What is a vitamin?
- Vitamins are organic compounds required in small amounts for normal body metabolic function.
- Essential vitamins cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from food.
- Vitamins are either water or fat soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E ,K and water soluble vitamins are B and C vitamins.
- The word vitamin was comes from ‘vitamines’, ‘vita -life; ‘amine’ -contains nitrogen. It was later shortened to vitamin when it was discovered that not all substances contained nitrogen.
- Vitamins contain different molecular forms called vitamers. A good example of this is vitamin A which includes vitamers: retinol, retinoid acid and retinal.
How does the body use Whole Food State vitamins?
Because Food State vitamins are like nutrients in food, they are recognised by the body. They are required by the body to be transported across the intestinal wall and in order to be absorbed they must be bound to a carrier protein. If vitamins are isolated and not bound they will not be transported and may, in fact block the absorption of other vitamins, nutrients and minerals.
Deficiency vs insufficiency
Insufficiency is normally a multi-stage process:-
- Insufficiency; A reduction of our bodies nutrient stores and enzyme activity caused by a lack of vitamin coenzymes. Insufficiency rarely shows symptoms.
- Deficiency; Longer term insufficiency of nutrient inadequacy, leading to classical deficiency symptoms, for example anaemia
What does RNI mean?
The UK guideline for protein, vitamins and minerals are expressed as ‘Reference Nutrient Intakes’ and estimate the nutritional requirement must meet the needs of most of a group to which they apply.
What are free radicals?
- Free radicals are created from stress factors such as environmental exposure, like pesticides, toxins, pollution, processed food such as polyunsaturated fat, radiation, emotional stress and strenuous exercise, cigarettes and alcohol.
- They are unstable molecules caused by having an unpaired electron, which causes them to take other electrons from other molecules, this is called oxidation.
- Antioxidants safely interact with free radicals by donating an electron while remaining stable itself.
- Free radicals can cause damage to cells leading to premature ageing and degenerative diseases, but they can also be protective by helping us to fight infection.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidant consist of a group of vitamins minerals phytochemicals and enzymes that work together to neutralise free radicals before they harm our bodies.
Antioxidants work by donating an electron to free radicals to convert them to harmless molecules.
The key to good antioxidant is it must be stable itself once it has given away its electron
What does ‘Elemental' mean?
Elemental is used when describing mineral potency. Minerals are always bound to another compound or element. It tells us how much actual mineral is being obtained from a supplement.
What are co-factors and co-enzyme - natural carriers
Natural Food state nutrients vs synthetic supplements
Many vitamins are petroleum extracts, derivatives of coal tar and industrially processed sugar. This enable companies to call their supplements vegetarian or natural, because they are not produced from animals. Synthetic vitamins were less expensive to produce.
The use of the word ‘natural’ can be difficult to define because most supplements require some processing. Natural Food state vitamins and minerals contain many cofactors that act synergistically to increase its benefits.
There are no known side effects to food state nutrients due to their high bio-available status
What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy looks at the person as a whole, with particular focus on nutrition, digestion and detoxification. We use a patient centred approach (rather than a disease centred approach) and believe we are biochemically individual, based on our genetic and environmental uniqueness.