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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How vitamins work

By Marshall Brain

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Every day of your life, chances are, you think about vitamins. You read about vitamin content on the nutritional label of every food you eat. Breakfast cereals and many drinks talk about vitamins right on the label. There are all the TV and radio spots advertising vitamins. You may even take a vitamin pill when you wake up.

It all begs the question: what, exactly, is a vitamin? Vitamin C, for example: What is it? And why do you need to "take" vitamin C every day?

Here is the basic definition of a vitamin: A vitamin is a small molecule that your body must have in order to carry out a certain chemical reaction. In some cases your body has no way to create vitamin molecules itself, so the vitamin molecules must come in through the food that you eat. In other cases your body has a way to make a vitamin molecule, but may not make enough. The human body is known to need at least 13 different vitamin molecules.

For example, your body needs vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. It is a very simple molecule containing 6 carbon atoms, 8 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms. Your body needs this molecule for several reasons, but most importantly because of collagen. When your body produces collagen, it performs a chain of chemical reactions, and the vitamin C molecule is an essential part of the chain. Since collagen is used in everything from skin to blood vessels, you can see how important vitamin C can be. Without it your blood vessels weaken, your teeth start to fall out, etc., and you eventually fall apart and die from a lack of collagen. All because of one missing molecule.

Vitamin D is another simple molecule that is incredibly important. We actually have the ability to produce vitamin D in our skin, but to do it we have to have regular exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Without enough sun exposure, people get different ailments depending on their age. In children, a lack of the vitamin D molecule causes rickets, which softens the bones and causes them to deform or break easily.

Why do we need to "take" these molecules? You can see that the human body is equipped to create its own vitamin D, but our lifestyles have changed. People "in the wild" lived outdoors and they got sun exposure every day. Modern humans can often spend days at a time indoors, especially in the winter, with very little sun exposure. So, to prevent rickets, we add vitamin D to milk and other foods just in case a child isn't getting enough naturally.

The case of vitamin C is even more interesting. You have probably noticed that dogs have absolutely no need for citrus fruits. On the other hand, human beings tend to enjoy them. In fact, if you were to become vitamin C deficient, you would think that something like an orange tastes fabulous, to the point where you might even eat the skin. The reason why dogs don't have any interest in citrus fruits is because they, like most animals, produce their own vitamin C molecules inside their own bodies. Human beings, like many other ape species, lost this ability because of genetic damage that occurred somewhere in the evolutionary chain. Apparently, at some point during the evolutionary process, the vitamin C gene was damaged. But our ancestors got enough vitamin C in their diets so that it did not matter. We inherited this damaged gene, so humans must get vitamin C from food as well.

Although we know the basics, we still have a lot to learn about vitamins. For example, we know for sure that if you don't get any vitamin C, you will die. But many people believe that if you take massive amounts of vitamin C, there is a health benefit. Is this true? Recent research suggests that it probably is not true. Vitamin K wasn't really understood until the 1970s, and we are still learning about it. There may be a few other vitamins lurking out there waiting to be discovered.

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Previously:


How ejection seats work
How reattaching limbs works
How hot air balloons work
How paparazzi work
How counterfeiting works
How CDs work
How the Edsel worked
How Stinger missiles work
How hybrid cars work
How sharks work
How mosquitoes work
How diesel engines work
How water towers work
How the Dawn mission works
How Kassam rockets work
How the North American Eagle works
Why aren't we flying to work?
How tofu and soy milk work
How Colony Collapse Disorder works
How airbags work
How the U.S. income tax works
How gum works
How caffeine works
How Daylight Saving Time works
How a cruise missile works
How snow making works

© 2007, How Stuff Works Inc. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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