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Balance

Balance

From $59.00 per month

Balance contains essential nutrients in their optimal form for balancing and sustaining your health.* It is super-charged with a comprehensive range of essential vitamins and minerals.

 

Available as a one time purchase or monthly subscription

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Description

Balance will help you build a stronger foundation for optimal health.*

A varied diet is of course the best source of essential vitamins and minerals, but there are often gaps in our diets and nutrient deficiencies occur.(1) Our goal was to create a multi that addresses these deficiencies and gives you just about everything you need in one capsule that:

• Boosts energy levels*
• Improves memory*
• Improves mood*
• Maintains bone and skeletal health*
• Promotes eye health*
• Promotes DNA stability*
• Promotes red blood cell formation*
• Provides antioxidant support*
• Relieves tiredness*
• Supports brain health*

Balance consists of low-dose essential nutrients only. Essential nutrients are those nutrients which must be consumed in the diet. Failure to do so, leads to ill health and specific deficiency syndromes. While the Western world is experiencing the most food abundance in modern history, it is also experiencing the paradox of obesity and wide-spread nutritional deficiency.(2) The reasons for this are complex and range from the state of the soil microbiome, to the processing of food, to the state of the individual’s digestion and social interactions. For a brief discussion, see our blog post on diet wars.

However, high doses of nutrients, when taken randomly, may lead to unexpected consequences such as a damping down of the body’s own anti-oxidant production.(3) Moreover, non-essential nutrients when taken routinely, may not only be unnecessary, but may complicate a nutritional diagnosis. This is why the Balance formula provides the essentials only. Starting with the basics allows the body’s wisdom in hormesis and healing mechanisms to be in charge.

For women of child-bearing potential Balance Femme was created, providing a small amount of iron and copper. The iron, helping to offset the monthly loss of iron that occurs with menstruation, and the copper, essential in fetal development, in case that bundle of joy arrives unexpectedly.

One of the key ingredients is Shilajit, an ancient Traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine which is often described as “conqueror of the mountain and destroyer of weakness.”(4) It is a natural substance found mainly in the Himalayas, formed for centuries by the gradual decomposition of certain plants by the action of microorganisms.(5) Shilajit contains various compounds capable of treating all sorts of bodily ailments (such as nervous, diabetic, urinary, immune, cardiac and digestive disorders) as well as amplifying the benefits of other herbs by enhancing their bioavailability in the body.(4) In particular, it contains Fulvic acid which acts as a carrier molecule in the human system, helps in the transportation of nutrients into the deep tissues and removes deep-seated toxins from the body.(4)

➜ Free from synthetics, such as folic acid or cyanocobalamin. Zero synthetic, artificial and unnecessary extras that you don’t need.
➜ No mega-doses. We believe that mega-doses (a serving size that’s many times higher than the recommended amount) does not form a good foundation for health.
➜ Prebiotic capsule. All Omic capsules are made from prebiotic acacia fiber, which stimulates the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
➜ Dark bottle. We use dark bottles to help prevent light-induced degradation, in an effort to provide you with the highest quality products.

Prebiotic capsule
Non-GMO
Zero synthetics

1. Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements.

Ward E.
Nutr J (2014)

2. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare.

Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ.
Scientifica (Cairo) (2017)

3. Antioxidants in foods: state of the science important to the food industry.

Finley JW, Kong AN, Hintze KJ, Jeffery EH, Ji LL, Lei XG.
J Agric Food Chem (2011)

4. Shilajit: A panacea for high-altitude problems.

Meena H, Pandey HK, Arya MC, Ahmed Z.
Int J Ayurveda Res (2010)

5. Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity.

Carrasco-Gallardo C, Guzmán L, Maccioni RB.
Int J Alzheimers Dis (2012)

Details

Balance for men contains Vitamin A (Palmitate and Mixed Carotenoids), Vitamin C (as Calcium Ascorbate), Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), Mixed Tocotrienols, Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine Mononitrate), Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (as niacinamide), Vitamin B5 (as pantothenate acid), Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine and P5P), Folinic Acid, Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin, Biotin 1% (Vitamin B7), Vitamin K2 – MK-7 Menaquinone, Magnesium (di-Magnesium malate), Zinc (as Zinc Picolinate), Calcium (di-Calcium malate), Iodine (as Potassium Iodide) and Shilajit.

• Vitamin A (Palmitate and Mixed Carotenoids).
Vitamin A is actually a group of related fat-soluble compounds. In nature Vitamin A occurs as preformed Vitamin A (most commonly retinyl palmitate) in animal foods and as pro-Vitamin A (most commonly β-carotene) in plants. Vitamin A compounds are essential for vision, immune function, reproduction… READ MORE

• Vitamin C (as Calcium Ascorbate).
Vitamin C conjures up images of piles of lemons and oranges in the hulls of ships sailing the world, preventing the feared disease, scurvy. Most mammals make Vitamin C in their bodies from glucose. However, humans, along with primates, guinea pigs and bats do not make Vitamin C and need to…. READ MORE

• Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, is not really a Vitamin and is more correctly classified as a hormone which is made in body. Of course, the sun’s rays are needed for your body to be able to make Cholecalciferol. Vitamin D generally refers to related compounds with Vitamin D3 / Cholecalciferol being made… READ MORE

Mixed Tocotrienols.
Tocotrienols are part of the greater Vitamin E family. Vitamin E was first named the “anti-sterility” vitamin as it was found that it was necessary for rats to maintain their fertility. Vitamin E consists of eight different molecules: four in the tocopherol family and four in the tocotrienol family. Vitamin E is found… READ MORE

• Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine Mononitrate).
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) was the first B Vitamin to be identified. It is found in lean pork and other meats, wheat germ, liver, eggs, fish, legumes and whole grains. Thiamin is destroyed by processing as indicated by the fact that the Vitamin B1 deficiency illness, Beriberi reached a peak in Japan in the 17th century… READ MORE

• Vitamin B2 (as riboflavin).
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) was first discovered in milk, as the compound providing the yellow-white tinge. Riboflavin works in concert with the other B Vitamins and is critical for a wide-range of processes in the body. Therefore, it is essential to maintaining health and function. Luckily, Riboflavin is found in… READ MORE

• Vitamin B3 (as niacinamide).
Vitamin B3 encompasses a number of molecules with similar sounding names nl. Niacin, Nicotinic acid, Nicotinamide, Niacinamide and Nicotinamide Riboside. While not strictly correct, the term Niacin is generally used to refer to all of these compounds except Nicotinamide Riboside. The name Niacin is… READ MORE

• Vitamin B5 (as pantothenate acid).
Vitamin B 5 (Pantothenic acid) was discovered in 1933 and was named after the Greek word panthos, meaning everywhere. This is due to the fact that Pantothenic acid is everywhere in food A classic deficiency state for Pantothenic acid is not known. Pantothenic acid from food is is concentrated in meats… READ MORE

• Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine and P5P).
Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 (folate) and Vitamin B12 are intimately linked in the body in a biological processes called Methylation. As previously stated all micronutrients work together. It is thus difficult, if not impossible, to research the exact effects of one single nutrient. For instance, supplementing with… READ MORE

• Folinic Acid.
Folate is the umbrella term used to describe all the members of the Vitamin B9 family, including folic acid, folinic acid, tetrahydrofolate and methylfolate. Folinic acid (5-formyl THF) is found naturally in food and does not need to be activated like Folic acid does. Tetrahydrofolate (THF) is the biologically… READ MORE

• Vitamin B12 Methylcobalamin.
Vitamin B12 has only two actions but has multiple effects and is essential to the normal functioning of all cells.4 Inside the cells, Vitamin B12 exists in two forms. These are: Methylcobalamin directly involved in the methylation cycle where it helps folate to metabolize homocysteine into methionine and… READ MORE

• Biotin 1% (Vitamin B7).
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, also known as Vitamin B7. It is essential to human health affecting energy production, the synthesis of fatty acid compounds essential to all aspects of life, the breakdown of certain amino acids and fatty acids and the normal functioning of the brain. It is important… READ MORE

• Vitamin K2 – MK-7 Menaquinone.
Vitamin K has for many years been considered a single fat-soluble Vitamin. However, new research is now leading to the acceptance that Vitamin K can be divided into two main groups, Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Unlike other fat soluble vitamins, the body does not store Vitamin K. The role of… READ MORE

• Magnesium (di-Magnesium malate).
Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and the 2nd most abundant in sea. Magnesium is mainly found in mineral deposits as a Magnesium carbonate and Dolomite. It is essential to all living organisms, with the most biologically available Magnesium from the ocean. Despite… READ MORE

• Zinc (as Zinc Picolinate).
Zinc is the 2nd most abundant trace element in the body and is found in all tissues and body fluids. Although Zinc is widespread in the body, it is not stored in the body, meaning Zinc needs to be adequate in the diet. Zinc is considered a type II nutrient which are building blocks in the body, required for… READ MORE

• Calcium (di-Calcium malate).
Calcium is the 5th most abundant element in the earth and its atmosphere. Calcium is what makes limestone, marble, coral, pearls, sea-shells, egg-shells, antlers and bone. Calcium can be found both in solid form and dissolved in water. It is part of sea water, fresh water and soil. Human adults contain… READ MORE

• Iodine (as Potassium Iodide).
The mineral we commonly use to clean wounds, in the form of the antiseptic, Betadine, is central to the inner workings of the body. Most of the earth’s Iodine is found in the ocean. Iodine was initially described by a French chemist making gunpowder from seaweed. It was identified  in the 17th century READ MORE

Shilajit.
Shilajit is a resinous substance that is found that is forced out from between rock layers in the Himalayas during the heat of the summer months. It contains a mixture of herbs and minerals from decomposition of the plant matter in the rocks centuries earlier. The actual composition changes depending… READ MORE

Vitamin A

Retinol

Vitamin A is actually a group of related fat-soluble compounds. In nature Vitamin A occurs as preformed Vitamin A (most commonly retinyl palmitate) in animal foods and as pro-Vitamin A (most commonly β-carotene) in plants.1

Vitamin A compounds are essential for vision, immune function, reproduction, and for the integrity and function of the epithelium that lines the airways, blood vessels, gut and is part of the skin.2 In mammals, both types of Vitamin A are stored in the liver and then used as necessary by the rest of the body after being converted to retinol.3,4

We all know that eating carrots helps you see in the dark but at most only 50% of the preformed Vitamin A in carrots is converted into Retinol.4 Interestingly, in ancient Greece and Egypt, Ox liver as prescribed as a cure for night blindness.5

Interestingly, it is thought that zinc helps to convert provitamin A (from plants) to Retinol that can then be used by the body.5 In the body nothing works in isolation. If your zinc is low, you will activate less Vitamin A from plant food.

Given the different forms of Vitamin A, it is now listed as a supplement indicating how much Retinol it will become: RAE = Retinol Activity Equivalents.6

Actions

Retinol is obviously central to a healthy of the body but the exact way that Retinol works is still being researched.1 However, it is known that Retinol controls over 500 genes in the body.7
Retinol is essential for:2, 8

  • Vision
  • Immune function and resistance to viral and other infections
  • Reproduction (health and growth of the embryo)
  • Physical growth of infants and children
  • Integrity and function of the epithelium that lines the airways, blood vessels, gut and is part of the skin
  • Function of the gut

Retinol also seems to play a role in glucose and fat metabolism.7

While Retinol deficiency is common in developing countries, it is becoming prevalent in areas where excess food is the norm. This is due to the increasing prevalence of Fatty Liver Disease in Western populations. Fatty Liver Disease affects the way the liver metabolizes and stores Vitamin A, making Retinol less available to the rest of the body.3

Your body is an intricate machine, all parts working together.

B-Carotene Actions

Besides being converted to Retinol, Beta Carotene, the pro-Vitamin A found in carrots also has other functions. These include:

  • Anti-oxidant functions4
  • Protection against sunburn9
  • Protection against cancer10
  • Improving the immune response11

Safety

Too much Vitamin A can cause low-grade fever, headache, fatigue, anorexia, intestinal disturbances, enlarged liver, anemia, hypercalcemia, swellings in the skin, joint and bone pain, and skin changes such as yellowing, dryness, alopecia, and photosensitivity.2

Unless prescribed by a Functional Medical Doctor, supplementing with low doses of Vitamin A that are within the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is suggested.

References

  1. Borel P, Desmarchelier C. Genetic Variations Associated with Vitamin A Status and Vitamin A Bioavailability. Nutrients. 2017;9(3):246. doi:10.3390/nu9030246
  2. Chea EP, Lopez MJ, Milstein H. Vitamin A. StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing Copyright © 2020, StatPearls Publishing LLC.; 2020.
  3. Saeed A, Dullaart RPF, Schreuder T, Blokzijl H, Faber KN. Disturbed Vitamin A Metabolism in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Nutrients. Dec 29 2017;10(1)doi:10.3390/nu10010029
  4. Dawson MI. The importance of vitamin A in nutrition. Curr Pharm Des. Feb 2000;6(3):311-25. doi:10.2174/1381612003401190
  5. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  6. Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Health Professionals National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated February 14, 2020. Accessed December 19, 2020, 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/#en5
  7. Frey SK, Vogel S. Vitamin A metabolism and adipose tissue biology. Nutrients. Jan 2011;3(1):27-39. doi:10.3390/nu3010027
  8. Wiseman EM, Bar-El Dadon S, Reifen R. The vicious cycle of vitamin a deficiency: A review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Nov 22 2017;57(17):3703-3714. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1160362
  9. Stahl W, Sies H. β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight. Am J Clin Nutr. Nov 2012;96(5):1179s-84s. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.034819
  10. Xavier AA, Pérez-Gálvez A. Carotenoids as a Source of Antioxidants in the Diet. Subcell Biochem. 2016;79:359-75. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-39126-7_14
  11. Milani A, Basirnejad M, Shahbazi S, Bolhassani A. Carotenoids: biochemistry, pharmacology and treatment. British journal of pharmacology. Jun 2017;174(11):1290-1324. doi:10.1111/bph.13625

Vitamin C

Ascorbic Acid

Vitamin C conjures up images of piles of lemons and oranges in the hulls of ships sailing the world, preventing the feared disease, scurvy. Most mammals make Vitamin C in their bodies from glucose. However, humans, along with primates, guinea pigs and bats do not make Vitamin C and need to get this from their diet.1 While only 10mg of Vitamin C a day will prevent scurvy, higher doses are required for optimal functioning.2

Scurvy had pretty much vanished from the minds of the population and physicians, but it has started to make a reappearance due to poor diet and over-cooking fruit and vegetables.3, 4

Actions

Vitamin C is a major water soluble anti-oxidant in the body. All of the effects of Vitamin C are due to its anti-oxidant effects,5 which not only enables certain enzymes in the body to work but also directly quenches harmful free radicals that can damage cells and tissues.

As a direct anti-oxidant Vitamin C protects the protein, fats, carbohydrates and DNA in the cell that can be damaged by normal cellular metabolism.6
This means that Vitamin C helps to guard against almost all chronic illnesses and is also possibly involved the healthy development of the embryo into a full-grown adult human.7

Vitamin C may even assist with weight loss.8

Vitamin C is also required by at least eight different enzymes in the body that are involved in production of collagen and carnitine as well as the synthesis of norepinephrine and the metabolism of certain types of hormones.9

Amongst other effects these Vitamin C dependent enzymes help to:5, 10

  • lower histamine (meaning less allergies)
  • increase the utilization of creatine (providing more energy)
  • increase collagen (strengthening the body)
  • make neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine (improving mood)

These enzymes are also involved in making red blood cells and when not working correctly are associated with heart disease, diabetes and cancer.5

The Common Cold (which includes Corona viruses such as SARS-CoV2)

Vitamin C deficiency impairs immunity and increases susceptibility to infections.11 Furthermore, infections can result in low Vitamin C levels. Supplementing lower doses of Vitamin C may prevent respiratory and other infections, while higher doses are required for treatment.11

Safety

Generally, Vitamin C is well tolerated. It can cause diarrhea at in high doses.2

References

  1. Linster CL, Van Schaftingen E. Vitamin C. Biosynthesis, recycling and degradation in mammals. Febs j. Jan 2007;274(1):1-22. doi:10.1111/j.1742-4658.2006.05607.x
  2. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  3. Lipner S. A classic case of scurvy. Lancet. Aug 4 2018;392(10145):431. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(18)31491-0
  4. Parry M. Poor Diet Blamed as Scurvy Reappears in Australia. Independent. November 29, 2016. Accessed December 20, 2020. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/scurvy-reappears-australia-poor-diet-malnutrition-a7444996.html
  5. Padayatty SJ, Levine M. Vitamin C: the known and the unknown and Goldilocks. Oral Dis. Sep 2016;22(6):463-93. doi:10.1111/odi.12446
  6. Englard S, Seifter S. The biochemical functions of ascorbic acid. Annu Rev Nutr. 1986;6:365-406. doi:10.1146/annurev.nu.06.070186.002053
  7. Camarena V, Wang G. The epigenetic role of vitamin C in health and disease. Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS. Apr 2016;73(8):1645-58. doi:10.1007/s00018-016-2145-x
  8. Johnston CS. Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Jun 2005;24(3):158-65. doi:10.1080/07315724.2005.10719460
  9. Granger M, Eck P. Dietary Vitamin C in Human Health. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018;83:281-310. doi:10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.11.006
  10. Johnston CS, Solomon RE, Corte C. Vitamin C depletion is associated with alterations in blood histamine and plasma free carnitine in adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Dec 1996;15(6):586-91. doi:10.1080/07315724.1996.10718634
  11. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. Nov 3 2017;9(11)doi:10.3390/nu9111211

Vitamin D3

Cholecalciferol

Vitamin D3, the Sunshine Vitamin, is not really a Vitamin and is more correctly classified as a hormone which is made in body.1 Of course, the sun’s rays are needed for your body to be able to make Cholecalciferol.

Vitamin D generally refers to related compounds with Vitamin D3 / Cholecalciferol being made in the human body or obtained in the diet is small amounts. Vitamin D2 / Ergocalciferol is either synthetically made or can be obtained from some mushrooms.2 Vitamin D from sun, food or supplements (cholecalciferol) is activated in the liver and the kidneys to the active form (calcitriol).1

Cholecalciferol is also found in fatty fish such as herring, salmon, tuna and sardines, as well as beef, liver, eggs and butter. However, the amount of Vitamin D from animal sources depends on agricultural practices. As an example, in a 2007 study, farmed salmon was found to contain only 25% of the amount of Vitamin D3 found in wild salmon.3

It is now becoming increasingly apparent that sun exposure (without sunscreen) is important for human health. Sun exposure is the most important source of Vitamin D3.4 Beyond, Vitamin D3, sun exposure is thought it to have multiple other benefits.5 Start low, go slow and get regular sun exposure!

Actions

Vitamin D was first discovered in relation to its effects in preventing rickets6 and has traditionally been associated with bone health. It is now known that Vitamin D has a wide range of effects by binding to the Vitamin D receptor which is found throughout the body.7

The actions of Vitamin D are summarized in this pictorial.6, 8

vitamin d3

Safety

Vitamin D excess can occur if taking high doses. However, this does not occur with sun exposure.9 Prolonged intakes of high doses of Vitamin D may lead to tissue and organ damage, especially kidney damage as well as calcifications in blood vessels and around joints.1, 10

In general, keeping your total Vitamin D intake below 4000 iu (100mcg) is unlikely to cause any problems.11 Even better, get your levels tested.

References

  1. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  2. Nowson CA, McGrath JJ, Ebeling PR, et al. Vitamin D and health in adults in Australia and New Zealand: a position statement. Med J Aust. Jun 18 2012;196(11):686-7. doi:10.5694/mja11.10301
  3. Lu Z, Chen TC, Zhang A, et al. An evaluation of the vitamin D3 content in fish: Is the vitamin D content adequate to satisfy the dietary requirement for vitamin D? The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology. Mar 2007;103(3-5):642-4. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2006.12.010
  4. Christakos S, Dhawan P, Verstuyf A, Verlinden L, Carmeliet G. Vitamin D: Metabolism, Molecular Mechanism of Action, and Pleiotropic Effects. Physiol Rev. Jan 2016;96(1):365-408. doi:10.1152/physrev.00014.2015
  5. van der Rhee HJ, de Vries E, Coebergh JW. Regular sun exposure benefits health. Med Hypotheses. Dec 2016;97:34-37. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2016.10.011
  6. Türkmen AS, Kalkan I. Vitamin D Deficiency in Children: Health Consequences and Prevention. 2018:471-492.
  7. Pike JW, Christakos S. Biology and Mechanisms of Action of the Vitamin D Hormone. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. Dec 2017;46(4):815-843. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2017.07.001
  8. Zittermann A, Gummert JF. Nonclassical Vitamin D Actions. Nutrients. 2010;2(4):408-425.
  9. Sizar O, Khare S, Goyal A, Bansal P, Givler A. Vitamin D Deficiency. StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing
    Copyright © 2020, StatPearls Publishing LLC.; 2020.
  10. Razzaque MS. Can adverse effects of excessive vitamin D supplementation occur without developing hypervitaminosis D? The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology. Jun 2018;180:81-86. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2017.07.006
  11. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Accessed December 8, 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#ref

Vitamin E

Mixed Tocotrienols

Tocotrienols are part of the greater Vitamin E family. Vitamin E was first named the “anti-sterility” vitamin as it was found that it was necessary for rats to maintain their fertility.1

Vitamin E consists of eight different molecules: four in the tocopherol family and four in the tocotrienol family. Vitamin E is found in both plant and animal foods with rich sources including nuts and seeds, cold-pressed vegetable oils, avocado, olive oil, egg yolk, liver, milk and butter.2-4 Given it’s widespread occurrence in nature, Vitamin E deficiency is rare and is usually related to other conditions resulting in poor absorption.3

Actions

Vitamin E is a major fat-soluble anti-oxidant5 and is part of the “anti-oxidant network.”6 Once Vitamin E has acted as an anti-oxidant, itself becoming a free radical, it is recycled by Vitamin C or other antioxidants such as glutathione back to its functional state.7

The Anti-oxidant Network:

vitamin e

Tocotrienols

Alpha tocopherol is the most abundant type of Vitamin E and most research has been done on this molecule. However, the importance of other types of Vitamin E, especially the tocotrienols is now being highlighted.8 Tocotrienols are much less abundant in food, mainly found in annatto seed, palm oil, barley and rice bran.4, 9 Tocotrienols have been shown to have distinct effects separate from tocopherols, including:4, 9, 10

  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Nerve and brain protection
  • Cholesterol lowering effects
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Possible anti-obesity effects
  • Greater anti-oxidant affect when compared to tocopherols

Furthermore, alpha tocopherol found in most Vitamin E and multivitamin supplements, seems to inhibit the effect of tocotrienols.11 It is for this reason and the fact that alpha tocopherol deficiency is very rare, Omic as included only tocotrienols in its Balance formula.

Safety

High dose tocopherol supplementation may lead to gastric upset, headache, visual changes and increased bleeding.12 Tocotrienols have been grouped into Vitamin E as a whole and do not have a Recommended Dietary Allowance outside of Vitamin E. Early clinical studies have found tocotrienol supplementation to be well tolerated.13, 14

References

  1. Niki E, Traber MG. A history of vitamin E. Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;61(3):207-12. doi:10.1159/000343106
  2. Caporaso N, Savarese M, Paduano A, Guidone G, De Marco E, Sacchi R. Nutritional quality assessment of extra virgin olive oil from the Italian retail market: Do natural antioxidants satisfy EFSA health claims? Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2015/06/01/ 2015;40:154-162. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2014.12.012
  3. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  4. Colombo ML. An update on vitamin E, tocopherol and tocotrienol-perspectives. Molecules. Mar 24 2010;15(4):2103-13. doi:10.3390/molecules15042103
  5. Constantinescu A, Han D, Packer L. Vitamin E recycling in human erythrocyte membranes. The Journal of biological chemistry. May 25 1993;268(15):10906-13.
  6. Sen CK, Packer L. Thiol homeostasis and supplements in physical exercise. Am J Clin Nutr. Aug 2000;72(2 Suppl):653s-69s. doi:10.1093/ajcn/72.2.653S
  7. Vatassery GT. In vitro oxidation of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in human platelets upon incubation with unsaturated fatty acids, diamide and superoxide. Biochim Biophys Acta. Nov 6 1987;926(2):160-9. doi:10.1016/0304-4165(87)90233-9
  8. Jiang Q. Natural Forms of Vitamin E as Effective Agents for Cancer Prevention and Therapy. Adv Nutr. Nov 2017;8(6):850-867. doi:10.3945/an.117.016329
  9. Fukui K. Neuroprotective and Anti-Obesity Effects of Tocotrienols. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2019;65(Supplement):S185-s187. doi:10.3177/jnsv.65.S185
  10. Sen CK, Khanna S, Rink C, Roy S. Tocotrienols: the emerging face of natural vitamin E. Vitam Horm. 2007;76:203-61. doi:10.1016/s0083-6729(07)76008-9
  11. Shibata A, Nakagawa K, Tsuduki T, Miyazawa T. α-Tocopherol suppresses antiangiogenic effect of δ-tocotrienol in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. J Nutr Biochem. Apr 2015;26(4):345-50. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.11.010
  12. Medina J, Gupta V. Vitamin E. StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing
    Copyright © 2020, StatPearls Publishing LLC.; 2020.
  13. Ghani SMA, Goon JA, Azman N, Zakaria SNA, Hamid Z, Ngah WZW. Comparing the effects of vitamin E tocotrienol-rich fraction supplementation and α-tocopherol supplementation on gene expression in healthy older adults. Clinics (Sao Paulo). Mar 7 2019;74:e688. doi:10.6061/clinics/2019/e688
  14. Meganathan P, Jabir RS, Fuang HG, et al. A new formulation of Gamma Delta Tocotrienol has superior bioavailability compared to existing Tocotrienol-Rich Fraction in healthy human subjects. Sci Rep. Sep 1 2015;5:13550. doi:10.1038/srep13550

Vitamin B1

Thiamin

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) was the first B Vitamin to be identified.1 It is found in lean pork and other meats, wheat germ, liver, eggs, fish, legumes and whole grains.2 Thiamin is destroyed by processing as indicated by the fact that the Vitamin B1 deficiency illness, Beriberi reached a peak in Japan in the 17th century when the population changed from eating unpolished rice to eating white rice.

Thiamin cannot be made in the body and the body only stores a small amount Thiamin, meaning an almost continuous supply is necessary and deficiency can develop after 14 days of restricted intake.3 This can occur not only in those with restricted access to food but can also occur with alcohol abuse, persistent vomiting and where absorption is decreased such as those who have undergone bariatric surgery.4

Unfortunately, while Thiamin is readily available in food, our penchant for processed foods, has led to a surprisingly high incidence of Thiamin deficiency.2 Cooking and canning can lead to the loss of 85% of the Thiamin in food.3 Furthermore, the more refined carbohydrates that are eaten, the higher the requirement for Thiamin intake. So, for those eating a processed high carbohydrate diet, there is a significantly increased likelihood of Thiamin deficiency.5

Actions

Thiamine is involved in a number of enzymes, most of which are involved in the production of the energy molecule, ATP, where Thiamin works closely with Magnesium.1, 5 Thiamin is also crucial to the synthesis of DNA, the metabolism of amino acids and is part of the anti-oxidant processes in the cell,6 due to its role in the NADHP production.4

Many organ systems are dependent on Thiamin for functioning.4 The brain, in particular, needs the ATP that Thiamin helps to create. Adequate Thiamin is required for mood, sleep, energy and memory.5 It is also crucial to the optimum functioning of the heart and vision,1 and the peripheral nervous system, helping you keep your balance.3

Safety

Thiamine is generally well tolerated and there are no known adverse effects.7

References

  1. Mallat J, Lemyze M, Thevenin D. Do not forget to give thiamine to your septic shock patient! J Thorac Dis. Jun 2016;8(6):1062-6. doi:10.21037/jtd.2016.04.32
  2. Lonsdale D. Thiamin. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018;83:1-56. doi:10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.11.001
  3. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  4. Martel J, Kerndt C, Franklin D. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). 2020:PMID: 29493982.
  5. Dhir S, Tarasenko M, Napoli E, Giulivi C. Neurological, Psychiatric, and Biochemical Aspects of Thiamine Deficiency in Children and Adults. Mini Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2019-April-04 2019;10(207)doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00207
  6. Depeint F, Bruce W, Shangari N, Mehta R, O’Brien P. Mitochondrial function and toxicity: Role of the B vitamin family on mitochondrial energy metabolism. Chemico-biological interactions. 11/01 2006;163:94-112. doi:10.1016/j.cbi.2006.04.014
  7. Wiley KD, Gupta M. Vitamin B1 Thiamine Deficiency. StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing

Vitamin B2

Riboflavin

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) was first discovered in milk, as the compound providing the yellow-white tinge.1

Riboflavin works in concert with the other B Vitamins and is critical for a wide-range of processes in the body.2 Therefore, it is essential to maintaining health and function. Luckily, Riboflavin is found in many foods including animal foods such as organ meats, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy as well as plant foods such as green vegetables and to a lesser extent grains (unless these are fortified with B2). Processing such as blanching, fermenting, cooking, and adding bicarb to green vegetables will also destroy Riboflavin.1

Deficiency of Riboflavin is more likely to occur in those with poor absorption, high alcohol intake and those on restricted diets, such as vegan diets and often occurs in teenage girls and the elderly.2 An increased requirement for Riboflavin is found in athletes, pregnancy and lactation, infants and growing children meaning that these individuals are more likely to become deficient in Riboflavin if their dietary intake is marginal.2, 3

Actions

In the body Riboflavin is converted into to coenzymes (FMN and FAD).4 It is through these enzymes that Riboflavin exerts most of its effects. Riboflavin plays an important role in:2, 4, 5

  • Energy production from fat and carbohydrate, making ATP
  • Anti-oxidant capacity of cells, partially by recycling glutathione the master anti-oxidant
  • Regulation of neuro-transmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine
  • The normal breakdown of purines from DNA and RNA
  • Activation and / or metabolism of other B Vitamins such as folate (B9), niacin (B3) pyridoxine (B6), cobalamin (B12), as well as that of Vitamin K and Vitamin D
  • Iron absorption
  • Anti-inflammatory systems
  • Normal break down of medications

Interestingly a normal thyroid function is required for Riboflavin to work optimally.1 In the body, no one compound or system works in isolation.
As all our cells require energy, Riboflavin is involved in a large number of biological processes as indicated in the pictorial.1, 6

Safety

Unless taken repeatedly in massive doses, riboflavin is safe with few adverse effects as excess Riboflavin is excreted in the urine.7

References

  1. Pinto JT, Zempleni J. Riboflavin. Adv Nutr. Sep 2016;7(5):973-5. doi:10.3945/an.116.012716
  2. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  3. Powers HJ. Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and health. Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2003;77(6):1352-60. doi:10.1093/ajcn/77.6.1352
  4. Riboflavin. Monograph. Altern Med Rev. Dec 2008;13(4):334-40.
  5. Thakur K, Tomar SK, Singh AK, Mandal S, Arora S. Riboflavin and health: A review of recent human research. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Nov 22 2017;57(17):3650-3660. doi:10.1080/10408398.2016.1145104
  6. Suwannasom N, Kao I, Pruß A, Georgieva R, Bäumler H. Riboflavin: The Health Benefits of a Forgotten Natural Vitamin. Int J Mol Sci. Jan 31 2020;21(3)doi:10.3390/ijms21030950
  7. Peechakara BV, Gupta M. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing

Vitamin B3

Niacin

Vitamin B3 encompasses a number of molecules with similar sounding names nl. Niacin, Nicotinic acid, Nicotinamide, Niacinamide and Nicotinamide Riboside. While not strictly correct, the term Niacin is generally used to refer to all of these compounds except Nicotinamide Riboside.1 The name Niacin is derived from its discovery as a byproduct of nicotine metabolism.1

Vitamin B3 was initially known as the anti-Pellagra factor. The disease, Pellagra, described as diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and death ravaged Europe and the Southern regions of the US in the early 20th century until Vitamin B3 deficiency was discovered to be its cause and thus easily treatable.2 Pellagra reached epidemic levels following the introduction of corn as a staple food. Milk and meat were then found to prevent Pellagra. Interestingly, while corn does contain Niacin it bound to proteins and largely unavailable. However when corn is soaked in alkaline “lime-water” in traditional Latin American cooking, the Niacin is released.3

In the diet, Niacin is found in organ and muscle meat, poultry, yeast, legumes, wheat bran and corn. Although milk only contains trivial amounts of Niacin, it does contain Tryptophan that can be converted into Niacin in the body,1 as well as a different form of Vitamin B3 called Nicotinamide Riboside.4 As previously stated the Niacin is grains is unavailable to the body unless the grains soaked in an alkaline solution prior to cooking.1
The body will also make Niacin from the essential amino acid Tryptophan found in protein foods.1 However, this process is not very efficient, producing low levels of Niacin only.3

Actions

In the body all the forms of Niacin are converted to NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and NADPH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).3 These molecules are central to life.
NAD and NADPH are crucial to:2, 3, 5

  • Energy generation – which is required by every cell to do its work
  • Cellular metabolism via redox reactions – the cycling of electrons and hydrogen ions which is how cells get their work done, whether it is digesting lunch or growing new neurons
    • NAD is required to regenerate Glutathione, the master anti-oxidant
  • Sirtuin function; these are important proteins in the cell that
    • Repair DNA
    • Regulate metabolism in response to energy availability
    • Increase mitochondria (energy “factories” in cells)
    • Promote the use of fat for fuel
    • Support optimal glucose metabolism and the normal breakdown of proteins
    • Protect against oxidative stress
    • Decrease inflammation
  • Epigenetic regulation: “turning” genes on and off depending on what is happening in the environment of the cells.

Effects

Given all the above it can get very confusing. Suffice it to say that Niacin, via NAD and NADPH rule the body. Suboptimal NAD and thus Niacin is involved in any age-related condition from heart disease to arthritis to dementia to cancer. Niacin is also important in a sub-group of individuals with mental health conditions and is important for skin health.

They are involved in the:1-3, 6, 7

  • Normal breakdown of fats, carbohydrate, alcohol and protein for fuel
  • Production of fatty acids necessary for a multitude of biological processes
  • Production certain hormones, bile and cholesterol (Let’s not be deceived, if you had no cholesterol, you would not be a living person. Furthermore, high doses of Niacin are actually used to lower the cholesterol in the blood).
  • Production of Nucleic acids, the building blocks of DNA
  • Regeneration of components of detoxification and anti-oxidant systems in the cells
  • Immune system regulation
  • Cells cycle of life; NAD basically tells a cell when to die (apoptosis). This is very important as old cells that are not functioning well, harm the body.
  • Protection of nerves
  • Decreases inflammation

Safety

As can be expected Vitamin B3 as a supplement or medication comes in a variety of forms. When taken in low doses Vitamin B3 is safe. However, it can cause uncomfortable flushing. This is particularly true of Nicotinic Acid. Extended-release forms of Nicotinic Acid cause less flushing but in high doses can cause liver damage. Niacinamide, the form used in Omic Balance serves to correct nutritional deficiency and is unlikely to cause any side-effects.8

This review does not cover the use of high-dose, supraphysiological (pharmaceutical) Niacin which is used a treatment mainly for high cholesterol.9

References

  1. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  2. Jacobson MK, Jacobson EL. Vitamin B3 in Health and Disease: Toward the Second Century of Discovery. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1813:3-8. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-8588-3_1
  3. Kirkland JB, Meyer-Ficca ML. Niacin. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018;83:83-149. doi:10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.11.003
  4. Trammell SA, Yu L, Redpath P, Migaud ME, Brenner C. Nicotinamide Riboside Is a Major NAD+ Precursor Vitamin in Cow Milk. The Journal of nutrition. 2016;146(5):957-963. doi:10.3945/jn.116.230078
  5. Kupis W, Pałyga J, Tomal E, Niewiadomska E. The role of sirtuins in cellular homeostasis. J Physiol Biochem. Sep 2016;72(3):371-80. doi:10.1007/s13105-016-0492-6
  6. Benavente CA, Schnell SA, Jacobson EL. Effects of niacin restriction on sirtuin and PARP responses to photodamage in human skin. PloS one. 2012;7(7):e42276. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042276
  7. Xu XJ, Jiang GS. Niacin-respondent subset of schizophrenia – a therapeutic review. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015;19(6):988-97.
  8. MacKay D, Hathcock J, Guarneri E. Niacin: chemical forms, bioavailability, and health effects. Nutr Rev. Jun 2012;70(6):357-66. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00479.x
  9. Romani M, Hofer DC, Katsyuba E, Auwerx J. Niacin: an old lipid drug in a new NAD(+) dress. J Lipid Res. Apr 2019;60(4):741-746. doi:10.1194/jlr.S092007

Vitamin B5

Pantothenic acid

Vitamin B 5 (Pantothenic acid) was discovered in 1933 and was named after the Greek word panthos, meaning everywhere. This is due to the fact that Pantothenic acid is everywhere in food A classic deficiency state for Pantothenic acid is not known.1

Pantothenic acid from food is concentrated in meats, especially liver, egg yolk, beans, peanuts, avocado, mushrooms and apricots.2 Generally Pantothenic acid is sufficient in the diet, but suboptimal levels have been found in lower socioeconomic groups, adolescents and the elderly, as well as in women using oral contraceptives.1

Given its widespread availability it has been difficult for researchers to study what happens when there is not enough Pantothenic acid in the body. Most notably vague symptoms such as fatigue, depression, poor sleep and “burning feet syndrome” are described.3, 4

Actions

In the body Pantothenic acid works mainly by its incorporation into two proteins, CoA (co-enzyme A) and Acyl carrier protein.1 These two proteins are central to a number of important biological processes listed below. Magnesium is essential in Pantothenic acid being made into CoA.1 So, even if you are getting enough Pantothenic acid in your diet but you are not getting enough Magnesium, you can become relatively deficient in the actions of Pantothenic acid.

CoA and Acyl carrier protein which are made up of Pantothenic acid and β-alanine is central to:1, 3, 5

  • Energy production – note that most of the other B Vitamins are crucial here too; nothing in the body happens in isolation.
  • Normal production and breakdown of fats and proteins
  • Production of Vitamin D, sex hormones, melatonin, cortisol, and cholesterol
  • Production of Acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters, making Pantothenic acid important in memory and learning, as well as mood and sleep.
  • Production of ketones
  • Formation of red blood cells
  • Regulates inflammation and immune activity
  • Control of cell growth
  • Enhancement of insulin sensitivity

Other roles for Pantothenic acid have been described and include wound healing, liver detoxification and joint health.3

Pantothenic acid is in many foods and everywhere in the body.

Safety

Pantothenic acid is considered to be relatively safe. Occasional mild stomach discomfort has been described.6

References

  1. Kelly GS. Pantothenic acid. Monograph. Altern Med Rev. Sep 2011;16(3):263-74.
  2. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  3. Gheita AA, Gheita TA, Kenawy SA. The potential role of B5: A stitch in time and switch in cytokine. Phytother Res. Feb 2020;34(2):306-314. doi:10.1002/ptr.6537
  4. Tahiliani AG, Beinlich CJ. Pantothenic acid in health and disease. Vitam Horm. 1991;46:165-228. doi:10.1016/s0083-6729(08)60684-6
  5. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. Jan 27 2016;8(2):68. doi:10.3390/nu8020068
  6. Sanvictores T, Chauhan S. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid). StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing

Vitamin B6, B9, B12

Pyridoxine & p5P, Folinic Acid, Methylcobalamin

Vitamin B6, B9, B12 and Methylation

This is big one and going past biochemistry will not suffice. Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 (folate) and Vitamin B12 are intimately linked in the body in a biological processes called Methylation.As previously stated all micronutrients work together. It is thus difficult, if not impossible, to research the exact effects of one single nutrient.

For instance, supplementing with B6, B9, and B12 has had mixed results in showing clinical efficacy. However for these three vitamins to be effective, not only do the six other essential B Vitamins need to be present in adequate amounts but so do essential minerals such as Magnesium and Zinc.2 Furthermore the functions of micro-nutrients are affected by metabolic processes such as the amount of inflammation present in the body, so more or less of the nutrient may be required.3

This is one reason why nutritional studies seem to be so confusing. However, what is being discovered is more detail about the biochemical pathways where micronutrients exert their essential effects. Thus, combing knowledge of the effect of the nutrient in human biochemistry with research into the effects of the nutrient in humans is important to furthering our understanding.

Dietary Sources

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 is essential to all living organisms and widely distributed in plant and animal foods with the bio-availability from animal foods being 10% greater than that from plant foods.1 Good sources include fish, organ meats, legumes, wheatgerm, eggs, nuts potatoes and bananas. Up to 40% can be lost in cooking.4

A certain amount of Vitamin B6 is also made in the bowel by the gut bacteria. It is not known how much this contributes to overall Vitamin B6 requirements.5

Vitamin B9: Folate

Folate, although named for leafy vegetables, is found in virtually all foods including green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, grains, and meat. In fact organ meats such as liver and kidney are especially rich in folate, while the highest concentrations are found in yeast, spinach, liver, peanuts kidney beans, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.4, 6

However, dietary intake of folates is generally lower than recommended. Furthermore as much as 30% is lost in processing and cooking.7

Vitamin B12: Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 is essential in the human diet. It is synthesized by bacteria. Animals then ingest the bacteria and incorporate the B12 into their flesh, organs, eggs, and milk, which are then eaten by humans. Plants supply very trivial amounts of Vitamin B12.8

The uptake of Vitamin B12 is dependent on sufficient stomach acid and a protein produced in the stomach known as Intrinsic Factor.8

Methylation

Methylation has been in the very prominent in the nutritional medicine, biohacking and alternative medicine circles in the last few years. This is likely due to the increasing availability of genetic testing and purported increase in variances in the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene.

Please forget about MTHFR

Please forget about MTHFR. Unless you are being treated by a Functional Medicine physician who has had specific training in methylation, focusing on this enzyme can leave you with imbalanced methylation and methyl trapping which can result in significant problems.9, 10 Furthermore methylation is much more than MTHFR and Folate is much more than 5-MTHF.

What is Methylation?

Methylation, also called one-carbon metabolism, is a collection of reactions and cycles that generates methyl groups.5

Methyl is the chemical name for CH3. This structure contains one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms. When Methyl is passed from one compound in the cell to another, changing the structure of both compounds, that is called methylation.

The point of methylation is to make and recycle “methyl groups.” Methyl groups are structures that contain methyl. Methyl groups are involved in almost every reaction in the body. The methylation cycle functions as carriers of methyl groups, allowing them to be manipulated to support the metabolic processes in the cell.11

Methylation Cycle

The methylation pathway is highly associated with Vitamin B12, folate and Vitamin B6. However, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B2, Zinc and Magnesium are also required. Furthermore, many other factors such as stress, exercise, smoking, alcohol, and toxins will also affect methylation.

The central pathway of the methylation cycle changes Homocysteine into Methionine with the help of folate and Vitamin B12. Methionine then goes on to make SAM (S-adenosyl-methionine). SAM is considered the universal methyl donor or methyl group. After Methionine makes SAM it is recycled back into Homocysteine.

One sign that the methylation cycle is not working properly is an elevated Homocysteine. While Homocysteine can be broken down by a different pathway, an elevated blood Homocysteine is used as a proxy for the methylation cycle.

Elevated Homocysteine (proxy for suboptimal methylation) is associated with:11-14

  • Vascular disease including coronary artery disease and stroke
  • Cognitive decline
  • Insulin resistance
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Blood clots
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease

Methyl Groups / Donors

Methyl groups are required for:7, 11, 15-17

  • Synthesis of DNA precursors
  • Gene regulation
  • Maintaining antioxidant status
  • Synthesizing fats (phospholipids) for incorporation into the cell wall
  • Synthesis of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin and dopamine
  • Protection of nerves
  • Balance of amino acids such as glycine and methionine
  • Synthesis of creatine (an energy molecule)
  • Synthesis of choline (important for cell membranes and brain function)
  • Immune function
  • Production of glutathione (master anti-oxidant)
  • Energy production

As can be seen by this list, methylation groups are involved in just about all functions in the cell. Thus, if any of the nutrients involved are insufficient, methylation will be affected. The result affect is likely to be the same, whether it is for instance low Vitamin B12 or low folate.

Epigenetics / Gene regulation

We are constantly being told that our lifestyle, particularly our diet, turns genes on and off making us either more or less healthy. The nutrients in our diet do this is through the methylation cycle.

As we have said, the methylation cycle is dependent on Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, folate, other B Vitamins, minerals, and protein. All of these nutrients affect the function of the methylation cycle and thus the production of SAM.

One of SAM’s roles is to attach to histones, the proteins that support and regulate DNA. When SAM attaches to a histone, methylating the histone, this will result either in the expression or not of a particular gene. The levels of SAM affect the amount of methylation of the histone.15 Thus, nutrients in food affect methylation which turns genes on and off.

If the “wrong” genes are turned on or off, diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and aging may be result.15

Vitamin B6

Actions

Vitamin B6 is a group of compounds that can be converted to the coenzyme Pyridoxal 5’ Phosphate (p5P), the biologically active form of Vitamin B6.5 Coenzymes help the biological processes in the body to work. Vitamin B6 is one of the most central molecules in the cells of all living things, impacting overall physiology.17

In the body most Vitamin B6 is found in the muscle where it is associated with the regulation of glycogen (glucose stores).5

Co-factor

Vitamin B6 is a co-factor in more than 140 biochemical reactions.16

These include: 1, 5, 16, 17

  • amino acid breakdown and synthesis
  • synthesis of long-chain omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • methylation reactions
  • storage and metabolism glycogen, thereby having a role in glucose metabolism
  • formation of Hemoglobulin (the oxygen carrying molecule in blood)
  • synthesis of neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and GABA
  • breakdown of Homocysteine
  • healthy immune function
Anti-oxidant

Interestingly Vitamin B6 has been shown to have a greater anti-oxidant effect than Vitamin C. However, this needs to be further researched in humans.16

Protects against AGE formation

Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) form when high levels of glucose are present in the cells. These AGEs cause problems with the proper functioning of the cells and create oxidative stress. This is part of the way that Diabetes can cause damage to kidneys and eyes. Vitamin B6 may help prevent the formation of AGEs.18

Effects

Beside Vitamin B12 and folate, the actions of Vitamin B6 are intricately linked to Vitamin B2, B3 and zinc. If any of these nutrients are insufficient, Vitamin B won’t work adequately.1

Marginal Vitamin B6 status, independent of Homocysteine (the byproduct of methylation), has been associated with an increased risk of:5, 19

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Blood clots
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Dermatitis
  • Anemia
  • Inflammation e.g. in Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Seizures (severe cases of B6 deficiency)

Vitamin B6 may be helpful for those with schizophrenia or autism. It may also help with memory.17 Supplementing with Vitamin B6 has been shown to improve immune function.19

Safety

High levels of Vitamin B6 supplementation (>500mg) have been associated with neuropathy (tingling in the limbs) which is reversible on stopping the Vitamin B6.20

Vitamin B 9: Folate

Metabolism

Folate has two main interlinked actions:

  • Methylation
  • Production of DNA building blocks (Purines)

It is very important to define what we mean by folate. Folate, folic acid, folinic acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate are not the same thing.

Folate, folic acid, folinic acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate are not the same thing

Folate is the umbrella term used to describe all the members of the Vitamin B9 family, including folic acid, folinic acid, tetrahydrofolate and methylfolate.7

Folinic acid (5-formyl THF) is found naturally in food and does not need to be activated like Folic acid does.7

Tetrahydrofolate (THF) is the biologically active form of folate.11 It can be metabolised down either of folate’s biological pathways.

5-MTHF (methylfolate) is the most abundant type of folate in the blood and is catalyzed from THF by MTHFR (Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) mentioned earlier. MTHFR is critical to the function of folate in the methylation cycle. However, 5-MTHF is not the only biologically active form of folate in the body.7 5-MTHF is involved in methylation reactions, whereas other active forms are involved in DNA replication and repair.7

Methylfolate is used in the methylation cycle. Enabled by Vitamin B12, Methylfolate metabolizes homocysteine into methionine and ends up back as Tetrahydrofolate (THF). THF can then go on to be used in the production of the purines for DNA or be activated to Methylfolate again by MTHFR.21

In those with a MTHFR mutation, extra supplementation with 5-MTHF may be required at times but this is best done under the supervision of a trained Functional Medicine physician.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin B9 rarely found in nature. It is however extensively used in supplements and food fortification.7

Folic acid needs to be reduced (activated) before it can be used by the body. Folic acid is activated by an enzyme called DHFR (dihyrofolate reductase). Unfortunately, this enzyme is decreased by medications, including antibiotics and immune suppressants, as well as naturally occurring compounds such as EGCG in tea, Quercetin and Naringin in citrus.22, 23 When this enzyme is decreased, it may lead to folate deficiency, even when taking folic acid. Even under normal circumstances, this enzyme can also become “full” very quickly, leading to a backup of folic acid.7 This unmetabolized folic acid has raised concern amongst researchers about its effect on biological function.24 Counter to this, the risks of folic acid supplementation is said to be outweighed by the benefits.25

This is one reason why Omic went to great lengths to source Folinic acid rather than use the cheap Folic acid or the trendy 5-MTHF versions of folate.

In food, folate is found as 5-MTHF and Folinic acid.6, 7

Effects

Given folate’s wide distribution in food, folate deficiency usually occurs from a generally poor diet rather than form a poor intake of any single food. Folate deficiency also rarely exists in a pure state.6

The main indicator of Folate deficiency is a specific type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. However, this may also be due to Vitamin B12 deficiency, or both.6 Pointing to specific folate deficiency the incidence of neural tube defects has decreased dramatically with the introduction of folic acid supplementation in early pregnancy.25

Other conditions associated with folate deficiency are:6, 7

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Psychiatric diseases
  • Degeneration of ulcerative colitis
  • Complicates of pregnancy
Safety

Because folate and Vitamin B12 are so closely linked, doctors are taught to always supplement Vitamin B12 when supplementing folate or to at least regularly check levels of Vitamin B12. Failure to do so, can lead to significant Vitamin B12 deficiency leading to irreversible mental, neurological and blood cell abnormalities. This has been described as being due to the methylfolate trap,8 or to folates oxidizing and inactivating Vitamin B12 especially in the elderly.26

This effect is borne out by a study indicating that high levels of folate in the presence of low levels of Vitamin B12 are associated with higher rates of dementia than with low levels of Vitamin B12 on its own.27

It is also possible that the fortification of bread and cereals with folate has led to increasing symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency.26

It is unwise to consume high doses of any micronutrient except under the supervision of a trained Functional Medicine physician. However, It has been stated that no dose of folate can be considered truly safe in the presence of untreated (minor) Vitamin B12 deficiency, which may be difficult diagnose.6

The addition of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 (and probably the other B Vitamins and essential minerals) to folate supplementation is likely to be far more beneficial, than supplemental folate, in any form, on its own.

Vitamin B12: Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 has only two actions but has multiple effects and is essential to the normal functioning of all cells.4 Inside the cells, Vitamin B12 exists in two forms. These are:

  • Methylcobalamin directly involved in the methylation cycle where it helps folate to metabolize homocysteine into methionine and then recycles folate back to THF to make the DNA purines. Thus, if either Vitamin B12 or folate is deficient, the symptoms will be the same.
  • Adenosylcoblamin helps to shuttle amino acids (including Alpha-Ketobutyric acid, a breakdown product of Homocysteine), and fatty acids into the Krebs cycle where they are made into energy. It is does this via the enzyme Methylmalonyl-CoA mutase.28

Through the two actions described above, Vitamin B12 is integral to:8, 14, 21, 29

  • Normal red blood cell production and function; like folate, Vitamin B12 deficiency classically causes megaloblastic anemia
  • Healthy nerves and brain, with deficiency associated with problems with balance, memory, personality changes and mood effects ranging from mild depression to psychosis
  • Healthy cardiovascular function
  • Energy
  • Healthy skin and mucous membranes such as mouth and tongue
  • Healthy nails and hair
  • Healthy bone formation
  • Healthy hearing and vision
  • Normal childhood development
  • Normal fertility

Deficiency states of Vitamin B12 take much longer to appear than folate deficiency. Given how closely these two Vitamin work together, it is no wander that Vitamin B12 deficiency is often misdiagnosed as folate deficiency.30 Unfortunately if folate is prescribed without Vitamin B12 this can make matters worse.8

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common across the world.21 It can be caused by low dietary intake of Vitamin B12 such is in veganism. This is particularly a problem in breast-fed infants of vegan mothers, where Vitamin B12 is critical for development.14

Vitamin B12 deficiency can also be caused by gut issues such as colitis and gastritis, following gastrectomy and in those with Pernicious Anemia. Pernicious anemia is an auto-immune disease that causes destruction of the stomach cells that produce Intrinsic Factor that is necessary for the absorption of Vitamin B12. Drugs that reduce stomach acid and alcohol will also reduce Vitamin B12 absorption.8 The anesthetic gas nitrous oxide (laughing gas) inactivates Vitamin B12. This is generally not a problem except in susceptible individuals and in repeated use of laughing gas.21

Medications such as Metformin and stomach acid inhibitors will decrease Vitamin B12 absorption.31

Safety

Vitamin B12 supplementation has been found to be safe and with adverse effects. As such an upper limit has not been set.31

References

  1. Mackey AD, Davis, S.R., Gregory III, S.F. Vitamin B6. In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  2. Kennedy DO. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients. Jan 27 2016;8(2):68. doi:10.3390/nu8020068
  3. Ford ES, Liu S, Mannino DM, Giles WH, Smith SJ. C-reactive protein concentration and concentrations of blood vitamins, carotenoids, and selenium among United States adults. Eur J Clin Nutr. Sep 2003;57(9):1157-63. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601667
  4. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  5. da Silva VR, Gregory JF. Chapter 13 – Vitamin B6. In: Marriott BP, Birt DF, Stallings VA, Yates AA, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition (Eleventh Edition). Academic Press; 2020:225-237.
  6. Carmel R. Folic Acid. In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  7. Scaglione F, Panzavolta G. Folate, folic acid and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate are not the same thing. Xenobiotica. May 2014;44(5):480-8. doi:10.3109/00498254.2013.845705
  8. Carmel R. Cobalamin (Vitamin B12). In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  9. Chanarin I, Deacon R, Lumb M, Perry J. Cobalamin and folate: recent developments. J Clin Pathol. Apr 1992;45(4):277-83. doi:10.1136/jcp.45.4.277
  10. Marotta DA, Kesserwani H. Nitrous Oxide Induced Posterior Cord Myelopathy: Beware of the Methyl Folate Trap. Cureus. Jul 21 2020;12(7):e9319. doi:10.7759/cureus.9319
  11. Ducker GS, Rabinowitz JD. One-Carbon Metabolism in Health and Disease. Cell metabolism. Jan 10 2017;25(1):27-42. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.08.009
  12. Pizzorno J. Homocysteine: Friend or Foe? Integr Med (Encinitas). Aug 2014;13(4):8-14.
  13. Setola E, Monti LD, Galluccio E, et al. Insulin resistance and endothelial function are improved after folate and vitamin B12 therapy in patients with metabolic syndrome: relationship between homocysteine levels and hyperinsulinemia. Eur J Endocrinol. Oct 2004;151(4):483-9. doi:10.1530/eje.0.1510483
  14. Volkov I. The critical role of vitamin B12. Phys Sportsmed. 2008;36(1):34-41. doi:10.3810/psm.2008.12.9
  15. Mentch SJ, Locasale JW. One-carbon metabolism and epigenetics: understanding the specificity. Ann N Y Acad Sci. Jan 2016;1363(1):91-8. doi:10.1111/nyas.12956
  16. Mooney S, Leuendorf JE, Hendrickson C, Hellmann H. Vitamin B6: a long known compound of surprising complexity. Molecules. Jan 12 2009;14(1):329-51. doi:10.3390/molecules14010329
  17. Parra M, Stahl S, Hellmann H. Vitamin B₆ and Its Role in Cell Metabolism and Physiology. Cells. Jul 22 2018;7(7)doi:10.3390/cells7070084
  18. Metz TO, Alderson NL, Thorpe SR, Baynes JW. Pyridoxamine, an inhibitor of advanced glycation and lipoxidation reactions: a novel therapy for treatment of diabetic complications. Arch Biochem Biophys. Nov 1 2003;419(1):41-9. doi:10.1016/j.abb.2003.08.021
  19. Ueland PM, McCann A, Midttun Ø, Ulvik A. Inflammation, vitamin B6 and related pathways. Mol Aspects Med. Feb 2017;53:10-27. doi:10.1016/j.mam.2016.08.001
  20. Abosamak NER, Gupta V. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing Copyright © 2020, StatPearls Publishing LLC.; 2020.
  21. Green R, Allen LH, Bjørke-Monsen AL, et al. Vitamin B(12) deficiency. Nat Rev Dis Primers. Jun 29 2017;3:17040. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2017.40
  22. Sánchez-del-Campo L, Sáez-Ayala M, Chazarra S, Cabezas-Herrera J, Rodríguez-López JN. Binding of natural and synthetic polyphenols to human dihydrofolate reductase. Int J Mol Sci. Dec 18 2009;10(12):5398-410. doi:10.3390/ijms10125398
  23. Aslan E, Adem S. Investigation of the effects of some drugs and phenolic compounds on human dihydrofolate reductase activity. J Biochem Mol Toxicol. Mar 2015;29(3):135-9. doi:10.1002/jbt.21677
  24. Maruvada P, Stover PJ, Mason JB, et al. Knowledge gaps in understanding the metabolic and clinical effects of excess folates/folic acid: a summary, and perspectives, from an NIH workshop. Am J Clin Nutr. Nov 11 2020;112(5):1390-1403. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa259
  25. van Gool JD, Hirche H, Lax H, De Schaepdrijver L. Folic acid and primary prevention of neural tube defects: A review. Reprod Toxicol. Sep 2018;80:73-84. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2018.05.004
  26. Solomon LR. Advanced age as a risk factor for folate-associated functional cobalamin deficiency. J Am Geriatr Soc. Apr 2013;61(4):577-82. doi:10.1111/jgs.12155
  27. Moore EM, Ames D, Mander AG, et al. Among vitamin B12 deficient older people, high folate levels are associated with worse cognitive function: combined data from three cohorts. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014;39(3):661-8. doi:10.3233/jad-131265
  28. Manoli I, Venditti C. Methylmalonic Acidemia. 2005.
  29. Smith AD, Warren MJ, Refsum H. Chapter Six – Vitamin B12. In: Eskin NAM, ed. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. Academic Press; 2018:215-279.
  30. Carmel R, Karnaze DS. Physician response to low serum cobalamin levels. Arch Intern Med. Jun 1986;146(6):1161-5.
  31. Vitamin B12. NIH National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated March 30, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2021, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

Folinic Acid

Constituents & Mechanisms of Action

Efficacy

Safety

References

Vitamin B12

Methylcobalamin

Constituents & Mechanisms of Action

Efficacy

Safety

References

Vitamin B7

Biotin

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin, also known as Vitamin B7. It is essential to human health affecting energy production, the synthesis of fatty acid compounds essential to all aspects of life, the breakdown of certain amino acids and fatty acids and the normal functioning of the brain.1 It is important for normal human health, growth and development.2

Humans cannot make Biotin and need to include this in their diet. Biotin is also made in the human gut by the gut microbes, though how much this source contributes to our Biotin needs is not known.2 Biotin is found in good amounts in chicken and beef liver, egg yolk, salmon, pork, sunflower seeds and almonds.3

Biotin is recycled in the body and frank deficiency is rare4, occurring in specific genetic disorders that are usually diagnosed at birth.1

However marginal biotin deficiency does occur2 and is particularly important in women who are pregnant.5 Biotin deficiency can occur in those who consume raw egg white for long periods,4 or those who may have decreased absorption such as in alcoholism and inflammatory bowel conditions and those on long-term epilepsy drugs2

Actions

Biotin in food is bound to protein and needs to be freed by the digestive process for use in the body. It has two main mechanisms of actions in the body.

  1. Co-factor in enzymes related to glucose, fat and protein metabolism important in energy metabolism, glucose regulation and protein metabolism.
  2. Regulates a number of different genes.

This means that biotin is important in parts of the body that require a high turn-over of cells, including hair, skin and nails.

It is also essential to brain function for energy and mood.

Safety

An upper limit for Biotin has not been established and high doses of Biotin do not seem to be associated with any problems.6 However, be aware that high dose Biotin supplementation may interfere with laboratory tests.5

References

  1. León-Del-Río A. Biotin in metabolism, gene expression, and human disease. J Inherit Metab Dis. Jul 2019;42(4):647-654. doi:10.1002/jimd.12073
  2. Said HM. Biotin: biochemical, physiological and clinical aspects. Subcell Biochem. 2012;56:1-19. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-2199-9_1
  3. Staggs CG, Sealey WM, McCabe BJ, Teague AM, Mock DM. Determination of the biotin content of select foods using accurate and sensitive HPLC/avidin binding. J Food Compost Anal. Dec 2004;17(6):767-776. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2003.09.015
  4. Mock D. Biotin. In: Shils M, Shike, M., Ross, A., Caballero, B., Cousins, R., ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  5. Mock DM. Biotin: From Nutrition to Therapeutics. J Nutr. Aug 2017;147(8):1487-1492. doi:10.3945/jn.116.238956
  6. Biotin. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated June 3, 2020. Accessed December 29, 2020, 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-HealthProfessional/

Vitamin K2 - MK-7

Menaquinone

Vitamin K has for many years been considered a single fat-soluble Vitamin. However, new research is now leading to the acceptance that Vitamin K can be divided into two main groups, Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2.1 Unlike other fat soluble vitamins, the body does not store Vitamin K.2

Vitamin K1: Phylloquinone

The role of Vitamin K1 is well known as preventing excessive bleeding. Vitamin K1 is so important in the body that is able to compensate for low dietary intake by recycling Vitamin K1 multiple times.3 Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables such as collards, spinach and salad greens.4 Furthermore, there is some suggestion that Vitamin K1 can be made in the gut by gut bacteria. Except in newborns, it is therefore very rare to become deficient in Vitamin K1.4

For this reason, Vitamin K1 is not included in the Omic Balance.

Vitamin K2: Menaquinone

It is only recently that Vitamin K2 became to be known for its role in modulating calcium. Research is continuing into the widespread functions of this Vitamin.5 As far as is known, there is no recycling pathway for Vitamin K2 and adequate amounts must be consumed in the diet. Herbivores can convert Vitamin K1 to Vitamin K2 efficiently but humans only convert a small amount.6 Certain forms for Vitamin K2 may be synthesized in the gut but the availability of this source from the gut bacteria is unkown.7

It is apparent that Vitamin K2 deficiency is very common.5 Factors which contribute to this deficiency include low fat diets, preservatives and the use of transfats.1, 8

Vitamin K2 is divided into sub-types:9

  • Short-chain: MK-4
  • Long-chain: MK-7, MK-8, MK-9

MK-7 is the most efficiently absorbed of all the Menaquinones and has a longer action that MK-4.10

Vitamin K2 in the Diet

Vitamin K2 is not found in plants but is high in animal products. However, Vitamin K2 is made by bacteria and is found in certain fermented plant foods such as Sauerkraut and Natto. Not all bacteria make Vitamin K2 and not all fermented foods contain Vitamin K2. Natto is soybean that has been fermented with the Bacillus natto bacteria and is very high in Vitamin K2.9 It can be challenging to eat for those who have not grown up with it!

Dairy products are the 2nd richest sources of Vitamin K2, followed by egg yoks, beef and salmon.9

Vitamin K2 is one of the best illustrations of how we are not just what we eat, we are what our animals eat.

While further research is necessary it appears that animals that eat a natural, grass-based diet will produce Vitamin K2 in their livers from the chlorophyll (green pigment) in the plants that they eat. This Vitamin K2 then makes its way to the milk and eggs that the animals produce. Grain-fed cattle and poultry do not produce sufficient Vitamin K2.11

Actions

Enzyme activation

Both types of Vitamin K work mainly by activating enzymes, called carboxylases, that then go on to activate certain proteins.

Vitamin K1 mainly activates proteins that regulate blood clotting.4

Vitamin K2 actives proteins that regulate calcium metabolism. The beauty of these proteins is that they help to put calcium into bone and stop calcium being put into blood vessels, cartilage, and other soft tissues.9

Antioxidant

Emerging research indicates that Vitamin K2 displays anti-oxidant activity greater than that of Vitamin E and Co-enzyme Q 10, helping to protect cell membranes and prevent neurons from damage.12

Energy

Vitamin K2 may even have a role in mitochondrial health and ATP (energy) generation, although a lot more research is needed here.13

Effects

As can be seen by the above actions, Vitamin k2 has a vast number of effects in the body. There is now good evidence that Vitamin K2:9

  • Protects against cardiovascular disease and may even reverse hardening of the arteries
  • Improves bone quality (not density) and decreases risk of fractures
  • Decreases the risk of Diabetes by increasing insulin production

Early research indicates that Vitamin K2 may:1, 5, 14-16

  • Protect against cancer
  • Improve liver and kidney function
  • Modulate the immune system
  • Protect against neurological degeneration, improving cognition
  • Improve glucose and fat metabolism, decreasing weight, fat deposits and waist circumference in humans
  • Protect against arthritis – osteoarthritis (wear and tear) and inflammatory arthritis (auto-immune)
  • Inhibit kidney stones
  • Regulate estrogen
  • Prevent wrinkles due to its effect in elastin
  • Be crucial in the normal growth of infants and children
  • Improve dental health

Safety

No official RDI (reference daily intake) exists for Vitamin K2 at present.9 Suggested maximum dosages for MK-7 of 10mg are evidence of the safety of supplementing this Vitamin.10 Very few adverse effects have been reported with long-term use of MK-7. The most commonly reports were those of mild gastric upset.10

Those taking Warfarin need to check with their prescriber about using Vitamin K2 supplements.1

References

  1. Schwalfenberg GK. Vitamins K1 and K2: The Emerging Group of Vitamins Required for Human Health. Journal of nutrition and metabolism. 2017;2017:6254836. doi:10.1155/2017/6254836
  2. Fusaro M, Crepaldi G, Maggi S, et al. Vitamin K, bone fractures, and vascular calcifications in chronic kidney disease: An important but poorly studied relationship. Journal of endocrinological investigation. 11/01 2010;34:317-23. doi:10.3275/7353
  3. Tie JK, Stafford DW. Functional Study of the Vitamin K Cycle Enzymes in Live Cells. Methods Enzymol. 2017;584:349-394. doi:10.1016/bs.mie.2016.10.015
  4. Suttie JW. Vitamin K1. In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  5. Cranenburg EC, Schurgers LJ, Vermeer C. Vitamin K: the coagulation vitamin that became omnipotent. Thromb Haemost. Jul 2007;98(1):120-5.
  6. Shearer MJ, Fu X, Booth SL. Vitamin K nutrition, metabolism, and requirements: current concepts and future research. Adv Nutr. Mar 1 2012;3(2):182-95. doi:10.3945/an.111.001800
  7. McCann A, Jeffery IB, Ouliass B, et al. Exploratory analysis of covariation of microbiota-derived vitamin K and cognition in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. Dec 1 2019;110(6):1404-1415. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz220
  8. Booth SL, Lichtenstein AH, O’Brien-Morse M, et al. Effects of a hydrogenated form of vitamin K on bone formation and resorption. Am J Clin Nutr. Dec 2001;74(6):783-90. doi:10.1093/ajcn/74.6.783
  9. Halder M, Petsophonsakul P, Akbulut AC, et al. Vitamin K: Double Bonds beyond Coagulation Insights into Differences between Vitamin K1 and K2 in Health and Disease. Int J Mol Sci. Feb 19 2019;20(4)doi:10.3390/ijms20040896
  10. Marles RJ, Roe AL, Oketch-Rabah HA. US Pharmacopeial Convention safety evaluation of menaquinone-7, a form of vitamin K. Nutr Rev. Jul 1 2017;75(7):553-578. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nux022
  11. Rheume-Bleue K. Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd; 2012.
  12. Li J, Wang H, Rosenberg PA. Vitamin K prevents oxidative cell death by inhibiting activation of 12-lipoxygenase in developing oligodendrocytes. J Neurosci Res. Jul 2009;87(9):1997-2005. doi:10.1002/jnr.22029
  13. Bhalerao S, Clandinin TR. Cell biology. Vitamin K2 takes charge. Science. Jun 8 2012;336(6086):1241-2. doi:10.1126/science.1223812
  14. Otsuka M, Kato N, Ichimura T, et al. Vitamin K2 binds 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 4 and modulates estrogen metabolism. Life Sci. Apr 8 2005;76(21):2473-82. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2004.12.020
  15. Gheduzzi D, Boraldi F, Annovi G, et al. Matrix Gla protein is involved in elastic fiber calcification in the dermis of pseudoxanthoma elasticum patients. Lab Invest. Oct 2007;87(10):998-1008. doi:10.1038/labinvest.3700667
  16. Southward K. A hypothetical role for vitamin K2 in the endocrine and exocrine aspects of dental caries. Med Hypotheses. Mar 2015;84(3):276-80. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2015.01.011

Magnesium

di-Magnesium malate

Magnesium – If you are a woman, chances are you will immediately think of chocolate. Magnesium is why you need chocolate; and you are partially right.

Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the earth’s crust and the 2nd most abundant in sea.1 Magnesium is mainly found in mineral deposits as a Magnesium carbonate and Dolomite. It is essential to all living organisms, with the most biologically available Magnesium from the ocean.2

Despite Magnesium being rather ubiquitous in the environment, there is no food that provides a particularly high amount.3 Chlorophyll (thus green vegetables) are a major source of Magnesium, followed by nuts, seeds, cocoa and unprocessed grains. Legumes, fruit, fish, and meat have lower levels, while, except for milk, dairy is generally a poor source of Magnesium. Potatoes also contain a moderate amount of Magnesium.3

Refining grains and cooking, lowers the amount of Magnesium.2, 4 For example, 80% of Magnesium is lost when turning wheat into flour.4

Magnesium intakes for most of the population of the United States and Europe are below the recommended amounts and are declining. This is likely to be due to the increasing use of fertilizers and processed foods2

Actions

Magnesium is the 4th most common mineral in the body after calcium, sodium and potassium.5 60% of Magnesium in the body is found in bone, followed by 30-40% in muscle and soft tissue and 1% outside of the cells (e.g. in the blood).6

Magnesium’s main role in the body is closely linked to ATP, the body’s energy molecule.1 As ATP is required for everything your body does, so is Magnesium. You need to walk, you need Magnesium; you need to digest, you need Magnesium; you need to think, you need Magnesium! You get the picture.

Magnesium is also important in the stabilization and function of your DNA and cell membranes. As “natures Calcium Channel Blocker,” it also helps your heart muscle work properly. In addition there are also over 300 different enzyme systems where Magnesium is critical.1

Insufficient magnesium is associated with chronic disease such as Diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, migraine, osteoporosis, depression, ADHD, asthma, muscle cramps, eczema. painful periods, poor sleep, and possibly cancer. Diabetes and pre-diabetes are particularly relevant as Magnesium deficiency leads to Diabetes and Diabetes causes loss of Magnesium in the urine.2, 5

Many commonly used pharmaceuticals also cause a loss of Magnesium in the urine. These include diuretics, drugs used for indigestion, antibiotics, and steroids. Alcohol consumption will also increase the loss of Magnesium in the urine.2, 5

As you can see below Magnesium is life.1, 2, 5, 7

Safety

The most common adverse reaction to Magnesium is diarrhea and gastric irritation. This can be managed by decreasing the dose or splitting the dose to two or three times per day.8 Although rarely seen, taking very high doses of Magnesium especially in those with kidney failure can be fatal,9 so it is best to stick to recommended doses.

References

  1. Rude RK, Shils, M.E. Magnesium. In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Diseassse. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  2. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. Sep 23 2015;7(9):8199-226. doi:10.3390/nu7095388
  3. Volpe SL. Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health. Adv Nutr. May 1 2013;4(3):378s-83s. doi:10.3945/an.112.003483
  4. Ahsan SK. Magnesium in health and disease. J Pak Med Assoc. Aug 1998;48(8):246-50.
  5. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). 2017;2017:4179326. doi:10.1155/2017/4179326
  6. Romani A. Magnesium in Health and Disease. Metal ions in life sciences. 11/18 2013;13:49-79. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-7500-8_3
  7. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. Apr 26 2017;9(5)doi:10.3390/nu9050429
  8. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  9. Schelling JR. Fatal hypermagnesemia. Clin Nephrol. Jan 2000;53(1):61-5.

Zinc

(as Zinc Picolinate)

Zinc is the 2nd most abundant trace element in the body and is found in all tissues and body fluids.1 Although Zinc is widespread in the body, it is not stored in the body, meaning Zinc needs to be adequate in the diet. Zinc is considered a type II nutrient which are building blocks in the body, required for the synthesis of any new tissue.2

85% of the Zinc in the body is found in the muscle and bones, 11% in the skin and liver and the rest in all other tissues especially in the eye and prostate.3

Zinc in the Diet

Zinc is found in a wide range of foods including meat, liver, eggs, seafood, nuts, legumes and whole grains. However, sufficient intake of dietary Zinc intake does not guarantee adequate Zinc. This is because Zinc in plant foods is tightly bound to phytates, making Zinc much less available. Furthermore, Calcium may inhibit the absorption of Zinc. However, the amount of animal protein does correlate to the amount of Zinc absorption.2 Fermenting or sprouting of plants foods may help to improve Zinc bioavailability.4

Actions

Zinc has three effects in the body. Don’t let this fool you, those three actions produce a multiplicity of effects.

  1. Enzymatic / Catalytic

Zinc is said to be required for about 300 different enzymes and hence metabolic processes in the body. However, there is no one pathway that defines the function of Zinc, making it complex for researchers to study.4

  1. Structural

Zinc forms part of proteins call zinc fingers. These Zinc fingers help to form the structure of critical proteins in our cells and are as such involved in many different functions. They help to translate our genetic code from DNA to an actual protein structure such as in the development of blood cells. Zinc fingers also have roles in the walls of cells and the binding and transporting of fats.5

  1. Regulatory

Zinc is involved in activation of thousands of genes6 and in the functioning of neurons and hormones.1, 4 It is essential in the regulation of the immune system.7

Given its ubiquitous nature, one could say that zinc is indirectly required for most processes in the body. The dominant effects of Zinc are shown in the pictorial below.1, 3, 8-12

Safety

Zinc toxicity can occur if Zinc is taken in a large dose all at once or if taken at too high a dose over a long period. This effects include everything from nausea to reduced immune function and reduced HDL “good” cholesterol. It is recommended that the upper limit for Zinc supplementation in adults is 40mg.13

References

  1. Livingstone C. Zinc: physiology, deficiency, and parenteral nutrition. Nutr Clin Pract. Jun 2015;30(3):371-82. doi:10.1177/0884533615570376
  2. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements; An evidence-based guide. 3rd ed. Churchill Livingston; 2010.
  3. Chasapis C, Loutsidou A, Spiliopoulou C, Stefanidou M. Zinc and human health: An update. Archives of toxicology. 11/10 2011;86:521-34. doi:10.1007/s00204-011-0775-1
  4. King JC, Cousins, R.J. Zinc. In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  5. Laity JH, Lee BM, Wright PE. Zinc finger proteins: new insights into structural and functional diversity. Curr Opin Struct Biol. Feb 2001;11(1):39-46. doi:10.1016/s0959-440x(00)00167-6
  6. McClung JP. Iron, Zinc, and Physical Performance. Biol Trace Elem Res. Mar 2019;188(1):135-139. doi:10.1007/s12011-018-1479-7
  7. Wessels I, Maywald M, Rink L. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. Nutrients. Nov 25 2017;9(12)doi:10.3390/nu9121286
  8. Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R, Baltaci SB. Review: The role of zinc in the endocrine system. Pak J Pharm Sci. Jan 2019;32(1):231-239.
  9. Fukunaka A, Fujitani Y. Role of Zinc Homeostasis in the Pathogenesis of Diabetes and Obesity. Int J Mol Sci. Feb 6 2018;19(2)doi:10.3390/ijms19020476
  10. Cherasse Y, Urade Y. Dietary Zinc Acts as a Sleep Modulator. Int J Mol Sci. Nov 5 2017;18(11)doi:10.3390/ijms18112334
  11. Bao B, Prasad AS, Beck FW, et al. Zinc decreases C-reactive protein, lipid peroxidation, and inflammatory cytokines in elderly subjects: a potential implication of zinc as an atheroprotective agent. Am J Clin Nutr. Jun 2010;91(6):1634-41. doi:ajcn.2009.28836 [pii]
    10.3945/ajcn.2009.28836 [doi]
  12. Sawada T, Yokoi K. Effect of zinc supplementation on mood states in young women: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(3):331-333.
  13. Zinc. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated July 15, 2020. Accessed December 31, 2020, 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Calcium

di-Calcium malate

Calcium is the 5th most abundant element in the earth and its atmosphere.1 Calcium is what makes limestone, marble, coral, pearls, sea-shells, egg-shells, antlers and bone. Calcium can be found both in solid form and dissolved in water. It is part of sea water, fresh water and soil.1 Human adults contain around 1kg of calcium. More the 99% of this is in bones and teeth with the rest in the tissues and fluid surrounding the cells, and the smallest amount being in the blood.2

Calcium is essential to human life and must be taken in through the diet. Early humans derived Calcium from roots, tubers, nuts and beans and were able to obtain around 1500mg per day from these sources. After the agricultural revolution, grains became the dominant food source. Grains (being the fruit of the plant), accumulate the least amount of Calcium in the plant, leading Humans to by necessity use dairy to obtain sufficient Calcium.

Dairy remains the main dietary source of Calcium in Western populations,3 with a large number of the world’s population obtaining less than required amounts of Calcium in the diet.3 Furthermore some plant constituents decrease plant (but not dairy) Calcium from being absorbed. In particular, Oxalate found in high amounts in Spinach, binds Calcium in the gut, meaning it cannot be absorbed.4 Other vegetables such as broccoli and kale to provide Calcium, but a large amount does need to be eaten to obtains sufficient Calcium.5

Actions & Functions

Calcium has a unique structure, allowing it to be easily incorporated into proteins, where it stiffens the protein molecule and stabilizes its structure.1 As a molecule, Calcium has a number of actions that result in a vast array of physiological functions.2 Without calcium, nothing would work.

Structure

Calcium provides mass, hardness, and strength to bones and teeth.1 The bones also act as a store of Calcium that the body can draw on when necessary.

Obviously, if you are not getting enough Calcium in your diet, and your body keeps drawing on the Calcium in your skeleton, this will lead to Osteoporosis (soft bones).6

Here the importance of other micro-nutrients is illustrated. Nothing works in isolation. For healthy bones, not only is Calcium critical, but so is Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K2.7, 8

Messenger / Signaling Molecule1

The body keeps tight control of Calcium availability. Most Calcium is actively kept outside the cell. There is 10 000 times as much Calcium outside the cell, in the extracellular fluid than there is inside the cell, creating what is known as the Calcium gradient. This allows proteins and enzymes to remain dormant until Calcium is allowed into the cell.

The following illustration is a very simplified pictorial of one of the ways Calcium works as a signalling molecule.

  1. A cell is activated e.g. a muscle fiber receives a nerve stimulus to contract
  2. The usually closed calcium channel that runs between the extra-cellular flood (fluid between the cells that contains calcium) and the inside of the cell opens up
  3. Calcium flows into the cell
  4. Calcium binds to activator proteins which in turn release calcium from storage vesicles inside the cell; this raises the concentration of calcium in the cell
  5. Contraction complex is activated
  6. Calcium pump, extrudes calcium from the cell and it returns to its resting state

This messenger function is not just involved in the contraction of muscle, it is critical to multiple aspects of the normal functioning of the body. A few examples are listed here:1, 2, 9-11

  • Secretion of hormones such as Aldosterone from the Adrenals. This hormones regulates the salt and water balance in your blood.
  • Secretion of Insulin from the Pancreas. This is obviously important to health blood glucose metabolism
  • Switching nerves and muscle “on and off”
  • Healthy functioning of the brain such as memory, learning and the sleep/wake cycle
  • Normal mental health and neurotransmission
  • Healthy heart function
  • Healthy blood pressure
  • Healthy liver and kidney function
  • Healthy joints
  • Normal immune function (supporting normal immune cell proliferation)
  • Normal fertilization
  • Balanced autophagy (recycling of dead cells)
  • Prevention of certain cancers
  • Normal gall bladder function
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism

Activation of Enzymes

Some enzymes are activated and stabilized irrespective of the amount of Calcium in the cell. These include:

  • Proteases that break down food in the digestive system into proteins and amino acids that are then incorporated into new molecules to help the body work12
  • Dehydrogenases that are involved in multiple pathways, including the production of ATP, the energy molecule in the body and the breakdown of alcohol.13, 14
  • Normal blood clotting

Safety

As previously mentioned, the body keeps the amount of available Calcium under strict control. Furthermore, you have a huge store of Calcium that your body can add to or take away from, namely your bones.

Given the widespread importance of this mineral, Calcium is strongly regulated via multiple pathways including Vitamin D, phosphorus levels and hormones from the Thyroid and Parathyroid.15

If more Calcium is required than is being consumed in the diet, the body will use the Calcium that is in the bone. Occasionally, even if you are getting the right amount of Calcium, these mechanism may be dysfunctional leading to conditions such as Osteoporosis or Hypercalcemia (elevated levels of blood Calcium) and Kidney stones. However, while Calcium is often blamed for these conditions, it is very unlikely to be related to the amount of calcium in the diet or supplements. These conditions are more likely due to other conditions such as low Vitamin D or high Oxalate intake.

High Calcium is in effect never due to an overconsumption of Calcium in the diet. However high Calcium can rarely occur when massive amounts of Calcium supplements are consumed such as Calcium carbonate for the treatment of stomach ulcers.1

Calcium deposits

The calcification that may occur in soft-tissue, such as in your shoulders, is related to injury not to the amount of Calcium in your diet.1

Kidney Stones

The majority of kidney stones consist of the Calcium and Oxalate in the urine that have combined to form stones. Increasing Calcium in the diet actually helps to decrease the incidence of kidney stones, as Calcium binds with Oxalate in the gut, preventing the Oxalates from getting to the urine.16

Hardening of the Arteries

The “Calcium is good for your bones and bad for your heart” debates continues. However, emerging research again indicates that it is not the Calcium that is the problem. It is becoming apparent that Vitamin K2 (also called Menaquinone) is important in Calcium metabolism. Vitamin K2 actives enzymes that prevent calcification in blood vessels, while at the same time increasing calcification of bone.17, 18

Take-home safety for Calcium supplements

High calcium supplements may cause constipation, particularly if in the Calcium carbonate form. Calcium may inhibit the absorption of zinc and iron, although this is not fully established.19

References

  1. Weaver CM, Heaney, R.P. Calcium. In: Shils M, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
  2. Peacock M. Calcium metabolism in health and disease. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. Jan 2010;5 Suppl 1:S23-30. doi:10.2215/cjn.05910809
  3. Balk EM, Adam GP, Langberg VN, et al. Global dietary calcium intake among adults: a systematic review. Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA. 2017;28(12):3315-3324. doi:10.1007/s00198-017-4230-x
  4. Heaney RP, Weaver CM. Oxalate: effect on calcium absorbability. Am J Clin Nutr. Oct 1989;50(4):830-2. doi:10.1093/ajcn/50.4.830
  5. Weaver CM, Proulx WR, Heaney R. Choices for achieving adequate dietary calcium with a vegetarian diet. Am J Clin Nutr. Sep 1999;70(3 Suppl):543s-548s. doi:10.1093/ajcn/70.3.543s
  6. Cashman KD. Calcium intake, calcium bioavailability and bone health. Br J Nutr. May 2002;87 Suppl 2:S169-77. doi:10.1079/bjnbjn/2002534
  7. Capozzi A, Scambia G, Lello S. Calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium supplementation and skeletal health. Maturitas. Oct 2020;140:55-63. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.05.020
  8. Maresz K. Proper Calcium Use: Vitamin K2 as a Promoter of Bone and Cardiovascular Health. Integr Med (Encinitas). Feb 2015;14(1):34-9.
  9. Berridge MJ. The Inositol Trisphosphate/Calcium Signaling Pathway in Health and Disease. Physiol Rev. Oct 2016;96(4):1261-96. doi:10.1152/physrev.00006.2016
  10. Pannu PK CE, Soares MJ. Calcium and Vitamin D in Obesity and Related Chronic Disease. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2015;77:57-100. doi:0.1016/bs.afnr.2015.11.001
  11. Cheng L, Hu D, Jiang W. Dietary calcium intake and the risk of metabolic syndrome: evidence from observational studies. Public Health Nutr. Aug 2019;22(11):2055-2062. doi:10.1017/s1368980019000247
  12. López-Otín C, Bond JS. Proteases: multifunctional enzymes in life and disease. The Journal of biological chemistry. Nov 7 2008;283(45):30433-7. doi:10.1074/jbc.R800035200
  13. Edenberg HJ, McClintick JN. Alcohol Dehydrogenases, Aldehyde Dehydrogenases, and Alcohol Use Disorders: A Critical Review. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Dec 2018;42(12):2281-2297. doi:10.1111/acer.13904
  14. Gray LR, Tompkins SC, Taylor EB. Regulation of pyruvate metabolism and human disease. Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS. Jul 2014;71(14):2577-604. doi:10.1007/s00018-013-1539-2
  15. Fleet JC. The role of vitamin D in the endocrinology controlling calcium homeostasis. Mol Cell Endocrinol. Sep 15 2017;453:36-45. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2017.04.008
  16. Curhan GC, Willett WC, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ. A prospective study of dietary calcium and other nutrients and the risk of symptomatic kidney stones. N Engl J Med. Mar 25 1993;328(12):833-8. doi:10.1056/nejm199303253281203
  17. Wasilewski GB, Vervloet MG, Schurgers LJ. The Bone-Vasculature Axis: Calcium Supplementation and the Role of Vitamin K. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2019;6:6. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2019.00006
  18. Cozzolino M, Fusaro M, Ciceri P, Gasperoni L, Cianciolo G. The Role of Vitamin K in Vascular Calcification. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. Nov 2019;26(6):437-444. doi:10.1053/j.ackd.2019.10.005
  19. Calcium. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2020, March 26. Accessed 2021, Jan 3, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/

Iodine

(as Potassium Iodide)

The mineral we commonly use to clean wounds, in the form of the antiseptic, Betadine, is central to the inner workings of the body.

Most of the earth’s Iodine is found in the ocean. Iodine was initially described by a French chemist making gunpowder from seaweed. It was identified in the 17th century and was named after the Greek word for violet.1

How humans get iodine

Iodine is solid that becomes a vapor at room temperature. It evaporates from the sea, reaching the earth with rain, then flowing back to the sea with runoff. Organisms in the sea such as micro- and macro-algae help to concentrate that iodine that eventually makes it to the soils.2 Just another reason to make sure our oceans are healthy and not contaminated with plastic and masks. The sun also releases iodine from the ocean.

Plants take up a small amount of iodine from the soil through their roots and may also absorb iodine from the atmosphere2. However, the iodine is plants is generally not sufficient for mammalian health. Except when eating large amounts of kelp,3 those following a vegan diet are generally insufficient in Iodine.4 Interestingly in sheep studies in New Zealand where it was found that eating soil was a better source of Iodine for lambs than eating the plants from the same soil.5

Some plants release iodine back into the atmosphere. Interestingly, microorganisms in soil such as bacteria and fungi help to release Iodine from the soils that then makes its way back up into the atmosphere.2 Keeping soils healthy by not killing these microorganisms with pesticides such as Roundup is imperative in keeping us healthy.

The sufficiency of iodine in the soil varies considerably, low amounts of in mountainous areas such as the Himalayas, Alps and Andes typically and in areas with frequent flooding and glaciation, which leeches iodine out of the soil.6 However it has been estimated that 50% of Europe is Iodine deficient and that the iodine intake in the United States and Australia is dropping.1

Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies.7 Humans get their iodine from food, and occasionally water. Good sources of iodine are seaweed and seafood. Iodine can also be obtained from dairy where the animal has fed on iodine rich plants, the animal feed has been enriched by iodine or the milk vats and animal teats have been cleaned with iodine. Eggs, where the chickens have been fed iodine-rich feed is also a good source. However, it is only since the large-scale introduction of iodized salt that the overt problems of Iodine deficiency such as Cretinism have significantly diminished.1, 2, 8 However, possibly given the drive to decrease salt intake, insufficient iodine levels are increasingly being seen in the US.9

Actions

Iodine is of course, necessary for the thyroid gland to produce Thyroid Hormone (T4)6. Thyroid hormone is essential to the function all cells. In severe cases, an Iodine deficiency manifests as goiter and overt hypothyroidism. Iodine is crucial in pregnancy and lactation for the development of the fetal brain, as well as in childhood and adolescence for normal physical and cognitive growth.6

However even marginal iodine deficiency and a slightly reduced thyroid function can prevent you from functioning at your best. Without adequate Thyroid hormone everything slows down: your metabolism, your brain, your liver, your digestion, and your mood etc.

Thyroid and thus Iodine, appear to directly affects the brain and how well it works throughout human lifespan.7 While, the exact mechanisms are being figured out, this is thought to be through genetic expression and neurotransmission.

Safety

When taken in recommended amounts, Iodine is safe. However there are reports of Iodine toxicity where naturally high levels of iodine are found in water, especially if an individual adds iodized salt to their diet.10 High dose of iodine may cause over- or under-activity of the thyroid.11

References

  1. Zimmermann MB. Iodine deficiency. Endocr Rev. Jun 2009;30(4):376-408. doi:10.1210/er.2009-0011
  2. Fuge R, Johnson C. Iodine and human health, the role of environmental geochemistry and diet, a review. Applied Geochemistry. 09/01 2015;63doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2015.09.013
  3. Becker DV, Braverman LE, Delange F, et al. Iodine supplementation for pregnancy and lactation-United States and Canada: recommendations of the American Thyroid Association. Thyroid. Oct 2006;16(10):949-51. doi:10.1089/thy.2006.16.949
  4. Leung AM, LaMar A, He X, Braverman LE, Pearce EN. Iodine Status and Thyroid Function of Boston-Area Vegetarians and Vegans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2011;96(8):E1303-E1307. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-0256
  5. Healy WB, Crouchley G, Gillett RL, Rankin Pc, Watts HM. Ingested soil and iodine deficiency in lambs. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research. 1972/11/01 1972;15(4):778-782. doi:10.1080/00288233.1972.10421631
  6. Niwattisaiwong S, Burman KD, Li-Ng M. Iodine deficiency: Clinical implications. Cleve Clin J Med. Mar 2017;84(3):236-244. doi:10.3949/ccjm.84a.15053
  7. Redman K, Ruffman T, Fitzgerald P, Skeaff S. Iodine Deficiency and the Brain: Effects and Mechanisms. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. Dec 9 2016;56(16):2695-713. doi:10.1080/10408398.2014.922042
  8. Hetzel BS. Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) and their eradication. Lancet. Nov 12 1983;2(8359):1126-9. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(83)90636-0
  9. Pearce EN. National trends in iodine nutrition: is everyone getting enough? Thyroid. Sep 2007;17(9):823-7. doi:10.1089/thy.2007.0102
  10. Li W-h, Dong B-s, Li P, Li Y-f. Benefits and risks from the national strategy for improvement of iodine nutrition: A community-based epidemiologic survey in Chinese schoolchildren. Nutrition. 2012/11/01/ 2012;28(11):1142-1145. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2012.04.014
  11. Koukkou EG, Roupas ND, Markou KB. Effect of excess iodine intake on thyroid on human health. Minerva medica. Apr 2017;108(2):136-146. doi:10.23736/s0026-4806.17.04923-0

Shilajit

Shilajit is a resinous substance that is found that is forced out from between rock layers in the Himalayas during the heat of the summer months. It contains a mixture of herbs and minerals from decomposition of the plant matter in the rocks centuries earlier.1 The actual composition changes depending on the geographical region, environmental factors such as humidity and temperature, as well as the presence of plants, molds and bacteria.2 Shilajit is well-known to occur in the Himalayas but is also found in Afghanistan, the Caucasus and Ural ranges, as well as in the Northern Pollock ranges in Australia3 and in the Chilean Andes.4

Shilajit has been used for over 3000 years in traditional Hindu Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani medicine in Tibet and India. It is described as a “Rasayana,” a rejuvenator3 supporting a youthful long lifespan.1 Its Sanskrit meaning is “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness.”

Shilajit was also used secretly in the former USSR to enhance the mental and physical performance of Olympic athletes and special military forces.2

Constituents & Mechanisms of action

Humic substances make up 80-85% of Shilajit.5 These are organic compounds that occur in humus that makes up soil. Of these, Fulvic acid is the most well-known.4 Trace minerals including Phosphate, Silicon, Sulphur, Chlorine, Potassium, Calcium and Iron make up the rest of the compound.5

Early studies indicated that Shilajit has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, analgesic, immunomodulator, anti-diabetic, lipid modulating, nootropic, anxiolytic, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity. It also stops the release of histamine.3 Shilajit seems to increase the production of ATP (energy) in cells, as well as increase Acetylcholine, necessary for cognitive functioning.2

Few human intervention studies have been undertaken. However, Shilajit shows promise in supporting ovulation and sperm production,1 and has been used as a potent aphrodisiac and memory enhancer.6 It is also an adaptogenic agent, improving the body’s response to stress.7 Indeed this was apparently extensively studies behind the iron curtain, although these studies have not been published.2 Interestingly, Shilajit has been shown to hasten healing of fractures.8

Safety

Initial animal studies have indicated that Shilajit is well tolerated with no adverse effects.2,9

References

  1. Chaudhary, S., Singh, A.K. & Dwivedi, K. MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF SHILAJIT A REVIEW. 2(2016).
  2. Stohs, S.J. Safety and efficacy of shilajit (mumie, moomiyo). Phytother Res 28, 475-479 (2014).
  3. Khokra, S. Therapeutic Potentials of “Shilajit Rasayana”-A Review. 1(2009).
  4. Carrasco-Gallardo, C., Guzmán, L. & Maccioni, R.B. Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. Int J Alzheimers Dis 2012, 674142 (2012).
  5. Al-Salman, F., Ali Redha, A. & Al-Zaimoor, Z. Inorganic Analysis and Antioxidant Activity of Shilajit. (2020).
  6. Azhar, M., Quddusi, N., Akram, U., Anjum, A. & Hannan. Pharmacologial Activities Of Salajit (Asphaltum)-A Unani Drug a* a b b c d. (2011).
  7. Agarwal, S., Khanna, R., Karmarkar, R., Anwer, M.K. & Khar, R. Shilajit: A review. Phytother Res 21, 401-405 (2007).
  8. Sadeghi, S.M.H., et al. Efficacy of Momiai in Tibia Fracture Repair: A Randomized Double-Blinded Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Altern Complement Med 26, 521-528 (2020).
  9. Kumar, S. SHILAJIT GOLD ARTICLE. (2020).

Stack

The Omic Stack is the foundation of optimal health and performance.*

To start on the foundation of your optimal health and performance, Omic suggests the following:

1. Balance or Balance Femme. Take one capsule once daily, ideally with the first meal of the day. This helps to plug any nutritional insufficiency.

2. Restore Sleep Formula. Generally, one but occasionally two capsules can be used 30-60 mins before sleep. While encouraging usual sleep hygiene, using a sleep formula as necessary, can enhance sleep when necessary to support recovery and healing overnight. Restore should be used intermittently to encourage inherent sleep pathways.

3. Focus Nootropic. Usually, one capsule is taken when focus and concentration need support. Occasionally two capsules can be taken but avoid taking this within 4 to 6 hours of sleep. For maximum effect, it is best to take Focus intermittently rather than daily.

Omic female stack

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