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Vitamins Glossary

Vitamins Glossary


The human body uses biotin every day to metabolize the key elements of protein: carbohydrates, fats and amino acids.  Biotin is essential to the proper health of your skin, hair, nerves, nails, digestive tract, metabolism and cells.  If you are biotin deficient, you might be experiencing the loss of your hair, scaly dry skin, cracking in the corners of the mouth (a condition known as “cheilitis”), a painful, swollen tongue that’s magenta in color (called “glossitis”), dry eye, poor appetite, difficulty sleeping and even depression.

For type 2 diabetic patients or those who are experiencing problems with the function of their kidneys, biotin could help decrease resistance to insulin and debilitating nerve symptoms.  Biotin deficiency can result from normal pregnancy, when it is a critical nutrient keeping embryonic cells growing on track for a healthy fetus.


Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid helps generate new, healthy cells in the body.  It is typically used to increase the blood levels of folate, which can cause anemia (low blood levels of iron) if not corrected.  Folic acid is also noted for its effect on the intestines and how well they absorb nutrients. Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, disease of the liver, the effects of alcoholism and even kidney disease.  For women, Folic acid is especially important in pregnancy, as many studies have shown that it is a significant factor in fetal brain or spine development.


Horsetail Extract (Silica)

Horsetail is a beautiful fern plant that thrives in marshland and is sometimes known as “bottlebrush” or “Equisetum arvense.”  From ancient times, the plant has been sought for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and its reputation has never faltered. This is because the leaves are simply packed with silicon dioxide (“silica”): a nutrient which is essential to the healthy maintenance of skin, tendons and bones. While not a magic “fountain of youth,” horsetail has important application in helping preserve a healthy, youthful appearance by strengthening nails, making wrinkles less apparent and thickening the appearance of thinning hair. As a known diuretic, horsetail can help with stones in the bladder or kidneys, infections of the urinary tract and other elimination problems.  Horsetail is known to slow the progression of balding and assist with patients suffering from tuberculosis, jaundice, hepatitis, brittle fingernails and gout.


Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Niacin has a wide range of general health benefits, helping functions in the digestive and nervous systems and skin. It also supports cardiovascular health when taken in sufficient doses, including boosting good HDL and lowering bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing arterial disease and reducing the risk of a second heart attack.  Niacin can be used in treating Alzheimer’s disease and age-related loss of cognition, depression, alcohol dependence and schizophrenia, among other diseases and symptoms.


Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid is a B vitamin used to process fats and carbohydrates for energy, manufacture red blood cells and produce sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands.  Healthy levels of panthothenic acid contribute to excellent digestion and absorption other vitamins such as riboflavin and Vitamin B2.  If you are deficient, you might experience vomiting, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, pain in the stomach and respiratory infections.


Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Riboflavin is essential for red blood cell production and other functions that help the body manufacture and process nutrients.  Low levels can lead to a lack of iron in the blood, or anemia, and can also result in other nutritional deficiencies. Riboflavin helps the body during digestion in breaking down fats, proteins and carbohydrates for energy production.  It has broad applications for supporting health conditions.


Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

Thiamin, an essential nutrient also known as vitamin B1, helps the body transform food into energy at the cellular level.  All body tissues require this essential nutrient for conversion into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that transports energy within cells.  While thiamin is found in a variety of foods, a thiamine deficiency can seriously impact the body’s nervous system, heart and mental function.  Those with certain diseases including alcoholism, Chrone’s disease and anorexia are more susceptible to thiamin deficiency.  Overconsumption of caffeine, raw fish and shellfish can also cause low thiamin levels.


Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is needed for everyday brain and nervous system development, and it assists in overall growth and function.  The vitamin helps the human body make neurotransmitters: chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another cell.  These include serotonin and norepinephrine, which are big mood influencers, and melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s internal clock.  Vitamin B6 also helps control the blood’s levels of homocysteine, which is an important amino acid that may possibly be associated with heart disease.


Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an important factor in the metabolism of the body, including the successful function of brain, blood cells, nerves, and many other aspects of the body.  Low levels of vitamin B12 are associated with a condition known as megaloblastic anemia, where red blood cells are abnormally enlarged.  A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can actually produce mental illnesses such as significant dementia, disturbance of mood and psychoses.  Other signs of B12 deficiency include ataxia, which products unsteady, shaky movements, weak muscles, spastic muscles, severe incontinence, low blood pressure (“hypotension”) and debilitating problems with vision. B12 is often used to help with loss of memory or reduction of memory ability, progressive Alzheimer’s disease, mood swings and lowered mood, a lack of energy, trouble with concentration, a compromised immune system and the effects of aging. It is known to assist in lowering homocysteine levels which may lead to heart disease, restoring male fertility, reducing diabetic symptoms, improving sleep, mitigating depression, staving off osteoporosis, reducing asthma symptoms.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that is critical in maintaining all body tissues, including their development, growth and repair, by protecting against any damage caused by free radical molecules.  It provides protection against the development and/or progression of cardiovascular disease, harmful immune system deficiencies, prenatal health problems and even eye disease. Some studies show some efficacy in reducing cancer risk and mitigating the effects of aging on the skin. The use of Vitamin C may reduce the risk of secondary complications like lung infections and pneumonia, which can arise from common colds and flu.  Vitamin C also assists with many core body functions, such as collagen formation, the proper absorption of iron, better immune system response, the swifter healing of wounds. Strong bones, cartilage and healthy teeth are also supported by Vitamin C.


Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 helps the body keep healthy levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, helping it build and maintain a strong, healthy bone structure. By improving bone health, there is a lessened chance of accidental fractures and reduced likelihood of developing osteoporosis later in life. It also plays a role in mitigating the development of cancer, high blood pressure and other diseases. D3 modulates cell growth, and is known to help with the functions of the neuromuscular and immune systems and reduce inflammation. There are many populations that experience lowered levels of D, including elderly or obese people, people who experience low levels of sun exposure, breastfed babies, and those that suffer from cystic fibrosis or inflammatory bowel disease.  Vitamin D deficiency can lead to debilitating childhood diseases such as rickets and adult maladies such as osteomalacia.



Zinc is a remarkable mineral with excellent antioxidant properties that to ensure healthy cells throughout the body. Without zinc, free radicals are free to cause physical and cosmetic aging, heart disease and cancer.  Zinc is essential to helping the body’s core functions such as the division and growth of cells, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.  It also boosts the immune system, improves reproductive function, generates healthy body growth, boosts sensory perception with taste, vision, and smell, improves blood clotting and thyroid function. Many studies have shown that zinc makes it less likely that you’ll catch a common cold and how long it might last.