Food & Vitamins

Vitamins comprehensive quick review


Vitamins and minerals are required for the body to function properly. Each day we need to eat a balanced diet that supplies us with the sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Our diet should contain grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans. The portion of each varies depending on our age and gender.

Phartoonz recommends Centrum brands as a trusted Multivitamin.

What is the difference between Vitamins and Minerals?

Vitamins are organic chemicals that are required for metabolic activities necessary for tissue growth and general health.

Minerals are inorganic substances that the body uses for blood cells, tissues, and to stimulate enzymes to cause a catabolic reaction in the body.

Vitamins are provides for patients who have:

• Conditions that inhibit absorption of food.
• Infection and fever.
• Inflammatory diseases.
• Cancer.
• Inability to use vitamins.
• Undergoing hemodialysis.
• Hyperthyroidism.
• GI surgery.
• Fad diets.
• Are pregnant.
• Growing children.



There are two groups of vitamins:

  • Fat soluble vitamins.
  • Water soluble vitamins.


Fat soluble vitamins

Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed by the intestinal tract like fat. However any interference with the absorption of fats will also affect fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver, fatty tissues (adipose) and muscle and remain in the body for a longer time than water soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are excreted slowly in urine.

Vitamin A

Function: helps to maintain epithelial tissue, eyes, hair and bone growth. It is also used for treatment of skin disorders such as acne.

Vitamin A has a toxic effect if taken in higher amounts. For example, birth defects can occur if the patient takes greater than 6000 international units (IU) during pregnancy.  List of teratogenic drugs that should be avoided

Vitamin D

Function: Vitamin D is necessary for the intestines to absorb calcium. Vitamin D plays a major role in regulating the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.

There are two forms of Vitamin D:

  • D2: called ergocalciferol.
  • D3: called cholecalciferol.

D2 is a synthetic fortified form of Vitamin D. D3 is the natural form of Vitamin D that is produced in the skin by ultraviolet sunlight. Once absorbed, Vitamin D is converted into calcifediol in the liver and then converted to an activated form of calcifediol in the kidneys. The active form is a hormone that combines with parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin to regulate calcium and phosphorus metabolism in the body and stimulate the reabsorption of calcium and phosphorus by bone. When serum levels of calcium are low, more Vitamin D is used to create the active form of calcifediol. Low serum levels of calcium cause a decrease in the creation of the active form of calcifediol. Excess Vitamin D is then excreted in bile and a small amount is excreted in urine.

Vitamin D deficiency is common within countries where there is a very low exposure to beneficial sunlight like Canada and UK. However, there are many countries with a massive sunlight but vitamin D deficiency is common too as the weather is very hot and people in such countries don’t go outside like in Saudi Arabia.

Vitamin E

Function: Vitamin E protects the heart and arteries and cellular components from being oxidized and prevents red blood cells from rupture.

If there is a sufficient balance of salts, pancreatic secretion, and fat, Vitamin E is absorbed from the GI tract and stored in all tissues, especially in the liver, muscle, and fatty tissues. 75% of excess Vitamin E is excreted by biliary route and the remainder is excreted through the urine.

Vitamin K

Function: Vitamin K is required to synthesize prothrombin and clotting factors VII, IX, and X and is an antidote for oral overdose of the anticoagulant Coumadin (Warfarin).

Vitamin K sources : leafy green vegetables, liver, cheese, and egg yolk and is synthesized by intestinal flora.

There are four forms of Vitamin K:

  • K1 (phytonadione), which is the active form.
  • K2 (menaquinone), which is synthesized by intestinal flora, but not commercially available.
  • K3 (menadione).
  • K4 (menadiol).


Water soluble vitamins

Water soluble vitamins are also known as the B Complex because it was originally considered as one vitamin.

Vitamin C

Function: Vitamin C used to metabolize carbohydrates and used for synthesis of protein, lipids, and collagen. Vitamin C is also required for capillary endothelium and repair of tissues. It is an immunity enhancer and has another name : Ascorbic Acid

Source: Vitamin C may be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, and potatoes and Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron and the metabolism of folic acid.

Unlike fat soluble vitamins, vitamin C is not stored in the body and is excreted in urine. However, high serum levels of vitamin C can result from excessive doses and be excreted without any change.

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex consists of four vitamins:

  • B1 (thiamine): used to treat peripheral neuritis from alcoholism or beriberi.
  • B2 (riboflavin) : used to manage dermatologic problems, such as scaly dermatitis, cracked corners of the mouth, inflammation of the skin and tongue.
  • B3 (niacin): B3 is given with B2 in large doses to alleviate pellagra (dietary deficiency of niacin) and hyperlipidemia and may cause GI irritation and vasodilatation resulting in a flushing sensation.
  • B6 (pyridoxine): helps alleviate symptoms of neuritis causes by isoniazid (INH) therapy for tuberculosis.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Function: essential for body growth and is needed to synthesize DNA.

Source: found in leafy green vegetables, yellow fruits and vegetables, yeast, and meat and is absorbed in the small intestine.

The active form of folic acid called folate circulates to all tissues in the body. A third of folate is stored in the liver and the remainder is stored in other tissues. Most folic acid is excreted in bile and a small amount in urine. Chronic alcoholism, poor nutrition, pregnancy, and diseases that disrupts absorption by the small intestine can lead to an inadequate amount of folic acid. This can disrupt cellular division.

Vitamin B12

Function:  Vitamin B12 helps convert folic acid into its active form. Vitamin B12 is essential to synthesize DNA and promotes cellular division and is required for hematopoiesis (development of red blood cells in bone marrow) and to maintain healthy nervous system.

Source: Vitamin B12 may be found in liver, kidney, fish, and fortified milk.

Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the intestine with the aid of an intrinsic factor produced by gastric parietal cells. Once absorbed, vitamin B12 binds to the transcobalamin II protein and is then transferred to tissues. Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver for up to three years during which time it is slowly excreted in urine. Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in patients who are strict vegetarians and in patients who have malaborption syndromes (cancer, celiac disease), gastrectomy, Crohn’s disease, and liver and kidney diseases.



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