Protein (Whey, Pea) Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, as well as produce enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein and, therefore, has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.
Clinical studies consistently show that high-protein diets increase satiety and decrease hunger compared with high-fat or high-carbohydrate diets. In addition, most of the studies reviewed showed that most people on high-protein diets displayed a 10 percent reduction in overall caloric intake.
Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbs — along with regular exercise — are often believed by experts to reduce blood fats. Protein also helps maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel, and this happens without dieters being sidetracked with constant hunger. Researchers don't understand exactly how protein works to reduce appetite, but believe that it may be because protein causes the brain to receive lower levels of appetite-stimulating hormones.
Vitamin A Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Sources of vitamin A include organ meats (such as liver and kidney), egg yolks, butter, carrot juice, squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, peaches, fortified dairy products and cod liver oil. Vitamin A is also part of a family of compounds including retinol, retinal and beta-carotene. All the body’s tissues use vitamin A for normal growth and repair.
Vitamin C Vitamin C is found in peppers (sweet, green, red, hot red and green chili), citrus fruits and brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, spinach, guava, kiwi fruit, currants and strawberries. Nuts and grains contain small amounts of vitamin C. It is important to note that cooking destroys vitamin C activity. The body does not manufacture vitamin C on its own, nor does it store it. Therefore, vitamin C must be acquired through diet.
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) Thiamin plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and nerve function. Thiamin is required for a healthy nervous system and assists in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is naturally found in meats, liver, beef, pork, eggs, whole milk, cheese, whole wheat bread and fish. Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal products, with small amounts derived from fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh, and peanuts. Vitamin B12, when ingested, is stored in the liver and other tissues for later use. Vitamin B12 itself is responsible for maintaining optimum energy levels as it plays a vital role in the Krebs energy cycle.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) Vitamin B2 is found in liver, dairy products, dark green vegetables and some types of seafood. Vitamin B2 serves as a co-enzyme, working with other B vitamins. Vitamin B2 plays a crucial role in turning food into energy as a part of the electron transport chain, driving cellular energy on the micro-level. Vitamin B2 aids in the breakdown of fats while functioning as a cofactor or helper in activating B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B2 is water-soluble and cannot be stored by the body except in insignificant amounts; thus, it must be replenished daily. The riboflavin coenzymes are also important for the transformation of vitamin B6 and folic acid into their active forms and for the conversion of tryptophan into niacin.
Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B6) Poultry, fish, whole grains and bananas are the main dietary sources of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is required for hemoglobin synthesis. It is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in brain and peripheral nerve cells.
Vitamin D3 Regular sunlight exposure is the main way that most humans get their vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D are vitamin D-fortified milk (100 IU per cup), cod liver oil, and fatty fish such as salmon. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and supports the production of several proteins involved in calcium absorption and storage.
Vitamin E The most valuable sources of dietary vitamin E include vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds, avocados and wheat germ. Safflower oil contains large amounts of vitamin E and there are trace amounts in corn oil and soybean oil. Vitamin E is actually a family of related compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols. The main health benefit of supplemental vitamin E comes from its immune-boosting antioxidant activity. It also promotes the normal healing of wounds and is known to promote cardiovascular health. Vitamin E is one of the most powerful fat-soluble antioxidants in the body. Vitamin E protects cell membranes from free radical damage.
Calcium The highest concentration of calcium is found in milk. Other foods rich in calcium include vegetables such as collard greens, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, broccoli, bok choy and tofu. Calcium is an essential mineral with a wide range of biological roles. In bone, calcium accounts for approximately 40 percent of bone weight. The skeleton has a structural requisite and acts as a storehouse for calcium.
Magnesium Foods rich in magnesium include unpolished grains, nuts and green vegetables. Green leafy vegetables are potent sources of magnesium because of their chlorophyll content. Meats, starches, dairy products and refined and processed foods contain low amounts of magnesium. Recent research shows that many people’s diets are deficient in magnesium. The average daily magnesium intake in the U.S. for males is estimated to be about 323 milligrams; for females, it is estimated to be around 228 milligrams. Both of these are considerably less than the RDA of 400 and 360 milligrams, respectively.
Magnesium is a component of the mineralized part of bone and is necessary for the metabolism of potassium and calcium in adults. It is also important for the mobilization of calcium, transporting it inside the cell for further utilization. It plays a key role in the functioning of muscle and nervous tissue. Magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of all proteins, nucleic acids, nucleotides, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, lipids and carbohydrates.
Potassium Foods rich in potassium include fresh vegetables and fruits such as bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, avocado, raw spinach, cabbage and celery. Potassium is an essential macromineral that helps to keep fluid balance. It also plays a role in a wide variety of biochemical and physiological processes. Potassium is important in releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates during metabolism. Selenium The best dietary sources of selenium include nuts, unrefined grains, brown rice, wheat germ, and seafood. In the body, selenium functions as part of an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase as well as promoting normal growth and proper usage of iodine in thyroid functioning. Selenium also supports the antioxidant effect of vitamin E and is often added to vitamin E supplements. As part of the antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase, selenium plays a direct role in the body’s ability to protect cells from damage by free radicals.
Zinc (Lactate) Zinc is largely found in fortified cereals, red meats, eggs, poultry and certain seafood, including oysters. It is a component of multiple enzymes and proteins. It is also involved in the regulation of gene expression. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that has functions in approximately 300 different enzyme reactions. Thus, zinc plays a part in almost all biochemical pathways and physiological processes. More than 90 percent of the body’s zinc is stored in the bones and muscles, but zinc is also found in virtually all body tissues.
Biotin Biotin can be found in food sources, such as egg yolks, peanuts, beef liver, milk (10 mcg/cup), cereals, almonds and brewer’s yeast. Biotin is used for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, which is the process in which biochemical energy is generated during aerobic respiration. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic chemical conversions but also helps to transfer carbon dioxide.