M edical training for doctors provides only basic information about the subject of micronutrients. Everything learned after that point results from independent investigation. Accordingly, it is logical to assume that many doctors know very little about the subject of micronutrients. It should be noted that there are two diametrically opposed viewpoints on the subject of micronutrients. At one end of the spectrum is the group that makes the claim that no supplementation is necessary because the diet supplies us with the micro-nutrients necessary for good health. An example of this faulty argument is the essential element, iodine. If we were to believe the group (endocrinologists) that recommends restricting our intake of iodine to 0.2mg per day, the result would be a population deficient in iodine. Unfortunately, that seems to have already taken place as the extremists on that end of the spectrum hold positions of power and influence that, in turn, have shaped the opinions of the populace in regard to iodine. At the other end of the spectrum is the group that recommends mega-dosing most micro-nutrients. Where does the truth lie? As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle because critical thinking is absent in both groups.

There are micro-nutrients that are supplied by the diet, but there are also those that must be supplemented such as water soluble Vitamin C because the human body can’t manufacture it. Vitamin C is very important in the healing process and I typically recommend 2,000-3,000 milligrams per day for patients undergoing prolotherapy, for patients who have sustained injuries or those who are attempting to recuperate from an illness.

The B complex vitamins are also water soluble. The B vitamins help maintain healthy skin and muscle tone. They also promote proper immune function, cell division and proper functioning of the nervous system. Any excess water soluble vitamin is typically eliminated by the kidneys and is not stored for extended periods.

However, there are side effects of consuming excessive amounts of even water soluble vitamins. In the case of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, consuming excessive amounts will result in the storage of those particular vitamins in fatty tissue and the liver. An excess level of any vitamin is referred to as hypervitaminosis. The condition occurs primarily with the fat soluble vitamins. It is extremely rare for anyone to die as the result of hypervitaminosis and about 80% of all cases occur in children under the age of 6. When hypervitaminosis occurs, it is always labeled with the vitamin involved. As an example, hypervitaminosis C (too much vitamin C) is the name given to excessive levels of vitamin C. The condition can result in diarrhea, but every individual’s tolerance level is different. When the intake of vitamin C is stopped or reduced, the symptoms resolve quickly.

There are also essential minerals that can be better described as essential elements. These are sodium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur iodine, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, selenium, molybdenum, cobalt and nickel. I have seen fluoride described as a trace chemical element, but that is another example of pseudoscience backed by a marketing campaign. There is absolutely no requirement for fluoride in the proper function and health of the human body.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of many cofactors necessary for chemical reactions to take place within cells. There are literally hundreds of cofactors that bind with enzymes to increase the rate of a specific chemical reaction. Coenzyme Q10 is being mentioned simply because it has been marketed successfully and is better known than many others. It is a fat soluble vitamin- like substance (cofactor) that is present in the mitochondria of all cells with a nucleus (eukaryotic). It functions as a coenzyme for producing energy in the form of ATP. 95% of the body’s energy is produced in this manner and that fact alone emphasizes the important of this coenzyme.

Another area of interest has been the role played by the omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). The omega-3 fatty acids are important in production of short acting hormones (eicosanoids) of which there are over 100. While diet is the most important aspect of determining eicosanoid production, consuming fish oil daily (omega-3 fatty acids) helps to ensure a better balance of the eicosanoid producing mechanism.

Vitamins and Minerals Quick Facts

  • Vitamins are important due to their significant role in cellular processes such as energy production, tissue repair, DNA synthesis etc.
  • Vitamins either water soluble or fat soluble
  • Water soluble-C and B complex
  • Fat soluble-A, D, E and K
  • Minerals are made up of Sixteen (16) elements including: sodium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, iodine, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, selenium, molybdenum, cobalt and nickel.
  • First seven are considered quantity essential elements
  • Remaining nine are considered trace essential elements
  • Hundreds of cofactors that assist in cellular reactions
  • Coenzyme Q10 one of the most important as cofactor in producing 90% of body’s energy
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