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Vitamins may either be water soluble or fat soluble. Supplements of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D and E) if taken in excess, may cause toxic reactions. Water soluble vitamins (Bs and C) can also cause toxic reactions, but the tolerances are wider.

VITAMIN A (Retinol)

Vitamin A (retinol) is a fat soluble vitamin with known toxicity. Retinol comes from fish liver oils and animal products, such as eggs, dairy products and meats. Beta-carotene and about 50 of the other 500 known carotenoids are converted (in the presences of fats and bile) by the intestinal mucosa into Vitamin A. The carotenoids are found in vegetable sources, such as, carrots, tomatoes, peas, lettuce and berries.

Vitamin A is essential for normal tissue growth and skeletal development. It is critical for night vision and the health of cells in the body. Retinol is an antiopthalmic and anti-infection vitamin. It may be useful in certain heart diseases, diabetes, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, night vision, tooth and gum disorders and alcoholism.

Factors known to influence Vitamin A absorption and/or utilization include, sodium benzoate, cortisol, impaired liver function, impaired bile production and high and also low protein diets. Antacids containing aluminum may lead to low absorption of Vitamin A. *Also* low fat diets (less or equal to 5g/day) reduced amounts of retinol absorbed, BUT the amount of beta-caratene absorbed increased above the normal 1:6 ratio (see below).

Vitamin A for the most part is not excreted, hence prolonged large doses of Vitamin A can lead to toxicity. Toxic symptoms may include, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, skin problems and enlargement of the spleen, liver or lymph nodes.

Sisters - Zinc, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
Cousins - Calcium, Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), growth hormone and thyroxine and testosterone
Aunts - Retinol-binding protein and transthyretin

Officially Recommended Daily Allowance - - 5,000 IU (International Units) OR 1,000 -1,500 RE (Retinoid Equivalents)
High Dose - 10,000 to 20,000 IU OR 3,000 to 6,000 RE
Super Dose - 25,000 to 30,000 IU OR 7,500 to 9,000RE (Total + Supplements)

Start of Toxicity as low as 50,000IU OR 15,000RE

Originally 1 IU of Vitamin A activity was defined as equal either to 0.30ug of all-trans retinol OR 0.60ug of all trans-beta-carotene. That gave 1ug of retinol equivalent to 2ug of beta-carotene. Later it was found that it was better to assume 1ug retinol was equivalent to 6ug of beta-carotene and that most other carotenoids were only half as effective as beta-carotene. So it is now common to define *retinol equivalents* (RE) as: 1RE equals
1ug of all-trans retinols OR
6ug of all-trans beta-carotene OR
12ug of all other retinol forming carotenoids.

The research on carotenoids is a very active field and I expect to see much more *quality* information, becoming available in the next 2 years. I will probably have to do a major rewrite of the above vignette, within the year.


The main components of the B Vitamin complex are B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin), and "their close friends and allies", folic acid, biotin, choline, inositol and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid). All these substances are water soluble. Hence the body only stores them to a limited extent and orally they can for the most part, be considered to be non-toxic.

The B Vitamin complex and its "friends and allies" are very closely linked and should ALWAYS be taken as a balanced mix. Unfortunated balanced mixes seldom come out of a pill bottle.

VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine of Thiamin)


  1. Necessary for the conversion of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) into energy.
  2. Necessary in protein metabolism.
  3. Helps promote growth.
  4. Helps maintain the circulatory and nervous systems.
  5. Helps prevent fatigue.
  6. Required for thyroid activity
  7. Required for acetylcholine synthesis.
  8. It and (Vitamin B2) are required for effective use of insulin and thyroxine.
  9. May be of use in Heart Disease treatment
    Pregnancy & Lactation
    Boosting Antibiotic administration
    Alcoholism treatment
    High carbohydrate intake
    Heavy exercise
    Memory loss treatment
    Multiple sclerosis treatment and
    Herpes Zoster treatment
The best known is traditionally called, beriberi. Many Second World War POWs developed this disease and it still occurs in third world countries.


  1. High intake of carbohydrates, sugar etc.
  2. Alcohol, coffee, tobacco and the preservatives nitrites and sulfites
  3. Cooking (heat) and refining of grains, particularly rice, can cause loss of thiamine.
  4. Low intake of protein and fresh vegetables
  5. High intake of berries (particularly, blueberries and red currants and), brussel sprouts and red cabbage.
Brewer's yeast, blackstrap molasses, miso, tofu, whole grains, brown rice, wheat germ, fish, meat, potatoes, oranges, cauliflower, etc

Male Adult Officially Recomended -- 1.5mg/per day High Amounts -- 50mg/day "Super" Amounts -- 100mg/day

It is usually not a sensible approach to daily nutrition for healthy individuals to take "high" amounts all the time. It is also usually not a reasonable approach to nutrition to take "Super" amounts all the time, even if chronic health conditions exist, which seem to benefit from the administration of B Vitamins. However, there are always exceptions. BUT PLEASE REMEMBER, NO B VITAMIN IS AN ISLAND UNTO ITSELF - as always remember the "sisters, cousins and aunts".

SISTERS - The other B Vitamins and their "friends and allies" - a "balance" is essential
COUSINS - Magnesium, phosphate and molybdenum(?)
AUNTS - Proteins and Carbohydrates

VITAMIN B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is a water soluble vitamin and hence has to be given in very high quantities to be toxic, but as the old saying goes, "enough is as good as a feast". It acts as a co-enzyme in cell respiration and hence is essential for growth, health of skin and eyes and general vigor and well being. Vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B2 are involved in the functioning of thyroxine and insulin, whereas Vitamin B2 is important in the maintenance of glutathione, one of the free radical damage protectors.

Most of the above functions of riboflavin are due to its being the flavin in flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and flavin mononucleotide (FMN), which catalyze many oxidation-reduction reactions in the body. An important example is the conversion of trytophan to niacin which is catalyzed by a FAD-dependent hydroxylase. Vitamin B2 is also involved in the release of adenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary.

Riboflavin is found in legumes, lentils, grains, nuts, dairy products, many green vegetables, brewer's yeast, meats and avocados. Depletion factors include, alcohol, birth control pills, antibiotics, excessive use of sugar and coffee. Vitamin B2 is often low in hypothyroidism, liver diseases and chronic diarrheas.

Riboflavin is essential as part of the Vitamin B complex, and is of great use (with Vitamin B3 (niacin) and the essential amino acid, leucine) in the deficiency disease, pellagra, in carpal tunnel syndrome (with Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)), in pregnancy and lactation and other conditions, where depletion is occurring or has occurred. Vitamin B2 is frequency marginally deficient in the elderly.

Sisters - Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine) and iron
Cousins - Vitamin B3 (niacin), the rest of the Vitamin B complex, particularly B3 (niacin), copper, phosphate
Aunts - Flavin complex systems

Recommended Dietary Allowance - 1.7mg/day
High Amounts - 50mg/day
"Super" Amounts - 100mg/day

VITAMIN B3 (Niacin)

Niacin is a water soluble vitamin and the amount needed by the mammalian body is in part, met by the conversion of dietary tryptophan to niacin. By convention, 60mg of tryptophan (from 6g of protein) is considered to be converted (equivalent) to 1mg of niacin.

The term niacin, is used both for nicotinic acid and nicotinamide (niacinamide). Nicotinamide functions as a component of two coenzymes, NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADP (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate). NAD and NADP are present in all cells and participate in many functions such as, sugar and fatty acid metabolism and tissue respiration. Niacin is a vasodilator, that is it is able to increase circulation, for example, in cramped legs and reduce blood pressure. Niacin can often help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides (the trihydric alcoholic esters of the three fatty acids, stearic, oleic and palmitic), and hence be of use in some heart problems. Nicotinic acid can cause flushing of the skin.

The major deficiency disease caused by lack of niacin, is called pellagra, which can occur in diets high in corn. Pellagra is characterized by dermatitis, dermal membrane ulcerations and even mental disturbances. Niacin deficiencies may occur in the elderly even when the dietary intake appears to be adequate. This may be due to several factors, which we only partially understand.

Natural sources of niacin include: meat, brewer's yeast, green vegetables, legumes (including peanuts), nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts), avocados, dates, figs, wheat germ and molasses.

Depleting factors include: birth control pills, alcohol, stress, antibiotics and excess consumption of corn, coffee, sugars and starches.

Sisters: Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and folic acid
Cousins: chromium and zinc
Aunts: NAD and NADP and their systems

Officially Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - 20mg/day
High Amounts per day - 50mg
"Super" Amounts per day - 100-250mg
TOXIC amounts can be as low as 2-3g however skin flushing, increased pulse and breathing rates, etc, can occur in some individuals at 500mg/day or even lower.
Usually this latter occurs when the source of niacin is nicotinic acid.

VITAMIN B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B5 is essential for the functioning of the adrenal glands, particularly the cortex, and it increases the production of cortisone and other adrenal hormones. Hence, it is sometimes known as the *antistress* vitamin. In addition, pantothenic acid is part of the coenzyme A complex, which is a key factor in fat acid metabolism and in energy release from carbohydrates. Vitamin B5 is involved in acetylcholine and in hemoglobin, bile, steroid, cholesterol and antibody syntheses. This Vitamin also promotes amino acid uptake.

Some factors that increase the amounts needed by the body include, stress and alcohol. Cooking may destroy up to 44% of this Vitamin.

Food sources of Pantothenic acid include, wheat germ, brewer's yeast, whole grains, organ meats, legumes, fish (salmon, mackerel, herring and also clams), carrots, avocados, cheese, milk and mushrooms.

This vitamin can be helpful for stress, fatigue, some types of muscle cramping and it may speed some types of wound healing. With these latter two, other nutrients usually, play a more central role, with Vitamin B5 as an adjunct.

Sisters - Folic acid, biotin, niacin (Vitamin B3) and Vitamin B12 (cobalamin).
Cousins - Chromium, zinc and iron
Aunts - Coenzyme A (fat and energy metabolism) and adrenal systems

RDA (Officially Recommended Daily Allowance) - 10mg/day
High Dose - 20-25mg/day
"Super" Dose - 50mg/day

VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is involved in the metabolism of fats (lipids) and carbohydrates. It is necessary for the formation of carbohydrates from amino acids, fatty acids and related entities and also, the production of fatty acids, bile acids, porphyrins and neural hormones. Vitamin B6 acts as a coenzyme in the formation of red blood cells (erythrocytes) and in amino acid metabolism, including the very important conversion of trytophan to niacin. In the brain, pyridoxine helps the conversion of glutamic acid to gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).

NOTE: As protein intake increases, the requirement for Vitamin B6 increases too.

Vitamin B6 has been used to reestablish dream recall on waking BUT high doses at night or overdoses may produce nightmares or vivid-restless dreams.

NOTE: Depletion factors include: Use of birth control pills, and at least 40 drugs such as L-dopa, cortisone, estrogens, penicillamine, isoniazid, apresoline and alazine. Excess iron, and also food processing and heat and light tend to destroy pyridoxine.

Vitamin B6 is often helpful in pregnancy, lactation, to decrease post-operative pain and swelling, during stress, during irradiation treatments and taken together with Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) for carpal tunnel syndrome. Vitamin B6 is important if depleting drugs, see above, are taken. Pyridoxine is often effective in relieving many of the symptoms of PMS.

CAUTION: Very Large CHRONIC doses (100mg/day) MAY cause reversible peripheral neuritis - that is, numbness of feet and hands and even unsteadiness in walking.

Natural sources include: Brewer's yeast, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, salmon, herring, mackerel, egg yolks, walnuts and wheat germ.

Sisters: Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and folic acid
Cousins: Vitamin B3 (niacin), B12 (cobalamin), cobalt, potassium, copper, phosphate, biotin, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Aunts: Amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids (fats).

Officially Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) - 2mg/day
High Doses: 10-25mg/day
"Super" Doses: 50mg/day

VITAMIN B12 (Cobalamin).

Vitamin B12 has the element, cobalt, as part of its structure. The structure of this Vitamin was worked out at Cambridge, England in the the early-mid 1950s. When one of the people involved in this project, described to me and my classmates how an inorganic molecule (cobalt) was required to make the "great organics" work, I decided on the spot, I wanted to do research on the uses and workings of inorganic trace elements. And this I have done for the last 43 years!

Cobalamin is important in the biosynthesis of purines, choline and the sulfo-amino acid, methionine. It functions with folic acid in the regulation and formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is important in the tissue deposition of Vitamin A and helps maintain the health of nerve-cell membranes and growth hormones. This Vitamin can be beneficial in certain neuropsychiatric disorders.

An apparent or actual Vitamin B12 deficiency, may cause changes in the nervous system, such as, soreness and weakness in the arms and legs, including diminished reflex response, limb jerking and numbness. It may also be related to mental slowness, confusion, memory problems, neuritis, intolerance to light or noise, and hallucinations. It has also been linked to menstrual disturbances and certain body odors.

The major disease associated with Vitamin B12 deficiency is pernicious anemia. In this disease Vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed by the gastric mucosa, because a key co-factor is not secreted. One symptom of cobalamin deficiency is an inflamed red tongue. Vitamin B12 deficiency may take years to develop.

Vitamin B12 is not well absorbed orally and hence, it is normally given medically, by injection. Cobalamin is mainly derived from animal protein and microorganisms, but not from plant sources. However, it is often wrongly stated that *all* vegetarians are candidates for Vitamin B12 deficiency. If you are a vegetarian who eats, eggs, milk or milk products such as, cheese or fish or sea foods you will be receiving Vitamin B12 in your food!

The following are some of the factors which may deplete your body stores of cobalamin, include, aspirin and its substitutes, codeine, oral contraceptives, dilantin, laxatives, aging and maybe, also smoking.

Increasing the body load of Vitamin B12 may be useful in pregnancy and lactation, old age, and in certain types neuropathies and muscle fatigue,

It should be noted that in the disease, polycythemia, real or apparent overdosing of Vitamin B12 may have occurred. Vitamin B12 is a "very touchy" substance, the body balancing system has a fairly fine range between too little and too much, mainly because of all the interlinking with the "sisters, cousins and the aunts".

Sisters (substances closely related to Vitamin B12): Carotene, nicotinamide (form of Vitamin B3), deficiency of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folic acid (but supplementing with folic acid in borderline Vitamin B12 deficiency may exacerbate the cobalamin deficiency), biotin, iron, magnesium and chromium

Cousins (substances related, but more remotely): calcium, Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), copper and zinc

Aunts (key body systems involved with Vitamin B12); Nerve-cell membranes, red blood cells and bone marrow

The Official Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - 2ug/day (2mcg/day) - ORAL
High levels - 5-10ug/day (5-10mcg/day) - ORAL
Super levels - 20-25ug/day (20-25mcg/day) - ORAL

VITAMIN C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C is a water soluble antioxidant that can be synthesized by many mammals, *but* not by humans. Dietary deficiency can lead to scurvy, in which collagen, a key protein in our connective tissues, is weakened leading to hemorrhaging of small blood vessels (capillaries). Vitamin C is involved in many reactions with many other biologically active compounds, including proline and lysine (in the formation of collagen); dopamine (with the formation of norepinephrine); tryptophan (to 5-hydroxytryptophan); folic acid; tyrosine; histamine; phenylalanine; corticosteroids; neuroendocrine peptides and bile acids.

Vitamin C is essential in the formation of adrenalin and is involved in the absorption and utilization of non-heme iron. Vitamin C is also important in the functioning of leukocytes (white blood cells); macrophages (the vaccuum cleaners of the body); immune responses; wound healing and allergic reactions. It also helps maintain the integrity of tooth dentin and bone tissues. Ascorbic acid may prevent the formation of carcingenic nitrosamines by reducing nitrites in our bodies. Vitamin C is also a detoxicant of some heavy metals and pesticides.

Vitamin C is absorbed into the body by a sodium dependent mechanism. At low doses of Vitamin C absorption is nearly complete, whereas over the usual food range (30-60mg Vitamin C per day) the absorption drops to 80-90%. As the daily dose of Vitamin C is increased, the body levels and stores *plateau*. This plateau is probably reached for most people with an intake of 200- 300mg per day (unless one has a genetic defect). Vitamin C and its various metabolites are excreted mainly in the urine. At daily intakes of up to, about 100mg per day, oxalate is the main product, but at higher intake levels, Vitamin C is *mainly* excreted. While many people habitually ingest 1gram or more of Vitamin C per day, without developing any side- effects, some adverse effects have been reported. The magnitude of the risk and the percentage of people who could be intolerant to *routine/habitual* high doses is unknown.

Natural sources of Vitamin C include citric fruits (including the historic British Navy's lime juice - hence "limeys"), pineapple, strawberries, rose hips, and tomatoes.

Depletion factors include, losses during food preparation, estrogens, environmental pollution and smoking (estimates suggest that each cigarette may use up about 25mg of Vitamin C).

Sisters - Iron, zinc, folic acid
Cousins - Calcium, magnesium, Vitamins A, B5, B6, B12, A, E, K, testosterone, growth hormones
Aunts - Blood and collagen systems

Officially Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) - 60-90mg per day
Routine/Habitual High Doses - 500-750mg per day
Routine/Habitual Super Doses - 1gm (1,000mg) per day


Calciferol is a fat soluble vitamin formed in human skin mainly by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, which catalyzes the synthesis of Vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol) from 7-dehydro- cholesterol. (Vitamin D2 ( or ergocalciferol) is the product of UV-light conversion of ergo- sterol in plants). In humans, Vitamin D is particularly important in bone formation, since it aids in the regulation of the absorption, excretion and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Among the metabolites of Vitamin D are calcidiol ( or 25(OH)D) which is formed in the liver and then it is further metabolized (hydroxylated) in the kidney to calcitriol (or 1,25(OH)2D) and 24,25 (OH)2D (24,25dihydroxyvitaminD). The Vitamin D status in the body is measured primarily by the levels of calcidiol and calcitriol in the blood plasma.

Natural sources include exposure to sunlight, fish oils, fish (herring, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines) and egg yolks.

Factors that deplete the body's stores of Vitamin D, include too little sunlight, very low levels of fats and bile (which are necessay for the intestinal absorption of Vitamin D), excess Vitamin A, excess potassium, excess fluoride, excess cortisol, excess cortisone.

Sisters - Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus
Cousins - Vitamin A, Vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, fluoride
Aunts - Bone (and teeth) formation, also fats and bile needed. Note: tight Vitamin D-calcium- phosphorus interaction.

One international unit (IU) of Vitamin D is defined as the activity of 0.025ug (micrograms or mcg) of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in certain bioassays. Hence the biological activity of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is 40IU per microgram. The activity of calcidiol (25(OH)D) and calcitriol (1,25(OH)2D) are approximately 1.5 and 5 times greater than that of Vitamin D, respectively. Vitamin D occurs as Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and/or as Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) in foods and fortified products. The various forms of Vitamin D are generally not identified separately and the total is usually cited as IU or micrograms (ug or mcg) of Vitamin D3 (choleciferol), which is called just Vitamin D for simplicity.

Deficiency of Vitamin D may occur in persons exposed to little sunlight and who are very strict vegetarians or rigidly exclude most fats. The intake of Vitamin D for these adults may be as low as the 70-100IU (1.75-2.5ug) Vitamin D3 per day.

Unfortunately, we actually do not know as much as we think we know about Vitamin D, since the sunlight factor always causes complications in any calculations and even in the measurements.

The RDA (Officially Recommended Daily Allowance) for persons over the age the age of 12 months is normally given as 400IU (10ug) Vitamin D3 per day. Toxicity levels for young children have been observed for consumptions as low as 1,800IU (45ug) Vitamin D3 per day.

Deficiency Toxicity - 100IU (2.5ug) per day
RDA - 200IU (5ug) per day
High levels - 600IU (15ug) per day
Super levels - 1,000IU (25ug) per day
Toxic (adults) - 3,000IU (75ug) per day (estimated)
Toxic (children) - 1,500-2000IU (38-50ug) per day

VITAMIN E (Tocopherols)

In nature there are 4 d-tocopherols called:
RRR-alpha-tocopherol (formerly d-alpha-tocopherol)
RRR-beta-tocopherol (formerly d-beta-tocopherol)
RRR-gamma-tocopherol (formerly d-gamma-tocopherol)
RRR-delta-tocopherol (formerly d-delta-tocopherol).

The most active tocopherol is the alpha form and the units for Vitamin E are expressed as alpha-tocopherol equivalents or alpha-TE. If the activity of alpha-tocopherol (alpha-TE) is designated as 1, the beta form is 0.5 of this activity, the gamma 0.1 and the delta 0.3. When the vitamin is synthesized the 4 l-tocopherols also appear and the product is called all-rac-tocopherol (formerly dl-tocopherol). The acitivity of 1mg of the acetate of all-rac-tocopherol is equivalent to 1 IU of vitamin E or 0.74 alpha-TE.

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is best know as an antioxidant. The tocopherols are mainly found in cellular membranes associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in phospholipids. Vitamin E is a primary body defense against potentially harmful oxidations and in this process is aided by selenium as a component of the enzyme, glutathione peroxidase and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). In cases of deficiency, neurological and muscular abnormalities may develop.

There are many studies which indicate the dietary values of Vitamin E and it may be helpful in diets high in processed foods or polyunsaturated fats and in some older people, however, in most instances, definitive studies are lacking.

Vitamin E occurs naturally in whole wheat, almonds, peanuts, alfalfa, barley and lima beans and many other food sources. Depletion factors include chronic stress, impaired fat absorption and cooking losses. PLEASE NOTE: meats, fish, animal fats and most fruits and vegetables have *little* Vitamin E, whereas leafy vegetables supply appreciable amounts of this vitamin.

Sisters - Selenium, Vitamin C and glutathione (see vignette on glutathione)
Cousins - Vitamins A, B6, B12 and K, folic acid and zinc
Aunts - PUFA in phospholipids

I think the following listing will be subject to change in the fairly near future:
Officially Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) - 8-12 mg alpha-TE (10 mg d-alpha tocopherol) or 15 IU per day
High Level - 150 mg alpha-TE or 200 IU per day
Super Level - 300 mg alpha-TE or 400 IU per day
Toxic Level -1200mg alpha-TE or 1600 IU per day


There are two forms of the fat soluble, Vitamin K - K1 (phylloquinone) which is found in alfalfa and green vegetables and K2 (menaquinones) which is produced by micro-organisms in the intestinal tract. There is a third synthetic form of Vitamin K called K3 (menadione). Animal tissues contain both Vitamin K1 and K2.

Vitamin K is sometimes, nicknamed the anti- hemorrhagic vitamin. It is vital for blood clotting and the functioning of the liver, kidney, sketal muscle and bone. It is also important in glycogen conversion, which is the form carbohydrates are stored in the body. Factors that can deplete levels of Vitamin K, include chronic use of aspirin, antibiotics, anticoagulants, such as coumarin, mineral oil, also bile obstruction and liver damage.

Sisters: Calcium, iron, Vitamin E
Cousins: Manganese, copper, Vitamins A and C
Aunts: Clotting proteins, phospholipids

Officially Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - 45-80ug (45-80mcg) Vitamin K per day
High levels seem to be about 400ug (400mcg) per day
Amounts of Vitamin K in the normal diet seem to be of this latter order (400ug) and hence NO supplementation would seem to be appropriate, except in special cases.


Biotin is a sulfur-containing amino acid coenzyme, it is involved in unsaturated fatty acid metabolism and glycogen manufacture. Thus it is important in the sex glands, nerves, bone, skin and hair.

Biotin is synthesizd by the intestinal bacteria hence, *antibiotics, sulfa and other drugs* that affect the intestinal microflora reduce the availability of biotin. Other factors which deplete biotin include the protein avidin (present in raw eggs), desthiobiotin, choline, rancid fats and the cooking process.

Large doses of biotin have been helpful in children with deficiencies in biotin-dependent enzymes, certain mental development retardational diseases, inflamation of the cornea and defects in T-cell and B-cell immunities.

Natural sources of biotin included, Brewer's yeast, whole grains, legumes, mackerel, salmon, sardines, nuts and royal jelly.

Sisters: Manganese, thiamine (Vitamin B1) choline
Cousins: Other B vitamins
Aunts: Amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids

Officially Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- 300ug (300mcg) per day
High Amounts - 500ug (500mcg) per day
Super Amounts - 1mg (1,000ug) per day
As yet, no known toxicity. Some "Vitamin pills" contain much higher amounts of biotin. This should change, since some is good, *but more usually is NOT better*.


Choline is called a lipotropic substance, which means it accelerates the removal of fats and cholesterol from the liver and also decreases the storage of excess fats. Choline combines with fatty acids and phosphoric acid to form lecithin. Choline is oxidized to form betaine, an important methyl donor. A derivative of choline, namely, acetylcholine, functions as a neurotransmitter and is critical in the memory function and in the health of the myelin sheath of the nerves and also in the production of bile acids and the prevention of gall stones.

Choline may be helpful in the control of cholesterol, memory loss, some liver diseases and some heart and atherosclerotic problems.

Factors influencing the depletion of choline include, sulfa drugs, alcohol, estrogens and cooking.

Natural sources of choline include lecithin, Brewer's yeast, wheat germ, soybeans and egg yolks.

Sisters: Vitamin B complex, particularly, Inositol and Biotin
Cousins: Methionine
Aunts: Fats and fatty acids

Officially Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- None for humans
Average Daily Intake (Food) - 400-900mg per day
High Supplement Amounts - 500mg (500mcg) per day
Super Supplement Amounts - 1000-3000mg per day
As yet, no known toxicity.


Folate is the naturally occurring form of folic acid. It is water soluble and functions as a coenzyme in DNA and RNA (nucleic acid) synthesis and metabolism.

Folate is crucial for mental and emotional health, including depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is vital in pregnancy to prevent congenital malformations, including spina bifida and neural tube defects. Folate may also be helpful in cases of infertility. There is research showing that folic acid may help prevent strokes and heart disease.

Deficiencies in folate may be fairly common in many people. Folate deficiency has been noted in sprue, mental illness, leukopenia (reduction of white blood cells), thrombocytopenia (decrease in blood platelets) and spontaneous abortion. The RDA was formerly 400ug of folate. Depleting factors include, certain oral contraceptives, high doses of Vitamin C, alcohol, emotional stress and certain medications.

Supplementing with folic acid when there is a Vitamin B12 deficiency, exaserbates the folic acid deficiency and also mask the Vitamin B12 deficiency. Also supplementing with folate may increase zinc excretion, thus lowering serum zinc.

Natural sources include, spinach, lentils, pinto beans, asparagus, broccoli, okra and brussels sprouts, brewer's yeast, salmon, tuna, egg yolks, oats, rye, wheat and nuts.

Sisters: Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin C, zinc
Cousins: Vitamin B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), biotin, iron, copper estradiol, testerone, growth hormone.
Aunts: Nucleic acid synthesis and metabolism

Officially Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) -
200ug (200mcg) folate per day
400ug (400mcg) per day during pregnancy)
High levels 600ug (600mcg) per day
Super levels 1000ug (1mg) per day


There are 9 inositol isomers. The *only* one of importance in animal metabolism is *myo-inositol*, a cyclic alcohol, closely related chemically to glucose. It is mainly found as a constituent of phospholipids in biomembranes. Myo-inositol triphosphate is an important part of the hormonal stimulation for mobilizing intracellular calcium. Inositol also functions with choline as a constituent of lecithin, to aid in the movement of fats from the liver to cells. Inositol helps reduce cholesterol in the blood and generally helps in fat metabolism. Inositol is present in large quantities in the spinal cord (and its nerves) and the brain. It also seems to play a role in the maturation of sperm cells.

Large amounts of caffeine and excess water intake may deplete the intake of inositol, since the intestinal flora synthesize inositol. Other sources of inositol include, Brewer's yeast, lecithin, soybeans, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fruit (particularly citrus) juices.

No level of inositol has been set for humans. The addition of myo-inositol to the diets of patients with diabetic neuropathy was found to restored their nerve conduction velocity, the full meaning of this is not understood. Supplemental inositol also appears sometimes, to help in lowering blood cholesterol.

Sisters: Calcium, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Folic acid, Choline, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Cousins: PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), methionine, betaine
Aunts: Fats and fatty acids, phospholipids.

Officially Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- None for humans
High Supplement Amounts - 500mg per day
Super Supplement Amounts - 1000mg per day
As yet, no known toxicity.

PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid)

PABA is a component of folic acid and stimulates the intestinal bacteria to produce folic acid. PABA functions as a coenzyme in the formation of red blood cells, the utilization of protein and the assimilation of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). PABA is *best* known for its external use as an ultraviolet radiation dermal shield, that is as a "sun screen".

For internal use, PABA functions best when used together with zinc, choline, linoleic acid and the B Vitamin complex. In the body PABA is depleted by some processed foods, alcohol, estrogens and sulfa drugs. The water soluble PABA is found in Brewer's Yeast, wheat germ, blackstrap molasses, bran, rice and organ meats.

Supplements of internal PABA are often in the 100mg per day range, but it is probably better to obtain it through the foods we eat. Externally is a different story!!! Home Page

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