Zinc

Zinc (Zn) is an essential mineral in the body for the functioning of many enzymes. It is obtained from a wide range of foods in the diet, and the recommended daily intake is 12 mg a day in adults. The amount present in the body can be measured by a…

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Xanthomatosis

Xanthomatosis is a complication of excess cholesterol in the blood that settles in the skin. Small, fatty, yellow lumps appear that are almost on top of the skin. Xanthomatosis most commonly develop around the eyes, on the knees, elbows and buttocks. Diet and medication can lower blood cholesterol levels, but skin…

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Weight Loss

Weight loss that is not easily explained is a significant symptom that needs to be investigated by a doctor. Diseases that increase metabolic rate (the rate at which the body’s basic functions work), a lack of nutrition, an increase in exercise, excessive sweating, an inability to absorb food (malabsorption), diarrhoea…

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Weight Guide

As a guide to the healthy weight range, the following table can be consulted, but it should be used in conjunction with other measures such as body mass index, waist-hip ratio and skinfold thickness. The desirable weight varies with age and body build between the ranges listed below. A very…

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Weight Gain

Weight gain (or loss) is really a function of energy (calories or kilojoules) in and energy out. If the energy in exceeds energy out, weight will increase, as food is merely a form of energy for our bodies, in the same way that petrol is the energy source for a…

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Waist-Hip Ratio

One useful statistic in the measurement of obesity is the ratio between the circumference of the waist at the umbilicus and the hips. In men a waist-hip ratio of greater than 1.0 indicates an increased risk from obesity, while in women a ratio of greater than 0.8 is a risk. A…

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Vitamin K (phytomenadione/phylloquinone)

Essential for the clotting of blood, vitamin K (phytomenadione or phylloquinone) is fat-soluble and is found in most vegetables, particularly those with green leaves. It is also manufactured by bacteria living in the gut.  It is not commonly used clinically. It is named vitamin K because it was originally called …

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Vitamin H (Biotin)

Biotin (vitamin H) has no specific medical use, but is used in the body to assist in the break down of fatty acids and assists the body in its utilisation of proteins, folic acid and vitamin B12. It is found in egg yolk, unpolished rice, peanuts, cauliflower, liver and mushrooms.…

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Vitamin E

Readily available in most foods, vitamin E (tocopherols) is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant. High doses may cause serious diseases and abnormalities including blood clots, high blood pressure, breast tumours, headaches, tiredness and diarrhoea. It may be harmful to the foetus in pregnancy, and prevent blood clotting…

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