Vitamin Supplements: Why You Need to Take Them & What You Should Look For When Evaluating Multi-Vitamins
Vitamins are a necessity to offset the leeching of vital nutrients in our foods due to today’s nutritionally depleted food environment.
While many of the world’s people eat processed food, these foods while convenient to prepare are woefully lacking in nutrients.
Vitamins aren’t the only requirement to vibrant health. Enzymes and co-enzymes are also critical to your health.
What are enzymes?
Enzymes are biochemical catalysts that help other organic molecules enter into chemical reactions. Several enzymes work in a specific order thus creating metabolic pathways.
Enzymes are absolutely essential to living organisms.
Even if just one enzyme malfunctions (there are approximately 2,000 enzymes in our bodies), it can lead to severe disease. In essence, enzymes are key in our metabolic processes.
Literally, without metabolic and digestive (the different classifications of enzymes), no life could exist.
Because of the absolute importance of vitamins in our system, taking multivitamin supplements is not a luxury, it is a necessity for not only maintaining your health, but in derailing disease as well.
The energy you have is a result of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in your body. In order to increase your energy, you need certain compounds — vitamins — in your system.
Not surprisingly, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and coenzymes work synergistically to perform your body’s functions. None of them truly exist in a vacuum. For example, did you know that the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase converts the amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine?
If it doesn’t do so, it results in a buildup of phenylalanine that leads to human mental retardation. Another example is blood clotting. Vitamin K is largely responsible for blood clotting.
Conversion from the inactive to active clotting factor requires post-translational modification of very specific glutamate residues.
This modification is called carboxylation with the enzyme responsible requiring Vitamin K as its cofactor. (There are not many nutrients as important as vitamin K.)
In other words, if you didn’t have sufficient amount of Vitamin K in your blood to work with the enzyme, you could possibly die from a simple wound to the hand as it wouldn’t clot thus preventing bleed out.
You need a fully assimilable multi-vitamin or vitamin supplement. Many people understandably think they can get all the vitamins they need from their food and all things being equal, this is mostly correct. However, while technology has been a tremendous benefit to humankind, it has also brought with it some problems as well.
You want 120 days or more. The longer the guarantee, the more convinced the manufacturer is of their product.
9. Contact Information: It should be very easy to contact the company via phone and email.
A Complete Vitamin Supplement Product
In our search, we finally came across a company whose products actually meet all nine of the aforementioned factors. This company is headquartered in New Zealand whose manufacture of nutritional supplements adheres to even more rigid standards than the U.S. FDA.
Their central high grade product is a complete vitamin supplement that is a full-featured supplement containing vitamins, minerals, nutrition-dense herbal extracts, amino acids, and other specialty nutrients.
If you’re looking for a full-figured vitamin supplement, look no further.
I personally have been taking their multi-vitamin (and other of this New Zealand company’s high grade supplements) for the past 12 years and can personally attest to their fantastic results.
I have experienced greater energy, more restful sleep, a greater feeling of well being, less depth of depression, and increased mental clarity.
I hope this web page has been useful.
Yours in health,
Essential Vitamins & Their Purpose
Vitamin A (Beta Carotene): Promotes growth and repair of body tissues; reduces susceptibility to infections; aids in bone and teeth formation; maintains smooth skin. Thomas Osborne and Lafayette Mendel discovered Vitamin A while working at Yale University. Vitamin B: This vitamin was discovered in cow’s milk. It was later discovered Vitamin B was an entire class of vitamins (B1, B2, etc).
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamin): Promotes growth and muscle tone; aids in the proper functioning of the muscles, heart, and nervous system; assists in digestion of carbohydrates.
Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin): Maintains good vision and healthy skin, hair, and nails; assists in formation of antibodies and red blood cells; aids in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism.
Vitamin B-3 (Niacinamide): Reduces cholesterol levels in the blood; maintains healthy skin, tongue, and digestive system; improves blood circulation; increases energy.
Vitamin B-5: Fortifies white blood cells; helps the body’s resistance to stress; builds cells. Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine): Aids in the synthesis and breakdown of amino acids and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates; supports the central nervous system; maintains healthy skin. Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamin): Promotes growth in children; prevents anemia by regenerating red blood cells; aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; maintains healthy nervous system.
Biotin: Aids in the metabolism of proteins and fats; promotes healthy skin. Choline: Helps the liver eliminate toxins destructive to the health of the body.
Niacin: This vitamin was discovered by Conrad Elvehjem. Plays a vital role in metabolism of carbs, proteins, and fats. However, it also assists in the formulation of red blood cells.
Folic Acid (Folate, Folacin): Promotes the growth and reproduction of body cells; aids in the formation of red blood cells and bone marrow.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): One of the major antioxidants; essential for healthy teeth, gums, and bones; helps to heal wounds, fractures, and scar tissue; builds resistance to infections; assists in the prevention and treatment of the common cold; prevents scurvy. Scottish Naval doctor James Lind discovered this vitamin used to prevent scurvy.
Vitamin D: Improves the absorption of calcium and phosphorous (essential in the formation of healthy bones and teeth) maintains nervous system. Edward Mellanby discovered this vitamin and its ability to treat rickets. This is commonly used to enrich milk to this day.
Vitamin E: A major antioxidant; supplies oxygen to blood; provides nourishment to cells; prevents blood clots; slows cellular aging. Katherine Bishop and Herbert Evans discovered this vitamin in grain and certain photosynthetic leaves.
Vitamin K (Menadione): Prevents internal bleeding; reduces heavy menstrual flow. Henrik Dam who would eventually win a Nobel prize for Physiology and medicine discovered this vitamin.
Historical Vitamins Information
It was in the early part of the 20th century that Casimir Funk coined the term “vitaminses.” He was working on research to establish a connection between foods and there ability to increase the bodies resistance to illness and disease.
The lexicology of “vitamines” or vitamins as they were later to known, is from the Latin word “vitals” which roughly translates to vitally important” and “animes” which an ammonia based classification of chemicals.
Many ancient cultures believed there was a connection between the foods people ate and their bodies and its ability to fight sickness and disease. There have been scrolls and stone tablets found from ancient Egypt and Sumeria that detail these beliefs.
Historians and scholars on the subject, generally agree that the first clinical connection occurred in England in 1800’s. Sailors of the time had an exceptionally high mortality rate.
Health conditions had gotten so bad that scurvy was one of the leading causes of premature death for sailors. The person responsible for these findings was Scottish Naval physician James Lind. He discovered that by eating citrus fruits sailors were able to prevent the onset of the disease. In 1753 he published a research paper on the subject.
The work went largely unnoticed until the year 1800. At that time the British government implemented his suggestions for dietary changes and met with a resounding success.
However records indicate that from 1753 until the policy was instituted over 90,000 British sailors succumbed to the disease.
Later that century another European doctor, William Fletcher made a related discovery. He was working in Kuala Lampur, at the time of an outbreak of beriberi. After studying the diet of his patients he was able to establish a connection between they type of rice the victims were eating and an increased likelihood of contracting the disease.
Casimir Funk’s work is based on the foundations established by these two medical pioneers.
Vitamins are organic components in food that are needed in very small amounts for growth and for maintaining good health.
The vitamins include vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin K, or the fat-soluble vitamins, and folate (folic acid), vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid), or the water-soluble vitamins.
Vitamins are required in the diet in only tiny amounts, in contrast to the energy components of the diet.
The energy components of the diet are sugars, starches, fats, and oils, and these occur in relatively large amounts in the diet. Vitamins, incidentally, were first coined from Dr. Cashmir Funk who said there were “vital animes” that were critical for health.
In time, “vital animes” became vitamins and their different classifications were so named.
Most of the vitamins are closely associated with a corresponding vitamin deficiency disease. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, a disease of the bones. Vitamin E deficiency occurs only very rarely, and causes nerve damage.
Vitamin A deficiency is common throughout the poorer parts of the world, and causes night blindness. Severe vitamin A deficiency can result in xerophthalamia, a disease which, if left untreated, results in total blindness. Vitamin K deficiency results in spontaneous bleeding.
Mild or moderate folate deficiency is common throughout the world, and can result from the failure to eat green, leafy vegetables or fruits and fruit juices.
Folate deficiency causes megaloblastic anemia, which is characterized by the presence of large abnormal cells called megaloblasts in the circulating blood. The symptoms of megaloblastic anemia are tiredness and weakness.
Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs with the failure to consume meat, milk or other dairy products. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes megaloblastic anemia and, if severe enough, can result in irreversible nerve damage.
Niacin deficiency results in pellagra. Pellagra involves skin rashes and scabs, diarrhea, and mental depression.
Thiamin deficiency results in beriberi, a disease resulting in atrophy, weakness of the legs, nerve damage, and heart failure. Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy, a disease that involves bleeding.
Specific diseases uniquely associated with deficiencies in vitamin B6, riboflavin, or pantothenic acid have not been found in the humans, though persons who have been starving, or consuming poor diets for several months, might be expected to be deficient in most of the nutrients, including vitamin B6, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Some of the vitamins serve only one function in the body, while other vitamins serve a variety of unrelated functions.
Hence, some vitamin deficiencies tend to result in one type of defect, while other deficiencies result in a variety of problems.
People are treated with vitamins for three reasons. The primary reason is to relieve a vitamin deficiency, when one has been detected.
Chemical tests suitable for the detection of all vitamin deficiencies are available. This is one of the reasons why nutritional supplements are so needed today.
The diagnosis of vitamin deficiency is often aided by visual tests, such as the examination of blood cells with a microscope, the x ray examination of bones, or a visual examination of the eyes or skin.
A second reason for vitamin products is to prevent the development of an expected deficiency. Here, vitamins are administered even with no test for possible deficiency.
One example is vitamin K treatment of newborn infants to prevent bleeding. Food supplementation is another form of vitamin treatment that works well with supplements.
The vitamin D added to foods serves the purpose of preventing the deficiency from occurring in persons who may not be exposed much to sunlight and who fail to consume foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk.
Niacin supplementation prevents pellagra, a disease that occurs in people who rely heavily on corn as the main source of food, and who do not eat much meat or milk. In general, the American food supply is fortified with niacin.
A third reason for vitamin supplements is to reduce the risk for diseases that may occur even when vitamin deficiency cannot be detected by chemical tests.
One example is folate deficiency. The risk for cardiovascular disease can be slightly reduced for a large fraction of the population by folic acid supplements. And the risk for certain birth defects can be sharply reduced in certain women by folic acid supplements.
Vitamin treatment and/or nutrition multi-vitamin and mineral supplements are important during specific diseases where the body’s normal processing of a vitamin is impaired.
In these cases, high doses of the needed vitamin can force the body to process or utilize it in the normal manner. One example is pernicious anemia, a disease that tends to occur in middle age or old age, and impairs the absorption of vitamin B12.
Surveys have revealed that about 0.1% of the general population, and 2-3% of the elderly, may have the disease. If left untreated, pernicious anemia leads to nervous system damage.
The disease can easily be treated with large oral daily doses of vitamin B12 (hydroxocobalamin) or with monthly injections of the vitamin.
Vitamin and mineral supplemetns are widely available as over-the-counter products. But whether they work to prevent or curtail certain illnesses, particularly in people with a balanced diet, is a matter of debate and ongoing research.
For example, vitamin C is not proven to prevent the common cold. Yet, millions of people take it for that reason.