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Tocofersolan is a synthetic form of vitamin E that is also water soluble. Natural forms of Vitamin E are fat soluble instead of water soluble. Chemically, tocofersolan, is a polyethylene glycol. The product is derived from an alpha-tocopehrol. The synthetic form of vitamin E, Tocofersolan, is available for people who cannot absorb fats as result of a particular disease. Some of these diseases include cholestatic liver and short bowel syndrome. Individuals who possess a healthy, normal diet typically do not need a vitamin E supplement. However, in some instances the supplement is necessary.

This form of vitamin E supplement was introduced in July of 2009 under the name, Vedrop. The 50 milligram per milliliter solution was introduced to alleviate vitamin E deficiency in infants who suffer from malabsorption. Alternatively, it was also for patients suffering from congenital or chronic cholestasis. Most of these conditions originate from birth. Some conditions begin in adolescence when the teenager is between 16 and 18 years old. Age groups may vary depending upon the region.
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When physicians refer to vitamin E, they are describing a family of eight antioxidants. There are four tocopherols and four tocotrienols that comprise the family. Each of the groups contains an alpha, beta, gamma, and delta version of the antioxidant. Alpha-tocopherol is the most common form of vitamin E found in the body and thus, is the most widely researched discussed. When smoke or pollutants enter the body and form free radicals, alpha-tocopherals are the primary antioxidant that intercepts the free radicals to avoid damage in the body.

Problems in Nervous System

Vitamin E deficiencies can cause problems in the nervous system. These problems manifests as numbness, loss of balance, and tingling. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body’s cells from damage. Because tocofersolan is an antioxidant, this water soluble version of vitamin E is often found in cosmetics or pharmaceuticals.

Alpha-tocopherol protects the cellular membrane from oxidation. The antioxidant accomplishes this goal through a “lipid peroxidation chain reaction.” This process removes damaging free radicals and prevents further oxidation that may damage the cells. After this process is complete, antioxidants, retinol, ascorbate, or ubiquinol, may transform the alpha-tocopheroxyl radicals back into their oxidized state.

Scientists have not proven why vitamin E is vitally important in a person’s diets. Some speculate that its importance is related to its healing antioxidant properties. Some research also suggests that vitamin E functions as a signaling molecule as opposed to playing a role in antioxidant metabolism. However, this has not been proven conclusively.

Different Forms

Vitamin E comes in several different forms. Each form has the same basic function with a few unique qualities. Gamma-tocopherol is an example of a nucleophile that interacts with “electrophilic mutagens” in the body. Most research conducted is related to alpha-tocopherols. Much of the research relates to the heart disease and the efficacy of vitamin E in preventing heart disease. The studies are not conclusive.

According to a 2007 study, none of the research could conclusively prove the effects of vitamin E. Additionally, tocopherols are studied more than tocotrienols in relation to vitamin E. Although, this is one of the lesser known versions of vitamin E, more research is being conducted in order to prove the efficacy of this form in the daily diet.

Experts are suggesting however, that the main role of tocotrienols is to protect the neurons from damage and to reduce cholesterol. This version of vitamin E is also thought to protect against strokes and brain damage that is associated with strokes. More studies must be conducted to prove these findings conclusively.

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)

Physicians instruct individuals to take no more than 400 units of vitamin E per day to avoid unpleasant side effects. The Recommended Daily Allowances are determined by Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). The Recommended Daily Allowances provided below refer to alpha-tocopherol and not to gamma and delta-tocopherol. For reference purposes: 1 milligram of alpha-tocopherol is equal to 2.22 IU and 1 IU of alpha-tocopherol is equal to 0.45 milligrams of the synthetic form of vitamin E. The Recommended Daily Allowances are listed below:

Birth to 6 months

Males and Females: 4 mg or 6 IU

7 to 12 months

Males and Females: 5 mg or 7.5 IU

1 to 3 years

Males and Females: 6 mg or 9 IU

4 to 8 years

Males and Females: 7 mg or 10.4 IU

9 to 13 years

Males and Females: 11 mg or 16.4 IU

14 years and older

Males and Females: 15 mg and 22.4 IU

Pregnant Females: 15 mg and 22.4 IU

Lactation: 19 mg and 28.4 IU

Take vitamin E as instructed by your physician or as instructed on the label. Most forms of vitamin E are ingested orally. However, there are topical forms of vitamin E as well. If your experience tingling or numbing in the feet, then you may have a serious medical problem and you should seek the advisement of a physician.

Sources of Tocofersolan

Although, tocofersolan refers to water soluble synthetic forms of vitamin E, food sources that contain vitamin E sources are listed below for the sake of knowledge. The foods listed below have very high levels of vitamin E:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Nuts (Almonds, Hazelnuts)
  • Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Wheat Germ
  • Whole Grain Foods
  • Unheated Vegetable Oils

Other sources include:

  • Sunflower seeds: 1 ounce contains 7.4 mg of vitamin E which equates to 40 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Wheat germ oil: 1 tablespoon contains 20.3 mg of vitamin E which equates to 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Sunflower oil: 1 ounce contains 6 mg of vitamin E which equates to 30 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Safflower oil: 1 tablespoon contains 4.6 mg of vitamin E which equates to 25 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Hazelnuts: 1 ounce contains 4.3 mg of vitamin E which equates to 22 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Peanut Butter: 2 tablespoons contains 2.9 mg of vitamin E which equates to 15 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Spinach: 0.5 cup contains 1.9 mg of vitamin E which equates to 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Broccoli: 0.5 ounce contains 1.2 mg of vitamin E which equates to 6 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Kiwi: 1 medium kiwi contains 1.1 mg of vitamin E which equates to 6 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Tomato: 1 medium contains 0.8 mg of vitamin E which equates to 4 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.
  • Mango: 0.5 cup contains 0.9 mg of vitamin E which equates to 5 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin E.

Health Benefits

Vitamin E may prove to be effective in treating or preventing any of the following health conditions:

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Thalassemia
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Disease of the Retina of the Eye in Premature Infants
  • Blockage of Normal Bile Flow
  • Hemorrhage into a Part of the Brain of a Newborn Infant
  • Abnormal Development of Bronchopulmonary Tissue in Newborn
  • Anemia in Low Birthweight Infants
  • Abetalipoproteinemia

Other studies have shown that selenium taken with vitamin E may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Experts speculate that the disease may be reduced by as much as 30 percent. Other studies have shown that Vitamin E did not prevent prostate cancer. Thirty-five thousand men participated in the study. The studies are inconclusive and further research must be conducted to prove these findings.

Ailments from Vitamin E (tocofersolan) Deficiencies

Vitamin E deficiencies are rare. Symptoms rarely manifest in people who have not obtained vitamin E from their diets. Premature infants may suffer from a deficiency in vitamin E. These deficiencies may promote infections of the retina and other parts of the body.

Those individuals who possess absorption problems related to fat are more likely to develop a deficiency in vitamin E than those who can absorb fat through food. People who possess fat-malabsorption problems have difficulties because the digestive tract requires fat to absorb natural fat-soluble vitamin E. Tocofersolan was developed in order aid people with fat absorption disorders. Tocofersolan should be used in the same manner that vitamin E would be used in the body.

People who have symptoms of deficiency may experience:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Ataxia
  • Skeletal Myopathy
  • Retinopathy
  • Immune Response Impairment

Crohn’s disease, Cystic fibrosis, and other Liver Conditions

People with Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or who have problems with their livers secreting bile may require a water soluble form of vitamin E, tocofersolan. People with bile problems may experience chronic diarrhea or stools that contain grease.


People with abetalipoproteinemia also have a problem absorbing fat from natural foods. These individuals may also require a water soluble supplement. Most of these patients require as much as 100 mg per day of this substance. This rare disorder is a result of a genetic inheritance and cannot be prevented. Abetalipoproteinemia causes muscle weakness, poor nerve impulse transmissions, and retinal degradation. In some instances, the retinal degradation may lead to blindness.
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Ataxia is another rare disorder that is the result of a defective gene. This particular disorder is a result of the absence of the transfer protein, alpha-tocopherol. People with this disease lose their ability to walk or develop nerve damage.

Negative effects of Vitamin E

Congenital heart defects

Some studies have found that vitamin E was recommended for pregnant mothers. However, one study conducted in the Netherlands suggested that high quantities of vitamin E supplements during pregnancy may contribute to congenital heart defects. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom suggests that pregnant women should not take supplemental vitamin E tablets. More studies should be conducted in order to determine the efficacy of this particular supplement.

Vitamin E, strokes and heart attacks

While studies have shown in that vitamin E may have some benefits for stroke victims, new studies indicate that vitamin E supplements may actually increase the risk of a stroke. A Finnish group of scientists found this to be true in their particular study. The study was published by The Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. In a 2005 study conducted by the Journal of American Medical Association, vitamin E supplements were shown to increase the risk of heart failure. Nearly 7000 people participated in this particular trial. The findings are inconclusive and more studies should be conducted to prove this conclusively.

Another study published in the Stroke Journal in 2005 showed that tocotrienol administered to hypertensive rats did protect against strokes. This form of vitamin E was administered orally to the rats. The supplement also showed improvements in neurodegeneration. Tocopherols were also studied. However, this particular form of vitamin E was only found effective at higher concentrates.

Additional Study Conclusions

Other studies conducted by Wayne State University and Ohio State University Medical Center showed that tocotrienol offered health benefits to various organs in the body. Previous studies concluded that tocotrienols did not travel effectively as a synthetic supplement in the blood stream. This is because the transfer protein is less attracted to tocotrienols than tocopherols. This study was also conducted in 2005. People with fat malabsorption problems will be more likely to benefit from tocofersolan, which is water based. However, this synthetic form focuses primarily on the alpha-tocopherol aspect of vitamin E.

By contrast, in a small study of men who had previously undergone coronary artery bypass surgery, the studies found that these men saw a reduction in the instances of atherosclerosis. Physicians measured this by using an angiography. These men consumed 100 IU per day of alpha-tocopherol to achieve these results. While the vitamin did alleviate some of the symptoms associated with heart disease, vitamin E alone did not reduce the number of total deaths from heart disease. However, the vitamin did reduce the number of non-fatal heart attacks by 77 percent. This trial took place in Great Britain.

Vitamin E and Cancer

Studies are being conducted to prove the efficacy of vitamin E in various types of cancers. Experts speculate that many cancers result from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that assists in the protection against cancer causing free radicals. Nitrosamines are also known carcinogens that are formed in the stomach. Vitamin E may also fight or block these carcinogens. Trials, associated with vitamin E and cancer, have not provided any conclusive results to positively and concretely solidify these results. Most of the studies involved human subjects.

Breast cancer studies have also been conducted. One such study involved over 83,000 women to study the effects of vitamin E for 14 years. This study showed that vitamin E reduced the chance of breast cancer by 43 percent in those patients who consumed the highest amount of vitamin E. Women with the family history of breast cancer enjoyed the greatest benefits. Women with no family history only experienced a 16 percent reduction in the risk for breast cancer.

Tocotrienols have been cited in research studies as possessing cancer eliminating effects. Most of these studies were conducted in conjunction with breast cancer. University of Louisiana at Monroe demonstrated that statins and tocotrienols were effective in treating breast cancer in women. This form of vitamin E killed cancer cells while avoiding myotoxicity. Gamma-tocotrienol has been proven to be most effective in killing cancer cells. This phenomenon of killing cancer cells was not only proven effective in breast cancer, but also prostate cancer and other melanomas.

Peyronie’s Disease

Some urologists may prescribe vitamin E for Peyronie’s disease. This disease describes the treatment for males who possess abnormal curvature in their penises due to inflammation. While the studies are not conclusive, scientists are constantly researching to determine the benefits of vitamin in this disease.

Neuromuscular Problems

Vitamin E deficiencies have been known to contribute to neurological problems. Some of the neuromuscular problems include spincerbellar ataxia and myopathies. Anemia may also result from vitamin E deficiencies due to red blood cell damage caused by oxidation.

Cognitive Decline

Excessive exposure of nerves to free radicals may result in damage over time. This damage may contribute to memory loss and other neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is one such disease that may evolve as a result of free radical damage.

Experts suggest that consumption of a vitamin E supplement, such as tocofersolan may provide protection against the disease. Research studies involving over 300 Alzheimer’s patients found less deterioration over time. Each patient was administered 2000 IU per day. Less of these patients needed institutionalizing due to memory problems. However, these patients did experience more falls due to balance problems.

Another study involved patients between 65 and 102 year of age who were given vitamin E. Over a 3 year time period, these patients experienced less cognitive decline than similar patients who were not receiving vitamin E. Some groups did not show any improvements after being administered 2000 IU per day. Therefore, more studies should be conducted to determine the efficacy of vitamin E supplements in patients who may be healthy or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Precautions when Taking Tocofersolan

Before beginning a tocofersolan regimen, consult with a physician. Inform the physician of all known allergies and other health problems. The physician will recommend a dosage to meet the patient’s particular needs. Patients who are suffering from the following conditions should exercise extra caution before starting a vitamin E regimen:

  • Blood Clotting/Bleeding Problems
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Hemophilia
  • Low Platelets
  • Stroke
  • Liver Disease

Patients, who may undergo surgery, should consult with the surgeon prior to the procedure. The doctor may recommend that patients cease their vitamin E regimen until the surgery is complete. Also, discuss any potential risks of consuming vitamin E during pregnancy with your physician. This will avoid any unpredictable side effects that may be associated.

Drug Interactions

Before beginning a vitamin E regimen, inform the physician of any medications you are taking. The physician will make informed recommendations regarding dosage and other interactions that may occur. Some common drug interactions may include the following:

  • Amprenavir
  • Antiplatet Drugs, such as aspirin, clopidogrel, and ticlopidine
  • Blood Thinners, such as warfarin
  • Herbal Products, such as garlic or gingko
  • Cyclosporine
  • Fat-soluble supplements, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and coenzyme Q
  • Iron supplements
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-Carotene

The list of all possible interactions is not exhaustive. Keep both the physician and pharmacist informed of each medication to avoid unpleasant side effects. Make note of other products containing vitamin E. This will aid in avoiding over consumption of vitamin E and causing adverse effects.

Vitamin E may also interact with Simvastin or Zocor and Niacin. The two used in conjunction with one another appear to lower high density lipoproteint (HDL) cholesterol levels. Oncologists cite risks of using any antioxidant supplement, including vitamin E, tocofersolan, with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Oncologists suspect that the antioxidant may decrease the effectiveness of the treatment. The effectiveness may be lowered if the cellular oxidative damage is inhibited in cancer cells. Further studies are being conducted to evaluate the benefits of vitamin E supplements in cancer therapy.

Allergies and Side Effects

Individuals who consume vitamin E in the recommended doses typically do not experience side effects. Those who take vitamin E in high doses over a long period of time may begin to experience side effects. A large dose would consist of a dose over 400 units per day. Side effects may include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of face, tongue or throat
  • Dizziness
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble Breathing


Individuals who miss a dose of vitamin E should take the dose on the next scheduled time. Store vitamin E in an airtight container. Keep the product away from heat, light, and moisture. To dispose of the product do not flush the product down the drain. Inquire to find out the proper disposal of the product.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a broad-term that commonly refers to a group of eight fat-soluble compounds with antioxidant activity. Vitamin E works in the body by preventing oxidation and damage to cells caused by free radicals. When free radicals react with oxygen the body naturally produces reactive oxygen species that damage cells.

Not only is vitamin E a powerful antioxidant, it also protects essential fatty acids and Vitamins A and K. Vitamin E was discovered in the 1920s and synthesized for the first time several years later. Although vitamin E is an antioxidant it seems deeply connected with regeneration and the health of cells. Vitamin E is broken into two groups, tocopherols, which are more common, and tocotrienols, which were discovered later and are different from tocopherols in their isometric construction.
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Vitamin E is naturally present in vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains, and nuts. Due to the fat-soluble nature of vitamin E, foods rich in these vitamins are often have a high fat content, like avocados or wheat germ. Vitamin E includes four tocopherols and four tocotrienols both with four sub-classifications Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.

The body uses vitamin E by absorbing it in the small intestines. The liver then processes the vitamin E and selectively secretes only alpha tocopherol, using a special protein. Since alpha tocopherol is the only form of vitamin E retained in the body and present in blood it has been studied more than any other.

List of E vitamins


  • Tocopherol (Alpha tocopherol)
  • Tocopherol (Beta tocopherol)
  • Tocopherol (Gamma tocopherol)
  • Tocopherol (Delta tocopherol)


  • Tocotrienol (Alpha tocotrienol)
  • Tocotrienol (Beta tocotrienol)
  • Tocotrienol (Gamma tocotrienol)
  • Tocotrienol (Delta tocotrienol)

Functions and Health Benefits

In vitro cell studies have shown vitamin E prevents blood from adhering to artery walls, dilates blood vessels, and prevents platelets from sticking and forming clots.

  • Vitamin E helps the body to use vitamin K more effectively.
  • Red blood cells are formed with the help of vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E in involved in the function of a healthy immune system.
  • Although less than 1% of vitamin E studies are on tocotrienols, there is evidence they may specialize in protecting nerve cells and neurons.


Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency can include anemia, muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, loss of muscle tone, problems transmitting nerve impulses, issues with stability and balance, degeneration of the retina, problems seeing, and difficulty controlling eye movement.

Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy adults with an average caloric intake. People with serious medical conditions that effect fat absorption are most likely to suffer from a vitamin E deficiency. Medical conditions that affect fat-absorption in the intestines include Crohns disease, cystic fibrosis, problems with the pancreas, chronic diarrhea, and greasy stools.

There are also severe very rare medical conditions that prevent-fat absorption, including a genetic condition called abetalipoproteinemia, which requires massive doses of Vitamin E for ever pound of body weight and AVED Ataxia and Vitamin E Deficiency is genetic condition where the protein in the liver that secretes vitamin E is totally absent. People with these rare conditions need to take vitamin E supplements to prevent the symptoms of deficiency from occurring.

Premature babies with a very low birth weights are at an increased risk for vitamin E deficiencies, adding a vitamin E supplement could help eye health but may increase the risk for infections. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of a vitamin supplements for newborns. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for children under six months of age is 4 milligrams or 6 international units.

Dietary Sources

Vitamin E is naturally found in eggs, fish, dark leafy greens, bright orange vegetables, seeds, nuts, and grains. Fruits and vegetables rich in fat also contain vitamin E. In the US fortified cereals are supplemented with vitamin E, mainly in the form gamma tocopherol. In vitro and animal studies have recently indicated gamma tocopherol may be a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Population studies are currently being conducted on the effective of gamma tocopherol on cardiovascular disease and cancer risk.

  • Proteins, fats, and oils
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustaceans
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Corn oil

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Green and orange fruits and vegetables are particularly high in vitamin E.
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Oranges/orange juice
  • Tomato
  • Sweet potato
  • Sweet Red Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Turnip Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Collards

Seeds, Nuts, and oils

  • Roasted sunflower seeds are extremely high in vitamin E.
  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Wheat bran contains 100% of the daily vitamin E requirement in one tablespoon.
    • 0 to 6 months: 4 mg/day
    • 7 to 12 months: 5 mg/day
    • Children
    • 1 to 3 years: 6 mg/day
    • 4 to 8 years: 7 mg/day
    • 9 to 13 years: 11 mg/day
    • Adolescents and Adults
    • 14 and older: 15 mg/day
    • Antidepressants
    • Antipsychotics
    • Blood pressure medications that use beta-blockers
    • Cancer and chemotherapy drugs
    • Statin drugs for high cholesterol, including Zocor, Lipitor, and Crestor
    • Bile acid sequestrants used to treat high cholesterol.
    • Vitamin E may counteract the side effect of the HIV/AIDS medication AZT.
    • The weight loss medication Alli prevents vitamin E from being absorbed.

Health benefits and Effectiveness

Due to correlations between certain medical conditions and low Vitamin E blood serum levels alpha tocopherol has been studied for its effectiveness of everything from cancer to Alzheimers and sun sensitivity. Unfortunately, vitamin E has not proven to be consistently effective in preventing these health conditions in long term population studies, lasting four to eight years.

Heart Disease

Population studies have shown patients with lower risk of heart disease were found to have higher levels of vitamin E. Leading scientists hypothesize that vitamin E was responsible for the correlation; studies have not been so conclusive. One of the largest studies on vitamin E and heart health the Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation (HOPE) trial showed that daily consumption of 400 IU of vitamin E did not lower the risk of heart disease-related deaths in men and women who were at a high risk.
Vitamin E Deficiency
Likewise, the Physicians’ Health Study II tracked more than 14,000 male doctors at a low risk for heart disease and proved that consuming 400 IU of vitamin E every other day for eight years did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular attacks.

One study with positive results showed that postmenopausal women who consumed foods rich in vitamin E lowered their risk for stroke-related deaths. However, the same study showed that vitamin E supplements were not an effective preventative strategy.

Congenital Heart Defects

According to studies in the Netherlands and the National Health Service in the UK, mothers with high vitamin E diets and those who consumed vitamin E supplements, while pregnant and before conception, have a nine-fold increased for delivering a child with congenital heart defects (CHD.)

The data in this study was limited because mothers were questioned about their diet when children were already 16 months old, so its not a good indication of the diet before or during pregnancy.

Officials in the UK warn against taking vitamin E supplements during pregnancy, saying consumption equal to 75% of the daily allowance could be too much vitamin E, leading to an increase rick for congenital heart defects in newborns.


Although there have been studies showing a deceased risk for prostate cancer in patients with high vitamin E levels, this has not been backed up in large population studies. Despite a study on vitamin E showing a 30% reduction in prostate cancer, a clinical trial SELECT (Selenium Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial) carried out on 35,000 men for four years was subsequently cancelled after an independent panel showed no reduction in prostate cancer risk with vitamin E alone or a combination of selenium and vitamin E.

Another large population study on 29,000 male smokers showed lower prostate cancer risk and fewer deaths in patients who took 50 mg of vitamin E daily. One large eight-year study of men who took 400 mg of vitamin E every other day showed no reduction in overall cancer risk. Vitamin E in the form alpha tocopherol has not been proven to reduce breast cancer risk, or prevent lung or pancreatic cancer. Additionally, taking vitamin E supplements after diagnosis with cancer doesnt improve treatment, in fact, antioxidants may interfere with chemotherapy drugs. Talk to your medical provider before taking any vitamin E supplements if you are undergoing chemotherapy.

Vitamin E has also been studied on colorectal cancer, but hasnt been proven to reduce risk in women or diabetics. However, there is evidence that vitamin E in combination with vitamin A and vitamin C may protect people with benign tumors, considered a precursor to colon cancer.

Alzheimers Disease

Scientists have linked oxidation with the incidence of Alzheimers, unfortunately vitamin E has not proven to be consistently effective in slowing the onset of Alzheimers symptoms.

Once study, comparing vitamin E to placebo, showed these patients developed Alzheimers at the same rate, while another study on 340 patients, comparing vitamin E to placebo and a pharmaceutical Alzheimers medication selegiline showed that patients given 2,000 IU of vitamin E slowed the onset of the disease by 200 days, compared to placebo, but selegiline was more effective.

Eye Health

Vitamin E has been proven to play a critical role in eye health. A combination 400 IU of vitamin E, 80 mg of zinc, 15 mg beta-carotene, and 500 mg vitamin C benefits patients with advanced macular degeneration–the leading cause of blindness in people over 55. People with advanced macular degeneration had the greatest benefit from this treatment. Further research is needed to see if this treatment works to prevent AMD and if it is effective on less advanced cases.

A combination of vitamin E and vitamin C is also proven to help uveitis, an inflammatory condition affecting uvea a layer of the eye between the white part and the retina. Patients with uveitis who took vitamin E supplements had consistently clearer vision that those on placebo.

Recommended Daily Intake

The following is a recommended daily intake of vitamin E based on age, according to The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine. The recommended value depends on age, sex, and other medical factors. Always talk to your doctor before taking a vitamin E supplement.



In 2004 the American Heart Association warned that high doses of vitamin E may be harmful, taking more than 400 IU of vitamin E per day may increase the risk of death. Small doses of vitamin E, like those found in multivitamins, have not been proven to be harmful.

Due to the complex nature of the immune system and antioxidant defense system supplements of vitamin E may not have the same effect as vitamin E found naturally in foods. Vitamin E in foods naturally contains many forms of tocopherols and tocotrienols. For best results eat a well balanced diet including all of the food groups.

Vitamin E supplements are available in soft gels, tablets, capsules, and topical oils. Vitamin E is naturally fat-soluble, meaning it is most commonly an oil, however, special water-soluble forms of vitamin E are available, these especially important to people who cant absorb fat.

Vitamin E is available in natural and synthetic forms. Natural vitamin E is sold as d-alpha-tocopherol and the synthetic form is always labeled dl-alpha-tocopherol.

Applying Vitamin E oil is one of the most popular home remedies for lessening the appearance of stretch marks, scars, and burns. Despite its popularity vitamin E is not proven effective at improving the appearance, size, or thickness if scars. Not only was vitamin E not effective but about one third of people in the study developed contact dermatitis from the topical application. Always test vitamin E oil on the inside on your arm before using.

Drug Interactions

Always check with your doctor before taking a vitamin E supplement, vitamin E reacts with many popular prescriptions. Do not take vitamin E if you are on any blood thinning medications, like aspirin, Warfarin and Coumadin, as it can increase the risk for bleeding.


  • Healing Daily, Vitamin E Healing Daily.
  • Natural Standard Patient Monograph, Vitamin E
  • National Institutes of Health, Vitamin E Office of Dietary Supplements NIH.
  • University of Maryland Medical Center, Vitamin E
  • U.S. Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Vitamin E MedlinePlus.
  • Dr. George Obikoya, Free Radicals and Vitamin E The Vitamins and Nutrition Center.
  • Dietrich M, Traber MG, Jacques PF, Cross CE, Hu Y, Block G., Gamma Tocopherol
  • USDA, USDA National Nutrient Database
  • National Health Service, Babies at risk from Vitamin E NHS Choices.
  • Anahad O’Connor, The Claim: Vitamin E helps Remove Scars New York Times.

Vitamin D4

Vitamin D4 (Also known as: 22,23-Dihydroergocalciferol (Vitamin D2 without the 22,23 double bond)

Vitamin D4 is an ineffective form of Vitamin D. It forms dihydrotachysterol, or Dht (not to be confused with DHT, the hormone treatment).

Vitamin D4 is a form of the D Vitamin group, categorized as fat-soluble secosteroids. The two most commonly used forms of vitamin D for humans are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D is found in food and produced by the body after exposure to sunlight (or ultraviolet B light), in the form of D3; it can also be taken in pill form as a supplement.

Vitamin D Group

While categorized as vitamins, the vitamin D group actually circulates the body as a hormone after being synthesized in the kidneys. Technically, despite the name, vitamin D is not a “vitamin” at all and targets close to 10% of the human genome within the body (200 genes). Vitamin D is ingested via supplement or diet, or produced naturally by the skin’s exposure to the sun and ultraviolet B rays.

After being carried from the bloodstream to the liver, vitamin D converts into prohormone calcidiol, and then into the biologically active form of vitamin D, calcitriol. Calcitrol is known to have properties that help boost the immune system, and locally acts as a cytokine. At this point, the vitamin is being circulated as a hormone. The calcitrol in the bloodstream helps to regulate phosphate and calcium, and promotes healthy bone growth.

Deficiency in the D vitamins can lead to brittle bones, poorly formed bones, or weak bones, especially in children who suffer the deficiency during formative years. Rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis are diseases known to afflict individuals who are deficient in vitamin D.

Forms of Vitamin D

There are five known forms of Vitamin D: D1 (ergocalciferol with lumisterol), D2 (ergocalciferol with ergosterol), D3 (cholecalciferol), D4 (22-dihydroergocalciferol), and D5 (sitocalciferol). Both D2 and D3 were discovered in the 1930s.

All the forms of Vitamin D chemically contain steroids in which one of the bonds in the steroid rings is broken, called secosteroids. Most of the differences between forms result from slight changes in chemical structure; the only difference between D2 and D3 is that of a single versus double bond in the side chains.

For nutrition purposes and medical use in human beings, the forms of Vitamin D in D2 and D3 are the most widely used, with D3 gaining a critical perception as the more potent of the two in recent years. Vitamin D4 is an active metabolite of Vitamin D2.


Vitamin D3 can be produced by humans in their skin photochemically from 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is produced in large quantities by vertebrates. Sunlight is necessary for vertebrates to produce vitamin D3; some studies have shown deficiencies in animals whose habitat has little light, such as mole rats. (The study also showed, however, that the mole rat was less susceptible to aging and maintained healthy vascular function).

Some animals without direct skin exposure to the sun, such as birds, Vitamin D3 is produced by the skin’s natural oils and secreted onto the fur or feathers.

It should be noted that vitamin D2, though available, is not naturally produced by vertebrates. While plants, fungus, and invertebrates produce D2 after exposure to ultraviolet light, little is known about the biological reason behind it.


The three sources of Vitamin D are skin production via exposure to sunlight, through dietary foods, and via supplement.

The best source of Vitamin D is safe, regular exposure to sunlight. Doctors recommend exposing the face and hands to direct sunlight at 10 minutes at a time at least once a day to boost Vitamin D production. Through regular sun exposure (10-15 minutes a day), humans can make their own Vitamin D in the form of D3. People should use caution, however, as sunscreen blocks the production of Vitamin D (since the skin does not get direct exposure to ultraviolet B light).
Vitamin D4 Remedies
Sun exposure can cause skin care and other issues, so moderation is key. Exposure to sunlight for 20-30 minutes is estimated to result int he production of approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D, although this will vary based on location, heritage, and other factors. Sunlight is the easiest method to acquire vitamin D; by contrast, a person would have to drink roughly 25 glasses of 8oz milk to get the same 10,000 IU of vitamin D.

Producing Vitamin D4

The ability for a person to produce vitamin D depends greatly on age, height, weight, geographic location, and genetic background. Those with darker skin will need much longer exposure to generate the same amount of the vitamin; for reasons still largely unknown, persons with darker skin have more difficulty making vitamin D.

For this reason, a supplement via diet or oral pill may be helpful. Those living in regions that experience limited sunlight throughout the year may also need to take an alternate approach. It can be difficult for people to produce enough Vitamin D, but it is a fat soluble vitamin, and caution should be taken not to overdose.


Many cereals, margarine, bread, pastries, milk are fortified with Vitamin D, especially in the United States and Canada. Natural sources of Vitamin D can also be found in oily fish (such as catfish, salmon, tuna, mackerel), eggs, mushrooms, and cod liver oil.

Supplements of Vitamin D are readily available, although individuals should consult with a medical provider to select the correct dosage and type that best suits their needs.

Active metabolites may be required for those with kidney or liver problems; these more active derivatives of Vitamin D are more easily absorbed into the body.


The vitamin D group is often used to promote healthy bone growth, healthy teeth, prevent osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases, prevention of rickets, and lately as a possible prevention for cancer.

Recent studies have also shown potential for vitamin D as a potential treatment for high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D stimulates bone growth and helps to establish a healthy mineral metabolism. The use of vitamin D for the treatment of cardiovascular disease has also grown in popularity within the past few decades.

Vitamin D4 is often used for the treatment of postoperative tetany in its chronic, latent, and acute forms. Tetany is a condition which involves the involuntary contraction of muscles due to complications with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which vitamin D facilitates. Consequently, it is also used to treat idiopathic tetany and hypoparathyroidism.

Recent Studies

Recent studies have shown promise for vitamin D as a treatment for cancer due to the ability of vitamin D, when in the form of an active metabolite, to stimulate the growth of white blood cells, the building blocks of the body’s immune system. In 2006, a study found a correlation between cancer and patient’s vitamin D levels.

The study suggested adding an additional 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day could significantly reduce the risk of cancer in individuals, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer. However, a conflicting study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found no link between a cancer patient’s mortality rate and their intake of vitamin D. Ongoing research is being performed to better determine what, if any, use vitamin D can have for cancer treatment.

There have also been conflicting studies on the link between vitamin D and mortality.

Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action

Vitamin D4, or dihydroergocalciferol, effectively synthesizes in the kidneys after passing into the bloodstream and then the liver. It is a more active metabolite of the more mainstream versions of vitamin D. Due to the increased metabolic activity, D4 is often effective in elevating serum calcium due to its ability to stimulate the calcium absorption of the intestines. D4 can also help mobilize bone calcium and functioning renal tissue if parathyroid hormone is absent.

For this reason, D4 in the form of dihydrotachysterol, a synthetic analogue of viamin D, has been a form of treatment for hypocalcemia (a condition where the blood lacks calcium) and hypoparathyroidism (which results from a deficiency of parathyroid hormone in the body). Dihydrotachysterol is converted to an active metabolite in the liver in the form of 25-hydroxydihydrotachysterol.

After the 25-hydroxydihydrotachysterol is hydroxylated, it binds to the receptor (which has DNA binding and hormone binding domains) of the vitamin D. This results in an suppression of synthesis for type I collagen as well as an expression of osteocalcin; both are due to the bound form of the receptor of vitamin D serving as a transcription controller for bone matrix proteins.

Subsequently, this helps to stimulate the calcium absorption as described above. Interestingly, several research studies have shown that many (if not all) cells in the body are equipped with vitamin D receptors.

Potential Overdose and Toxicity

Categorized as fat soluble, Vitamin D is stored in the body, so excess is not flushed out in urine as with water soluble vitamins. As a result, individuals should be very careful to supplement the correct amount of vitamin D into their diets. Hypercalcima, an excess of calcium, can occur when there is an excess of vitamin D in the body. Hypercalcima due to vitamin D can cause kidney pain and kidney stones and result in an over-calcification of bones, heart, soft tissues, and kidneys.

The nomenclature for an excess of vitamin used by the medical community is hypervitaminosis D. The recommended intake of vitamin D daily is 400IU; for an overdose to occur, significantly more vitamin D would have to be ingested.

Overdoses have been recorded at 77,000 IU per day, with 10,000 being the maximum recommended dose. Symptoms of hypervitaminosis include fatigue, dehydration, vomiting, decreased appetite, and irritability. Toxicity is not likely unless specific other medical conditions are present; it is not common.



Vitamin E is a vitamin that contains antioxidant properties and is fat soluble. There are eight different formers in which it exists, and two groups under which they fall. Vitamin E may exist in tocopherol and tocotrienol forms, and both of these groups contain alpha, beta, gamma and delta variants.

The most active form found within humans is alpha-tocopherol, which is why that the daily allowance recommendations and dosing are usually under these measurements, or they may instead be measured in International Units, which is what may be used by supplement or food labels. Supplements for vitamin E may be found in synthetic or natural forms, the natural form of which is always prefixed by a acirc Synthetic variants should be prefixed.

Health Benefits

It is often proposed that vitamin E can be used to either treat or prevent a wide variety of different health conditions, and this is mostly based on the fact that it contains antioxidant properties. However, other than treating the rare occurrence of vitamin E deficiency, there is currently no medicinal use of vitamin E supplementation to be clearly proven to treat conditions outside of the daily allowance that is recommended. However, there is currently ongoing research to determine whether it can be beneficial to other diseases, especially in heart disease and cancer.
Tocotrienol Uses
Recently, medical officials have had concerns about whether or not it was safe to take vitamin E supplements, especially in high doses.

This is because it has been proposed that high dosages of vitamin E supplementation has resulted in a higher risk of bleeding, especially in patients who require taking agents to thin their blood, such as aspirin, heparin or warfarin, or in patients who are deficient in the essential vitamin K.

There is also evidence that has recently come to light that regularly taking in a high amount of vitamin E supplements is potentially capable of increasing the risk of death from acirc all causes though the increase is supposedly small.

However, another study showed that women who regularly took vitamin E did not experience any effect on their mortality. Overall, caution is warranted.


The following is a list of different synonyms that refer to vitamin E, and most of them are specific to certain variants of it, such as tocotrienol.

  • All rac-alpha-tocopherol
  • Alpha-tocopherol
  • Alpha tocopherol acetate
  • Alpha tocopheryl acetate
  • Alpha tocotrienol
  • Antisterility vitamin
  • Beta tocopherol
  • Beta tocotrienol
  • D-alpha-tocopherol
  • D-alpha-tocopheryl
  • D-alpha-tocopheryl acetate
  • D-alpha-tocopheryl succinate
  • D-beta-tocopherol
  • D-delta-tocopherol
  • Delta-tocopherol
  • Delta-tocotrienol
  • D-gamma-tocopherol
  • Dl-alpha-tocopherol
  • Dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate
  • Dl-tocopherol
  • D-tocopherol
  • D-tocopheryl acetate
  • Dl-tocopherol
  • Gamma-tocopherol
  • Gamma-tocotrienol
  • Mixed tocopherols
  • RRR-alpha-tocopherol
  • Spondyvit
  • Tocopherol
  • Tocotrienol
  • Tocotrienol concentrate
  • Tocopheryl succinate
  • Evidence

The section below is a list of different studies of vitamin E based, which are either based on scientific theories or tradition.

Caution is warranted due to the fact that some of the methods have not been thoroughly tested yet in humans, so there may not be proof of the safety or effectiveness of these uses. Evaluate options with a qualified provider of healthcare, especially with the conditions that are potential very serious ones.

Vitamin E deficiency

It is rare for a person to experience vitamin E deficiency, and it is usually only found in people who have a diminished ability to absorb fat through the gut, which is usually due to cystic fibrosis, Crohns disease or have had surgery, people who are malnourished, people who are undergoing low fat diets, people who have a specific genetic condition, such as ataxia and vitamin E deficiency or abetalipoprotinemia, infants who were born prematurely and are low in weight, and infants that are taking formulas that are not fortified.

For these cases, it is acceptable to use vitamin E supplementation for therapy as it has been proven to effectively treat these conditions. Vitamin E supplementation has been proven to effectively halt the progression of future complications due to the deficiency of vitamin E. A physician and a nutritionist should both be involved with diagnosing such a condition and involved with managing the course of treatment for this condition.

Cancer Treatment

There is currently a lack of scientific evidence that is reliable and that of which states that vitamin E supplementation is useful, beneficial or effective as a treatment for any specific kind of cancer whatsoever. People who are currently undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatment are highly recommended to take precautions when considering vitamin E, because it has been proposed that people who take in too high a dosage of an antioxidant can actually experience an effect that effectively reduces the anti-cancer treatments when undergoing these kinds of therapies.

However, this is still currently an area of controversy with several other studies producing a number of variable results. It is also believed that an unusually high dosage of vitamin E supplementation has a tendency to cause some level of harm to patients suffering the effects of cancer.
Benefits of Tocotrienol
Any patient who is interested in taking a high dosage of any kind of antioxidant, especially that of vitamin E supplementation, during the course of their radiation or chemotherapy is highly recommended to consult their radiation oncologist or their medical oncologist before making any kind of decision with regards to this new kind of therapy.

Uses Based upon Theory or Tradition

The section below is a list of different uses of vitamin E based, which are either based on scientific theories or tradition. Caution is warranted due to the fact that some of the methods have not been thoroughly tested yet in humans, so there may not be proof of the safety or effectiveness of these uses. Evaluate options with a qualified provider of healthcare, especially with the conditions that are potential very serious ones.

  • Abortifacient
  • Acne
  • Aging, or the prevention thereof
  • Aging skin
  • Air pollution, or the protection thereof
  • Allergies
  • Amiodarone pulmonary toxicity, or the prevention thereof
  • Bee stings
  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • Beta-thalassemia
  • Blood disorders, especially porphyria
  • Breast inflammation and pain, or mastitis
  • Brochopulmonary dysplasia, which is present in prematurely born infants
  • Bursitis
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Celiac disease
  • Chemotherapy extravasation
  • Chorea, which is a hereditary, progressive and chronic condition
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Crohns disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dermatitis
  • Diaper rash
  • Digestive enzyme (pancreatic) insufficiency
  • Doxorubicin hair loss, or the prevention thereof
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Dyspraxia
  • Energy enhancement
  • Exercise recovery
  • Frostbite
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Granuloma annulare, or topical vitamin E
  • Hair loss
  • Heart attack
  • Heart transplant rejection, or the prevention thereof
  • Hereditary spherocytosis
  • Huntingtons disease
  • Hypertension
  • Impaired tolerance to glucose
  • Impotence
  • Leg cramps
  • Liver disease, that of which is not directly related to alcohol
  • Lung cancer, or the prevention thereof
  • Male fertility
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Miscarriage
  • Mucositis
  • Muscle strength
  • Myotonic dystrophy
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Nitrate tolerance
  • Oral leukoplakia
  • Pain related to labor and childbirth
  • Pancreatitis, the chronic variety
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Physical endurance
  • Poor posture
  • Post-operative recovery, or the prevention of post-angioplasty restenosis
  • Pre-exclampsia, or the prevention thereof, which is when high blood pressure occurs during pregnancy
  • Radiation induced fibrosis
  • Reperfusion injury, or the protection thereof, during surgery for the heart
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Skeletal muscle damage
  • Skin damage that is responsible by the sun
  • Skin disorders
  • Sperm motility
  • Sunburn
  • Thrombophlebitis, or inflammation of the veins
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Dosing

The doses are indicated below are based solely on traditional use, scientific research, expert opinion or publications. There may be several instances of supplements and herbs that have not yet been thoroughly tested, meaning that the safety and effectiveness have yet to be tested to the fullest extent. Therefore, not all of the doses below will apply to every product. As a result, it is important to always read product labels and it is recommended to discuss dosages with a physician before beginning therapy.

Dietary Sources of vitamin E

There are numerous kinds of food that have vitamin E in them, though storing and cooking is known to destroy some of the vitamins that are otherwise found in the foods. These foods include green leafy vegetables (including spinach), eggs, fruit, fortified cereals, nuts, meat, nut oils, vegetables (including safflower, corn, soybean, cottonseed and sunflower), poultry, wheat germ oil, olive oil and whole grains.

Adults (over 18 years old)

Because there are different biological activities available for the many different forms of vitamin E, all of the recommended dietary allowances that are listed for vitamin E are calculated in Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents. They are also translated into International Units, which is the measurement that most labels on food and supplements use to measure. For conversion purposes, a milligram of Alpha Tocopheral Equivalent is equal to 1.5 International Units.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin E for anybody over the age of 14, whether male or female, is 15 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents on a daily basis, which amounts to 22.5 International Units per day. Women of any age who are also pregnant should take in 15 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 22.5 International Units per day.

Women who are breastfeeding and of any age should obtain 19 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 28.5 International Units.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is currently no recommended daily allowance for vitamin E with regards to infants, though there is a recommended Adequate Intake for infants that are healthy, are breastfeeding and are between the ages of newborn and six months old, and this allowance is 4 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents on a daily basis, which amounts to six International Units per day.

For infants in between the ages of seven months to a year, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin E is seven milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents on a daily basis, which amounts to 10.5 International Units per day. Children between the ages of one and three years are recommended to take six milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to nine International Units per day.

Children between the ages of four and eight years are recommended to take seven milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 10.5 International Units per day. Children between the ages of nine and 13 years are recommended to take eleven milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 16.5 International Units per day.

Children over the age of fourteen years are recommended to take 15 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 22.5 International Units per day. Pregnant women of any age are recommended to take 15 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 22.5 International Units per day.

Breastfeeding women of any age are recommended to take 19 milligrams Alpha Tocopherol Equivalents of vitamin E on a daily basis, which amounts to 28.5 International Units per day.


The United States Food and Drug Administration does not take the initiative in strictly regulating the usage of supplements or herbs. There is no guarantee present for the safety, purity or strength of the products, and the effects of each product may vary. To guarantee safety, it is important to carefully read the labels on the products.

For those who have a medical condition or are currently taking other supplements, drugs or herbs, it is essential to first speak with a qualified provider of healthcare before taking on any new kinds of therapy. If any side effects should occur, immediately consult a provider of healthcare.


There have been reported instances of skin reactions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis in association with the usage of topical preparations of vitamin E, including deodorants with the vitamin in them or certain ointments. It is suggested that those who have either a known or suspected hypersensitivity to any kind of vitamin E should not use these products.

Side effects and warnings

There is also evidence that has recently come to light that regularly taking in a high amount of vitamin E supplements is potentially capable of increasing the risk of death from all causes though the increase is supposedly small. However, another study showed that women who regularly took vitamin E did not experience any effect on their mortality.

Conclusions about this are often criticized by experts of the field because these results are generally based on recalculations, making them meta-analyses, of the results of studies from the past, which have had a mix in the level of quality, with a mixture of different results, and they often took place with people who had chronic illnesses.

Nonetheless, this is currently the only and best available evidence of science at this time, and it should therefore be recommended that chronically making use of vitamin E should be done so with caution, and it should also be recommended that taking vitamin E at high doses is to be avoided. However, it is very uncommon for instances of acute vitamin E overdose to occur.

Length of Dosage

When taking vitamin E supplements for a short period of time, it is mostly considered safe to do so, provided the dosage only goes up as far as is the recommended tolerable UL, or upper intake level. It is possible, however, for vitamin E to be somewhat unsafe if a person exceeds this tolerable upper intake level when taking vitamin E supplements orally. The recommended daily allowance that of which is naturally obtained by way of food consumption has been officially considered to be beneficial and safe.

There have been reported instances of skin reactions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis in association with the usage of topical preparations of vitamin E, including deodorants with the vitamin in them or certain ointments. It is suggested that those who have either a known or suspected hypersensitivity to any kind of vitamin E should not use these products.

In some rare cases, there have been reports in studies that have associated vitamin E supplementation with instances of symptoms similar to that of influenza, especially when taking vitamin E at high doses, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, as well as abdominal pain. There is also the potentially increased risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis when taking a high dosage of vitamin E supplements.

Potential Health Problems

Also in rare cases, there have been reports in studies that have associated vitamin E supplementation with instances of diminished functions of the kidney and with gonadal dysfunction.

Recently, medical officials have had concerns about whether or not it was safe to take vitamin E supplements, especially in high doses. This is because it has been proposed that high dosages of vitamin E supplementation has resulted in a higher risk of bleeding, especially in patients who require taking agents to thin their blood, such as aspirin, heparin or warfarin, or in patients who are deficient in the essential vitamin K.

The bleeding may occur due to platelet aggregation being inhibited and due to factors of the vitamin K dependent antagonism, especially in those who are deficient in the vitamin K. Patients studied who also took vitamin E saw a small increase in gum bleeding and in the rate of hemorrhagic, or bleeding, stroke. This is especially true in patients with aspirin in their treatment course.

Increased Bleeding

The increased risk of bleeding has been noticed in animals that also make use of warfarin. Other studies outside of this, however, have not yet shown any increase of any greater incidence of bleeding due to vitamin E dosages. There has been bleeding noticed in patients who were repeatedly provided large doses of synthetic vitamin E, or all rac alpha tocopherol, in the intravenous variety.

Any patient who is known to have a bleeding disorder or is taking a drug that is shown may increase the chances of bleeding are advised to proceed taking vitamin E with caution. It may be necessary to adjust the dosage to tailor the need of a patient.

In rare instances, it has been reported in studies for vitamin E that the supplementation thereof has been linked to fatigue, dizziness, weakness, fatigue or blurred vision, especially when it is provided in unusually high dosages.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa are warned not to take oral vitamin E because, not only does it seem to not have an effect on slowing down visual decline but, it may be linked towards the loss of visual activity occurring at a much more rapid rate, though the results and the validity of the finding have both been questioned.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There are many kinds of prenatal vitamins available that have traces of vitamin E in them. It may be preferable to obtain natural forms of the vitamin E as opposed to taking in synthetic forms.

It is not recommended to use vitamin E beyond what is recommended as listed above the recommended daily allowance as provided for women who are otherwise healthy and pregnant. There is currently not enough evidence to conclude either way whether or not it is safe to take a higher level of injected, topical or oral vitamin E throughout the duration of pregnancy or breastfeeding, so it is therefore not recommended to do so.

If any pregnant or breastfeeding woman is interested in taking any kind of extra dosage of vitamin E supplementation for any reason are highly recommended to consult a physician before taking any vitamins.


Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6

Pyridoxine, Pyridoxal Phosphate, Pyridoxamine


Vitamin B6 is a part of the vitamin B complex group. The vitamin is water-soluble and is sometimes referred to as Pyridoxine. This vitamin aids in the metabolism of amino acids and the production of glucose from glycogen.

Though many of the vitamin B group members have properties that work against cancer, vitamin B6 has no known anti-cancer effects associated.
vitamin b6 uses
More studies must be conducted to conclude its effects. Some unofficial studies indicate vitamin B6 effectiveness in preventing colon cancer in healthy patients. However, more studies are necessary. Some experts indicate that vitamin B6 have been effective in treating patients with prostate cancer.

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA)

Experts recommend consuming foods that allow individuals to meet their daily allowance without a supplement. Most people can meet their daily requirement for vitamin B6 without a supplement. Those who cannot meet the daily requirements should consider a supplement.

Experts recommend taking the vitamin after a meal and with copious amounts of water. Children who need a vitamin B6 supplement should consult with a physician prior to consumption.

The daily allowances of vitamin B6 vary by age groups. Experts recommend increasing vitamin B6 dosage as the person ages:

  • Males: 14 to 18 years: 1.3 mg Average
  • Females: 14 to 18 years: 1.2 mg Average
  • 19 to 50 years: 1.3 mg
  • Males: 51 years and older: 1.7 mg
  • Females: 51 years and older: 1.5 mg
  • Pregnant females: 1.9 mg
  • Breastfeeding females: 2.0 mg
  • Newborns: 0 to 6 months: 0.1 mg
  • Infants: 7 months to 1 year: 0.3 mg
  • Children: 1 to 3 years: 0.5 mg
  • Children: 4 to 8 years: 0.6 mg
  • Children: 9 to 13 years: 1 mg

To prevent heart disease or lower homocysteine levels, patients should consume 3.0 mg per day of vitamin B6. Physicians have in the past prescribed more to treat certain conditions. However, vitamin B6 should not be consumed in doses above 100 mg per day without a doctor’s supervision.

Sources of Vitamin B6

As mentioned earlier, experts recommend receiving the daily recommended allowance of food from natural food sources. Some of these sources may include the following foods:

  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Beef Liver
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Brown Rice
  • Bran
  • Wheat Germ
  • Whole-Grain Flour

For those who cannot meet the daily allowances, vitamin B6 can be found in supplements, such as multivitamins, and B complex vitamins. Adult vitamins may be found in the form of tablets, softgels and lozenges. Children’s supplements are often found in chewable tablets or liquid drops. Those seeking vitamin B6 supplements should also check for the names pyridoxamine, pyridoxal, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and pyridoxal-5-phosphate. Each name represents the vitamin B6 supplement.

History of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 was first discovered during a study in the 1930s. The study originated from scientists who were studying nutrition in rats. Paul Gyorgy, a Hungarian physician, first discovered vitamin B6 when he recognized that he could cure skin disease in rats with vitamin B6. Another scientist, Lepkovsky, isolated vitamin B6 from rice bran.

The structure of pyridoxine was demonstrated by Harris and Folkers in 1939. By 1945, scientist, Snell, was able to prove two separate structures of vitamin B6 existed. One of the structures was referred to as pyridoxal and the other pyridoxamine. After this discovery, vitamin B6 was referred to as pyridoxine to indicate its relationship to the structure pyridine. Each of the three forms of vitamin B6 paid a large role in the essential enzyme production within the body.

The enzymes promoted by vitamin B6 involve several amino acids. Scientists have documented over 140 activities related to the presence of vitamin B6 in the body.

Health Benefits

Several health benefits have been documented by scientists as it relates to vitamin B6. Some of the most common health benefits are listed below:

  • Scientists have long speculated that vitamin B6 played a significant role in the treatment for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), and clinical depression.
  • Some scientists have cited that vitamin B6 plays a significant role in the treatment for schizophrenia and autism.
  • Studies have shown that vitamin B6 have increased the vividness of dreams and the ability to recall dreams. Scientists suspect that dream vividness is due in part to the conversion process of tryptophan to serotonin. Vitamin B6 is a component in this process.
  • Some studies show that the consumption of vitamin B6 could reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 50 percent. One such study was conducted in the Netherlands. However, the analysis showed that only smokers showed a decrease in the risk.
  • Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine plays a significant role in heart disease prevention. Homocysteine levels rise when there is a pyridoxine deficiency. Studies have shown that elevated homocysteine levels may damage blood vessel linings and promote blood clots. When the body attempts to heal the blood vessel linings, it makes the person more vulnerable for plaque buildup and blood clots. Vitamin B6 prevents buildup and reduces the risk of heart attack.
  • Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This keeps the blood platelets from coagulating to form a clot.
  • Physicians often recommend a vitamin B6 supplement combined with magnesium to combat autism. This is a popular remedy in alternative medicine for this disease. Children develop autism before the age of three. This disorder affects the nervous system. Children suffering from the disorder often have difficulty with social interaction and communication.
  • Some scientists indicate that vitamin B6 combined with magnesium can also alleviate the symptoms associated with attention deficit disorder (ADD). Studies have shown that the combination can improve hyperactivity, aggressiveness, and attention span in a classroom or work setting.
  • Individuals who have a vitamin B6 deficiency may also experience sensitivity to monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is a popular flavor enhancer found in many Asian dishes. Some people report nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, pain or tingling of upper extremities after consuming the Asian food containing MSG. Studies show an improvement in individuals who possessed a deficiency prior to consuming MSG.
  • Individuals with a deficiency in vitamin B6 may be more susceptible to developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This may occur if the person is on minimally deficient in vitamin B6. Individuals who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome may experience pain and tingling in the wrists after typing repetitively or other repetitive hand motion. Two studies have shown that vitamin B6 has been beneficial in treating carpal tunnel syndrome in patients who do not have significant trauma.
  • Vitamin B6 has been recommended by physicians and scientists for relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, the data is inconclusive as to which symptoms are relieved by the intake of Vitamin B6. Some studies show that females who consume vitamin B6 have fewer symptoms of bloating, acne flares, and breast pain. Studies show strong evidence leaning towards the effects of vitamin B6 in acne flares that begin before and during a women’s menstrual cycle. The acne flares are a result of a hormone imbalance that occurs before and during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Approximately ten days before a woman’s menstrual cycle, vitamin B6 should be consumed to prevent acne break outs. The vitamin is thought to be effective because it regulates hormones and prostaglandin.
  • Some experts cite that a deficiency of vitamin B6 may also lead to depression. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine helps to produce serotonin and other neurotransmitters. After a vitamin B6 supplement, patients cite that their mood and their memory improve.
  • Individuals suffering from morning sickness have cited that consumption of vitamin B6 alleviated some of the symptoms associated with this ailment. Experts speculate that this may be in part due to the fact that vitamin B6 may act as a diuretic.
  • Other studies indicate that vitamin B6 may be effective in alleviating the effects of an alcoholic hangover as well. This is also due to the diuretic nature of vitamin B6. More studies should be conducted to prove this finding conclusively.
  • Some experts suggest that vitamin B6 or pyridoxamine has been effective in treating diabetic nephropathy. Further studies should be done to prove this finding conclusively.
  • Studies show that moderate intake of vitamin B6 may decrease the risk of colon cancer by half. More studies are necessary to prove the finding conclusively.

Ailments from Vitamin B6 Deficiencies

The benefits from vitamin B6 consumption are plentiful. Conversely, the lack of vitamin B6 may cause some undesirable conditions. Some of the most common deficiencies are listed below:

  • Atrophic glossitis
  • This condition is referred to as smooth tongue. Experts have suggested that a tender or painful tongue may be the result of a vitamin B6 deficiency.

  • Angular cheilitis
  • Angular cheilitis describes a lesion at the corner of the mouth that is usually characterized by cracks or splits. The lesion may also be inflamed. Scientists have come to believe that vitamin B6 deficiency may play a role in the development of this condition.

  • Intertrigo
  • Intertrigo describes the rash or inflammation that occurs where the body folds. Areas such as, under the arms, under the breast and other places are affected. Vitamin B6 deficiencies may lead to this condition. More research is needed to prove this conclusively.

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Conjunctivitis describes the inflammation of the eye. The condition often occurs because of an allergic reaction or an infection. The condition may be viral, but it is sometimes bacterial. Vitamin B6 deficiencies may also be the cause of this condition as well.

  • Seborrehoeic dermatitis
  • Seborrhoeic dermatitis may also be known as Seborreheic eczema. The condition affects sebum rich areas of the body, such as scalp, face and torso. The skin becomes scaly, flaky, itchy, and red as a result. These symptoms are characteristic of vitamin B6 deficiencies.

  • Somnolence
  • Somnolence is a strong desire for sleep for long periods of time. This chronic condition may be a result of a vitamin B6 deficiency.

  • Confusion
  • When a vitamin B6 deficiency occurs in the body, individuals have reported states of confusion or loss of orientation. The person may forget their personal identity or be unable to locate themselves properly within the world.

  • Neuropathy
  • Some of the most common neuropathic disorders are associated with diabetes mellitus. This occurs when there is an injury to the small blood vessels that supply nutrients to the nerves. Vitamin B6 deficiencies may be the cause of some of these common neuropathic disorders.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis often have low levels of vitamin B6. Some studies indicate that people with rheumatoid arthritis may need to consume more vitamin B6 than healthy people. This is due chronic inflammation problems associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Individuals suffering with rheumatoid arthritis should consult their doctor before taking any supplements.

  • Heart disease
  • Individuals who have deficiencies of vitamin B6 in their diets are at greater risk for heart disease. Individuals with high homocysteine levels associated with low levels of vitamin B6 may have damaged blood vessels and increased chances of blood clot formation.

  • Depression
  • Vitamin B6 deficiencies are often associated with depression. Serotonin levels affect a person’s mood. Experts suggest that vitamin B6 plays a role in the production of serotonin. Therefore, increased vitamin B6 intake may improve depression. More research is being conducted to determine its true benefit.

  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Experts have found that deficiencies in vitamin B6 may contribute to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. More studies should be performed to prove this finding conclusively.

  • Pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Vitamin B6 deficiencies may be a factor in symptoms associated with PMS. Many of the studies conducted to prove that vitamin B6 deficiencies played a role PMS were not designed properly. Therefore, more research must be conducted to prove this finding conclusively. However, many female patients have remarked that vitamin B6 supplements have alleviated some of the symptoms and improved their moods. Consult a physician before beginning a vitamin B6 regimen. Improvements may take up to 3 months.

  • Morning sickness
  • Several studies have been conducted to prove that vitamin B6 deficiencies may cause morning sickness. Pregnant women who consumed 30 mg of vitamin B6 daily found that the effects of morning sickness decreased. Pregnant women should consult with a physician before taking vitamin B6 supplements.

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Some experts suggest that daily consumption of vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. This is thought to be true since the vitamin improves neurological functions. More studies are needed before this finding is conclusive.

Vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon in individuals as a solitary deficiency. The deficiency is usually accompanied by another deficiency, such as another vitamin in the B complex. The elderly, most commonly, experience a vitamin B6 deficiency. Alcoholics may also experience a vitamin B6 deficiency. Renal patients undergoing dialysis may also experience vitamin B6 deficiencies.
vitamin b6 deficiency
Patients consuming anticonvulsants or corticosteriods may experience a vitamin B6 deficiency, as well.

Severe vitamin B6 deficiencies may lead to damage to the nervous system and also to the skin. Less severe deficiencies due to an impaired tryptophan-niacin conversion may manifest as lesions to the skin.

Physicians can detect this impairment by testing the urine for xanthurenic acid. Vitamin B6 deficiencies may also occur from an impaired process of “transsulfuration of methionine to cysteine.”

Precautions when Taking Vitamin B6

Patients who are taking any of the following medications should consult a physician prior to starting a vitamin B6 regimen:

  • Cycloserine or Seromycin: This medication is used to treat patients afflicted with tuberculosis.
  • Hydralazine or Apresoline: This medication is used to treat patients with high blood pressure.
  • Isoniazid: This medication is used to treat patients with tuberculosis.
  • Penicillamine: This medication is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Theophylline or TheoDur: This medication is used to treat asthma.

Most of these medications may require a supplement because the medications deplete the system of vitamin B6. However, it is also always recommended to consult a physician to avoid complications or problems associated with vitamins.

Drug Interactions

Antibiotics: Vitamin B6 vitamins have been known to interfere with the absorption of the antibiotic tetracycline. The timing of the vitamins and antibiotics should be spaced out in order to avoid unpleasant interactions.

Antidepressant Medications: Experts recommend taking vitamin B6 to boost the effectiveness of antidepressants. Some antidepressants that benefit from vitamin B6 are as follows:

  • Nortriptyline or Pamelor
  • Amitriptyline or Elavil
  • Desipramine or Norpramin
  • Imipramine or Tofranil
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), such as Phenelzine (Nardil) or tranylcypromine (Parnate)

Chemotherapy drugs: Vitamin B6 may reduce some of the side effects associated with chemotherapy drugs, such as 5-fluorouracil and doxorubicin. Consult a physician before taking a vitamin B6 supplement.

Erythropoietin (EPO): Erythropoitin therapy may deplete vitamin B6 levels present in the body. Therefore, some people may need a supplement in order to replenish vitamin deficiency.

Levodopa: This medication is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Experts suggest that vitamin B6 reduces the effectiveness of levodopa. A physician should determine the dosage of vitamin B6 that is required to avoid interaction with the drug. A physician should closely monitor the consumption of both drugs in combination.

Phenytion or Dilantin: Patients who take phenytoin for seizures may notice that the drug is slightly less effective if taken with vitamin B6. Patients should consult a physician prior to taking the drugs in conjunction.

Role in Biological Process

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxal phosphate is involved in several biological processes. Pyridoxal phosphate is involved in neurotransmitter synthesis, histamine synthesis, macronutrient metabolism, gene expression and hemoglobin synthesis. This metabolically active form of vitamin B6 acts as a coenzyme to help facilitate transamination, racemization, decarboxylation, elimination, replacement, and beta-group interconversion reaction. Vitamin B6 is metabolized in the liver.

Amino Acid Metabolism

Pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) plays a significant role in the metabolism of amino acids. This vitamin assists two enzymes as methionine is converted to cysteine via two separate reactions. When there is a vitamin B6 deficiency, there is decreased activity related to these enzymes. Pyridoxal phosphate is also responsible for assisting the enzymes found in the metabolism of selenomethionine to selenohomocysteine.

Selenohomocysteine is converted to hydrogen selenide. Vitamin B6 is also involved in the process of converting tryptophan to niacin. The conversion process will be impaired if vitamin B6 status is low. Vitamin B6 is also responsible for the conversion of the following amino acids:

  • Tryptophan to Serotonin
  • Histindine to Histamine
  • Glutamate to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine to Dopamine


Pyridoxal phosphate is necessary for the gluconeogenesis process. The vitamin catalyzes transamination reactions. Vitamin B6 also acts as a coenzyme in the glycognenolysis process. The coenzyme is necessary for glycogen phosphorylase.

Lipid Metabolism

Vitamin B6 plays an important role in the biosynthesis of sphingolipids. This process is dependent upon vitamin B6 because one of the enzymes, S1P Lyase needs the vitamin to complete the process.

In most processes, vitamin B6 assumes the role of a coenzyme to other enzymes in the body in the metabolism process. Vitamin B6 is found in the following processes:

  • Gene Expression
  • Neurotransmitter Synthesis
  • Histamine Synthesis
  • Amino acid, lipid and glucose metabolism
  • Hemoglobin synthesis and function

Gene Expression

This process is responsible for transforming homocysteine into cysteine. The interim process involves changing cistation into cysteine. Pyridoxal phosphate plays a role in the gene expression process by increasing or decreasing the expression of genes present. A deficiency of vitamin B6 will lead to an increased expression of albumin mRNA.

Neurotransmitter Synthesis

Pyridoxal phosphate dependent enzymes are responsible for the biosynthesis of several neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters include the following:

  • Serotonin
  • Epinephrine
  • Norpinephrine
  • Gamma-aminobutyric Acid

Histamine Synthesis

Pyridoxal phosphate or vitamin B6 is often involved in the metabolism of histamine.

Hemoglobin Synthesis and Function

The synthesis of hemoglobin is facilitated by pyridoxal phosphate. Vitamin B6 can bind on two sites present on hemoglobin. This process facilitates the binding of oxygen to hemoglobin.


Vitamin B1

A Guide to Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)

Vitamin B-1 is also known as “Thiamine” or “Thiamin.” It was the first of the eight B-vitamins to be discovered by scientists. It is also a very important substance to animals and people because they use this vitamin and other B-vitamins to digest carbohydrates, fats and proteins. People also seem to have other uses for vitamin B-1 to control vital everyday bodily functions. As a result, Thiamine is a versatile and important B-vitamin which people should know more about.

Here is a comprehensive guide about vitamin B-1 that can help people learn more about this vitamin and its uses. The guide is broken down into five sections that can help people learn various things about vitamin B-1.

Sections of the Guide

Section I includes information about some of the basic characteristics of vitamin B-1. This information can help people learn more about the vitamin’s functions and why it is vital to one’s good health.

Section II briefly outlines how people use vitamin B-1 in their bodies. This information includes how the body uses vitamin B-1 to maintain and regulate brain and heart activity. People can use this information to gain a better appreciation for Thiamine’s importance to a person’s health.
vitamin b1
Section III describes what sorts of foods people can eat to obtain Thiamine. The list of foods that contain Thiamine is very long. As a result, people can quickly learn if any of their favorite foods have vitamin B-1.

Section’s IV and V

In addition, people can also learn how to cook or preserve foods that contain vitamin B-1 in such a way that they can keep more of this nutrient in their food.

Section IV provides USDA suggested daily intake values of vitamin B-1 for men and women of all ages. People can use this information to get a good idea of how much of the vitamin to take to maintain their health.

Finally, Section V lists some of the health problems that are associated with a Thiamine deficiency. People can learn what can happen to their circulatory systems and their central nervous systems if they don’t eat enough foods that contain Thiamine. Hopefully, this section can teach people the importance of eating enough foods that contain Thiamine.

At the end of the guide there is a bibliography which can help readers do research on Thiamine on their own if they wish.

Section I: Thiamine’s basic characteristics.

Here some of Thiamine’s most important characteristics which readers should know about:

Vitamin B-1 is a water-soluble vitamin that serves many useful purposes in the body due to its unique crystalline structure.

Vitamin B-1 is a water-soluble vitamin that serves as a catalyst (or co-factor) for metabolic reactions in the body. This is the case because it features a unique crystalline structure that makes it water soluble. This enables many parts of the body to quickly absorb and use the substance. As a result, many body functions rely on vitamin B-1 in at least a token manner because the body requires the body to metabolize food to work at its absolute best.

Furthermore, vitamin B-1 is also a very fragile vitamin that cannot be produced on its own by people’s bodies.

Vitamin B-1 is a fragile substance because it cannot tolerate high temperatures, ultraviolet light or alkaline conditions. It also cannot tolerate sulfates and other preservatives that are found in many processed foods because they tend to easily act as an oxidizer that creates other materials that are of no real use to the body. This fragility makes it difficult for the body to store enough Thiamine in the body for everyday purposes.

Furthermore, people cannot produce vitamin B-1 in their bodies. This is true because a person’s body does not have the physiological ability to create the crystalline structure that makes vitamin B-1 water soluble. As a result, people must eat enough foods that contain vitamin B-1 each day to maintain the right level of vitamin B-1 in the body.

Section II: Thiamine plays an active role in several everyday essential bodily functions.

Thiamine is an important B-complex vitamin to consume because it helps the body perform several important everyday functions. Here are some of the most important bodily functions that Thiamine helps the body perform each day:

Vitamin B-1 helps your body convert food into energy by acting as a catalyst that aids in digestion.

Most of us eat a variety of fats, proteins and carbohydrates every day. These foods are difficult for the body to digest because they require several processes to break the materials down into simple sugars that your body can quickly convert into energy.

Vitamin B-1 helps the body digests fats proteins and carbohydrates by acting as a catalyst compound that aids in breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates into simpler substances. This makes it possible for the body to gradually break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates safely and gradually into the building blocks the body uses for energy. As a result, Thiamine plays a very important role in digestion and metabolism.

Thiamine helps your body keep its mucous membranes in the digestive system healthy.

Mucus Membranes

Many of us take our mucous membranes for granted. This is a bad idea because our mucous membranes allow us to keep out dirt and most pathogens from entering our bodies by creating mucous that coats the lining of the lungs, nostrils and eyelids. Vitamin B-1 keeps these membranes healthy by giving them basic building blocks that they need to build new cells and tissue inside the body.

Vitamin B-1 helps the body’s nervous system function normally by providing the building blocks that are needed to maintain healthy nerve cells.

Thiamine helps the body’s nervous system function normally by providing the basic building blocks that are needed to maintain a neuron’s structure and function. This is true because the outer covering of a neuron contains Thiamine in its chemical make-up. As a result, vitamin B-1 plays an important role in maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Finally, Thiamine also helps the body’s cardiovascular system function normally by maintaining healthy red blood cells and blood circulation.

The circulatory system uses vitamin B-1 to maintain red blood cells and circulation by using Thiamine as a co-factor in maintaining the structure of red blood cells. This allows the circulatory system to function normally without putting as much stress on the heart and blood vessels.

Section III

There are many foods that people can eat that allow them to get enough vitamin B-1 into their diets. However, people must also be careful how these foods are processed or cooked because vitamin B-1 is a very fragile vitamin that is easily destroyed.

People must eat enough foods rich in vitamin B-1 each day because the body cannot store enough of the substance in its tissues to meet its everyday needs. Thankfully, there are many foods that people can eat each day that can give the body enough vitamin B-1 for the day.

Here are some examples of foods that are rich in vitamin B-1:

  • Fruits such as oranges and pineapples.
  • Whole grain foods such as rye meal cornmeal, oatmeal, wheat bran and rice.
  • Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, kale and peas.
  • Meat products such as cured ham, pork, veal hearts, liver and salmon.

Other foods such as brewer’s yeast and cheese also contain vitamin B-1. As a result, people can find several foods that are rich in vitamin B-1 to meet their tastes and budgets.

However, it is also important to carefully consider how to cook or process these foods because Thiamine is a very fragile vitamin.

This is the case because vitamin B-1 is very sensitive to heat and light. It is also very sensitive to many of the sulfates, sulfites and other chemical preservatives that are common in processed foods.

As a result, people should try to avoid using chemical preservatives to preserve foods that contain vitamin B-1. Furthermore, people should also try avoiding baking, boiling or heating most foods that contain vitamin B-1 because they could lose most of the substance during the cooking process.

This is especially true for most of the vegetables that contain vitamin B-1 because they tend to lose most of the vitamin B-1 they contain when they are introduced to heat during the cooking process.

Section IV

The amount of vitamin B-1 needed each day for a healthy lifestyle depends on many physiological and lifestyle factors.

The amount of Vitamin B-1 that is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle varies according to a person’s age and other factors. This is true because people tend to have different needs for vitamin B-1 that depend on the person’s physiological requirements, their caloric needs and their lifestyle choices. As a result, people will have different energy needs that require different amounts of vitamin B-1 to function properly.

Here is a look at the suggested amounts of vitamin B-1 that the United States Department of Agriculture feels is enough for different persons in different age groups. They are reprinted from page 280 of the fourth edition of the Handbook of Vitamins edited by Zempleni, Rucker, et al:

  • Children under 1 year of age should consumer 0.2-0.3 mg of vitamin B-1 per day.
  • Children 1-8 years of age should consumer 0.5-06 mg of vitamin B-1 per day.
  • Males 9-13 years of age require 0.9 mg per day.
  • Males and females 11-18 years of age require 1.1-1.2 mg per day.
  • Males and females over the age of 19 require 0.2-0.3 mg per day.
  • Males and females over the age of 19 require 0.2-0.3 mg per day.
  • Females 9-14 years of age require 0.9-1.0 mg per day.
  • Pregnant and lactating females require 1.4 mg of vitamin B-1 per day.

As you can see, people tend to need more vitamin B-1 while they are growing up or pregnant because they need more energy to compensate for the drastic changes in their bodies that are occurring.

This makes it important to eat enough foods that contain vitamin B-1 throughout each stage of life because serious medical conditions could develop if people forget to eat enough foods that contain vitamin B-1 on a consistent basis. Section V below outlines these possible health problems.

Section V

People who do not eat enough foods that contain vitamin B-1 can face serious medical problems and even death if they are not treated in time.

This is true because vitamin B-1 is a very important player in several essential brain and heart functions that require a catalyst or co-factor to provide enough energy to execute properly. As a result, animals and people must eat enough foods rich in vitamin B-1 to avoid possibly serious health problems.

Here’s a look at some of the more common health problems that people can encounter if they don’t get enough vitamin B-1 into their diets:

One of the most common health problems that people with low thiamine levels encounter is called Beriberi.

Severe Cases

This awful disorder can affect the central nervous system or the cardiovascular system because the body cannot get enough energy to fuel the day-to-day activities of these areas of the body. When this happens, people can suffer from anorexia, fatigue, mental confusion, weight loss, delirium, wasting of the muscles and an enlargement of the heart.

People with very severe cases of Beriberi can die because the heart does not receive enough energy to work properly. This usually happens to people who are alcoholics or malnourished. The disorder can also happen to people who consume the vast majority of their calories from only simple carbohydrates.

Another common health problem that a vitamin B-1 deficiency can engender is called wernicke-korsakoff syndrome.

This syndrome affects the central nervous system of alcoholics who have destroyed their body’s ability to use and maintain vitamin B-1. It is thought that this syndrome happens in two stages that are named for the discoverers of this disorder.

How the Syndrome Works

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the “Wernicke” stage of the syndrome causes the nerves in the central and peripheral nervous systems to fail. This is true because the lack of vitamin B-1 can cause important enzymes around the nerves to fail to function properly. Once this happens, people can suffer from delirium, slurred speech and eyesight problems and irreversible nerve damage. Other patients have reported difficulty walking correctly and even hallucinations.

After these symptoms go away, the “Korsakoff” stage of the syndrome kicks in. When this happens, people can lose their ability to remember things. As time passes, people can begin to develop short-term and long-term memory problems that are irreversible if they are not treated in time.

Finally, people can also make heart problems much worse by not including enough Thiamine in their diets.

This is true because many people who take water pills for several common heart problems often have trouble absorbing enough vitamin B-1 into their systems. When this happens, many heart patients end up with many of the same symptoms that patients who suffer from Beriberi endure.


Websites consulted:

The National Library of Medicine. “MeSh Descriptor Data Page about the Mucous Membrane.”

The University of Maryland Medical Center. “Vitamin B1 (Thiamine).”

Books consulted:

Combs, G. F. Jr. The Vitamins: Fundamental Aspects in Nutrition and Health. 3rd ed. Ithaca, NY: Elsevier Academic Press, 2008: PP 266-268.

Mahan, L.K & Stump. S. Krause’s Food & Nutrition Therapy. St. Louis, Mo: Saunders Elsevier, 2008: PP 82-84.

Zempleni, J., Rucker, R.B., McCormick, & D.B., Suttie, J.W. (Eds.). Handbook of Vitamins. 4th ed. New York: CRC Press, 2007: PP 268-270,278-280.

Online medical journal article consulted:

Rao, S.N. & Chandak, G.R. “Cardiac Beriberi: Often a Missed Diagnosis.” Journal of Tropical Pediatrics 24 Nov. 2009. Retrieved online 5-10-2010 from PubMed’s database website located at


Vitamin A1

Vitamin A


Vitamins are organic compounds that living organisms need in order to survive. These compounds are molecules that cannot be synthesized efficiently and in large enough quantities by the body and must be obtained from outside sources like food and/or nutritional supplements.

Vitamins are classified based on how they interact with the body chemically rather than on their molecular structure. This means that, a particular vitamin, like Vitamin A, is not one specific substance, but rather a group of compounds and molecules that produce the same range of effects on the human body. These compounds and molecules are called vitamers.
vitamin a1 dosage
For example, some common vitamers of Vitamin A include retinol, retinal, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. All of these compounds are chemically different, but work in the same way to provide the human body with proper nutrition.

Vitamins & Nutrition

Vitamins play a crucial role in human nutrition, helping the body to regulate cell growth, regulate hormones, and help enzymes to act as catalysts in metabolism. In addition to his, certain vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C can act as powerful antioxidants, which can bind to dangerous, cancer causing free radicals in the body.

Vitamins are water or fat soluble, depending on the vitamin. Soluble refers to the ability of a vitamin to dissolve in a particular substance. In the case of water soluble vitamins such as Vitamin C, the human body uses as much as it needs for metabolism. The excess water soluble vitamin is then dissolved in the body’s fluid and excreted as urine.

For fat soluble vitamins, like Vitamin A, the body uses what it needs to maintain proper nutrition, and then stores the extra vitamin in the body’s fat stores and liver. The excess of the fat soluble vitamin cannot be eliminated from the body very easily, so over time, given enough of a fat soluble vitamin, toxicity can develop. In humans, Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, while the 8 B vitamins and Vitamin C are water soluble.

Growth and Nutritional Value

Vitamins are essential for growth and proper nutrition. They regulate many bodily functions including metabolism and hormones. Any deficiency in a particular vitamin can cause a host of medical problems including death.

History of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins that humans need in order to survive because it is responsible for a large number of important functions in the body. Vitamin A was discovered in the early 1900s through experiments that probed the question of why cows produced healthier offspring when fed corn rather than wheat. In a series of experiments on mice, Elmer McCollum, noted that when mice were fed diets consisting only of protein, their offspring were often unhealthy and sometimes afflicted with birth defects.

When he introduced some fats into the diet, their offspring were born healthy and normal. He hypothesized that there was a certain chemical in the fat inclusive diet that was not found in the protein diet. This compound became known as Vitamin A and was recognized to be a fat soluble substance.

Until the 20th century, all vitamins had to be derived from food, but with advances in biochemistry, scientists were able to begin to synthesize all the necessary vitamins for human health. Vitamin A was synthesized in 1947 by David Adrian van Dorp and Jozef Ferdinand Arens, from the Netherlands.

Vitamers of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is not a single compound. Instead, it is a group of compounds that all have the same biologic effect on the body. These compounds are called vitamers. The vitamers of Vitamin A are retinol, retinal, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Retinol, derived from animal fat, is the body’s most usable source of Vitamin A. Several chemicals in the body have retinol as their bases including retinal, retinoic acid and retinyl esters. Retinal is a central component to human vision. Together, these molecules are referred to as retinoid compounds.

The three carotene vitamers belong to a class of organic molecules called carotenoids. Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments found in plants and some fungi. Animals do not produce carotenoids. The names, “alpha,” “beta,” and “gamma” are used to denote structural differences on the molecular level among the organic compounds. Beta carotene is an inactive form of Vitamin A that can be readily converted into an active form by the body.

Beta-cryptoxanthin, like the carotene compounds, is a member of the carotenoid family. What differentiates it from the carotenes is that it has a slightly different structural formula in that it contains an oxygen molecule. Cryptoxanthin can be derived from both plant and animal sources including oranges, papaya, eggs, and butter.

Nutritional Benefits and Functions

Vitamin A is essential for basic bodily functions. Deficiencies in Vitamin A may cause illness or even death. Here are some of Vitamin A’s most important roles in human nutrition:

  • Vision
  • Immune Function
  • Gene transcription
  • Skin health
  • Embryonic development
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Cell Growth


Normal vision is dependent on having a healthy retina and having enough Vitamin A. In the eye, the retina is an area of tissue on the back of the eye that is home to light sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods are responsible for detecting light and dark, while cones allow people to perceive colors. Vitamin A plays a crucial part in vision.

In the retina, Vitamin A, in a form called cis-retinal, is combined with a protein called opsin, to form another compound called rhodopsin, which is a light sensitive compound found in rods. In cones, retinal binds with a protein to form iodopsin. When stimulated by light, Vitamin A in the form of cis-retinal transforms from being bent in shape to straight.

The straight shaped form of retinal is called trans-retinal. The molecule then detaches from the opsin protein. The opsin protein, then changes shape, signaling the brain to produce a black and white image of the objects being observed by the person. Most retinal used in this process is then released as trans-retinal and then converted back into cis-retinal where the cycle can begin again.

Immune Function

The immune system is the body’s defense against pathogens like dangerous viruses and bacteria. When a foreign invader, like a virus, enters the body, the body’s immune system detects that there is an unknown intruder and sends specialized cells to try to kill it.

Vitamin A helps to stimulate the immune system by promoting the overall health of the thymus gland. The thymus gland is a small gland in the neck that is part of the human immune system. The thymus gland produces specialized white blood cells called T-lymphocytes. These cells are the body’s “killer” cells activate during an immune response in an effort to rid the body of the pathogen.

Speeds up Immune Response

Vitamin A also helps their effectiveness and efficiency, speeding up the response time of the immune system. Also, Vitamin A has been shown to have anti-viral properties. Retinoic acid, derived from the vitamer retinol, plays an important role in the health and growth of delicate mucosal and epithelial tissues found in the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

Mucosal and epithelial tissues are some of the most basic defenses of the immune system. They produce mucus, which can trap bacteria and viruses, before they have a chance to invade the body any further.

Gene Transcription

Vitamin A plays an important role in gene transcription. Transcription is the process by which RNA is created from DNA, transferring genetic information to the RNA molecule. Retinol is used by cells to form retinal, which is then converted into retinoic acid. From there, retinoic acid binds with specialized receptors that can either turn on gene transcription or stop it from happening by undergoing a complex series of reactions.

Skin health

The benefits of Vitamin A have been long linked with maintaining healthy skin and complexion in humans. Deficiencies in Vitamin A can manifest themselves in people by causing dry and flaky skin. Vitamin A is important in regulating the growth and repair of skin tissue.
vitamin a1 benefits
Although Vitamin A can be ingested for skin care, topical application remains the best treatment for skin conditions. Retinol creams have been shown to help prevent wrinkles from developing and masking the ones that already exist. Vitamin A can also help to control acne. Sebaceous glands are small glands in the skin that secrete material that is used by the body to lubricate the hair and skin.

They can harbor bacteria and get infected, which is the cause of acne outbreaks. Ongoing research has shown that retinoic acid that is applied topically can reduce the size of sebaceous glands and their secretions. The reduction of the sebaceous gland secretions is thought to be the reason why Vitamin A can combat acne.

The secretions provide nutrients for bacteria that cause acne, and without nutrition, the bacteria cannot take a foothold in the gland to produce a pimple.

Embryonic development

Vitamin A’s discovery was contingent on experiments dealing with the development of livestock offspring. It was discovered in the early 1900s by Elmer McCollum that female mice, which were deficient in Vitamin A, produced offspring that were unhealthy, had severe birth defects and/or died. Further research into this subject over the past 100 years has led to the understanding that an adequate amount of Vitamin A is a requirement for normal embryonic development.

Vitamin A is necessary for the embryo to form a healthy heart, nervous system, and skeleton. The correct balance of Vitamin A is also important in embryonic development and growth. While too little Vitamin A can cause birth defects and death of the fetus, so to can having too much of the vitamin.

Antioxidant properties

Oxidants, or free radicals, are oxygen carrying molecules in the body that can cause damage to cells, which can cause diseases like cancer. Antioxidants are molecules that can bind with free radicals, decreasing their potential to cause harm to the body on a cellular level. Some antioxidants can even help to repair damage done by free radicals. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, however studies have been done that show that smokers who take Vitamin A supplements (in particular beta carotene) had an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

Cell growth

Much current research is underway to determine how Vitamin A affects cell growth. The mechanism is not fully understood, but it has been determined that retinoic acid plays a role in the production of glycoproteins. Glycoproteins are proteins that help cells adhere to one another.

Sources of Vitamin A and daily recommended values

Vitamin A in the form of retinol is found in animal products including meat, butter, eggs, and milk. The carotene vitamers of Vitamin A are plant based and can be found in large amounts in orange hued vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe, mango, and papaya. For example, a 1 cup serving of raw carrots provides 686% of the daily value of Vitamin A required by the body. Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, and leafy greens are also a good source of Vitamin A.

The daily recommended amounts of Vitamin A depend on age and gender. Typically, men require more than non-lactating females. For adult males, the daily recommended amount of Vitamin A is 900 micrograms per day, with a maximum of 3000 micrograms per day. For adult females, the recommended amount per day is 700 micrograms, with the maximum amount being 3000 micrograms.

Females who are breast feeding need more Vitamin A in order to provide an adequate supply of nutrition for the newborn baby. The recommended amounts for breast feeding women are 1300 micrograms with an upper limit of 3000 micrograms.

Unlike other vitamins and minerals that may be leached or destroyed by cooking and processing, Vitamin A is largely unaffected by these methods of food preparation.

Vitamin a deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is a major nutritional problem faced by millions of people across the world. Most often, these deficiencies are seen in developing countries that have limited food supplies. Developing countries often have a lack of quality meats that are the best sources for Vitamin A. Also, meat contains the mineral iron which is important in the body’s utilization of Vitamin A.

Night blindness and a lack of tear production are major factors contributing to blindness caused by a Vitamin A deficiency. Night blindness is a condition in which a person does not have adequate photoreceptive cells that can process light entering the eye.

As seen earlier, the retinal form of retinol plays an important role in vision by binding with proteins in the retina to form molecules that help to transmit nerve impulses from the retina to the brain.

Vitamin A deficiency can also affect the eye’s ability to produce tears. Tears serve the function of washing the eye of debris and bacteria. Without tears, the eyes lose an important component in the body’s fight against infection. Each year between one quarter and one half of a million children worldwide go blind because of inadequate Vitamin A intake.

A condition called hyperkeratosis may develop in people afflicted with Vitamin A deficiency. People manifesting the symptoms of this condition develop small bumps on the skin that is the result of excess keratin proteins blocking hair follicles. Other symptoms include itching, dry skin, and eventual hair loss over the whole body.

Vitamin A deficiency can be either primary or secondary in origin. A primary deficiency is one caused by an inadequate supply of nutrients, while a secondary deficiency is caused by another underlying condition. One cause of secondary Vitamin A deficiency are medical conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, gallbladder disease, and liver disease.

These diseases can affect the body’s ability to absorb fat, robbing the body of its best source for Vitamin A. Outside agents like chemicals and pollutants can cause the liver to not function correctly, breaking down the Vitamin A that it would normally store.

Vitamin A deficiencies can be detected by blood tests using high performance liquid chromatography. The results should be no lower than 0.7 mg/L. Blood tests to detect serum retinol binding proteins may also be used. These have the advantage of being less expensive than a liquid chromatography test, but are less accurate.

The prognosis for Vitamin A deficiency is good as long as blindness has not set in. Once a patient suffering from Vitamin A deficiency has developed blindness as a result of the condition, mortality rates increase due to other irreversible damage that occurs concurrently with blindness.

Treatment for Vitamin A deficiency includes oral and injectable supplements.

Vitamin A toxicity

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. After metabolism, excess amounts are stored in the body’s fatty tissues instead of being excreted in urine. Fat soluble vitamins that are stored in fatty tissues can linger in the body for long periods of time, thus increasing the potential for a toxic buildup of excess Vitamin A to occur. For adults, acute Vitamin A toxicity can occur if daily amounts exceed 3000 micrograms. Chronic Vitamin A toxicity can occur over a period of months when over 1200 micrograms are taken daily. Alcohol consumption can amplify the toxic effects of the vitamin.

Symptoms of acute poisoning include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, vision problems, loss of muscular control, dry skin, anemia, insomnia, fatigue, and skeletal problems.

In some people, excess amounts of Vitamin A can cause osteoporosis and bone breakage. Excess Vitamin A can interfere with the uptake of Vitamins K and D which are critical to bone strength and health.

Treatment for Vitamin A toxicity includes maintaining proper hydration, providing oxygen, and cessation of Vitamin A sources and supplements.

Death from Vitamin A toxicity is rare.


Vitamins are essential nutrients needed by the human body to maintain normal, daily functions. Vitamin A is perhaps one of the most important vitamins because of its wide ranging implications for overall health. It has a role in every day life from birth until death by means of its effects at the cellular level on cell division and RNA transcription. It also allows humans to see the world.

Every day thousands of people around the world go blind due to a Vitamin A deficiency. Through proper nutrition, Vitamin A deficiencies are largely preventable. While foods are the primary source for Vitamin A, in the last century, humans have learned to chemically synthesize it, allowing even those people with poor nutrition to obtain enough of the vitamin to stave off blindness and other problems caused by ingesting too little of it.


1. Pazirandeh S, Burns DL. Overview of fat-soluble vitamins I. UpToDate. 2002.

2. Russell RM. The vitamin A spectrum: from deficiency to toxicity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Apr 2000.

3. West CE. Meeting requirements for vitamin American Nutritional Review 2000 Nov;58(11):341-5 2000.

4. Groff JL, Gropper SS, Hunt SM. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. West Publishing Company, New York, 1995 1995.


Vitamin K1


Vitamin K1 comes in two forms, Phylloquinone, the natural version of vitamin K1, and phytonadione, the synthetic form of vitamin K1. Vitamin K1, is a viscous oil, clear to amber in color, odorless, and fat soluble.

The name phylloquinone is given to natural occurring vitamin K1 because it is an indirect product of photosynthesis in plant leaves where it occurs in chloroplasts and participates in the overall photosynthetic process.

Vitamin K1 is commercially manufactured for medicinal use under several brand names (Phylloquinone, Phytonadione, AquaMEPHYTON, Mephyton, and Konakion). Vitamin K1 is used by the body to form prothrombin, which is a protein used in blood clotting. Additionally, vitamin K1 is used in synthesizing proteins needed in the formation of bones and cartilage.


The K group, which contains vitamins K1, K2, and K3, was discovered by Danish scientist Henrick Dam in 1929. During this time, Ham was studying cholesterol metabolism in young chickens. He noted a new deficiency syndrome in the young birds fed a fat deficient diet.

The characteristic features were a lengthened blood clotting time, anemia and hemorrhage. Ten years later, an American biochemist named Edward Doisy was able to extract the vitamin. Together with Henrick Dam, Edward Doisy won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1943.


Vitamin K1 is found primarily in fruits like kiwi and avocados, green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, and plants from the mustard family like kale, cabbage, and broccoli. Vitamin K1 is also found in cow milk, cheeses, canola and olive oil, eggs, and cereals. Cooking does not remove significant amounts of vitamin K from these foods.
vitamin k1 health benefits
Vitamin K1 can also be found in a wide variety of supplements, from multi vitamins, to injections, to creams. Vitamin K1 cream is often used in diminishing bruising and in stimulating the healing process. If you take an anticoagulant, be sure to avoid vitamin supplements with vitamin K1.

Vitamin K1 injections are used primarily in newborns as they are susceptible to a deficiency in vitamin K1. Injections of vitamin K1 can be used in treating bleeding and clotting diseases, adult vitamin K deficiencies, and other problems. Vitamin K1 pills are used to treat the same conditions as the injections, except in the case of newborns.

Vitamin K1 and Health

Vitamin K1 used topically has been used as a treatment for rosacea, in alleviating under eye circles, and diminish bruising and spider veins. Vitamin K1 has been tested and shown to reduce the risk of hip fracture.

Data from the 1998 Nurses Health Study found that women who eat lettuce more often has a significantly lower risk of hip fracture than those women who consumed smaller amounts of lettuce.

There are some indications that vitamin K1 may decrease the incidence or severity of osteoporosis and slow bone loss. A recent study in June of 2009 concluded that vitamin K1 helps in slowing down the hardening of arteries in those afflicted with the condition. The study showed that taking 500 micrograms of vitamin K1 a day slowed the coronary artery calcification (CAC).

Vitamin K1 has been shown to treat the following conditions: Bleeding Prophylaxis, Coumarin Toxicity, Hemorrhage, Hemorrhage Disease of the Newborn (HDN), Liver cancer, Kidney stones, Thrombosis, Osteopenia, Hemorrhage Disease of the Newborn (HDN) Prophylaxis, Hypoprothrombinemia, and Osteoporosis Prophylaxis. If you are prone to bruising or if you are pregnant you may consider taking a vitamin K supplement.

Levels of Vitamin K

In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences established the following Adequate Intake (AI) levels for vitamin K:

  • Males and females, 0-6 months: 2 micrograms
  • Males and females, 7-12 months: 2.5 micrograms
  • Males and females, 1-3 years: 30 micrograms
  • Males and females, 4-8 years: 55 micrograms
  • Males and females, 9-13 years: 60 micrograms
  • Males and females, 14-18 years: 75 micrograms
  • Males, 19 years and older: 120 micrograms
  • Females, 19 years and older: 90 micrograms
  • Pregnant or lactating females, 18 years and younger: 75 micrograms
  • Pregnant or lactating females, 19 years and older: 90 micrograms


A deficiency in vitamin K1 results when the body is unable to absorb the vitamin in the intestinal track. The average diet contains enough vitamin K1 and vitamin K1 deficiency is rare in adults. Typically, a deficiency in vitamin K1 is due to impaired absorption rather than a poor diet.

New born infants have an increased risk of a vitamin K1 deficiency. In the United States, the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that 0.5 to 1.0 milligrams of vitamin K1 be administered to all newborn infants shortly after birth. A vitamin K1 deficiency in newborn infants can cause hematomas, risk of uncontrolled bleeding, and birth defects such as underdeveloped nose, face, bones, and fingers.

Others with a risk of vitamin K deficiency include individuals who suffer from liver damage or disease, those who have undergone digestive track surgery, people who have problems with their gallbladder, pancreas, or liver function, those with cystic fibrosis inflammatory bowel diseases, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, bulimics, individuals on stringent diets, and people taking anticoagulants. Blood tests to measure clotting may be done to help confirm a diagnosis of vitamin K1 deficiency.

Vitamin K Controversy

Newborn infants routinely receive a vitamin K1 injection after birth in order to prevent (or slow) a rare problem of bleeding into the brain weeks after birth. The fetus has low levels of vitamin K1 as well as other factors needed in clotting. Supplementation of vitamin K1 to the pregnant mother does not change the K1 status of the fetus, confirming the importance of its specific levels.

Towards the end of gestation, the fetus begins developing some of the other clotting factors, developing two key factors just before term birth. It has recently been shown that vitamin K1 is involved in regulating the rate of cell division in the fetus. In the 1990s two studies suggested the possibility that abnormally high levels of vitamin K1 could have the potential to cause to cancer.

In 2000, these studies were reexamined and found to contain poor methods and small sample sizes and was discredited. Many parents, however, still question the use of vitamin K1 injections in their newborn infants.

Vitamin K1 and Animals

Just as in humans, animals can develop vitamin K1 deficiencies. In animals, deficiencies of vitamin K1 can lead to blood clotting issues and bleeding diseases. Deficiencies of vitamin K1 typically are caused by poisoning by arsenic (rat poison).

Arsenic can inhibit the formation of vitamin K1 and interfere with its clotting abilities. Other causes of vitamin K deficiencies in animals are liver disease, which results in poor absorption of vitamin K1 and medications containing high doses of warfarin. Vitamin K1 injections and pills are used in treating animals deficient in vitamin K1 and is obtained through a prescription from a veterinarian.

Toxicity and side effects:

There is no known toxicity associated with large doses of vitamin K1. High intake of vitamin K is not recommended for individuals taking anticoagulant medications such as Warfarin. Side effects are very rare and may include flushing, or redness of the face, dizziness, chest pain/tightening of the chest, fast heart rate, decreased appetite and movement in infants, skin rashes, and profuse sweating.

Drug interactions:

Drugs that may affect the intake of vitamin K1 are:

  • warfarin (Coumadin)
  • mineral oil, orlistat (Xenical)
  • cholestyramine (Questran, Prevalite)
  • a salicylate such as aspirin (Ascriptin, Bayer, etc)
  • choline salicylate and/or magnesium salicylate (Magan, Doan’s, Bayer Select Backache Pain Formula, etc)
  • salsalate (Disalcid)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil,etc), ketoprofen (Orudis, Orudis KT, Oruvail)
  • naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Aleve)
  • diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam)
  • nabumetone (Relafen)
  • oxaprozin (Daypro)
  • piroxicam (Feldene)
  • etodolac (Lodine)
  • fenoprofen (Nalfon)
  • flurbiprofen (Ansaid)
  • indomethacin (Indocin)
  • ketorolac (Toradol)
  • sulindac (Clinoril)
  • tolmetin (Tolectin)

Be sure to always consult with your doctor before taking any medication with vitamin K1.

Nutrient Interactions

Research on nutrient-nutrient interactions with vitamin K has traditionally focused on the major fat-soluble vitamins – specifically vitamins A, E, and D. Unfortunately, this research has given rather mixed results.

Those undergoing treatment with anticoagulant drugs have been shown to have their anticoagulant therapy and their vitamin K1 levels impacted by high doses of vitamin E. For this reason, intake of both vitamin K1 and vitamin E for individuals undergoing treatment with anticoagulant medications needs to be determined with the help of a healthcare provider.

In healthy individuals, high intake of vitamin has no noticeable interactions with vitamin K1 levels. However, under some circumstances, higher supplement intake of vitamin E (above 1,000 milligrams) has been shown to interfere with vitamin K1 function and, in some cases, to promote hemorrhaging.

Calcium Metabolism

Since calcium metabolism can be greatly affected by both vitamin D and vitamin K1, researchers suspect some key interactions between these two fat-soluble vitamins. However, the exact nature of this interaction has yet to be determined.

Similar to the research on vitamin E in food, no food intake of vitamin A has been show to compromise vitamin K1 level. Excess supplemental intake of vitamin A (in its retinol form), however, has been shown to interfere with the vitamin K-related clotting ability of the blood (and to cause a condition called hypothrombinemia). The amount of vitamin A triggering this potential problem with vitamin K1 level in adults is typically 10,000 IU (3,000 micrograms) or higher.

Article references:



Beta Carotene

Beta  Carotene or B  Carotene

Beta carotene is a vitamin A precursor that is produced by many different species of plants. It belongs to a group of chemicals known as carotenes, which are themselves part of a larger chemical group called carotenoids. beta-carotene, sometimes written as b carotene, is also known as provitamin A. Vitamin A, which can be synthesized from its provitamin, may sometimes be called retinol.

Carotenes belong to a large group of chemicals known as carotenoids. Carotenoids are all strongly colored red, yellow and orange pigments. They are fat or lipid soluble and are found in many different types of fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are also antioxidants.

Chemical Makeup

A carotene is a type of chemical that was first discovered in the 19th Century after being isolated from carrots. There are three types of carotene that can be used by the human body to produce Vitamin A: alpha, beta and gamma carotenes. Since they are not themselves vitamins, but can be converted into a vitamin, the carotenes are considered to be precursors or provitamins.
using beta carotene
The chemical that can be produced from the carotenes, vitamin A, is an essential nutrient that plays a role in vision and growth. A vitamin A deficiency can be seriously harmful, and may even lead to death, although it can be cured by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain high levels of beta-carotene.

Carotenes are produced by plants, but although they are necessary as vitamin precursors in animals, they must be obtained from food since animals cannot synthesize carotenes for themselves.

Animals can produce vitamin A, however, and it is therefore possible to get vitamin A directly from the diet rather than having to manufacture it from beta-carotene. Beta or b carotene is the most common form of carotene.


All carotenoids are based upon a chain of hydrocarbons. This is made up of small units of isoprene. In beta-carotene, there are eight isoprene units, which form beta cycles at either end. This means that the units on the ends of the molecule are twisted around into circles.

The exact molecular structure of beta-carotene was discovered in the early 1930s. This was the first time that the structure of any vitamin or vitamin precursor had been established.

The orange color of a carotenoid is produced by the long chain of isoprene units. This is because the hydrocarbon chain absorbs light in the blue and green ranges, but reflects back red and yellow light. Only the reflected light is seen by the observer. beta-carotenes are found in orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for the color of these foods.

There are also beta-carotenes present in many green vegetables and leaves, but the orange color of the beta-carotenes is hidden by the green color of the chlorophyll. The leaves of deciduous trees turn orange before they fall because the chlorophyll in them has been broken down, leaving only the color of the carotenes.

During the 1950s, scientists began to develop techniques for artificially synthesizing beta-carotene. This led to the production of synthetic beta-carotene supplements and food colorings.

B carotene and Vitamin A

beta-carotenes are converted by the body into vitamin A or retinol. beta-carotene is converted into retinol, which is necessary for the eyesight. Retinol is converted into retinoic acid, which is used for growth and cell division. The functions of beta-carotenes in the body are therefore the same as those of vitamin A, since beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A before being used.

Beta-carotene is usually converted into vitamin A by gradually breaking down the beta-carotene molecule from one end, but it can also be converted by splitting the molecule in two. The conversion takes place within the cells that make up the small intestine. An enzyme called beta-carotene dioxygenase carries out the process.

Once vitamin A has been produced, it needs to be stored until it is required. It is first converted into retinyl esters, and is then transported through the body in the lymphatic system and blood. The vitamin A that is produced from the breakdown of beta-carotene is mainly stored in the liver in the form of retinyl esters. Some retinyl esters are also stored in the kidneys, lungs and adipose fat tissue, but between 50 and 80 percent of stored vitamin A is found in the liver.


Vitamin A is essential for vision. The body converts vitamin A or retinol, through an oxidization reaction, into retinal. This is combined with an opsin protein in order to produce a light sensitive molecule. When one of these molecules is hit by a photon of light, the retinal component changes its shape, setting off a sequence of events that will eventually lead to a signal being sent to the visual part of the brain through the optic nerve, where it will be decoded as vision. Retinal is responsible for the ability to detect light and therefore to see.

There are two different types of light sensitive cell in the eye, and they use different chemicals in which to see. Rhodopsin is present in the light receptors known as rods, whereas a different chemical called Iodopsin is used by the cone cells. Rods are most effective in dim light, while cones provide color vision. Both types of receptors depend upon the ability of retinal to react to light.

Vitamin A also performs some other functions in the body. It is used in the production of some glycoproteins, which are protein molecules to which carbohydrates have been attached. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in growth and bone development, reproduction and the maintenance of the skin and mucous membranes such as the lining of the mouth and nose.

These linings help to prevent infection by keeping out infectious agents from the digestive system, urinary tract and the respiratory system. The importance of vitamin A in the body is clear, since a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to abnormal development of the bones, reproductive disorders, a condition called xerophthalmia that caused the cornea of the eye to become dry, and even to death.


Most people will consume an adequate amount of beta-carotenes in their normal diet, but it is possible to suffer from a vitamin A deficiency when a poor diet does not provide enough vitamin A or the carotenes fro which it can be manufactured. A diet that contains low levels of beta-carotenes will not be harmful as long as enough vitamin A is being consumed in other food. A diet without enough vitamin A or beta-carotene will be harmful. If there is a deficiency of vitamin A, due to malnutrition or illness, it can be cured by eating beta-carotene rich foods.

The earliest symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency are visual problems in low light situations, dry hair and skin, fingernails that break easily and a lowered resistance to infection. The more serious signs of a vitamin A deficiency are anemia, abnormal bone development, and permanent damage to the eyes.

The retina may be injured badly enough to cause blindness. Even when there are no vitamin A deficiency symptoms, a person who is not getting enough vitamin A could suffer from an increased risk of developing diarrheal and respiratory infections and a decreased growth rate and bone development. Fertility can also be reduced.

Health Problems with Deficiency

A vitamin A deficiency can be very serious. It is rare in the US, where most people consume more than enough beta-carotene and vitamin A in their diet.

However, a deficiency in vitamin A is the most common cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide, and it affects people in more than half of the countries in the world. Low income families in Southeast Asia and Africa are most likely to be affected. It is the young children and pregnant women within these families who are most likely to suffer from vitamin A deficiencies.
beta carotene
Vitamin A is required at higher levels during pregnancy, and children have smaller stores of vitamin A in their livers than adults. An adult can have enough vitamin A in their liver to last for an entire year, but a child’s supply can only last for a few weeks at most.

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the highest risk of developing a vitamin A deficiency occurs during the third trimester, when both baby and mother require large amounts of vitamin A. If the mother is not receiving enough vitamin A during this period, she will suffer from night blindness, and may experience other symptoms. \

She may also have a higher risk of maternal mortality. It is not recommended for women who have a good, balanced diet to take vitamin A or beta-carotene supplements, however, since they are not necessary. Vitamin A supplements could even increase the chances of birth defects in the baby.

Deficiency in Children

Children who are not obtaining enough vitamin A are at risk of blindness and other visual impairments, and they are also more likely to catch serious diseases such as measles, or to suffer from diseases that can cause diarrhea. These illnesses can be fatal. A lack of vitamin A can also cause growth problems and defects in the development of the skeleton.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is estimated that there are 250 million children of preschool age who are suffering from a vitamin A deficiency, and that between 250,000 and 500,000 of these children are made blind because of this deficiency every year. Half of the children who go blind in this way will die within the next year.

It is possible to die from a vitamin A deficiency, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is possible to significantly decrease mortality rates by ensuring an adequate supply of vitamin A.

Cases in the US

In the US, cases of vitamin A deficiency are most likely to occur in patients who are elderly or who are suffering from chronic illnesses that can reduce the absorption of vitamin A and carotenes from the intestine. Patients who have inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD), pancreatic insufficiency or cystic fibrosis have an increased risk of vitamin A deficiency.

Vegans and people who suffer from alcoholism are also more likely to have a deficiency, due to decreased ingestion and absorption of vitamin A. Some cases of malnutrition do occur in the US, but these are more common overseas.

It is possible to treat a vitamin A deficiency by eating foods that contain beta-carotene or vitamin A, or by taking supplements of one of these chemicals.

If the diet contains too much beta-carotene, it can lead to the skin turning a yellowish color. It will not, however, cause an excess of vitamin A in the body. Some of the vitamin A that is produced but which is not currently needed will be stored in the liver, where it can remain for several years. Some will be stored in the fat tissue of the body. If there is a lot of beta-carotene in the diet, then it will not all be converted into vitamin A. An excess of vitamin A in the body would be harmful.

Traditional Beliefs

It is often said that carrots can help people to see in the dark. Since one of the symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency is night blindness, this belief clearly has some foundation in fact. Although eating carrots cannot enhance night vision above normal abilities it can prevent it from deteriorating by providing the precursor for vitamin A production.


beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are chemicals that can react with free radicals, which are highly reactive, charged molecules. Free radicals are produced by the body during respiration or energy production and can cause damage that in involved in the ageing process and cancer. It may be possible for antioxidants in food to protect the body from this sort of damage, but there is no definitive scientific proof that eating foods containing high levels of antioxidants can actually help to protect the body.

Medicinal Uses

beta-carotene has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for erythropoietin protoporphyria. This is an inherited condition that is very rare. It causes problems in the metabolism of the chemical porphyrin-heme. This can lead to photosensitivity, with the skin reacting painfully to light, dysfunction of the liver, and production of gallstones. Patients are treated with an over the counter beta-carotene supplement, and may also need to take antihistamines.

Consuming beta-carotene and other carotenoids can help to prevent a vitamin A deficiency, but a diet that is rich in carotenoids is not necessary as long as there is plenty of vitamin A in the diet. There is therefore no recommended intake of carotenoids according to the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board.

The American Heart Association, among other health groups such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) advise that people should obtain beta-carotene from a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables rather than by taking dietary supplements.

Some of the scientific research that has been conducted on beta-carotene treatment has not yet produced clear results. These treatments have not yet been proven to be successful, but neither have they been proven unsuccessful.

Potential Uses

These potential uses for beta-carotene are as treatments for cataract prevention, reducing the adverse side effects of chemotherapy, treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), improving cognition and memory, preventing asthma attacks that are induced by physical activity, enhancing the immune system, promoting remission in patients with oral leukoplakia, preventing and slowing the progression of osteoarthritis, treating polymorphous light eruption (PLE), reducing the risk of sunburn and UV induced erythema, and reducing complications during pregnancy. Further research may clarify the effect of beta-carotene on these conditions.

beta-carotene has also been tested as a treatment for a number of other conditions for which it was not found to be helpful.

Potential Side Effects

There was even some evidence that it could be harmful when used in patients with these conditions, particularly if beat carotene was a replacement for other more beneficial therapies. beta-carotene was not found to be effective for the prevention or treatment of Alzhemier’s disease or abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), preventing the development of new moles on the skin, preventing cancer or cardiovascular disease, eradicating the bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers (Helicobacteria pylori), preventing or slowing macular degeneration, preventing stroke, or reducing injuries following surgery.

Taking supplements of beta-carotene was also found to have no effect on overall mortality rates. There is some evidence that beta-carotene may be harmful in patients who have undergone angioplasty.

Sources of Beta-Carotene

beta-carotene occurs naturally in many plants. It is found in green vegetables and fruit and vegetables that are orange or yellow. Spinach, broccoli, carrots, red peppers, nectarines, melons and mangoes are all good sources of beta-carotenes.

A diet that includes five portions of fruit and vegetables every day will provide between 6 and 8 milligrams of beta-carotene per day. A healthy body can maintain adequate levels of vitamin A with just 1800 micrograms of beta-carotene, therefore it is rare for a diet to be deficient in carotenes. There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for beta-carotenes, due to a lack of evidence on its importance, but the RDA for vitamin A is 0.9 milligrams per day for an adult man and 0.7 milligrams a day for an adult woman. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding require a higher daily intake.

Vitamin A can also be consumed directly, rather than as its precursor, beta-carotene. Egg yolks, dairy products and fish oils all contain high levels of vitamin A. Liver is also rich in this vitamin, and in fact, the liver of the polar bear contains such large amounts of vitamin A that it is poisonous to humans.


beta-carotene is available as a dietary supplement. It can be manufactured synthetically or derived from fungi, algae or palm oil. Supplements of beta-carotene can be taken in a number of different forms, including gelatin capsules, tablets and chewable tablets.

There is some scientific evidence that consuming too much beta-carotene in the form of supplements may be harmful. A study found that there was an increased risk of developing lung cancer when people who were exposed to other risk factors for the disease, such as smoking or working in an environment where they were exposed to asbestos, took beta-carotene supplements.

There is no evidence of what the effect may be on non-smokers and people who are not already at an elevated risk of lung cancer, but it is possible that taking supplements of beta-carotene could be harmful. No similar effect has been detected when beta-carotene is eaten in food.

This means that it is important, when taking beta-carotene supplements, to avoid consuming too much beta-carotene. The UK Food Standards Agency advises against exceeding a dose of 7 milligrams of beta-carotene a day. Doctors may recommend taking a higher dose than this in some cases, but this is only when there is a serious deficiency that needs to be corrected. Anyone who is a smoker or who has been exposed to asbestos should avoid taking supplements of beta-carotene.

Absorbing Beta-Carotene

In order to absorb beta-carotene, the body must use some of the fat that has been eaten. This means that when beta-carotene is taken as a supplement, it will require some dietary fat in order to be absorbed by the body. No difference has been found in the absorption rate between individuals consuming a low fat or a high fat diet, however, since the amount of fat that is required is very low.

In order to absorb beta-carotene, the body must use some of the fat that has been eaten. This means that when beta-carotene is taken as a supplement, it will require some dietary fat in order to be absorbed by the body. No difference has been found in the absorption rate between individuals consuming a low fat or a high fat diet, however, since the amount of fat that is required is very low.

Elevated levels of vitamin A in the body can be harmful, causing problems with the bones that may lead to an increased risk of experiencing fractures in old age. Although beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A it does not pose a similar risk. The body is not efficient enough at turning beta-carotenes into vitamin A for a high intake of beta-carotenes to cause high enough levels of vitamin A to harm the body.

Food Coloring

In addition to being manufactured as a dietary supplement, beta-carotenes are produced and used as colorings in food products.




D2 (Ergosterol, Ergocalciferol)

Vitamin D is present in numerous sources of food, such as cod liver oils, fish, eggs and fortified milk. The sun is also responsible for contributing a significant level of vitamin D to a daily production, and it is believed that obtaining just ten minutes of sun exposure is enough to prevent a person from developing deficiencies in vitamin D.

The term “vitamin D” does not technically refer to a single type of vitamin, but rather, it refers to several different kinds. Two forms in particular are of the most importance with regards to human: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D2 (cholecalciferol). The former kind of vitamin D is synthesized by plants, whereas the latter kind of vitamin D is synthesized by humans upon the exposure of ultraviolet-B rays directly from the sunlight onto the skin. Some foods may be fortified with both kinds of vitamin D.
d2 deficiencies
The primary biological function that vitamin D has is to make sure the blood have normal levels of phosphorus and calcium in it. It is also capable of aiding with the absorption of calcium, which allows bones to remain strong and for the strong bones to form in the first place.

In recent times, it has been suggested by research that vitamin D may prove to be beneficial in protecting people from several autoimmune diseases, cancer, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Two Known Cases

Osteromalacia and rickets are the two classic cases of deficiency of vitamin D. When children experience a deficiency of vitamin D, they will typically develop rickets, the end result of which is a deformity in the skeletal system.

Adults who allow themselves to become deficient in vitamin D will likely develop osteomalacia, the end result of which is weakness in the muscles and the bones becoming weaker than normal.

Those who are at a high risk for developing deficiencies of vitamin D are those who are elderly, are an obese individual, are infants who are exclusively breastfed, and are regularly limited from sun exposure.

Other people at risk are those who have cystic fibrosis, or any other malabsorption syndrome or those who have an inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease.


Vitamin D is known by many names, including:

  • 1 alpha D3
  • 19-nor-1
  • 1 alpha-hydroxyvitamin D2
  • 1,25-DHCC
  • 1,25-dihydroxy-22-ovavitamin D3
  • 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3
  • 1,25-diOHC
  • 1,25 2D3
  • 1-alpha-hydroxycholecalciferol
  • 22-oxacalcitriol
  • 25-dihydroxyvitamin D2
  • 25-dihydroxyvitamin D2
  • 25-HCC
  • 25-hydroxycholecalciferol
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D3
  • 25-OHCC
  • 25-OHD3
  • activated 7-dehydrocholesterol
  • activated ergosterol
  • alfacalcidol, calcifediol
  • calcipotriene
  • calcipotriol
  • calcitriol
  • cholecalciferol
  • colecalciferol
  • dichysterol
  • dihydrotachysterol 2
  • dihydrotachysterol
  • ecocalcidiol
  • ED-21
  • ED-71
  • ergocalciferol
  • ergocalciferolum
  • hexafluoro-1
  • 25dihydroxyvitamin D3
  • irradiated ergosterol
  • MC903
  • paracalcin
  • paricalcitol
  • viosterol
  • vitamin D2 and
  • vitamin D3


Familial Hypophosphatemia

Familiar hypohosphatemia, which is the instance of the blood having low levels of phosphate, is a disorder that is both rare and inherited, which consists of the transport of phosphate being impaired in the blood, as well as the vitamin D metabolism present within the kidneys being diminished. Familial hypophosphatemia is a known kind of rickets. Familial hypophosphatemia suffers are able to take phosphate supplements, in addition to dihydrotachysterol or calcitriol in order to effectively treat some of their bone disorders. However, management should be made beneath the supervision of a physician.

Fanconi syndrome related hypophosphatemia

Fanconi syndrome, associated with renal tubular acidosis, is a defect associated with the proximal tubules within the kidney. Taking oral dosages of ergocalciferol has been found to be useful towards treating instances of hyophosphatemia that is associated with the presence of Fanconi syndrome.

Hyperparathyroidism Associated With Low Levels of Vitamin D

Some patients who have low levels of the essential vitamin D may find themselves with secondary hyperparathyroidism. As people may expect, the necessary and initial treatment for resolving this issue is to supplement a person with vitamin D. It is commonly recommended to have surgical removal of the parathyroid glands in those who have either refractory or primary hyperparathyroidism, however. There are some studies which suggest the supplementing a person with vitamin D should reduce the occurrence of hypoparathyroidism that may follow an instance of surgery in order to treat primary hyperparathyroidism, whether the parathyroid glands were partially or wholly removed.

Hypocalcemia Resulting From Hypoparathyroidism

It is rare to experience hypoparathyroidism, or having low levels of the parathyroid hormone in the blood, and it usually only occurs after removing the parathyroid glands through surgery. Taking in large doses of calcitriol, dihyrotachysterol or ergocalciferol may help with increasing concentrations of serum calcium in people who suffer from pseudohypoparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism.

Osteomalactia, or Adult Rickets

Adults that allow their levels of vitamin D to sink far enough below to undergo severe deficiency turn out to develop osteomalacia, the loss of mineral content in the bones, the weakness of bone muscle and pain in the bones. Elderly people who do not have enough vitamin D in their diets, those who do not get an adequate amount of sun exposure, those who have an inability to absorb vitamin D, those with kidney disease and renal osteodystrophy, those who have had intestinal or gastric and those who have had a bone disease due to aluminum are all at risk of developing osteomalacia. The underlying cause of the osteomalacia ultimately determines what the best course of treatment is. For the most part, it involves taking phosphate binding agents, vitamin D, orthopedic surgical intervention and controlling the pain.


There are a few different ways to treat the different forms of psoriasis skin plaques. A couple of the more mild approaches might include stress reduction, light therapy, moisturizers or even salicylic acid in order to remove the areas where scaly skin develops. In cases that are a little more severe, it may be necessary to include treatments of retinoids, such as isotretinoin (Accutane), UV-A light, corticosteroids, psoralen plus UV-A light or cyclosporine. Vitamin D3 appears to be able to control the growth of skin cells and is thus used when skin plaques are moderately severe.

Uses Based Upon Theory and Tradition

The uses as described below are based upon studies and tradition. Because some of these conditions may be very serious, it is important to first consult a doctor prior to taking any vitamin D for treatment.

  • Actinic keratosis;
  • Alzheimer’s disease that results in fractures of the hip;
  • Ankylosing spondylitis;
  • Autoimmune disorders;
  • Graves disease;
  • Hyperparathyroidism, particularly in renal dialysis;
  • Hypocalcemia;
  • Hypocalcemic tetany;
  • Kidney transplant causing bone loss;
  • Metabolic disorders;
  • Nervous system disorders, such as hemichorea;
  • Osteitis fibrosa through dialysis;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Scleroderma;
  • Squamous cell carcinoma;
  • Systemic lupus erthematosus;
  • Vaginal disorders; and
  • Vitiligo.


Adults (over 18 years old)

Most multivitamins have vitamin D included in them, and it is usually in strengths ranging from 50 IU to 1,000 IU when they are in tablets, softgels, liquids and capsules. The following levels of AI, or Adequate Intake, have been established herein by the United States Institute of Medicine.

It is recommended for all individuals, whether male, female, lactating or pregnant, to take in 5 micrograms of vitamin D on a daily basis, which also amounts of 200 IU. This only applies to those under the age of 50 years. Individuals who are between the ages of 50 years and 70 years should consider taking 10 micrograms on a daily basis, which also amounts to 400 IU. Those who are over the age of 70 years are recommended to take 15 micrograms on a daily basis, which also amounts to 600 IU per day.

There have been some authors who questioned the validity of these results, stating uncertainly with whether or not it is sufficient to meet with a person’s physiological needs, especially if they are an individual that does not regularly expose themselves to the sun adequately. The upper limit for obtaining vitamin D has been recommended to be 2,000 IU on a daily basis, based on reported toxicities with higher dosages.

Not all listed doses have previously been proven to be affective for certain conditions. However, in an oral dosage of 400 – 800 IU per day, ergocalciferol has previously been used to treat and prevent osteoporosis.

Children (under 18 years old)

It is recommended for newborns and children of all ages to take only five micrograms on a daily basis, which amounts to 200 IU per day. Children who are older than a year should not take more than the upper limit for their age, which is 50 micrograms on a daily basis, which amounts to 2,000 IU per day. Children who are below the age of one year are recommended to not exceed the maximum limit of 25 micrograms on a daily basis, which amounts to 1,000 IU per day.
d2 uses
It is potentially unsafe to take vitamin D in excess amounts orally, with potentially advertise affects such as high levels of calcium in the blood, or hypercalcemia.

There have been some authors who questioned the validity of these results, stating uncertainly with whether or not it is sufficient to meet with a person’s physiological needs, especially if they are an individual that does not regularly expose themselves to the sun adequately.

A review from 2008 has recommended that all infants and children, as well as all adolescents, should only take 400 IU on a daily basis based on evidence resulting from historical precedence and current, new clinical trials.


The United States Federal Drug and Food Administration is not known to strictly regulate the usage of herbs or supplements. There is no way to guarantee any strength or purity based on the usage thereof. Prior to beginning any new therapies, it is recommended to consult a physician.


Anybody who is known to have a hypersensitivity to vitamin D or its derivatives or analogues should avoid taking it.

Side Effects and Warnings

With the recommended AI dosages, vitamin D is mostly well tolerated, though a study found that patients who took vitamin D analogues did experience a greater likelihood in experiencing daytime sleepiness.

It is possible to experience toxicity when regularly taking excess dosages of vitamin D. The end result may include excess bone loss or hypercalcemia. Those who have kidney disease, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, hyperparathyroidism or histoplasmosis are at especially high risk. Pre-existing instances of chronic hypercalcemia should be managed by a doctor due to its potential to lead to serious or life threatening complications.

Early symptoms of this condition may include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, excess thirst, excess urination, fatigue, weakness, somnolence, dry mouth, headache, tinnitus, vertigo and ataxia. Function of the kidneys may become impaired and there may be an instance of calcium being deposited into several organs, which will also affect the kidneys. The necessary treatment for these is to stop taking calcium or vitamin D and to lower the levels of calcium under only the strictest medical supervision. It may be necessary to use corticosteroids and to acidify urine.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

It is recommended for pregnant women to take the same level of vitamin D as if they were not pregnant. There have been some authors who felt that pregnant women should take in more vitamin D, especially if sun deprived, but this has yet to be clearly established. Discuss higher doses of vitamin D with a physician due to the risk of vitamin D toxicity.

Maternal milk does not have much vitamin D to it, so it may be necessary to supplement an exclusively breastfed infant for the first two months of life in order to prevent vitamin D deficiency.