Muchbeforethe ideaofsupple- mentsorfad
iets,wedep-ended on the body’s metabolic wisdom to store good
nutrients and get rid of
those becoming toxic.
Somewhere along the way,
native wisdom brought in
the idea of fasting during
Through these customs,
which were usually tied to
the lunar cycle and therefore
connected to the change in
weather conditions, the
body was taught to balance
its nutrient levels to safe
During certain seasons
having less iron content in
the blood was a plus point,
because high levels attract
bacteria and therefore infections. This astonishing fact
was first realized during the
plagues, when it was found
that those who were anemic
did not contract the plague
like those whose blood iron
content was high.
This may explain how
instinctive wisdom sought to
cut down iron-rich foods
through fasting just ahead of
those seasons when the environment attracts infections!
Certain vitamins or nutrients
are flushed out by the body
when they reach toxic levels,
others may be metabolized.
But some may reach toxic levels which may be difficult to
trace since the symptoms can
In this an age of supplemen-tation and self-prescription,
the dangers of toxicity is more
in evidence now than before.
Five questions that should
open your eyes against over-
dosing on nutrients that may
otherwise be good for your
1. It is very crucial for bone
development but when overdosed, can cause bone loss. It
also prevents aging, keeps skin
and hair healthy. What is it?
A. Vitamin A
B. Vitamin B
C. Vitamin C
2. Dried, cracked lips and
even low energy levels are a
symptom of folic acid deficien-
cy. Its deficiency has also been
linked to birth defects. You
will find a lot of food products
today fortified with folates.
However which of the follow-
ing symptoms occur when you
have high levels of folic acid?
B. Indicated in epilepsy medication (interfering with it)
C. Block anemia symptoms
D. All of the above
3. If you get if from sunlight,
it is safe. But if taken through
supplements you may suffer
from its toxicity. Which of the
following nutrient/mineral are
we talking of?
A. Vitamin B
B. Vitamin D
C. Vitamin E
4. Because of its association with healthy skin
and a vigorous sex drive
Vitamin E is a much-toasted nutrient. But in
excess this too can be
toxic. Which of these
problems is a result of an
A. Interference with
B. Skin rash
5. Calcium is one of the
most important minerals
in your body. Its function
covers every aspect —
B. Spinal problems
C. Tooth sensitivity
D. Kidney stones
Shameem Akthar, yogacharya,
trained with Trivandrum's
Sivanananda Yoga Vedanta
Centre, gives you five
variations of the triangle pose,
which will help you progress
from the basic to its advanced
For more of Shameem's
yoga writings visit
om. A n s w ers:
1. Vita min A:isthe bestvita minforyourskin and hair.It helpsim prove vision, especiallythe abilityto seein dim light, boostsim m unity, pre- vents aging and controls dandruff. But when overdosed,itcan cause hypervita minosis A.This can affect absorption of otherfat-soluble vita- mins and nutrients neededforyour health,like Vita min D.It can cause bone resorption which m eans bonelesions,bone weakness,fractures. Itcan hittheliverthe hardest. W henthisvita- min is accessed through high levels of betac- arotene,the skin islikelyto turn an unnatural orange colour.Itis saidto cause birth defectsif pregnant wo m en overdose onit.
2. Allthe above: Interestingly folic acid is essentialforiron absorption. Buthighlevels has the oppositeim pact, blocks sy m pto m s ofperni- cious ane mia and can be dangerous becauseit limits detection.Itcan da m agethe nervoussys- te m. Possibly becauseitelevates m ood, or pre- vents depression,it hasthe oppositeim pact of stim ulatingthe nervoussyste m andthusleadsto sleeplessness.It also interferes with certain m edications,likethoseforanti-seizure.
3. Vita min D:Itis saidto bethe m osttoxic of the vita mins when taken in excess.Itis best accessed through sunlight, or through food. Toxicity can cause nausea, induce vo miting, upsetthe sto m ach,causeloose m otions,setoff headaches, and even cause depression. This stateis called hypervita minosis D and can sup- press appetite and have a diuretic effect.
4. Interfere n c e w ith m e dic atio n s: It als o i m p a cts dia b etics in a si m ilar fa s hio n. B e c a u s e of this, it w o uld b e u n wis e to ta k e s u p ple m e nts o n y o ur o w n.If y o u h a ve a m e dic al c o n ditio n a n d n e e d to b e u n d er m e dic atio n, y o u d o ctor s h o uld d efinitely k n o w th at y o u are ta kin g Vita m in E s u p ple m e nts.
5. Kid n ey sto n es: Exc e ssive c alciu m — eve n fro m h e althy ve g eta ble s a n d fruits — - c a n c a u s e sto n e s. C alciu m crystals w hic h c a n n ot b e h a n- dle d by th e kid n eys turn into sto n e s. S o m e n atu- ral fo o d s, lik e n uts, are als o hig h in c alciu m ox alate s a n d c a n c a u s e this pro ble m . T his pro b- le m c a n b e exa c erb ate d d u e to d e hy dratio n. Exc e ssive c alciu m c a n als o blo c k a b s orptio n of oth er m in erals or n utrie nts. Vitamin sense Shameem Akthar takes you through a quiz on these nutrients
The other thing it does is that it gives me
an opinion, a moment for an opinion. For
all these years, over 40 years of my career,
when I wanted to express myself or give an
opinion, I had to talk to people like you (the
media). What you thought about it and how
you interpreted it was your point of view.
There were moments when perhaps my
viewpoint was not correctly put
across. Now, I have the opportunity to correct an error.
If I have made an error, I have the opportunity to apologize.
It’s a wonderful way of communi-
cating. The world is just so together now
and nothing is beyond reach. It’s a wonder-
ful feeling that we are connected to the
entire universe almost at the press of a but-
ton. Never would have anyone thought this
would happen, but it has and it’s fantastic.
Is social media the best way to communi-
cate and stay connected with your fans?
Now I have an extended family, which I
call my EF, and they are all very dedicated,
emotional and together.
I am happy that when they started coming
on to this platform, they only knew me but
now, some of them know each other and
they communicate, meet and travel together.
For me, that’s a great moment.
People from United States, Europe,
Russia, South Africa and all over the world,
travel just to come and meet me and come
and live with the local EF here because they
know them. It’s a fantastic feeling of a family coming together.
And yes, if I can communicate with them
and tell them what is going on in my life or
what is to be expected, it just helps me in
conveying (it). n
SHAILESH ANDRADE/REU TERS