You are on page 1of 9

Essential Vitamins / Minerals

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin with four major functions in the body: (1) It helps cells
reproduce normallya process called differentiation (cells that have not properly differentiated
are more likely to undergo pre-cancerous changes). (2) It is required for vision; vitamin A
maintains healthy cells in various structures of the eye and is required for the transduction of
light into nerve signals in the retina. (3) It is required for normal growth and development of the
embryo and fetus, influencing genes that determine the sequential development of organs in
embryonic development. (4) It may be required for normal reproductive function, with influences
on the function and development of sperm, ovaries and placenta.

Nitric oxide is the popular name for AAKG (arginine alpha-ketoglutarate), a compound made
from the amino acid L-arginine and alpha-ketoglutarate, a substance formed in the bodys
energy-generating process. AAKG is a popular supplement among bodybuilders and other
athletes because of claims that it increases production of nitric oxide in muscles. Nitric oxide is
known to have blood-flow-enhancing effects,

Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the
various proteins used in the growth, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. Eleven of these
amino acids can be made by the body itself, while the other nine (called essential amino acids)
must come from the diet.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a vitamin-like antioxidant, sometimes referred to as the universal
antioxidant because it is soluble in both fat and water.1 ALA is manufactured in the body and is
found in some foods, particularly liver and yeast.

Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1 is is a water-soluble vitamin needed to process carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Every cell of the body requires vitamin B1 to form the fuel the body runs onadenosine
triphosphate (ATP). Nerve cells require vitamin B1 in order to function normally.

Vitamin B3

The body uses the water-soluble vitamin B3 in the process of releasing energy from
carbohydrates. It is needed to form fat from carbohydrates and to process alcohol. The niacin
form of vitamin B3 also regulates cholesterol, though niacinamide does not.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin needed for normal nerve cell activity, DNA replication,
and production of the mood-affecting substance SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine). Vitamin B12
acts with folic acid and vitamin B6 to control homocysteine levels.

Beta-carotene is a substance from plants that the body converts into vitamin A. It also acts as
an antioxidant and an immune system booster.

Beta-sitosterol is one of a group of organic compounds found in plants that, alone and in
combination with similar plant sterols, reduces blood levels of cholesterol.

Betaine Hydrochloride Betaine hydrochloride is an acidic form of betaine, a

vitamin-like substance found in grains and other foods. Betaine hydrochloride is recommended
by some doctors as a supplemental source of hydrochloric acid for people who have a
deficiency of stomach acid production (hypochlorhydria)

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that has a number of biological functions.

Calcium is the most abundant, essential mineral in the human body. Of the two to three pounds
of calcium contained in the average body, 99% is located in the bones and teeth. Calcium is
needed to form bones and teeth and is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in
nerve cells, and muscle contraction. The importance of calcium for preventing osteoporosis is
probably its most well-known role.

Vitamin D

The fat-soluble vitamin Ds most important role is maintaining blood levels of calcium, which it
accomplishes by increasing absorption of calcium from food and reducing urinary calcium loss.
Both effects keep calcium in the body and therefore spare the calcium that is stored in bones.
When necessary, vitamin D transfers calcium from the bone into the bloodstream, which does
not benefit bones.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, belongs to the class of nutrients called
essential fatty acids.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body,
such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL; bad cholesterol) cholesterol, from damage.

Dietary fiber comes from the thick cell wall of plants. It is an indigestible complex carbohydrate.
Fiber is divided into two general categories-water soluble and water insoluble.

Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for cell replication and growth. Folic acid helps form building
blocks of DNA, the bodys genetic information, and building blocks of RNA, needed for protein
synthesis in all cells. Therefore, rapidly growing tissues, such as those of a fetus, and rapidly
regenerating cells, like red blood cells and immune cells, have a high need for folic acid. Folic
acid deficiency results in a form of anemia that responds quickly to folic acid supplementation.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (protein building block) in the body and is involved
in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid. Glutamine is converted to glucose
when more glucose is required by the body as an energy source. It serves as a source of fuel
for cells lining the intestines. Without it, these cells waste away. It is also used by white blood
cells and is important for immune function.


Glutathione is a small protein composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and

Glycine is a nonessential amino acid used by the body to build proteins. It is present in

considerable amounts in prostate fluid.

Hydroxycitric Acid
(-)-Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is a compound found in Garcinia cambogia, a type of fruit. HCA has
a chemical structure similar to that of citric acid (the primary acid in citrus fruits).

Histidine is called a semi-essential amino acid (protein building block) because adults generally
produce adequate amounts but children may not. Histidine is also a precursor of histamine, a
compound released by immune system cells during an allergic reaction.

Iodine is a trace mineral needed to make thyroid hormones, which are necessary for
maintaining normal metabolism in all cells of the body.

Iron is an essential mineral. It is part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of the
blood. Iron-deficient people tire easily in part because their bodies are starved for oxygen. Iron
is also part of myoglobin, which helps muscle cells store oxygen.

Vitamin K
Vitamin K is needed for proper bone formation and blood clotting. In both cases, vitamin K does
this by helping the body transport calcium. Vitamin K is used by doctors when treating an
overdose of the drug warfarin. Also, doctors prescribe vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding
in people taking warfarin but requiring surgery.


Kelp is a sea vegetable that is a concentrated source of minerals, including iodine, potassium,
magnesium, calcium, and iron. Kelp as a source of iodine assists in making thyroid hormones,
which are necessary for maintaining normal metabolism in all cells of the body.

L-carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine, and is needed to
release energy from fat. It transports fatty acids into mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. In
infancy, and in situations of high energy needs, such as pregnancy and breast-feeding, the need
for L-carnitine can exceed production by the body

L-tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid (protein building block) that the body synthesizes from
phenylalanine, another amino acid. Tyrosine is important to the structure of almost all proteins in
the body. It is also the precursor of several neurotransmitters, including L-dopa, dopamine,
norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

Lycopene, found primarily in tomatoes, is a member of the carotenoid familywhich includes
beta-carotene and similar compounds found naturally in foodand has potent antioxidant

Lutein is an antioxidant in the carotenoid family (a group of naturally occurring fat-soluble
pigments found in plants). Lutein is the primary carotenoid present in the central area of the
retina called the macula.

Lysine Lysine is an essential amino acid needed for growth and to help maintain nitrogen
balance in the body. (Essential amino acids cannot be made in the body and must be supplied
by the diet or supplements.)

Magnesium is an essential mineral to the human body. It is needed for bone, protein, and fatty
acid formation, making new cells, activating B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood, and
forming adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the energy the body runs on). The secretion and action of
insulin also require magnesium.

Malic Acid

Malic acid is a naturally occurring compound that plays a role in the complex process of deriving
adenosine triphosphate (ATP; the energy currency that runs the body) from food.

Manganese is an essential trace mineral needed for healthy skin, bone, and cartilage formation,
as well as glucose tolerance. It also helps activate superoxide dismutase (SOD)an important
antioxidant enzyme.

Methionine is one of the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein), meaning that it
cannot be produced by the body, and must be provided by the diet. It supplies sulfur and other
compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth.

N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG) is a form of glucosamine, one of the building blocks of joint tissue
and other connective tissues. NAG differs from glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine
hydrochloride; instead of a sulfur or chloride molecule, NAG has a larger, more complex
molecule attached to it.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that perform essential functions in the
human body. The most abundant member of this family in food and in the body is linoleic acid.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is usually found in nature combined with oxygen as
phosphate. Most of the phosphate in the human body is in bone, but phosphate-containing
molecules (phospholipids) are also important components of cell membranes and lipoprotein
particles, such as HDL and LDL (good and bad cholesterols, respectively). Small amounts of
phosphate play important roles in numerous biochemical reactions throughout the body.


Potassium is an essential mineral needed to regulate water balance, levels of acidity, blood
pressure, and neuromuscular function. This mineral also plays a critical role in the transmission
of electrical impulses in the heart.

Pycnogenol is an extract of the bark of the French maritime pine, which grows along the Atlantic
coast of southwestern France.

Quercetin belongs to a class of water-soluble plant pigments called flavonoids.

Ribose is a type of sugar normally made in the body from glucose. Ribose plays important roles
in the synthesis of RNA, DNA, and the energy-containing substance adenosine triphosphate

Royal Jelly
Royal jelly is a thick, milky substance produced by worker bees to feed the queen bee. The
worker bees mix honey and bee pollen with enzymes in the glands of their throats to produce
royal jelly.

Soy, a staple food in many Asian countries, contains valuable constituents, including protein,
isoflavones, saponins, and phytosterols. Soy protein provides essential amino acids. When
eaten with rice, soy provides protein comparable with that found in animal products. Soy is low
in fat and cholesterol-free.

Sulfur is a mineral needed for the manufacture of many proteins, including those forming hair,
muscles, and skin. Sulfur contributes to fat digestion and absorption, because it is needed to
make bile acids. Sulfur is also a constituent of bones, teeth, and collagen (the protein in
connective tissue)

Taurine Taurine is an amino acid-like compound and a component of bile acids, which are
used to help absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Taurine also helps regulate the heart beat,
maintain cell membrane stability, and prevent brain cell over-activity.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is also called ubiquinone, a name that signifies its ubiquitous
(widespread) distribution in the human body. CoQ10 is used by the body to transform food into
adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy on which the body runs

Vanadium is an ultra-trace mineral found in the human diet and the human body. It is essential
for some animals. Deficiency symptoms in these animals include growth retardation, bone
deformities, and infertility. However, vanadium has not been proven to be an essential mineral
for humans.

Xylitol is the alcohol form of xylose, which is used as a sweetener in chewing gums and other
dietetic products. Xylitol has less effect on blood sugar or insulin levels compared with
sucrose,1 so it may be a useful sugar substitute for diabetics.2 In addition, xylitol inhibits the
growth of several types of bacteria, including those that cause tooth decay and ear infections.

Zinc is an essential mineral that is a component of more than 300 enzymes needed to repair
wounds, maintain fertility in adults and growth in children, synthesize protein, help cells
reproduce, preserve vision, boost immunity, and protect against free radicals, among other