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Introduction to Biochemistry Part One


Introduction to Biochemistry Part One Objectives: Evaluate the benefits and risks of each vitamin discussed. Describe various deficiency symptoms or disorders. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Biochemistry Part One

Introduction to Biochemistry Part One
  • Objectives
  • Evaluate the benefits and risks of each vitamin
  • Describe various deficiency symptoms or
  • Explain common causes of deficiency.
  • Predict which deficiency exists based on the
    symptoms given.
  • Explain the need for each vitamin.
  • Research vitamin and mineral information.
  • Explain the interaction vitamins have with other

  • Vocabulary
  • Vitamin beta-carotene thiamin
    biotin macronutrients
  • micronutrients minerals synthesis
    leukemia retinol
  • retina glucogenesis Krebs cycle
    beriberi edema
  • normochromic normocytic anemia eclampsia
    nicotinic acid
  • metabolism homocysteine oral
    topical anemia
  • spina bifida pituitary thymus
    adrenal glands scurvy
  • scorbutus rickets osteoporosis
  • coagulation hemoglobin ATP

Introduction to Biochemistry
  • All life requires organic molecules. Proteins,
    fatty acids, and carbohydrates are considered
    macronutrients because we need them in large
  • Other organic molecules, like vitamins, are also
    needed but in smaller
  • quantities so they are known as
    micronutrients. Finally, inorganic substances
    such as many of the metals, or minerals, listed
    in the periodic table are also needed for life
    and are part of our needed micronutrients.
  • Vitamins were originally considered vital amines
    (amino acids) but it was later found that they
    were not all amines. Minerals are metals but for
    use by animals, they are usually complexed with
    specific anions.
  • Vitamins often act as coenzymes, indirectly
    supplying energy for life by helping to drive
    metabolic reactions, usually transferring
    electrons or protons. Some vitamins are fat
    soluble, such as A, D, E, and K. These require
    fat in order to be absorbed by the intestines.
    These can also be stored in our body fairly
    easily. All of the rest of the vitamins are
    water soluble and are not stored well so need to
    be replaced regularly through our diet.

  • Vitamin A is important for bone growth,
    reproduction, membrane
  • integrity, vision, and cell division and
    differentiation. It also plays a role
  • in the immune system through cell differentiation
    into white blood cells
  • and by helping lymphocytes fight infections more
  • True vitamin A is also known as retinol (an
    alcohol) or retinal (an
  • aldehyde). Notice the similarity between
    retinal and retina (the part
  • of your eye with rods and cones for vision).
    Retinal is needed to
  • transmit light sensations in the retina. It
    binds to a protein called
  • opsin to form rhodopsin (visual purple) which
    allows rod cells to
  • transmit in low light levels. One of the first
    signs of vitamin A deficiency
  • is night blindness. Severe deficiency can lead
    to total blindness and
  • the deterioration of all membranes and skin.
    This opens the way for
  • diseases and early death.
  • Retinoic acid, combined with protein, binds
    to chromosomes in the
  • nucleus where it regulates the rate of
    transcription and the synthesis of
  • some proteins. Retinoic acid also acts on
    thyroid hormone receptors
  • and vitamin D receptors.

  • Vitamin A is needed during fetal limb
    development, and for formation of the
  • heart, eyes, and ears. And, it regulates the
    expression of the gene for growth
  • hormone. Vitamin A is also important for forming
    red blood cells through
  • myeloid stem cell differentiation in the bone
    marrow. It also likely helps move
  • iron from storage sites to developing RBCs for
    use in the hemoglobin portion
  • responsible for carrying oxygen. In fact, some
    people diagnosed with iron
  • deficient anemia do not improve with iron
    supplementation until vitamin A is
  • also added.
  • Zinc is also extremely important. If it is
    low, retinol binding protein, which
  • carries retinol throughout the body to the
    tissues (like the retina of the eye), will
  • see a decrease in synthesis (manufacture). Zinc
    is also needed to convert
  • retinol to retinal for use in the eye.
  • Women who were HIV positive and deficient
    in vitamin A were 3 to 4 times
  • more likely to transmit HIV to their infants.
    There is also a strong link to death
  • from measles and vitamin A deficiency. A
    mutation of receptors for retinoic
  • acid has been found in one form of leukemia
    (proliferation of immature white
  • blood cells). High vitamin A supplementation
    sometimes helps.

  • Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin,
    it can be stored in our body. We
  • can actually get too much, although this is not
    very common. Too much
  • vitamin A, just like too little, can cause birth
    defects. Some prescriptions, such
  • as accutane for severe acne, are similar to high
    levels of vitamin A and can
  • cause severe birth defects even months after
    stopping the prescription. Other
  • risks of hypervitaminosis include liver problems,
    decreased bone density
  • (possibly leading to osteoporosis), nervous
    disorders and dry itchy skin.
  • To avoid any chance of toxicity, many
    vitamins contain beta-carotene
  • instead of true vitamin A. Beta-carotene is
    considered a provitamin. Beta-
  • carotene can be converted by MOST people to
    vitamin A. It takes about 12
  • mcg of beta-carotene from food to make 1 mcg of
    retinol. Beta-carotene in oil
  • converts at about a 21 ratio. There are more
    than 560 carotenoids but less
  • than 10 of these can be converted to vitamin A.
    Of these beta-carotene
  • converts at the highest ratio. Lycopene and
    lutein are important anti-oxidants
  • in the carotene family that do not convert.
    (Both are good for the eyes, etc.)
  • One IU (international unit) equals 0.3 mcg.
    of retinol. An upper daily limit of
  • 10,000 IU of retinol is considered safe for most
    non-alcoholics or people
  • without liver or cholesterol problems.

  • Thiamin (old spelling thiamine) or
    vitamin B1 (aneurine) is a water soluble
  • vitamin. Water soluble vitamins are not stored
    in large quantities by the body.
  • A deficiency leads to beriberi which is
    characterized by burning feet sensations
  • (peripheral neuropathy), exaggerated reflexes,
    numbness and weakness in the
  • arms and legs, muscle pain/weakness, rapid heart
    rate, an enlarged heart,
  • difficulty breathing, edema (severe swelling),
    abnormal eye movements,
  • lack of coordination, memory problems/amnesia and
    possibly seizures. Not all
  • symptoms are present in individuals with
  • For free thiamin to become a coenzyme, it
    requires magnesium. This
  • coenzyme is needed to extract energy from food.
    Thiamin is also part of an
  • enzyme required for synthesis of DNA, RNA, ATP
    (our energy source), and
  • NADPH. Thiamin, as thiamin triphosphate, is
    needed for cell membrane ion
  • channels in nerve cells and muscles. Without the
    movement of sodium and
  • potassium ions, for example, across membranes,
    normal nerve and muscle
  • function is prevented. Congestive Heart Failure
    patients can experience better
  • left ventricular ejection with thiamin
  • Alcoholism, HIV, and diets high in
    carbohydrates but low in thiamin (ex
  • rice based) are major reasons for deficiency.
    Cancer cells have a high need for
  • thiamin. Cancer patients may be deficient but
    supplementing is controversial.

  • Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is a water
    soluble vitamin needed in many
  • coenzymes (ex FAD in the electron transport
    chain), called flavins and in
  • enzymes called flavoproteins. Riboflavin helps
    produce energy through
  • oxidation-reduction redox reactions. Its needed
    for protein, carbohydrate, and
  • fat metabolism (breakdown of a substance in order
    to maintain life). It is also
  • needed to breakdown drugs and other toxins.
  • Other vitamins, such as vitamin B6, niacin,
    and folic acid, require
  • flavoproteins for use by the body. These
    vitamins, in turn, are needed in other
  • enzymes. So, a riboflavin deficiency can impact
    many other vitamins and their
  • enzymes. It can also indirectly (through folate)
    affect the formation of
  • methionine (amino acid) from homocysteine (a
    nasty indicator of potential heart
  • attack). So, riboflavin, along with the other B
    vitamins, can decrease blood
  • homocysteine levels and, therefore, the risk of
    heart attack.
  • Riboflavin deficiency alters iron
    metabolism and can be the cause of
  • decreased hemoglobin. Supplements sometimes help
    recovery from iron-
  • deficient anemia.

  • Usually, if a person is deficient in
    riboflavin, they are also deficient
  • in other water soluble vitamins. Riboflavin
    deficiency symptoms
  • include sore throat cracks/sores on the outside
    of the lips (cheliosis)
  • and corners of the mouth an inflamed tongue
    mouth, and throat lining
  • moist, scaly skin patches (seborrheic
    dermatitis) blood vessel
  • formation over the clear cornea covering of the
    eye higher risk of pre-
  • eclampsia (high blood pressure, proteinuria, and
    edema during
  • pregnancy) and decreased red blood cell count
  • normocytic anemia - meaning the RBCs that are
    formed have normal
  • amounts of hemoglobin giving them the usual red
    shade of color and
  • they are of normal shape and size. There are
    just fewer RBCs than
  • normal.) Migraines and cataracts might also
    increase with deficiency.
  • Alcoholism, anorexia, lactose intolerance
    (milk is a good riboflavin
  • source), hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency,
    increased sweating from
  • hard labor or sports, or light therapy can
    increase risk of deficiency.

  • Niacin, also known as B3 or nicotinic acid.
    Because nicotinic acid sounds
  • too much like nicotine, a harmful substance, the
    name was changed using the
  • ni from nicotinic, the ac from acid, and the
    in from vitamin.
  • Nicotinic acid reacts with myoglobin (in
    muscles) and hemoglobin to make
  • the reddish color very bright. So, its
    sometimes used on ground meat to make
  • it look fresher.
  • The liver can make niacin from the
    essential amino acid tryptophan but it
  • requires 60 mg of tryptophan and ample vitamin B6
    and riboflavin to SLOWLY
  • make only 1 mg of niacin.
  • Niacin deficiency is almost always
    accompanied by riboflavin deficiency.
  • Symptoms of deficiency include diarrhea, fatigue,
    headache, emotional
  • instability, memory loss, decreased cold
    tolerance, and poor appetite. Severe
  • deficiency is known as pellagra and includes
    dermatitis, dementia, and death.
  • Deficiency can be induced by the
    anti-tuberculosis drug, Isoniazid.
  • Niacin is used to decrease cholesterol
    (particularly LDL) and increase HDL.
  • It is important for metabolism. Over 200 enzymes
    require niacin coenzymes
  • like NAD and NADP which accept or donate
    electrons for redox reactions.

  • High doses of niacin are sometimes
    prescribed for high cholesterol. Excess
  • niacin can cause flushing of the skin and
    burning/tingling of the feet. This
  • occurs because high doses can trigger histamine
    release. Histamine is the
  • same chemical that swells respiratory tissues in
    allergies and asthma. Another
  • form, niacinamide, doesnt cause flushing but
    isnt effective against high
  • cholesterol.
  • Pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5, is
    needed for coenzyme A (CoA).
  • CoA is needed to generate energy from food and
    for the synthesis
  • (manufacture) of steroid hormones, cholesterol,
    acetylcholine (a
  • neurotransmitter), and melatonin, an antioxidant
    that is also associated with a
  • good nights sleep but can cause SAD (seasonal
    affective disorder) when too
  • much is present during the daytime. The liver
    also requires CoA in order to
  • break down drugs and other toxins. CoA is also
    needed for the production of
  • fatty acids called sphingolipids (part of the
    myelin sheath around nerves) and
  • phospholipids (cell membranes).

  • Wounds heal faster and have stronger scar
    tissue when pantothenic acid is
  • taken orally (by mouth) and applied topically (on
    the skin) as pantothenol.
  • Pantethine, another form of pantothenic acid, can
    reduce cholesterol and
  • triglycerides. Some reports suggest pantothenic
    acid can help fight acne.
  • Acne may be due in part to fatty acids and other
    lipids depositing under the skin
  • and forming sebum if not enough CoA is present to
    properly metabolize them.
  • However, HUGE doses of pantothenic acid are
    required to counter acne and
  • this success is based on a single study which was
    not a controlled double-blind
  • experiment.
  • High doses are not known to be toxic but
    can cause diarrhea. There may
  • be an increased need for pantothenic acid (and
    other B vitamins) due to use of
  • birth control pills.

  • Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is important
    for sodium/potassium balance
  • production of red blood cells (heme) and their
    ability to pick-up and release
  • oxygen, RNA, and DNA homocysteine control (heart
    attack trigger) blood
  • sugar control (especially for gestational
    diabetes) the production of
  • neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine,
    the ability to block steroid
  • hormones like estrogen and testosterone from
    affecting gene transcription
  • (cancer prevention), melanoma (skin cancer)
    inhibition, immunity and the
  • thyroids ability to use iodine. (Candida
    prevents B6 from becoming active.)
  • Vitamin B2, riboflavin, is needed to
    activate pyridoxine. Therefore, a
  • riboflavin deficiency could lead to a pyridoxine
    deficiency. In addition, for
  • homocysteine control, B12 and folic acid are
    needed along with vitamin B6.
  • Alcohol consumption, hormone replacement
    therapy, birth control pills,
  • cortisone use and antidepressants can increase
    the need for B6. This vitamin
  • is needed for over 100 enzymes in the body
    involved with protein metabolism.
  • A deficiency can lead to decreased antibody
    production, dermatitis (skin
  • inflammation), tongue soreness, depression,
    anemia (literally this means
  • without blood), irritability, insomnia, acne,
    asthma and allergies, kidney
  • stones, bone changes such as osteoporosis and
    arthritis, headaches or
  • migraines, chapped lips, ridged nails, and
    possibly carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Biotin, also known as B7, or vitamin H, is a
    water soluble vitamin with the
  • formula C10H16N2O3S. (Notice that it has all of
    the components of a protein but
  • they are not arranged to form an amine group and
    a carboxyl group.) Biotin is
  • required to convert amino acids and fats into
    carbohydrates (glucogenesis), for
  • making fatty acids, and for metabolizing (the
    ability to use) leucine (an essential
  • amino acid) in the body. It is important in the
    Krebs Cycle, the process where
  • energy is released from food. Biotin is also
    needed to maintain a steady blood
  • sugar.
  • Biotin levels tend to be low in type II
    diabetics. Brittle nails and hair can benefit
  • from supplementation. Babies born with cradle
    cap might be biotin deficient.
  • Deficiency symptoms include dry skin, hair
    loss, fine brittle hair, rashes,
  • numb or tingling extremities.
  • Biotin is abundant in egg yolks but egg whites
    contain avidin which binds to
  • biotin IF the egg whites are not cooked (Heat
    denatures avidin, which is a
  • protein, so it no longer binds biotin). Biotin
    forms a complex with the amino
  • acid lysine in the body. An enzyme is needed to
    break this bond to use the
  • biotin which is recycled but not at 100.

  • Folate, or folic acid (B9), is needed for
    DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis. It
  • helps prevent damage to and helps regulate the
    expression of the genome
  • through its use in DNA replication and repair.
    It forms yellowish orange
  • crystals.
  • Folate deficiency may allow more uracil (an
    RNA base) to be incorporated in
  • DNA. A deficiency in pregnant mothers can lead
    to the birth of babies with
  • spina bifida (the spinal nerve protrudes outside
    of the vertebral column).
  • Neural tube closure usually occurs about 24 to 28
    days after conception so the
  • woman might not even know she is pregnant when
    the damage is done.
  • Recently, spina bifida babies have been born at a
    higher rate in moms using
  • tanning booths. It is now believed that UV light
    can destroy folate in the body.
  • However, the problems associated with low folate
    might all be related to high
  • homocysteine. Low folate is the most common
    cause of high homocysteine,
  • although B6 and B12 also play a role. Induced
    high homocysteine levels in
  • animal studies have been shown to cause neural
    tube defects. About 10 of
  • the human population has a defect in an enzyme
    needed for folate metabolism.
  • As a result, they have high homocysteine levels.
    The defect is caused by a
  • single amino acid substitution from alanine to

  • Folate deficiency symptoms include a certain
    type of anemia (similar to B12
  • anemia), fatigue, weakness, headache,
    palpitations, shortness of breath, a sore
  • tongue, high homocysteine, cramps, increased risk
    of cardiovascular disease,
  • Alzheimers, depression, and increased risk of
  • Alcohol use can impair folate absorption and
    metabolism. Problems with
  • digestion, like Crohns disease or celiac disease
    (sprue), can also cause a
  • deficiency state. Low folate is associated with
    cerebral cortex atrophy in the
  • brain.
  • People with major depression, who do not
    respond well to antidepressants
  • have frequently been found to be low in folate.
    Schizophrenics are often found
  • to be low in folate (many are also found to have
    sub-clinical gluten intolerance
  • which upsets absorption of many nutrients from
    the intestines.) Some limb
  • defects and facial clefts might be due to folate
  • Folate might also help prevent oxidation of
    LDL (bad) cholesterol which is
  • believed to only clog arteries when it is
  • Folic acid might reduce zinc absorption.

  • Vitamin B12, cobalamin, contains cobalt,
    giving it a reddish color. B12 is very
  • complex and is similar to hemoglobin,
    chlorophyll, and cytochromes. B12
  • works with folate to make DNA and RNA and to keep
    them safe from defects.
  • Bad bacterial overgrowth in the small
    intestine and certain tapeworms can
  • cause a deficiency by competing for the B12 in
    your diet. Low stomach acid or
  • low intrinsic factor can cause inability to
    absorb B12 from our diet. Elderly
  • people often need B12 shots in order to get
    adequate amounts. People with
  • chronic fatigue or HIV might have problems
    absorbing B12.
  • Along with vitamin B6 and folate, B12 helps
    convert homocysteine to
  • methionine. This reduces the chance of a heart
    attack. B12 can also combine
  • with sulfite, reducing sensitivity to it.
  • A deficiency of B12 can result in a
    specific type of anemia (similar to the
  • anemia from folate deficiency) and/or
    neurological problems such as tingling
  • and numbness of the extremities (especially the
    legs or toes), irritability, altered
  • balance, memory problems (including Alzheimer's),
    Babinskis responses (toes
  • extend upward instead of curl when the bottom of
    the foot is tickled), vision
  • problems, and age related hearing loss.
    Alternating diarrhea and constipation,
  • flatulence (gas), increased breast cancer risk,
    burning tongue sensation,
  • anorexia, shortness of breath and palpitations
    also can occur.

  • Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, can also come in
    other forms like ascorbyl
  • palmitate. Except for this palmitate form,
    vitamin C is water soluble. Vitamin C
  • is concentrated (100 x more than in the blood
    plasma) in the pituitary (master
  • control for the endocrine system), adrenal glands
    (fight or flight response),
  • thymus (T cells for the immune system), and
    retina (part of the eye). Vitamin C
  • is also in fairly high concentrations in the
    brain, spleen, lung, thyroid, liver,
  • pancreas, kidney, etc.
  • Vitamin C is also needed to synthesize (make,
    manufacture) collagen for
  • blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bone
    norepinephrine and ,carnitine
  • which is needed to transport fatty acids into the
    mitochondria for use as energy. A deficiency of
    vitamin C can lead to easy bruising, loose
    teeth, poor
  • healing ability, low immunity, and mild anemia.
    Severe deficiency is known as
  • scurvy. Scurvy (also known as scorbutus) can
    lead to severe internal bleeding
  • (hemorrhaging) and death. Sailors at sea for
    long periods without fresh fruit
  • (cooking can destroy vitamin C) often died from
    scurvy. The AMA did not like
  • vitamin C being named ascorbic acid (against or
    anti scorbutus) because it
  • implies a cure for scurvy. Limes were grown in
    one of the British holdings so
  • were readily available to sailors which were then
    called limeys.

  • There are claims that vitamin C helps
    prevent or shorten a colds duration.
  • Best results are probably seen when vitamin C is
    taken frequently throughout
  • the day rather than in one large dose since its
    half life in the blood is only about
  • 30 minutes. Linus Pauling proposed that a
    combination of vitamin C, lysine,
  • and Vitamin B3 (niacin) could help heart disease
    and reverse arterial plaque
  • build-up.
  • Vitamin C can help prevent lead poisoning
    by possibly binding to it and
  • removing it from the body (chelation). This
    might also happen when vitamin C
  • and selenium are taken together. We need
    selenium, so thats not good in this
  • case. Vitamin C is believed to help the
    absorption of iron.
  • Vitamin C might help fight some cancers but
    large doses taken by mouth
  • can cause diarrhea so intravenous therapy might
    be more beneficial. Also,
  • ascorbic acid is acidic and can alter pH so it is
    often recommended as calcium
  • ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, or magnesium
    ascorbate instead.
  • Vitamin C is so important to life that most
    animals make their own.
  • Primates, guinea pigs, some fish, some birds,
    etc. cannot. We have only 3 of
  • the 4 necessary enzymes to make vitamin C.

  • Vitamin C is also believed to be necessary
    for the prevention of cataracts.
  • It can help dilate blood vessels with as little
    as 500 mg. This can lead to a
  • blood pressure drop of as much as 9 if taken
    regularly for 4 weeks.
  • Birth control pills are known to lower
    vitamin C levels in blood plasma and
  • white blood cells (immune system). Aspirin can
    also lower vitamin C levels by
  • increasing its excretion.
  • Large doses of vitamin C can cause certain
    medical tests to give false
  • positive or negative readings. These include
    serum bilirubin, serum
  • creatinine, and occult blood tests. Large doses
    can also give false negatives
  • for glucose, nitrate, and/or bilirubin on urine
    dipstick tests.

  • Vitamin D, is actually a group of vitamins
    numbered D1 through D5 . In
  • humans, D3 is the active form and is also known
    as cholecalciferol. This is a fat
  • soluble vitamin. We can make vitamin D if we are
    exposed to 10 - 15 mins. of
  • sunlight when the sun is high in the sky (about 1
    pm) but only during the
  • summer in northern latitudes like Wisconsin.
    (UVB rays are needed for vitamin
  • D synthesis.) This also assumes we have enough
    cholesterol (the vitamin D
  • precursor) and a healthy liver and kidneys
    because these organs are needed to
  • convert vitamin D to its active form.
  • Vitamin D, by maintaining correct levels of
    calcium and phosphorus in the
  • blood, is needed for bone growth. It promotes
    calcium absorption. Vitamin D
  • is also needed for a strong immune system and for
    regulation of cell growth
  • and differentiation. It might also prevent some
    cancers and help treat psoriasis.
  • We also know that there are vitamin D receptors
    on pancreatic cells that
  • secrete insulin, so it may play a role in
    diabetes control.
  • Some scientists consider vitamin D a hormone,
    since we can synthesize it in
  • our bodies and it can act like steroids do. And,
    more than 50 genes in our
  • bodies are regulated by the active form of
    vitamin D.

  • The most obvious problems associated with
    vitamin D deficiency are rickets,
  • osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Rickets usually
    occurs in growing children.
  • Their bones are soft and can easily bow due to
    poor mineralization from lack of
  • vitamin D. Babies fontanels (the soft spot) may
    not close by the usual age and
  • the ribs may be misshapen from the diaphragm
    pulling on these softer than
  • normal bones. Osteomalacia is a similar problem
    in adults. Although bones
  • arent growing in size, they are constantly torn
    down and rebuilt. If there is not
  • enough vitamin D, re-mineralization will not
    occur and the bones have soft
  • areas. Many cases of hip fracture in the elderly
    are due to osteomalacia rather
  • than osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is when bones
    become brittle. This can be
  • due to too little calcium being absorbed due to
    lack of vitamin D.
  • Deficiency is also associated with
    auto-immune diseases like multiple
  • sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness,
    and high blood pressure if it
  • is due to too much renin (produced in kidneys)
    because D affects this genes
  • expression.
  • Vitamin D deficiency can be due to too little
    time in the sun or not enough D
  • in the diet, poor kidney or liver function
    failing to convert it to its active form,
  • intestinal problems (Crohns disease, etc.), lack
    of fat in the diet (fat soluble
  • vitamin), prolonged steroid use (like
    prednisone), and obesity.

  • Vitamin E is also a fat soluble vitamin which
    is really a group of vitamins
  • which includes 4 tocopherols and 4
    tocotrienols. Alpha- tocopherol is the
  • form most often considered vitamin E but gamma-
    tocopherol is gaining in
  • importance as more research is being done. All
    forms seem to have some anti-
  • oxidant effect.
  • A deficiency of vitamin E in rats causes
    severe fertility problems. Deficiency
  • could also lead to wasting (dystrophy) of the
    skeletal muscles and degeneration
  • of the kidneys and liver. Deficiency in young
    children leads to the rapid
  • development of neurological problems (adults show
    symptoms more slowly -
  • these include loss of balance and coordination).
    Deficiency can lead to
  • hemolytic anemia (red blood cells break apart).
  • Vitamin E helps protect fats from oxidation
    and can actually be used
  • commercially to help prevent fats/oils from going
    rancid. Our cell membranes
  • are a bi-lipid (fatty) layer which require
    vitamin E to maintain their integrity. LDL
  • cholesterol is also only considered harmful and
    sticky enough to cling to blood
  • vessels when it oxidizes. Vitamin E prevents
    oxidation of low density
  • lipoproteins (LDL) and therefore might help
    prevent cardiovascular disease.
  • Vitamin C can help regenerate the ability of
    vitamin E as an anti-oxidant.

  • Vitamin K, another group of fat soluble
    vitamins, got its name from the
  • German word koagulation. Coagulation is the
    ability to clump, or stick
  • together. Vitamin K1 from plants and K2 from
    bacteria are useful but synthetic
  • (man-made) K3 should not be taken in very large
    amounts by humans.
  • Vitamin K is important to several proteins
    involved in blood clotting. Vitamin
  • K is needed to bind calcium in 7 clotting factors
    in the series of reactions that
  • occur in the body to stop bleeding. Bones also
    have at least 3 proteins
  • dependent on vitamin K.
  • A deficiency could lead to easy bruising,
    easy bleeding, nosebleeds,
  • bleeding gums, blood in urine or stools, and
    heavier cycles in women. It may
  • also impact bone mineralization (osteoporosis).
    While bones dont mineralize
  • well with a K deficiency, blood vessels tend to
    calcify. This decreases their
  • elasticity but increases the likelihood of heart
    attack or stroke. Vitamin K2
  • May be the most effective form for pulling
    Calcium from blood vessels and
  • depositing it in the bones where it belongs. A
    deficiency may occur if there is
  • liver damage (recycles K), if there is prolonged
    use of antibiotics, if
  • warfarin/coumadin (a blood thinner and rat
    killer) is used, or if excesses of
  • vitamin A are taken (interferes with absorption)

  • Choline is a member of the B family of
    vitamins. A deficiency of choline can
  • lead to fatty build-up in the liver and cirrhosis
    (scar tissue) of the liver. Choline
  • can help the liver burn fatty acids. The liver
    is unable to detoxify substances,
  • metabolize proteins or carbohydrates, or regulate
    electrolytes when choline is
  • deficient and the liver becomes fatty. Saturated
    fats are a double whammy to
  • the liver because they are low in choline but add
    to the livers fat burden.
  • Choline is part of normal cell membrane
    composition and repair, healthy
  • brain function, and helps keep homocysteine low
    (along with folic acid, B6, and
  • B12). It is essential for fetal brain
    development. A deficiency can cause cell
  • death (apoptosis), especially in the hippocampus
    and septum area (memory
  • processing) of the brain which often shows
    significant damage in Alzheimers
  • disease.
  • Choline and inositol are components of
    lecithin, a phospholipid needed to
  • prevent fats from clumping. A decrease in the
    ratio between phospholipids and
  • cholesterol seems to increase the risk of
    gallstones. People with gallstones
  • often have only one third of the amount of
    phospholipid that healthy people
  • have in comparison to their cholesterol level.
  • Choline is also needed for the
    neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, platelet-
  • activating factor and for phosphatidylcholine,
    another phospholipid.

  • Inositol (a sugar alcohol very similar to
    glucose) is a partner with choline in
  • helping the liver deal with fats. It may also be
    beneficial for those with
  • sugar/insulin balance problems (Ex hypoglycemia
    or diabetes). People with
  • renal (kidney) problems, multiple sclerosis,
    diabetes mellitus, etc. have altered
  • production of inositol. It exists as 9 different
    isomers and is related to the B
  • family of vitamins. It has some neurological
    effects, such as relaxing the
  • nerves, just like the B vitamins. It affects the
    mobilization of calcium in the
  • body which then helps control the release of
    neurotransmitters due to
  • depolarization. Sodium and magnesium are also
    important to this function.
  • People suffering from depression are often
    low in inositol. It has also
  • improved cases of obsessive compulsive disorder,
    neonatal Respiratory
  • Distress Syndrome Disorder (it decreases the
    stickiness of the lung lining in
  • premature babies) and panic disorder at doses of
    12 to 18 grams.
  • Lithium (manic-depressive treatment) can
    deplete inositol in the brain.
  • Increasing inositol intake may help alleviate
    some of the side effects of lithium
  • treatment. Pregnant women should avoid inositol
    as it may induce
  • contractions,

  • Other important nutrients include
  • Carnitine - it helps burn body fat, decreases
    problems with heart rhythm
  • disturbances, protects the heart, improves high
    triglyceride and low HDL (good
  • cholesterol) levels, reduces lactic acid
    accumulation, helps metabolize
  • carbohydrates, prevents muscle atrophy, and
    protects kids against Reyes
  • syndrome. Carnitine can help with low energy
    levels and weight gain
  • tendencies of people with hypothyroidism. Kidney
    dialysis removes carnitine
  • from the body.
  • Lipoic Acid (aka thiotic acid) - this is the
    only antioxidant that is both water
  • and fat soluble. It helps with diabetic
    neuropathy, protects pancreatic cells and
  • the liver, and fights insulin resistance by
    stimulating cells to take up glucose,
  • inhibits HIV replication, and removes excess body
    copper (chelation).
  • Taurine - This amino acid does not get put
    into proteins. It can help balance
  • potassium and magnesium inside the cells and
    sodium outside, much like
  • diuretics but without harming the kidneys.
    Therefore, it can help with body
  • edema (swelling) and high blood pressure from
    excess fluid build-up (kidneys).
  • It also helps with macular degeneration,
    diabetes, digestion, arrhythmia,
  • epileptic seizures (MSG decreases taurine, so
    does estrogen), and asthma.