails UltraHair/Skin/Nails Ultra by Pure Encapsulations – This formula provides key building blocks and proper nutrients that support skin elasticity and hydration, healthy hair, and nail strength. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


BioSil® Skin, Hair, NailsBioSil® Skin, Hair, Nails by Natural Factors – This formula helps to thicken and strengthen hair, increase skin elasticity and strengthen nails. BioSil® aids in generating collagen by supporting the body’s own collagen producing cells. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.


Hair, Skin and Nails Plus Formula (82924-)Hair, Skin and Nail Plus Formula by Douglas Laboratories – This formula supplies beneficial amounts of the specific vitamins, minerals and botanicals that support the health of hair, skin and nails. Gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.


6 Nutrients for Healthy Hair. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20734150_4,00.html
How hair grows. https://www.aad.org/how-hair-grows
What to eat for healthy hair. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/what-eat-healthy-hair
Vitamins & Minerals For Hair That’s Healthier, Stronger and Shinier. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/vitamins-minerals-for-hair-health_n_3451747.html
6 Supplements for Glowy Skin and Gorgeous Hair. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/supplements-skin-hair/#05

Fabulously Healthy Skin

Fabulously Healthy Skin imageBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients have the power to give skin a more radiant, healthy, and youthful appearance.  Feeding your skin from the inside to meet its nutritional needs can  make a difference in how your skin looks and feels.  Health experts agree that vitamins and minerals play an essential role in a healthy complexion whether in the form of food, supplements, or beauty products.  A balanced diet will improve skin health just as it improves overall health.  The more healthy foods you consume, the better your skin will look.  The reverse is true as well.  When we don’t pay attention to a healthful diet and we starve our skin of nutrients, skin problems in the form of breakouts, chronic skin conditions, or signs of aging may result . 

When combined with a good diet, the right dietary supplements can keep your skin looking younger and healthier.  The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests the following vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support and nourish skin health, whether taken in supplement form, applied directly to the skin, or obtained from the foods we eat.   

  • Vitamin A – Vitamin A is necessary for skin maintenance, including cell building and repair.  Vitamin A is a nutrient proven to revitalize skin by increasing cell turnover, a biological process that replaces older skin cells.  Considered one of the best vitamins for promoting healthy skin, vitamin A may help reduce signs of aging while preventing dry skin and acne.  Vitamin A can be found in foods such as dairy products, eggs, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes, and in many skin lotions and creams as well.  
  • B Complex –  Redness, irritation, dermatitis and pigmentation can all be signs of vitamin B deficiency.  B vitamins are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails.  Vitamin B12 aids in cell reproduction and skin renewal.  B1 boosts circulation, which helps to give skin a healthy glow.  Vitamin B3 boosts hydration, reduces redness, aids in supplying oxygen to the skin, and helps in preventing and improving acne, eczema, and sun damaged, aging skin.  B vitamins can be found in shellfish, beef, cheese and eggs. 
  • Vitamin C –  Considered an all-around anti-ager, vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining the health of your skin.  Vitamin C is key to the production of collagen, a protein that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels and gives skin its firmness and strength.  As an antioxidant, vitamin C aids in neutralizing free radicals, promotes skin repair and may help reduce damage from sun exposure.  Citrus fruits, peppers and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin C.  Vitamin C can also be found in many topical skin care products. 
  • Vitamin E –   Vitamin E helps to keep skin smooth and may help prevent premature aging by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.  This powerful antioxidant aids in skin tissue repair and helps to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals from too much sun exposure.  Vitamin E helps the skin retain its natural moisturizers, quelling dryness and  keeping skin supple and healthy.  Foods containing vitamin E include tofu, spinach, avocados and nuts. 
  • Probiotics –  Widely known for their beneficial role in gut health, probiotics help maintain a healthy digestive system, which is critical for nutrient absorption.  As more nutrients are digested and absorbed, your skin receives more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that aid in the elimination of free radicals and toxins, which can damage and age skin.  Research indicates that poor intestinal health can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. 
  • Omega- 3’s – Essential fatty acids are responsible for the cell membranes that act as barriers for harmful pathogens and as the passageway for nutrients and wastes.  Cell membranes hold in water, which helps to keep skin plump and moist.  Omega-3’s offer protection from inflammation, which can harm skin cells.  The foods highest in omega-3 fatty acids include cold water fish, walnuts, canola oil, and flax seed.
  • Water –  A very basic part of any healthy diet, water is essential for skin health and beauty.  Water flushes away toxins, brings nutrients to the cells and supports organ functioning.  Well-hydrated cells are plump, which helps your skin look firmer and smoother. 

OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720 by Metagenics –  This product features a highly concentrated source of health-promoting omega-3 essential fatty acids from cold-water fish.  Each softgel provides a total of 720 mg of EPA and DHA.

PureProbiotic (Allergen Free) by Pure Encapsulations Each capsule of PureProbiotic provides 5 billion CFU of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis and Bifidobacterium breve.

Vitamin A 25,000 IU (A97) by Thorne Research –  High potency vitamin A for maintaining healthy skin and immune system.