Vitamin and minerals are nutrients that are essential to life. They are often called micronutrients because, in comparison with the four major nutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water—they are needed in relatively small amounts. Vitamins are organic compounds, meaning that they occur naturally in plants and animals. By and large, vitamins function as coenzymes. Enzymes are catalysts or activators in the chemical reactions that are continually taking place in our bodies. Vitamins are a fundamental part of the enzymes, much the way your muscles are a fundamental part of your arms and legs.
Most people are aware that our enzymes help us digest our food. But enzymes do more than digest food. They are at the very foundation of all our bodily functions. Enzymes are what make things happen, and happen faster. Without enzymes, you can’t breathe, blink, or walk. Your body can’t break down proteins into essential amino acids, electrons can’t flow, and nerve transmissions can’t occur. You can’t pull your hand out of the fire (or put it there in the first place), smell a rose, see a sunset, or taste an apple. And without vitamins, the enzymes can’t do their job. For example, consider a particular enzyme that is needed to transmit nerve impulses to your fingers. No matter how plentiful this enzyme is in your body, if you are deficient in B 6 , this enzyme cannot be activated.
As a result, you might feel some numbness in your fingers. Minerals are inorganic elements, meaning that they are not produced by plants and animals. Like vitamins, many minerals function as coenzymes, enabling chemical reactions to occur throughout the body. In addition to their role as coenzymes, some micronutrients have other functions. For example, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant; calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus form our bones; iron enables the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the body cells, and active vitamin D functions as a hormone. After they have been absorbed, vitamins and minerals actually become part of the structure of the body—of the cells, enzymes, hormones, muscles, blood, and bones.
As part of the body pool, these substances remain in the body for varying amounts of time. Some are utilized immediately and some are stored and utilized over a period of time. The vitamins that stay in the body for a short period of time—two to four days—are not stored but are quickly excreted from the body, toxicities are virtually unknown. Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, stay in the body for a longer period of time. Vitamins A, D, E, and K belong to this group. Although these vitamins are usually stored in fat (lipid) tissue, some may also be stored in some organs, especially the liver. Therefore, you can have toxicity problems with some of the fat-soluble vitamins, but only when you take very large doses. Minerals also belong to two groups: the macro, or bulk, minerals; and the micro, or trace, minerals. Macrominerals are needed in larger amounts than microminerals.
The macrominerals include calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. The microminerals include zinc, iron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, iodine, potassium, and boron. Minerals are stored in various parts of the body—primarily in bone and muscle tissue. Therefore, it is also possible to overdose on minerals if you take extremely large amounts. If you are concerned about toxicity, you must remember that there is no vitamin or mineral that is as toxic as are most of the drugs you can buy over the counter, including aspirin. Did you know that 2,500 people die each year from aspirin and that 100 die each year from acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol? To reach toxicity with vitamin and mineral supplements, you must go out of your way to abuse supplements by taking massive quantities, usually for a prolonged period of time.
The dose ranges I suggest for vitamin and mineral supplements are completely safe and have been used in human clinical studies with no evidence of toxicity. Other nutrients, while not considered essential for overall health, appear to be essential for certain conditions and situations. For example, CoQ 10 supplementation can prevent heart damage from Adriamycin (a drug used in cancer chemotherapy). It can also prevent the depletion of CoQ 10 from heart muscles, when patients are given certain blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications, thus reducing the risk of death.
I discuss these nutrients in the section called “Beyond Vitamins and Minerals” because ongoing studies have thus far yielded promising results and have shown that they are safe when taken in the recommended amounts. Unlike the basic vitamins and minerals, though, these nutrients either have not yet been proven to be needed by everyone or may be obtained by most people in sufficient quantities from their diets. Because of this, and the fact that they tend to be costly, there are no ODIs for these nutrients, and I generally recommend that their use be limited to the treatment and prevention of specific disorders. Please Visit My Website
Curelab about many Vitamin Supplement Review.