Vitamins - October 3rd, 2022 Episode

Organic substances - essential nutrients from foods both plant and animal

The “vitamin era” began in the 1900’s when compounds were isolated from food and identified.

We began to study connections between foods and illnesses.

1897 Eijkman and Grijns - beriberi and rice polish - thiamin ID by Robert Williams

Goldberg and Elvehjem - pellagra and niacin

Szent-Gyorgi - scurvy and vitamin C

Roger Williams - pantothenic acid and folic acid

Linus Pauling - vitamin C

Dorothy Hodgkin - B12

  • Structure and function - vitamins are not generally used in the ingested form. They are converted to their cofactor forms. “Vitamers” refers to the fact that numerous forms of each vitamin are present in the body and many of them have functions

  • Classes -fat v water soluble

  • Insufficiency, deficiency, individual physiology

This is a gradient and is dependent on nutritional intake, genetics, current level of nutrition and current illnesses. Insufficiency does not necessarily have symptoms, but as it progresses, symptoms develop. Adverse behaviors and personality changes may occur. So “deficiency diseases” are likely a manifestation of chronic nutritional insufficiencies or deficiencies.

How do we assess the situation?

  • RDA (recommended daily allowance - should cover needs of 90% of healthy) - In the 1940’s the gov tried to develop a nutrition guide based on deficiency diseases in order to keep a healthy 20 yo man upright on the WW2 battlefield. designed for population help, not individual nutritional recommendations

  • AI (adequate intake - experimentally determined intake for healthy)

  • TUL (tolerable upper limit - highest amount with no adverse events)

  • EAR (estimated average requirement- meets needs of 50% of the healthy population)

  • DRI - Daily reference intakes: relevant values based on reference standards. This is the Institute of Medicine Food Nutrition Board attempt to make the guidelines a better approximation of real needs. It still is a population, not individual, guideline that helps with labeling, public policy and industrial food production. They are not designed to optimize health. They do not take into consideration the individual. They do not address environmental exposure, medication intake, digestion and absorption efficiency, genetics, food intolerance, and other factors that affect nutritional needs.

  • Water soluble

  • B1 thiamine - Beriberi: fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, GI distress, weakness - CNS- dementia, alcoholic dementia, neuropathy, fatigue, depression - Toxicity RARE - 50-200 mg - Brewers yeast, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, pine nuts, peanuts with red skins, Brazil nuts, pork, pecans

  • B2 riboflavin - Acne, alcoholism, arthritis, cataracts, dermatitis, burning eyes and light sensitivity, thyroid - Toxicity RARE - 50-200 mg - Brewers yeast, liver, kidneys, giblets, almonds, wheat germ, wild rice, mushrooms

  • B3 niacin - Pellagra: dermatitis, dementia, diarrhea, death; Cholesterol - Toxicity - flushing; liver issues on high dose possible - 50-2000 mg - Brewers yeast, rice bran, wheat bran, peanuts with skin, liver, turkey, chicken, trout, halibut, mackerel

  • B5 pantothenic acid - Little deficiency disease; fatigue; adrenal, detox - Toxicity RARE - 50-1000 mg - Brewers yeast, liver, kidneys, peanuts, heart, mushrooms, pecans, eggs, oats, buckwheat

  • B6 pyridoxine - roughly 100 different enzyme reactions - detox and production; convert tryptophan to serotonin; glossitis, carpal tunnel, eczema, depression - Toxicity - >2g/d neuropathy, 150 mg may suppress lactation, >100mg/d long term watch liver - 30-500 mg - Torula and brewers yeast, sunflower seeds, tuna, liver, soy beans, walnuts, salmon, trout

  • B12 cobalamin - DNA synthesis, folic acid cycle, Blood cell growth; neuronal health, Anemia, depressed mood, dementia, neuropathy, psychosis - Toxicity - NONE EVER REPORTED - 1000-5000 mcg - liver, clams, kidneys, oysters, sardines, heart, egg yolk, Trout, tuna, salmon

  • Folic acid - methyl donor; protects brain; neural tube defects and spina bifida; anemia; Toxicity RARE but must be given with B12 - 400 mcg to 10 mg - Brewers yeast, black-eyed peas, rice germ, soy, wheat, liver, kidney beans, mung beans, lima beans

  • Biotin - alopecia, scaly dermatitis, nausea, depressed mood, hallucinations, pain and paresthesia -Toxicity NONE - 300-5000 mcg - Brewers yeast, liver, soy, rice, egg yolk, peanut butter, walnuts, barley, pecans, oatmeal, sardines

  • Vitamin C - scurvy (when less than 300 mg in body), fatigue first sign, bleeding gums, bruising, slow wound healing, loose teeth, infections, heart disease - Toxicity - SAFE - no kidney stones! - 200-20,000 mg - Acerola, red chili peppers, guavas, red sweet peppers, kale, parsley, collard, turnip greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mustard greens

  • Fat-soluble

  1. 10.Vitamin E - 5 forms all important - Neuropathy and MS, PD, vascular, diabetes, liver, dementia - Toxicity SAFE - monitor BP; monitor on anticoagulants - 100-1200 iu - wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, almonds, sesame oil, peanut oil, olive oil, butter, spinach, oatmeal

  2. 11.Vitamin A - vision, immune, bones, reproduction, detox PCBs dioxin, skin = Toxicity - 200 cases yearly - teratogenic, liver -skin issues, hair loss, fatigue, headache - 4000-5000 iu - liver, Chile peppers, dandelion greens, carrots, apricots, collard greens, kale, sweet potatoes, parsley, spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens

  3. 12.Vitamin D - rickets in kids, osteomalacia in adults, cancer prevention, prevent T1DM, heart disease - Toxicity possible with high prolonged doses - watch calcium/PTH/Bones/liver - 1000-5000 iu - sardines, salmon, tuna, shrimp, butter, sunflower seeds, liver, eggs, mushrooms, natural cheese (milk only if fortified)

  4. 13.Vitamin K - clotting factors, vascular health - Toxicity NONE - 100-500 mcg - chlorophyll, turnip greens, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, liver, spinach, watercress, asparagus, cheese, butter, oats


Inorganic substances required for optimal human physiologic function

There is an elemental table full of minerals, but only 18 are “essential” for running the human body

Our knowledge of these minerals’ essential nature is recent - only since the 20th century.

As with vitamins, these are micronutrients and thus needed in only small amounts, thus often called trace minerals

  • Calcium - most common in body. 95-99% un the bones. Nervous system function, blood clotting, muscle contraction. Pregnant-lactating require 1200 mg daily. Rickets, osteomalacia, muscle twitch/spasm. Toxicity not a problem Kelp, cheese, Collards and turnip greens, Almond, parsley, tortillas

  • Phosphorus - bone, ATP, DNA, energy - rickets, weakness, stiff - toxicity none but SAD = high P:Ca ratios - yeast, pumpkin seeds, Sunflower and sesame seeds, cheese, liver

  • Magnesium - deficiency first identified in alcoholics; 300 enzyme reactions; glucose metal requires mag in 7 SEVEn different enzymes; energy production, protein an fat synthesis, neuromuscular junction/muscle relaxation; Deficiency:weakness, arrhythmia, diabetes, cramps, insomnia, twitches, confusion, irritability, blood pressure- Toxicity: diarrhea with more than 600 mg/day. drowsiness, lethargy, weakness (elderly using laxatives and antacids Kelp, wheat bran&germ, cashews, Millet, spinach, coconut, figs

  • Sodium chloride potassium (electrolytes) - Sodium and chloride outside cells; potassium inside cells - nerve transmission, muscle contraction, arrhythmia, weakness, death - Toxicity - Potassium safe except kidney disease and medications that interfere with potassium excretion - Pulse, help, sunflower seeds, almond, raisin, parsley, avocado, carrots, celery, cantaloup, mushrooms

  • Chromium - not well absorbed - GTF with niacin, glycine, glutamic acid and cysteine. enhances insulin. - Diabetes - Toxic none at nutritional levels - 200-1200 mcg -Brewers yeast, Beef, calf liver, whole wheat, oysters, hen’s eggs

  • Zinc - many enzymes: thymic, insulin, growth; protein manufacture; DNA production, wounds, skin oil glands, prostate. Dandruff, sleep, IBD, acne, psoriasis - Toxic - keep below 80 mg daily and preferably under 50 mg closer to 15. oysters, ginger, steak, lamb, pecans, liver, oats, sardines,

  • Copper - many enzymes; collagen, pigmentation, anemia - toxicity 3.5 grams could be lethal; blood, liver - 1-2 mg - Oysters, brazil nuts, soy lecithin, almonds, liver, buckwheat, olive oil

  • Iodine - thyroid - goiter - toxicity may inhibit thyroid at high doses - 100 mcg - Seafood, beef liver, pineapple, eggs, milk, cheese, pork, spinach, raisin

  • Iron - blood cells/hemoglobin and myoglobin - anemia - elderly hypochlorhydria - Toxicity iron buildup hemosiderosis; heart disease; arthritis; - Kelp, brewer yeast, molasses, pumpkin seeds, prunes, raisins, beef, beans, dates, eggs, ripe olives

  • Manganese - many enzymes: carbs proteins blood fats collagen clotting energy - hair color - Toxicity very safe - - pecan, brazil nuts, almonds, barley, rye, buckwheat, spinach, oats, raisins turnip greens

  • Molybdenum - energy/antioxidant - alcohol detox - Toxicity safe but large doses daily may induce gout- 100 mcg- Lentils, liver, split peas, cauliflower, brewers yeast, brown rice, garlic, oats

  • Selenium - many enzymes; antioxidant with Vitamin E and GSH; DNA repair - Toxicity - in amounts higher than 900 mcg daily liver - 100-200 mcg max - butter, herring, wheat germ, brazil nuts, ACV, scallops, barley, swiss chard, lobster and shrimp

  • Vanadium - glucose metabolism - NIDDM - Toxicity possible at 10-20 mg/day - 500-1000 mcg (0.5-1 mg) - buckwheat, parsley, soy, eggs, sunflower and safflower oils, olive oil, carrots, cabbage garlic

  • Boron - Bone -- Toxicity > 300 mg/day - 1-3 mg daily - many fruits and vegetables; our water in SW Florida

  • Lithium - nootropic agent - 300-500 mcg daily - supplement; some water


Nutrients for increasing mitochondrial efficiency

  • Coenzyme Q 10

  • Lipoic acid

  • Vitamin E

  • L carnitine

  • B complex vitamins

  • Vitamin K

  • N-acetylcysteine and/or glutathione

  • Creatine