Since recently launching this series of blog posts in which we provide alphabetized lists of nutritional supplements and other products aimed at benefiting your health, we have touched on the B's and C's. Our intent was not to go strictly in alphabetical order, but being that we started with B and then went to C, we decided it made sense to circle back and bring some A's into the picture before we get further down the road. So here goes – seven items beginning with the letter A for you to consider in further stocking your pantry and medicine cabinet. If you have any questions about the items listed below and their potential benefits, be sure to discuss them with your doctor or other health-care professional in as affiliated field, such as a licensed nutritionist:
- Vitamin A. Also referred to as retinol (or retinoic acid), vitamin A is a nutrient with antioxidant properties. That means it helps guard your body's cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, per mayoclinic.org. Vitamin A also plays a key part in a person's vision, growth, and immunity, among other roles. On top of all that, keep a lookout for kids afflicted with measles – they run a higher risk of an A deficiency.
- Acetyl-l carnitine. Just like the name implies, acetyl-L-carnitine is made from the amino acid L-carnitine, which is produced naturally by your body, per webmd.com. Its main function is to convert fat into energy – many of us could use plenty of help in that regard (kill two birds with one stone). Among the other benefits it can reportedly impart include improving cognition, alleviating nerve pain, treating alcohol use disorder and bipolar disorder, and helping in cases of infertility, among other health issues.
- Activated charcoal. Not to be confused with the black briquettes you use for grilling, activated charcoal, once referred to as the universal antidote, per healthline.com, offers several well-known benefits, to include reducing cholesterol, curing hangovers, and whitening teeth. It's actually a fine black powder consisting of bone char and several other ingredients (such as peat and coconut shells). It's probably best known for ridding the body of toxins and poisons because of its ability to attract and trap such unwanted substances in your gut, aiding in the elimination of them from your body.
- Alfalfa leaves. Alfalfa is low on calories but packed with nutrients that run the gamut from minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorous to an assortment of vitamins, to include C and K, per verywellhealth.com. Among the health issues it has shown a healthy appetite for dealing with are high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, urinary tract disorders, premenstrual syndrome, and lackluster breast milk production.
- Aloe vera. This popular medicinal plant – you want some of this stuff in hand if your child is feeling the pain of sunburn – has a knack for storing water in its leaves and has proven quite adept at treating skin injuries, as you might have guessed. Per medicalnewstoday,com, alfalfa leaves are thick, their tissues filled with water that form the basis of the gel most closely linked to aloe vera's use. The gel contains a number of beneficial bioactive mixtures, among them minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.
- Apple cider vinegar. Many references to home remedies include apple cider vinegar on the short list of popular supplements. This is because the vinegar's acidic liquid has demonstrated antimicrobial properties effective against the likes of E. coli and norovirus, per singlecare.com. Not only can apple cider vinegar fight infection, heal wounds, and help regulate blood sugar levels, it can also play a role in weight loss, lowering cholesterol, diminishing heart risks, and improving hair health.
- Ashwagandha. Also known in scientific terms as Withania comnifera, per getroman.com, tashwagandha has been used in medical treatments dating back centuries to Ayurvedic medicine, and it also goes by Indian ginseng and winter cherry. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, putting it in a family of herbs and roots familiar to alternative medicine practitioners and known to help alleviate a variety of stressors, both physical and mental. Much of the plant's medicinal potency emanates from what are called withanolides. These are steroidal lactones that, once consumed, must be absorbed and pass through your intestinal wall to provide benefits. These health benefits can include lowering blood sugar levels as well as cortisol levels while increasing muscle mass and strength, and improving heart health and brain function.