Alte substanţe

Unul dintre cele mai importante elemente în păstrarea sănătăţii este alimentaţia echilibrată şi diversă. Alimentaţia echilibrată acoperă necesarul de energie şi nutrienţi, asigură proporţia adecvată a nutrienţilor, iar alimentaţia diversificată (mixtă) înseamnă prezenţa diferitelor categorii de alimente şi mâncăruri în regimul alimentar. Alimentele noastre furnizează organismului aproximativ 40 tipuri de nutrienţi. În funcţie de rolul primordial pe care-l joacă, aceştia pot avea rol plastic (proteine, minerale), energetic (grăsimi, carbohidraţi) şi regulator (vitamine, microelemente). Necesarul zilnic al organismului de vitamine şi microelemente este extrem de redus, de la câteva micrograme la câteva 100 de miligrame, adică mult chiar şi sub nivelul de 1 gram. Cu toate acestea, în pofida ocurenţei lor în cantitate extrem de mică, un aport insuficient cauzează tulburări în funcţiile biologice, iar lipsa totală a lor este incompatibilă cu viaţa.



Betacaroten

Ce este betacarotenul?
Betacarotenul este răspunzător pentru culoarea tipică a morcovilor, dovleacului şi pepenelui galben, însă se regăseşte şi în gălbenuşul de ou. Compusul este clasificat în familia carotenoidelor (denumirea căreia îi este datorată), iar la baza lui stau aşa-zise legături de izopren. Betacarotenul este provitamina (altfel spus, precursorul) vitaminei A. Acest lucru înseamnă că din el se formează vitamina A (retinolul).

 

În ce se găseşte?
Mai ales în legumele şi fructele de culoarea galbenă şi roşie.

 

Ce rol are?
Este cea mai importantă sursă de vitamina A. Organismul converteşte betacarotenul în vitamina A, după nevoie. Printre primele simptome ale deficienţei de vitamina A se află vederea nocturnă slabă. Ochii nu se pot adapta la lumina slabă dacă nu este prezent retinolul (vitamina A), necesar pentru fotoreceptorii şi receptorii de culoare la nivelul membranei nervoase. Betacarotenul este folosit şi pentru colorarea margarinei, unturilor, îngheţatelor şi băuturilor răcoritoare.



Coenzima Q10

Ce este de fapt coenzima Q10?
Coenzima Q10 sau altfel numită ubichinonă, ubidecarenonă este o 1,4 benzochinonă, prescurtată deseori în forma CoQ10, CoQ, Q10. Concentraţia coenzimei Q10 este cea mai ridicată în organele cu cel mai mare necesar de energie, fiind prezentă astfel în concentraţii mari în inimă, ficat, rinichi. Deoarece rolul ei primordial în celule este producerea energiei, în cea mai mare concentraţie se găseşte în membrana interioară mitocondrială.

 

În ce se găseşte?
Printre alimente, sursele cu cele mai mari concentraţii de coenzima Q10 sunt cărnurile şi peştele, fiind peste 50 mg/kilogram în inima de vită, porc şi pui şi în ficatul de pui. Printre legume, sursele cele mai bogate de Q10 sunt pătrunjelul şi perilla.

 

Ce rol are?
Joacă un rol esenţial în procesele metabolice de obţinere a energiei la nivelul celulelor. Are o funcţie dovedită în menţinerea nivelului de energie al organismului. În plus, reduce stresul oxidativ, adică formarea radicalilor liberi, prin exercitarea unui efect antioxidant general.
Cantitatea de coenzimă Q10 scade natural cu înaintarea în vârstă. De aici porneşte ipoteza că ubichinona poate fi o componentă a reţetei tinereţii, motiv pentru care se recomandă suplimentarea ei la vârstnici.

 



Glucozamină

Ce este glucozamina?
Este un compus din familia carbohidraţilor, a cărui moleculă, pe lângă componentele generale ale unei hidrocarburi, carbon, hidrogen şi oxigen, conţine şi nitrogen. Grupa se mai numeşte şi aminozaharuri, unde prefixul amin- indică prezenţa nitrogenului.

 

În ce se găseşte?
Glucozamina este o substanţă naturală produsă din carapacea cu chitină a animalelor marine.

 

Ce rol are?
Glucozamina poate contribui la menţinerea structurii şi funcţiei cartilajelor articulare ale organismului şi se presupune că are proprietăţi antiinflamatorii. S-a aplicat în terapia artrozelor în fază uşoară şi de gravitate medie, în prevenţia şi tratarea inflamaţiilor articulaţiilor osoase (categoria de medicamente). Glucozamina din surse externe suplimentează deficitul din organismul, ajută la sinteza proteoglicanilor, astfel putând încetini procesele de deteriorare a cartilajelor din organismul pacienţilor care suferă de artroză. Simptomele clinice ale procesului patologic pot fi atenuate, iar cartilajele afectate se pot regenera şi reforma treptat. Timpul necesar pentru dezvoltarea efectului este de cel puţin 2-3 săptămâni, acesta putând fi prezent timp de câteva săptămâni şi după încetarea administrării. Afecţiuni ale articulaţiilor şi cartilajelor apar des la sportivi, la persoanele care efectuează muncă fizică grea şi la persoanele supraponderale, ele fiind însoţite de dureri ale genunchilor, coatelor şi umerilor. Glucozamina poate contribui la menţinerea sănătăţii articulaţiilor, cartilajelor, tendoanelor, şi poate fi eficientă în regenerarea cartilajelor şi poate preveni deteriorarea continuă prin întreţinerea acestora printr-o aşa-zisă „lubrifiere“.



Luteină

Ce este de fapt luteina?
Luteina, ca şi betacarotenul, aparţine familiei compuşilor carotenoidelor. Sursele principale sunt spanacul şi alte legume cu frunze verzi închise.

 

În ce se găseşte?
Mai ales în legumele colorate, în special în spanac, crucifere, dar se regăseşte într-o cantitate mai mică sau mai mare în aproape toate legumele.

 

Ce rol are?
Luteina şi zeaxanthina sunt pigmenţi galbeni care absorb lumina albastră – lumina care de altfel poate produce deteriorarea ochilor. Organismul uman nu poate produce luteina indispensabilă pentru vedere, de aceea aceasta trebuie introdusă prin alimentaţie.



delGinseng

What is ginseng?
Ginseng is from the mountainous area of the northern region of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast region of China (Manchuria), but it also grows wild at places. It is a 40-60 cm high plant but may grow as high as 1 meter. Its straight stem has a reddish colour, on the top of which there are five egg-shaped compound leaves. It is an umbelliferous plant; its pink flowers convert into pea-sized, shiny, red fruits. Its roots are fork-shaped, consisting of a main root, thicker side-roots and rootlets. The form of some roots resembles a human figure. In addition to the most demanded and most significant Chinese or Korean ginseng, other species of ginseng are also grown, as the natural stands of these former ones have run low considerably. This plant is extremely respected in East Asia; a large-size root makes an outstanding and valuable gift.
 

Which part is utilised?
The root is used, ground into powder the most frequently or its active substance content extracted. White ginseng root is whitened with sulphur dioxide immediately after harvest, then it is dried in the sun or by using artificial heat. Red ginseng root is produced by hot steam treatment of the harvested roots prior to drying.
 

What is it good for?
The Chinese also call ginseng jensen, (man root) owing to its shape. This name is proper also because it is a remedy for a number of diseases, and it is an increasingly recognised herb in Hungary too. It has two types, namely the Chinese and the Siberian ginsengs. We know that the first and natural reaction to stress is that the adrenal gland gets the organism prepared for the approaching „danger“. In this case, the adrenal gland releases adrenaline and so-called stress hormones. An abnormal state emerges if this response reaction comes too early, and continues for a long time. Ginseng has a beneficial effect on the adrenal gland, increases its tone and helps its appropriate functioning, thus ensuring the organism’s resistance to stress. It is excellent for restoring the strength of weak or convalescent patients, increasing the sense of being energetic, improving mental and physical performance. It stimulates the production of specific immune cells responsible for destroying harmful viruses and bacteria in the organism. In general, it has a normalising function, it strengthens the whole organism irrespective of the direction of pathologic states, so it stimulates when needed, but relaxes and eases where necessary. Siberian ginseng is recommended for milder cases, but when the functioning of the adrenal gland is weak, in other words, when the effects of stress can clearly be detected, the consumption of Chinese ginseng is recommended. According to some, it also has a beneficial effect on muscle functioning and energy utilisation owing to which, many body builders and long-distance runners take ginseng. It delays the feeling of fatigue, and increases the production of endorphin, the so-called "happiness-hormone".



delInositol

What role does it play in the organism?
Its active form, phosphatidylinositol regulates the functioning of cell membranes, contributes to their intactness, and also plays a role in the stimulus transmission of nerves and the transportation of fats within the organism.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Good dietary sources of inositol are beans, walnuts and hazelnuts.

 

Who are exposed to inositol deficiency and what does this deficiency state cause?
Increased inositol-loss was detected in people with diabetes. No specific disease indicating inositol deficiency is known.
 

What is the recommended intake for inositol?
The recommended intake is not defined precisely.
 

What are the health risks of excessive inositol intake?
No symptoms referring to inositol-overdose were observed even when taking 500 mg of it a day.



delLycopene

What is Lycopene?
The lycopene molecule contains 40 carbon atoms and 56 hydrogen atoms. The carbon atoms in its molecule are arranged in a long chain in an acyclic (not in a repeated) way. It is a colouring matter with an antioxidant effect belonging to the family of the so-called carotenoids. Lycopene is present in a number of plants, fruits and berries, in addition to which tomato, watermelon and rose-hip need to be mentioned.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
It is responsible for the bright colour of tomato and red pepper. Carotene colours carrots, cantaloupes and winter squashes orange, lycopene colours fruits and vegetables red. It is lycopene that colours blood oranges red and the pulp of grapefruits pink. Few know that the original yellow colour of tomato has turned red as a result of centuries of careful cultivation. It is important, because although the family of carotenoids responsible for the colours of fruits and vegetables is very large, modern man gains lycopene, the pigment with an antioxidant effect nearly exclusively from tomato.
 

What role does it play?
Lycopene’s preventive role in the formation of tumour diseases is supported by a number of statistical and study data. Its beneficial physiological effect can be explained mainly with its powerful antioxidant attributes. Today, there are no reliable data about the Hungarian population’s lycopene-supply. The effect of lycopene on health is under constant examination, but it can scientifically be revealed that it might play a considerable role in the prevention of numerous chronic diseases, including the cancer of the prostate gland, heart diseases and old-age blindness. With its antioxidant effect, lycopene reduces the organism‘s visible (wrinkles on the skin) and invisible signs of ageing.
 

Study findings
Researchers of the Harvard University could reveal it in a study with the inclusion of 48 000 men, under way for more than 6 years now that among men who consumed dishes containing tomato or tomato sauce at least 10 times a week, the chance of the emergence of the cancer of the prostate gland was 45% lower. The study also verified that lycopene was capable of reducing the level of the so-called „bad“ cholesterol (LDL), owing to which the risk of the formation of heart diseases was also lower.
The researchers of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam revealed in their mouse experiments that synthetic lycopene slows the progression of tumour diseases. In their comparative study, they examined the effect of synthetic lycopene in mice with implanted (in fact contaminated with) human tumour cells. According to their findings, by Day 42 of the trial period, the substance slowed the development of the tumour by more than 50%. Combined with vitamin E, the treatment proved even more efficacious, in this case they found a reduction of 73%. Other studies point out that our skin’s lycopene content is the first defence line of our organism against the energy of the sun, when it comes to sunbathing, so lycopene is important in the protection of the health and beauty of our skin.



delPara-aminobenzoic Acid (PABA)

What role does it play in the organism?
PABA was previously considered to belong to B vitamins. Today we know that it is not a nutrient of vital importance, but it is essential for particular microorganisms (intestinal bacteria). These bacteria belong to the so-called normal flora of the organism, what is more, as mentioned elsewhere, they are also beneficial, e.g. they produce vitamins and drive back harmful bacteria. PABA has an advantageous effect on the organism via these beneficial bacteria.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Cereals are good dietary PABA sources.
 

Who are exposed to PABA deficiency and what does this deficiency state cause?
No PABA deficiency disease is known in the human body.
 

What is the recommended intake for PABA?
There are no precise intake recommendations regarding PABA.
 

What are the health risks of excessive PABA- intake?
No side effects have been perceived even at an intake rate of 400 mg/day.



delRutin

What role does it play in the organism?
Rutin is a substance belonging to bioflavonoids. It also has an antioxidant effect, and reduces the fragility of capillaries.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
It is present in apples, citrus fruits and a number of other fruits.
 

Who are exposed to rutin deficiency and what does this deficiency state cause?
Its deficiency disease is not known in humans.
 

What are the health risks of excessive rutin intake?
Rutin is not alien to the organism. It does not cause any side effects under a daily intake of 60 mg.



delTaurine

What is taurine?
Taurine is an amino acid containing sulphur also found in the human body (amino acids are constituents of proteins), the highest quantity of which is in the brain and the nervous system. There is 1 gram of taurine in each kilogram of our body.
 

What foodstuffs contain it?
Its main sources are the fruits of the sea (mussels, crabs) and fish. It is present in its natural form also in other kinds of meat and mother’s milk. In mother’s milk, it is the amino acid in the second highest concentrate.
 

What role does it play?
It functions as an energy transmitter and detoxifier. It stabilises cell membranes and regulates calcium concentration. It takes part in the processes of performance and health protection in various ways, like the regulation of fluids in muscle cells, the transport of minerals, it has an effect on insulin and adrenaline levels, metabolism, fat digestion, the immune system, the cholesterol level, as well as sperm and bile production.
Its presence is essential for the optimal development of the nervous system. If the taurine level is low in the organism, various disorders may arise, like the damage to the heart muscle, the abnormal development of the retina and the backwardness of growth. Taurine makes up 50% of all the free amino acid in the heart. It has a positive effect on the heart muscle and several studies show that it decreases blood pressure. Taurine helps in the regulation of the calcium level within the cells. So, if there is a sufficient level of taurine in the organism, the risk of the calcareous degeneration of the heart significantly decreases. Taurine is useful for the organism in a stressful state, exerting extreme energy, during mental activity and people with diabetes.
 

Study findings
In an experiment, taurine stimulated a glucose uptake into the cells equalling 50% of the insulin‘s capacity. In another experiment comparing insulin and taurine, taurine increased the uptake of an amino acid called proline. Interestingly enough, the insulin-taurine combination did not have a better result than the two substances separately. Similarly to glutamine, many consider taurine as decisively important for a good condition. Although normally, our organism produces some taurine, its deficiency is manifested in the insufficient functioning of particular tissues.




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