- Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene)
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
- Folic Acid
- PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Only whole food vitamins should be consumed. Your first reaction may be to compare the Recommended Daily Allowance or Reference Daily Intake (RDI) to the established standard. However, there is a difference between whole foods and synthetics, and your body knows it. There are 3 basic supplement types available on the market today:
- Natural: Natural means vitamins as found in natural foods, untampered in any way that might change their molecular, their biological or biochemical combinations, or their action. This usually means that only the fiber and moisture are removed. All labels of truly natural food concentrates should indicate the exact food source from which the vitamin is obtained.
- Crystaline: Means it had a natural food as it original source but was treated with various high powered chemicals, solvents, heat and distillations to reduce it down to one specific, pure crystalline vitamin or amino acid and hence is no longer natural.
- Synthetic: Means that in the laboratory the scientist has reconstructed the exact structure of the crystalline molecule by putting together or chemically combining the same molecules from other sources. Chemically, therefore, there is no difference between the two. On the label for either synthetic or crystalline only the chemical name of the single vitamin is usually given. Legally it is not necessary to give the source from which the synthetic chemical is derived.
Because of processing, lost vitamins were added back into the product. But, in an effort to revitalize the product chemical man-made vitamins were used instead of natural sources.
High potency is a much-abused term. Test animals on a high potency enriched diet do not live as long as those on the same low vitamin diet without the enrichment. The apparent benefits derived from laboratory-made vitamins are short-lived, and after a time, the benefit is reversed.
Natural food complex supplements are typically of a low dose. It is sometimes difficult to envision that such small amounts of a natural substance could be so efficacious. Then again, nature does not supply micronutrients (essential nutrients required in small amounts) in large amounts in any natural food.
It is folly and impossible to attempt to equate the doses for a synthetic supplement to the dose of a natural food concentrate – as they are entirely different substances with different effects. The effects of natural and synthetics are wholly different. The dosages have no relationship on a comparative basis.
Hopefully you will begin to understand more fully that:
- There is a difference between natural and synthetic vitamins. Natural vitamins must not be segregated, separated or isolated. The most that can be done to increase the potency without disturbing the Natural balance is to evaporate the moisture and remove the fiber so as to conserve space and temporarily render the vitamin inactive.
- Fractions of vitamin complexes are not vitamins at all.
- The best to be expected of synthetic vitamin fractions or even natural vitamin fractions is a drug effect.
- Natural, low-potency vitamin complexes do not cause any disease or adverse reaction in the body. Total nutritional supplementation only provides the body with essential elements needed for general biochemistry and physiology to help the body stay healthy and repair tissue damage.
- Natural food vitamins are never highly concentrated. Nature is interested in balance, not potency. This means that to get higher than normal potency, natural vitamins must be consumed in great quantity. Synthetic and crystalline vitamins lend themselves to high potency concentrations in a few small pills.
- Natural vitamins build nutritionally – synthetics medically.
- Naturals are more expensive because every precaution must be taken to preserve their life and integrity. Synthetics are dead, inert, cheaper and present much fewer handling problems. As with any inert material, greater mass production creates cheaper bargain prices.
Vitamins are essential to life. They contribute to good health by regulating the metabolism and assisting the biochemical processes that release energy from digested food. They are considered micronutrients because the body needs them in relatively small amounts compared with other nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water.
Enzymes are essential chemicals that are the foundation of human bodily functions. They are catalysts (activators) in the chemical reactions that are continually taking place within the body. Vitamins work with these enzymes as coenzymes, thereby allowing all the activities that occur within the body to happen quickly and accurately.
Of the major vitamins, some are water-soluble and some are oil soluble. Water-soluble vitamins must be taken into the body daily as they cannot be stored and are excreted within one to four days. These include vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins. Oil-soluble vitamins can be stored for longer periods of time in the body’s fatty tissue and the liver. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Both types of vitamins are needed by the body for proper functioning.
This supplement prevents night blindness and other eye problems as well as some skin disorders such as acne. It enhances immunity, may heal gastrointestinal ulcers, protects against pollution and cancer formation, and is needed for epithelial tissue maintenance and repair. It is important in the formation of bones and teeth, aids in fat storage, and protects against colds, influenza, and infections. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, which helps protect the cells against cancer and other diseases. This important vitamin also slows the aging process. Protein cannot be utilized by the body without this supplement.
When food-containing beta-carotene is consumed, it is converted to vitamin A in the liver. Beta-carotene aids in cancer prevention, according to recent reports. No vitamin overdose can occur with beta-carotene, although the skin may turn slightly yellow-orange in color.
Diabetics should avoid beta-carotene as should hypothyroid individuals, because they cannot convert beta-carotene to vitamin A.
The B vitamins help to maintain healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, and mouth, as well as muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract. B-complex vitamins are coenzymes involved in energy production and may be useful for depression or anxiety. The B vitamins should always be taken together in whole food form. Although the B vitamins are a team, they will be discussed individually.
Thiamin enhances circulation and assists in the production of hydrochloric acid, blood formation, and carbohydrate metabolism. Thiamin affects energy, growth disorders, and learning capacity, and is needed for normal muscle tone of the intestines, stomach, and heart.
Riboflavin is necessary for red blood cell formation, antibody production, cell respiration, and growth. It alleviates eye fatigue and is important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. It aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When used with vitamin A, it maintains and improves the mucous membranes in the digestive tract. Riboflavin also facilitates oxygen use by the body tissues (skin, nails, hair), eliminates dandruff, and helps the uptake of iron and vitamin B6. Vitamin B2 is important during pregnancy because a lack of this vitamin may damage the fetus even though the mother may be unaware of a deficiency. B2 is needed for the metabolism of tryptophan, which is converted to niacin in the body. Carpal tunnel syndrome may benefit from a treatment program that includes riboflavin and B6.
Vitamin B3 is needed for proper circulation and healthy skin. B3 aids in the functioning of the nervous system, in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and in the production of hydrochloric acid for the digestive system. Niacin lowers cholesterol and improves circulation. B3 is also effective in the treatment of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
Known as the “antistress” vitamin, pantothenic acid plays a role in the production of the adrenal hormones and formation of antibodies, aids in vitamin utilization, and helps to convert fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy. This vitamin is needed to produce vital steroids and cortisone in the adrenal gland, and is an essential element of coenzyme A. It is required by all cells in the body and is concentrated in the organs. It is also needed for normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and may be helpful in treating depression and anxiety.
Pyridoxine is involved in more bodily functions than any other single nutrient. It affects both physical and mental health. It is beneficial if you suffer from water retention. It is necessary in the production of hydrochloric acid and the absorption of fats and protein. Pyridoxine also aids in maintaining sodium and potassium balance, and promotes red blood cell formation. It is required by the nervous system, and is needed for normal brain function and for the synthesis of RNA and DNA (nucleic acids), which contain the genetic instructions for the reproduction of all cells and for normal cellular growth. It activates many enzymes and aids in B12 absorption, immune system function, and antibody production. Vitamin B6 has a role in cancer immunity and arteriosclerosis. It inhibits the formation of a toxic chemical called homocysteine, which attacks the heart muscle and allows the deposition of cholesterol around the heart muscle. B6 may also be useful in preventing oxalate kidney stones and acts as a mild diuretic. It reduces the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and is helpful in the treatment of allergies, arthritis, and asthma. Carpal tunnel syndrome is linked to a B6 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is needed to prevent anemia. It aids in cell formation and cellular longevity. This vitamin is also required for proper digestion, absorption of foods, protein synthesis, and metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. in addition, vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage, maintains fertility, and promotes normal growth and development.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by malabsorption, which is most common in the elderly and in those with digestive disorders. Vegetarians are also more likely to have a B12 deficiency. deficiency symptoms include abnormal gait, memory loss, hallucinations, eye disorders, anemia, and digestive disorders.
Biotin aids skin cell growth, in fatty acid production, in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and in the utilization of the B-complex vitamins. Sufficient quantities are needed for healthy hair and skin. Biotin may prevent hair loss in some men. Biotin also promotes healthy sweat glands, nerve tissue, and bone marrow.
A deficiency of this B vitamin is rare because it can be produced in the intestines from foods.
Choline is needed for nerve transmission, gallbladder regulation and liver function, and lecithin formation. It minimizes excess fat in the liver, aids in hormone production, and is necessary in fat and cholesterol metabolism. Without choline, brain function and memory are impaired. Choline is beneficial for disorders of the nervous system such as Parkinson's disease and tardive dyskinesia. A deficiency may result in fatty build-up in the liver.
Considered a brain food, folic acid is needed for energy production and the formation of red blood cells. Functioning as a coenzyme in DNA synthesis, it is important for healthy cell division and replication. It is involved in protein metabolism and has been used in the prevention and treatment of folic acid anemia. This nutrient may also help depression and anxiety and may be effective in the treatment of uterine cervical dysplasia. Folic acid helps regulate embryonic and fetal development of nerve cells, vital for normal growth and development. Folic acid works best when combined with vitamin B12. A sore, red tongue is one sign of a deficiency.
Inositol is vital for hair growth. It helps prevent hardening of the arteries and is important in lecithin formation and fat and cholesterol metabolism. It also helps remove fats from the liver.
PABA is one of the basic constituents of folic acid and also helps in the utilization of pantothenic acid. This antioxidant helps protect against sunburn and skin cancer, acts as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of protein, and assists in the formation of red blood cells. Supplementing the diet with PABA may restore gray hair to its original color if the graying was caused by stress or a nutritional deficiency.
Vitamin C is and antioxidant that is required for tissue growth and repair, adrenal gland function, and healthy gums. It protects against the harmful effects of pollution, prevents cancer, protects against infection, and enhances immunity. It also may reduce cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and prevent atherosclerosis. Essential in the formation of collagen, vitamin C protects against blood clotting and bruising, and promotes the healing of wounds and the production of antistress hormones. It also aids in interferon production, and is needed for the metabolism of folic acid, tyrosine, and phenylalanine.
New evidence indicates that vitamin C and vitamin E work synergistically, that is, when they work together, they have a greater effect than when they work separately. Vitamin E scavenges for dangerous oxygen radicals in the cell membrane, while vitamin C breaks the free radical chain in biologic fluids. Both these vitamins greatly extend antioxidant activity.
Vitamin D is required for calcium and phosphorus absorption and utilization. It is necessary for growth, and is especially important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth in children. It is important in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, rickets, and hypoclacemia, and it enhances immunity.
The vitamin D that we get from food or supplements is not fully activated. It requires conversion by the liver, and then by the kidney before it becomes fully active. People with liver or kidney disorders are at a higher risk for osteoporosis.
Because the sun's ultraviolet rays can be converted to vitamin D, exposing the face and arms to the sun three times a week is effective.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents cancer and cardiovascular disease. This supplement improves circulation, repairs tissue, and is useful in treating fibrocystic breasts and premenstrual syndrome. It also promotes normal clotting and healing, reduces scarring from some wounds, reduces blood pressure, aids in preventing cataracts, improves athletic performance, and aids leg cramps. Vitamin E also prevents cell damage by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and the formation of free radicals. It retards aging and may prevent age spots as well.
The body needs zinc in order to maintain the proper levels of vitamin E in the blood.
Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting and may play a role in bone formation. In addition, vitamin K converts glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver.