Vitamins, Supplements & Their Uses
Our interest in vitamins, dietary supplements, and nutritional biochemistry began in 1994. I in particular was a severe skeptic about supplements in general, and thought everything one’s body needed could be supplied from a “healthy diet”. This, of course, is true to some degree. Healthy diets allow one to live a long and pleasant life. This does not mean, however, that such a diet provides optimum nutrition. It was only through the persistent pestering of my wife, Rosalinda, that I finally agreed to try one supplement: Chromium Picolinate. That was such an obvious success in providing increased energy and a feeling of well-being that I began to read extensively on the subject of nutritional biochemistry. If you become interested in this field, one recommendation that is of the greatest importance is to read, and to be very selective about your reading. There is a plethora of pseudo-scientific literature out there under the topics of health and nutrition. This is one of the reasons the items listed below concentrate on non-herbal medicine. It is simply because there are more “western” scientific studies dealing with vitamins and amino acids, etc., that have “hard science” behind them. This is not to say that herbal medicine is without merit. It is simply to say that it is currently harder to find secure scientific facts about such topics. Let’s hope this changes in the future. The information given below is a distillation of some of the information I have found in over thirty books, a multitude of scientific papers, and the internet (especially medline). It was put together because a lot of people began asking me questions about dietary supplements and asked me to write down a brief summary with some recent references (most of these facts could be supported with a list of references that runs into the tens or more). The information is not exhaustive, and I am not a trained biochemist working in this field. It is, however, very interesting, and I think it is beginning to tell a story about the extreme importance of “mega”-nutrition to health and athletic performance (I can certainly provide my own anecdotal evidence for this). To provide information beyond what is presented below, I’ve included a suggested reading list which contains a selection of books which I consider to be the best examples of approachable, popular scientific literature on the subject. These books are not afraid of providing lots of facts backed up by sometimes hundreds of references to the original scientific literature. I highly recommend them. They will help lead you through some of the details of nutrition and help debunk some of the widely held misconceptions of today (e.g. the gross misconceptions of what causes high blood serum cholesterol, the idea that the RDA vitamin levels are adequate, when and why saturated fast should be avoided, when and why poly-unsaturated fats should be avoided, etc.) Happy reading! Rick Puetter
II. Supplements of Primary Importance
a. Anti-Oxidants: Vit. A (or betacarotene), C, E, Selenium, Zinc, Manganese... Free radical damage is the leading theory of at least some forms of aging. Anti-oxidants intercept free radicals (chemicals with extra available electrons) before they damage (oxidize) the cell and its DNA. Vit. A (betacarotene = pro-vit. A) and C: Water soluble vitamins. Betacarotene protects the skin from sun burn. Vit. C is an important co-factor in protein chemistry and has many other uses. Vit. E: Oil soluble vitamin. Acts as an anti-oxidant in fat cells, etc. Minerals: Act as agents in the formation of anti-oxidants. For example, selenium is the limiting mineral in glutathione per oxidase, one of the body’s primary anti-oxidants. Extra vitamin C is recommended, especially if you take Choline and/or Cysteine or are under emotional or physical stress. We take a...