Good Nutrition Nutrition and Nutrients

Nutrition Notes

Vitamins How They Work

Vitamin means vital at a minimum dose. These substances were discovered slowly one at a time. Supplementation with vitamins is popular and different assortments can be bought at any grocery store. Some vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E and K are multiple chemicals that share similar biological activity, but different potencies. Each vitamin has to be understood in detail. Generalizations will always mislead. The medical literature features an abundance of studies of vitamin supplementation. There is a bias to doubt the benefits of supplements, but a persistent series of studies based on understanding biochemistry in a more sophisticated way, discovers many possible benefits of individual supplements as well as well-chosen groups of vitamins. deficiency diseases are more common than many believe and are well concealed by overlying pathologies that can be recognized by MDs.

Vitamin D has received a lot of attention, for example: Zittermann suggests that there many opportunities for Vitamin D supplementation that are relatively ignored. Calcitriol receptors are present in more than thirty different tissues. There is agreement that a low vitamin D status is involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. Vitamin D insufficiency can also lead to a disturbed muscle function. Zimmerman states that: “epidemiological data also indicate a low vitamin D status in tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, hypertension, and specific types of cancer. Some intervention trials have demonstrated that supplementation with vitamin D or its metabolites can (i) reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients; (ii) improve blood glucose levels in diabetics; (iii) improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The oral dose necessary to achieve adequate serum 25(OH)D levels is probably much higher than the current recommendations.”

Vitamins and minerals that are required in small amounts mostly as co-factors or catalysts for enzymes. Enzymes are responsible for the millions of molecular transactions that sustain life. Many enzymes must have one or two vitamins and one critical mineral to function. The basic equation of life chemistry has the following form:

Nutrients----> Enzyme + Vitamin + Mineral----> Cell Products

For example, the amino acid tryptophan, derived from food, is transported to the brain to make the neurotransmitter, serotonin. At the appropriate place inside a brain cell, two enzymes and vitamin B6 transform tryptophan to serotonin. Serotonin is then transferred to the sending end of the neuron (the terminal bouton of the axon), where it is used as a molecular messenger to carry information across the synapse to the receiving neuron. The serotonin synthesis equation is:

STEP 1. Tryptophan----> 5-Hydroxytryptophan

STEP 2. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HT)----> Serotonin via enzyme 5HT-Decarboxylase

To read about individual vitamins, click the links to the left. Anyone with an interest in Nutritional Therapy will want to read, understand and use the Alpha Nutrition Program . This deceptively simple technology solves the common food-related health problems.