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Clinician’s Corner: Vitamin Bootcamp

Last week we covered the regulation of vitamins, this week as we continue “Vitamin Bootcamp” we will do an overview of these amazing compounds that sit out front on the shelves of Thompson Pharmacy. The first question we will answer is “what does a vitamin do?”

Vitamins in general work in the body by 3 different mechanisms:

  • Coenzymes: Most water soluble vitamins are co­enzymes.  Remember in biology we learned that an enzyme is a catalyst for biochemical reactions.  Co-enzymes are non-protein compounds that are necessary for the functioning of an enzyme.
  • Antioxidants (Vitamin A, C & E)- are enzymes or other organic substances, that are capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissue. They protect tissues from damage by “free radicals”
  • Hormones (Vitamin A, D, K are hormones) A hormone by definition is internally secreted compound, that affect the functions of specifically receptive organs or tissues when transported to them by the body fluids.

The next question becomes; how much should I recommend for a patient?

  • RDA: (Recommended Daily Allowance) is the level of intake of essential nutrients that are considered adequate to meet the known nutritional needs of practically all healthy patients.
  • The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) also include other reference values such as the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) , and Adequate Intake (AI). The RDA, EAR, and AI all define nutritional intake adequacy.   These are all for healthy individuals.
  • The Upper Level: The UL is defined as the highest level of intake of a nutrient that will not pose risk of adverse health effects to most individuals in the general population.

Vitamin deficiencies… not so much in America, in the USA will see syndromes of vitamin excess rather than deficiency, especially with vitamins A, D, B-6. Vitamin deficiency has rather non-specific symptoms.

The following chart is the MDR and dietary sources for the vitamins.  So, if you take medications that deplete vitamins, our your diet is not well balanced, your Thompson Pharmacist is a great resource for helping you chose a vitamin.  Go Ahead and ASK… at Thompson Pharmacy it’s all for YOU!!

VITAMIN MDR-adults Dietary Sources
thiamin (vitamin B1) 1.2mg/day Peas, pork, legumes, whole grains
riboflavin (vitamin B2) 1.1-1.3mg/day Liver, eggs, dark greens, whole grains
niacin (vitamin B3) 14-16mg/day Liver, fish, poultry, meat, whole grains
pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 5mg/day liver, kidney, meats, egg yolk, whole grains, and legumes.
pyridoxine (vitamin B6) 1.3mg/day Pork, meats, whole grains, greens
Biotin (vitamin B7) 30mg/day liver, kidney, egg yolk, milk, most fresh vegetables, grains
folic acid (vitamin B9) 400mcg/day Liver, meats, fish, whole grains, legumes citrus
cobalamin (vitamin B12) 2.4mcg/day meats, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, oysters, shellfish
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) 75-90mg/day Plant foods; citrus is highest
Vitamin-A 3000iu (men)

2300iu (women)

fish liver oils, egg yolks, green leafy & yellow vegetables
Vitamin-D 600iu fish liver oils, egg yolk, fortified milk, synthesized in skin exposed to UV light
Vitamin-E 22.5iu Vegetable oils, wheat germ, leafy vegetables, egg yolk, margarine, legumes
Vitamin K 120mcg leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, liver, & synthesis by intestinal flora