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The Nutrition InvestigatorThe health and nutrition blog by Dr. Roc Ordman.

Other Products Called Vitamins

by Roc (click here for full post)

Other products called vitamins

The 10th edition of the Recommended Daily Allowances (National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1989, Chapter 12) describes “other substances in food” besides those clearly established to be vitamins and important minerals. Those “nutrients essential for some animals but not proved to be required by normal humans” include several classes of moleculars. Organic molecules include choline[made a vitamin in the 2000 Daily Values report], taurine, carnitine, and myo-inositol. Trace elements include arsenic, nickel, silicon, boron, cadmium, lead, lithium, tin, vanadium, and cobalt. Growth factors and coenzymes include polyamines, nucleotides, quinones, asparagine, bifidus factor, biopterin, chelating agents, cholesterol, coenzyme Q, hematin, lecithin, lipoic acid, nerve-growth factors, p-aminobenzoic acid, various peptides and proteins, pimelic acid, and pteridines. For these substances, there may be on-going research to determine if they are useful, but the evidence remains sketchy – it is unclear whether they are useful or safe.

“No essential nutrient function in animals or plants has ever been reported in reliable scientific literature for most other organic chemicals occurring naturally in foods or otherwise endogenously synthesized”, that is made naturally. Most of the above minerals function in trace quantities that one obtains from drinking tap water. Most of the above organic molecules are made naturally. So it is probably unwise to take these items in supplement form – they should all be obtained from a healthy diet. It is wise to be highly suspicious of any compound that has unbelievable claims provided by someone trying to sell you a product, especially if the claim is based on anecdotal evidence, such as “expert” testimonials.

On the other hand, there is a lot of excellent research going on which shows that various metabolites decrease with age, including compounds like human growth hormone, DHEA, melatonin, alpha-lipoic acid, and carnitine. There is evidence accumulating that restoring these substances to youthful levels through supplementation may have wonderful benefits. The question is, until enough evidence accumulates to demonstrate that these substances are safe and proven likely to provide long-term benefits, do you want to be the guinea pig on which they are tested? Those who tried silicone breast implants and phen-fen probably wish that they had waited until those products were truly “safe and proven”. The goal at this site is to provide the accumulating evidence. Once the evidence is judged compelling, Personal Health Corporation will have a suitable product available. Until then, lots of other companies will sell it to you, and you be the guinea pig.

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