Vitamin B

Vitamin B is a complex of eight water soluble vitamins active in cell metabolism. They include Thiamine (vitamin B1), Riboflavin (vitamin B2, also called vitamin G), Niacin (vitamin B3, also called vitamin P), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), Pyridoxine and Pyridoxamine (vitamin B6), Biotin (vitamin B7, also called vitamin H), Folic acid (vitamin B9, also called vitamin M) and Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).

Note: This review is not meant to be a comprehensive or definitive glossary, but rather to identify each vitamin’s function and highlight recent research findings of each of the B vitamins.

Health Benefits of Bananas

My daughter loves Bananas, as do I. We both eat one for breakfast everyday. Not only do bananas taste great, but they provide a number of health benefits for children. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology a few years ago showed an association between regular consumption of bananas/oranges and orange juice in children from ages 0-2 and a reduction in the risk of childhood leukemia diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 14 years [1]. The results suggested that fruits or fruit juices containing vitamin C and/or potassium may reduce the risk of childhood leukemia, especially if they are consumed on a regular basis during the first 2 years of life. A separate study published this year found evidence that a higher consumption of bananas and apple juice from concentrate may protect against wheezing in children [2].

The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a system for rating carbohydrates, or saccharides, based on their immediate effect on the blood glucose level. An organic compound, glucose is a simple sugar or monosaccharide. Glucose is the principle sugar circulating in the blood; all cells use glucose as a source of energy and as a metabolic intermediate. Found in plants, glucose is the product of photosynthesis (the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of a glucose molecule). Biologically active glucose is often referred to as dextrose. Glucose is often incorrectly referred to as table sugar – table sugar is a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose.

Decrease in US Cancer Deaths

In 2003, cancer deaths in the United States decreased by 369 deaths compared to 2002, the first drop seen since 1930. In 2004, the decrease in cancer deaths was eight times greater – 3,014 deaths – than in 2003, according to a report published in the latest issue of the American Cancer Society (ACS) journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians [1].

Experts are attributing the decreases to declines in smoking, earlier detection and more effective treatment of tumors. The three most common cancers — breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer – show a decrease in death rates, with the largest change from colorectal cancer. Experts attribute much of the credit for the reduction in colorectal cancer to screening exams and the early detection of polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are organic compounds containing an amino group (NH2), a carboxylic group (COOH) and any of various side chain groups. There are twenty amino acids encoded by the genetic code, referred to as the standard amino acids. The basic components of proteins, amino acids form short polymers (meaning a long molecule made up of a chain of smaller, simpler molecules) called peptides or longer polymers called polypeptides or proteins. Additionally, amino acids can function as chemical messengers and as intermediates in metabolism.