B1 - The Vitamin for Friendship. I just couldn't resist that old pun for my nutrition article headline!

Have you wondered why nutrition articles make such an effort to engage you about enzymes, vocalize vitamin deficiencies, and tell tales of fish oils? I’ll explain why in this article!

First, why is there such an emphasis on enzymes? Enzymes are absolutely crucial to a healthy body. These are the proteins that help make many essential biochemical reactions happen in your body. Without enzymes, some of these reactions wouldn't happen at all; others would take place much more slowly and inefficiently.

While our bodies do produce their own enzymes, we need additional sources of enzymes from our food. However, enzymes are lacking in a typical American diet. Enzymes are only present in uncooked and unprocessed food. Even the processing of frozen vegetables may destroy critical enzymes! Increase your daily consumption of raw foods and you'll increase your enzyme levels.

Digestive enzymes control the process of turning the food we eat into a source of nutrients and a source of energy for every cell in the body. Vitamins and other nutrients require enzymes to transport them throughout the body and make use of them. All the food and nutritional supplements you consume do no good if they are not broken down by enzymes into simpler forms to be absorbed by the body.

Some enzymes can only function when paired with a particular vitamin or mineral called coenzymes. Magnesium is a very important coenzyme - it participates in over 300 enzyme reactions. Experts who study this nutrient believe a magnesium deficiency may be linked to heart disease and cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, diabetes and stress.

A coenzyme receiving recent publicity is CoQ10. CoQ10 is necessary for energy production. Organs such as the heart, pancreas, kidney and liver produce a great deal of energy and CoQ10 is essential for the efficiency of their functions. All plants and animals produce CoQ10 naturally; however, several other vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12, C and folate) must be present in order to do so. Now you begin to see how good nutrition fits together to help our bodies stay healthy. Foods that contain CoQ10 include wheat germ, soy, spinach, broccoli, meats, oily fish, vegetable oils, grapeseed oil, and rice bran.

And finally, we’ll mention the importance of fish oil. Supplementing a diet with fish oil is not a recent trend. Centuries ago, fishing communities of Scotland, Iceland, Norway and Greenland used it. In the late 1800s, malnourished children were dosed with cod liver oil to combat rickets. Or perhaps you heard your grandparents talk about taking a dose of cod liver oil for whatever ailed them. Today many researchers agree that Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) contained oily fish (such as cod) do have therapeutic applications.

We all have read the list of benefits but it's so important it bears repeating. Benefits of fish oil include lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the body, stopping the buildup of fatty deposits (triglycerides) in the arteries, increasing the body's HDL (good) cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation in the blood. Fish oil has also been used to treat conditions such as depression, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, macular degeneration and arthritis. Fish oil benefits the heart significantly, as well as the rest of the body.

You can eat wild caught (not farmed) cold-water fish (mackerel, tuna, salmon, and cod) twice a week. Many health organizations recommend limiting your consumption of fish to two portions per week due to the contaminants found in fish. Contaminants vary according to fish species and whether it was wild caught or farmed.

If you decide to supplement with fish oil capsules, be sure to look for a NSF or NNFA quality seal on the bottle. These seals ensure that an independent lab (not the manufacturer) confirmed the product contains less contaminants than allowed by the World Health Organization standards. Some researchers also recommend purchasing cold-pressed (sometimes called unrefined) product because the oil was not obtained via a chemical process. Some research indicates that the chemical process used by some manufacturers may damage the product.

Remember, it is always possible to consume too much of good thing. Please consult with your own health care provider to ensure consideration of your own special needs.

Author's Bio: 

Sue makes her home in Phoenix, AZ. She works globally as a quantum biofeedback practitioner and is the co-founder of Planet BioScan. Visit www.planetbioscan.com for information about how Planet BioScan can help you create your ideal future. Be sure to sign up for Energize!, Planet BioScan’s educational newsletter for the betterment of humans and animals.