5-HTP is an amino acid. Amino acids are substances that build proteins in your body. 5-HTP is related to serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, sleep, and pain. It is available as a supplement and is generally considered safe.
5-HTP supplements may raise levels of serotonin in the brain. Some studies have found that 5-HTP supplements help relieve depression. Some research showed that 5-HTP worked as well as some antidepressants.
5-HTP supplements also seem to help with fibromyalgia symptoms. In some studies, it's eased pain, morning stiffness, and sleep problems. People take 5-HTP for other conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, and obesity. There's not enough evidence to know whether it works for these conditions.
There's no standard dose for 5-HTP. For depression, dosages range from 150 to 300 milligrams a day. Ask your doctor for advice.
Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins found in food, especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. They include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. “Branched-chain” refers to the chemical structure of these amino acids. People use branched-chain amino acids for medicine.
Branched-chain amino acids are used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease), brain conditions due to liver disease (chronic hepatic encephalopathy, latent hepatic encephalopathy), a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia, a genetic disease called McArdle's disease, a disease called spinocerebellar degeneration, and poor appetite in elderly kidney failure patients and cancer patients. Branched-chain amino acids are also used to help slow muscle wasting in people who are confined to bed.
Some people use branched-chain amino acids to prevent fatigue and improve concentration.
Athletes use branched-chain amino acids to improve exercise performance and reduce protein and muscle breakdown during intense exercise.
Healthcare providers give branched-chain amino acids intravenously (by IV) for sudden brain swelling due to liver disease (acute hepatic encephalopathy) and also when the body has been under extreme stress, for example after serious injury or widespread infection.
Branched-chain amino acids stimulate the building of protein in muscle and possibly reduce muscle breakdown. Branched-chain amino acids seem to prevent faulty message transmission in the brain cells of people with advanced liver disease, mania, tardive dyskinesia, and anorexia.
Bones are the framework for your body. Bone is living tissue that changes constantly, with bits of old bone being removed and replaced by new bone.
During childhood and adolescence, much more bone is deposited than withdrawn, so the skeleton grows in both size and density. Up to 90 percent of bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys, which makes youth the best time to “invest” in your bone health. The amount of bone tissue in the skeleton, known as bone mass, can keep growing until around age 30. At that point, bones have reached their maximum strength and density, known as peak bone mass. In women, there tends to be minimal change in total bone mass between age 30 and menopause. But in the first few years after menopause, most women experience rapid bone loss, which then slows but continues throughout the postmenopausal years.
This loss of bone mass can lead to osteoporosis. Given the knowledge that high peak bone density reduces osteoporosis risk later in life, it makes sense to pay more attention to those factors that affect peak bone mass. Bone mass is influenced by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. It has been suggested that genetic factors (those you were born with and cannot change, like your gender and race) may account for up to 75 percent of bone mass, while environmental factors (like your diet and exercise habits) account for the remaining 25 percent.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but levels are particularly high in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.
Coenzymes help enzymes work to digest food and perform other body processes, and they help protect the heart and skeletal muscles.
CoQ10 is available in the United States as a dietary supplement. It is also known as Q10, vitamin Q10, Ubiquinone, or Ubidecarenone.
Many claims are made about CoQ10. It is said to help heart failure, as well as cancer, muscular dystrophy, and periodontal disease. It is also said to boost energy and speed recovery from exercise. Some people take it to help reduce the effects certain medicines can have on the heart, muscles, and other organs.
If you have heart failure, talk to your doctor before you take any supplement. There's no strong evidence that vitamins or other supplements can help treat heart failure. They are used along with medical heart failure treatments, not instead of treatment.
But you may still hear about CoQ10 supplements and heart failure. CoQ10 has not been shown definitely to relieve heart failure symptoms. Only some of the studies of coenzyme Q10 showed that it helps heart failure symptoms
In 1961, scientists saw that people with cancer had little CoQ10 in their blood. They found low CoQ10 blood levels in people with myeloma, lymphoma, and cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, pancreas, colon, kidney, and head and neck. Some research has suggested that CoQ10 helps the immune system and may be useful as a secondary treatment for cancer.
CoQ10 may keep the anti-tumor drug Doxorubicin from hurting the heart. Three studies examined the use of CoQ10 along with conventional treatment for cancer. The three studies contained a total of 41 women with breast cancer. In each study, the women improved.
In a nutshell, it’s wise to make sure your diet is complete with all the nutrients needed for health and wellness.
Healthy eating remains the best source of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. A multivitamin is not a substitute for healthy food or a healthy lifestyle, but it can provide a nutritional back-up for a less-than-ideal diet. "If your diet eliminates whole food groups or you don’t eat enough variety of foods -- you would benefit from a once-daily multivitamin," says Karen Ansel, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and potassium as nutrients of concern for inadequate intake in adults and children. All of these nutrients, except fiber, come packaged in a multivitamin. Fiber can be obtained as a separate supplement, but it's still best to try to get all your fiber from the foods you eat.
Although some evidence questions the benefit of a daily multivitamin and its ability to stave off disease, many people add them to their diet to maintain or boost health.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements. Multivitamins are the most commonly used supplement, with 40% of men and women reporting they take a daily multivitamin.
The Harvard School of Public Health suggests a once daily multivitamin with extra vitamin D for most people as a nutritional back-up. The Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University suggests taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement with 100% of the Daily Value (DV) for most vitamins and essential minerals to maintain health.
NADH stands for "nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) + hydrogen (H)." This chemical occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in the chemical process that generates energy. People use NADH supplements as medicine.
NADH is used for improving mental clarity, alertness, concentration, and memory; as well as for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Because of its role in energy production, NADH is also used for improving athletic endurance and treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Some people use NADH for treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, jet lag, depression, and Parkinson’s disease; boosting the immune system; opposing alcohol’s effects on the liver and the hormone testosterone; reducing signs of aging; and protecting against the side effects of an AIDS drug called zidovudine (AZT).
Healthcare providers sometimes give NADH by intramuscular (IM) or intravenous (IV) injection for Parkinson's disease and depression.
NADH produced by our bodies is involved in making energy in the body. While there is some evidence that suggests NADH supplements might reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help chronic fatigue syndrome by providing energy, and increase nerve signals for people with Parkinson's disease.
Part of a molecule (hemoglobin) found in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body; needed for energy metabolism
Organ meats; red meats; fish; poultry; shellfish (especially clams); egg yolks; legumes; dried fruits; dark, leafy greens; iron-enriched breads and cereals; and fortified cereals
Part of many enzymes; needed for making protein and genetic material; has a function in taste perception, wound healing, normal fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth and sexual maturation, immune system health
Meats, fish, poultry, leavened whole grains, vegetables
Found in thyroid hormone, which helps regulate growth, development, and metabolism
Seafood, foods grown in iodine-rich soil, iodized salt, bread, dairy products
Meats, seafood, grains
Part of many enzymes; needed for iron metabolism
Legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, organ meats, drinking water
Part of many enzymes
Widespread in foods, especially plant foods
Involved in formation of bones and teeth; helps prevent tooth decay
Drinking water (either fluoridated or naturally containing fluoride), fish, and most teas
Works closely with insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels
Unrefined foods, especially liver, brewer's yeast, whole grains, nuts, cheeses
Part of some enzymes
Legumes; breads and grains; leafy greens; leafy, green vegetables; milk; liver
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