Water Soluble Vitamins And The Bodily Functions They Promote

8305 words - 34 pages

Water Soluble Vitamins and the Bodily Functions They Promote

Vitamins and mineral supplements are items that most people would think are good for their bodies. Unfortunately, this is only a half truth. There are many people that are not aware of the full ramifications of vitamins, minerals, and other non-energy yielding nutrients. You need vitamins and minerals, but in excess they can be poison.
Vitamin literally means “life, containing nitrogen.” (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 321). The first vitamins contained nitrogen, however vitamins that do not contain nitrogen are just as important to life. Vitamins, as well as minerals, are very important to living beings because they are the ...view middle of the document...

Vitamins’ primary role is being used in the formation of a co-enzyme. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 325) The co-enzyme which is formed will then assist enzymes in releasing usable energy from broken down lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 322) Without a corresponding co-enzyme, enzymes are unable to perform their jobs. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 325) In order to prevent this, Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) and Adequate Intakes (AI) have been established to help people prevent vitamin deficiency. It is unfortunate that mild deficiencies of vitamins are still experienced in North America due to poor food choice. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 347) These poor choices are usually influenced by economic status, substance abuse, poor health, or lack of information on the subject. Depending on these variables there is the risk of both primary and secondary deficiency.
Vitamins are also dependent on each other. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 346) One of the co-enzymes which Riboflavin becomes, FMN, is needed for the enzyme that makes the co-enzyme PLP out of Vitamin B6. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 345) Without niacin the body can’t break glucose down. This would effectively throw a “wrench” into the entire TCA cycle and stop energy metabolism, which would eventually kill the body. The actual roles, and non-abbreviated names, of the vitamin co-enzymes will also be reviewed later in the paper.
Vitamin deficiencies usually result in some sort of deficiency disease. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 347) Due to the nature of vitamin co-dependence (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 346), it is easy to understand that when symptoms of a deficiency disease manifest, there is usually one vitamin that is more deficient than many other vitamins. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 347) If the signs of deficiency are visible to diagnose, there is a good chance that undetected bodily deterioration is also taking place.
There have only been two cases of deficiency disease that have affected large numbers of human population adversely in the past. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 347) The first of the two, beriberi, was first observed in Indonesia when the act of polishing rice became popular. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 326) During the rice polishing process, the primary source of thiamin was removed which promoted thiamin deficiency. The second disease which fits in this category is pellagra. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 347) During the 1800’s pellagra was experienced in the U.S. South when their diet was primarily corn-based. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 330) Corn is not a source of niacin (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 332), and symptoms of pellagra began to occur as the people became increasingly deficient in the vitamin. Both of these diseases can cause death. Fortunately vitamin deficiency cases of such epidemic proportions are no longer experienced in North America. (Rolfes, Pinna, Whitney 347)
If the levels of water soluble vitamins reach a certain level it can change the normal environment...

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