Stuff You Wanted to Know About Vitamins & Minerals Christopher Theberge, RD There are two types of vitamins: Water

-soluble and Fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body and must be replaced daily, while fat-soluble vitamins require some dietary fat to be absorbed and will situate themselves in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins tend to exert more powerful effects on the body because some are actually hormones or aid in hormone-related activities such as Vitamins A and D. Water-soluble Thiamin (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin (B3) Folate (Folic Acid) Biotin Pantothenic Acid Pyridoxine (B6) Cobalamin (B12) Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Fat Soluble Vitamin A Vitamin D Vitamin K Vitamin E

Avoid Megavitamins Megavitamin supplements are defined by the use of one or more vitamins in amounts exceeding the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) by 10-fold or more. These supplements are expensive and potentially harmful. Problems occur at the intestinal level with absorption because many vitamins and minerals share or compete for the same transporter. Megadosing can result in mineral toxicity because of accumulation in tissues. Conversely, secondary deficiencies of other minerals may occur among those that share a common positive charge.
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Vitamin A in high doses for prolonged periods of time can cause liver damage Vitamin D in supplement form can contribute to atherosclerosis, liver damage, and kidney disease. Niacin (nicotinic acid) may cause liver damage Vitamin B6 can cause irreversible nerve damage Pantothenic acid might cause diarrhea Folic acid can mask and underlying vitamin B12 deficiency and cause irreversible nerve damage Vitamin C may encourage the formation of kidney stones and suppress the immune response Iron can interfere with zinc absorption Zinc can impair copper absorption and suppress the immune response

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Body size, genetic individuality, age, gender, and different Mixed Enzyme Oxidation Systems (MEOS) determine an individuals tolerance for megavitamins. What is safe for one person may be toxic for another.
Copyright © 2007, The Nutrition and Food Web Archive (www.nafwa.org), All rights reserved.

What is Buffered? You may have wondered what the difference is between regular and buffered aspirin. Well, some vitamins like aspirin are acidic and can irritate the digestive tract when taken in high doses. Manufacturers will add a compound that “buffers” or neutralizes the acid to counteract the irritating effects on the digestive tract. Common buffers include calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium carbonate. An example of a buffered vitamin is ascorbate (buffered vitamin C). Chelated minerals A chelated mineral is one that is attached to another substance or chelator such as an amino acid. The weak bond that exists between a mineral and chelator is easily broken by stomach acid allowing the mineral to float freely. Natural or synthetic, chelators may offer better absorption and availability. The only real benefit of chelated minerals is better tolerability and/or less constipation. Examples include iron fumarate and zinc gluconate. Natural or Synthetic Natural or organic vitamins are synthesized by plants using co-factors found in nature, while synthetic vitamins are created in a lab using coal tar derivatives with lack of co-factors. Although limited scientific evidence exists suggesting a difference between the two, some authors report less protection from synthetic vitamins or minerals. Evidence does exist suggesting that organic selenium, chromium, and possibly vitamin E are better absorbed than their synthetic counterparts. One of the benefits of synthetic minerals is the ability to alter the structures to reduce toxicity.

Copyright © 2007, The Nutrition and Food Web Archive (www.nafwa.org), All rights reserved.