All About Vitamins and Minerals

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This month’s blog comes courtesy of Fred Cordola. Thank you for the wise words and teaching with us in our Healthy Lifestyle Class.

vitamins and mineralsThere are 18 vitamins and 9 minerals. Each one has a specific task and plays an important part in keeping your body in homeostasis.

B vitamins are responsible for helping the body do many specific tasks. For instance, Vitamin B6 has been shown to rid the body of excess fluid, while Niacin has been shown to be a vasodilator and therefore helps open up blood vessels so you get better blood flow. Biotin is in the Vitamin B group and is know to help hair and nails, which is why it is in certain shampoos and skin products. Certain other B vitamins are known to repel mosquitoes. Yet another B vitamin, folic acid, has been shown to prevent neural tube damage in newborns and help lower Homocysteine. Of course, B 12 is typically used to increase energy. It is most effective as a sublingual or injection so it does not need to go into and be destroyed by stomach acid.

Vitamins in the antioxidant group are: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D. Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. They consume unwanted and unpaired factors of each cell.

So you can see, each vitamin plays a different role to keep your body “firing on all cylinders.” They, for the most part, should be in some sort of balance. That does not mean 50 or 500 milligrams of each daily, but rather the correct amount of each. When you wish to nourish a particular area, people sometimes increase the particular vitamin responsible for that area or the body. However, be careful with the quantities consumed of the four fat soluble vitamins that could build up in your liver: Vitamin A from fish oil (not beta carotene), Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Taking too much of these vitamins could cause liver damage. Fortunately though, you would have to take way over the suggested amounts to cause harm. All the other vitamins are water soluble and are excreted if not used by the body so overdosing is not a concern.

Minerals are another important player in helping the body stay balanced. For instance, Calcium helps contract muscles, while magnesium helps relax muscles. Some estimates show that 75% of the population is lacking sufficient amounts of magnesium. Since magnesium relaxes muscles, some take it at the first sign of muscle aches. If you ingest too much magnesium, you will soon find out due to a diarrhea episode. Iron of course is a mineral and responsible for helping red blood cells. Zinc is another mineral found in the eye and prostate gland, among other places.

The important thing to remember is that minerals are found in rocks. Since people do not digest rocks, I always suggest looking for minerals that say the words “amino acid chelated” or name the amino acids after the mineral name on the label. Food, especially meat, is made up of amino acids. Your body recognizes this as food and drags them and the mineral that they are attached to, into the body.

There is one old tale I need to discuss. Some think that any supplement that does not dissolve in water will not dissolve in the body. This is not necessarily true. Your stomach acid is much stronger than water. Most supplements must dissolve in a normal person’s stomach acid within 45 minutes.

Below are tables showing the RDA or minimum amounts of each vitamin and mineral. These amounts were established over 50 years ago mainly to protect against third world diseases. I personally consume 5000 mg or more than the RDA amounts on certain vitamins.

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Finally, there is a difference in what is sold in drug stores vs. what is sold in health food stores and healthy food chains. There are synthetic vitamins and natural vitamins; there are healthy high amounts and minimal amounts of vitamins and minerals; there are minerals sold that are still in the rock form and minerals that are chelated. It is truly “let the buyer beware” when it comes to purchasing nutritional supplements.

Fred Cordola’s interest in vitamins started as an associate for divisions of pharmaceutical companies. He has seen the inside workings of some major pharmaceutical companies, and became a pharmaceutical representative for a period in his life.

He was introduced to the nutritional supplement industry in 1989 when he accepted a sales position with one of the major companies in the industry. He spent 5 years with that company in Houston and decided to move to Dallas to open his own health food store. His store was open for 13 years. During that time in his life, he was a guest speaker at the Natural Products Association meetings in Las Vegas on two occasions, and served on the national board for three years. Fred also served as secretary treasurer for the southwestern division of the Natural Products Association for three years. He has studied vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathy, amino acids, and body systems from the true masters of the nutritional supplement industry.

Fred is now an independent manufacturer’s representative for Source Naturals, Planetary Herbals, and Quality of Life brands in the DFW area.