F&Q Nutrient Breakdown

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VITAMINS

VITAMIN A

The nutritionally active form of Vitamin A is Retinol. Vitamin A is converted into Retinol and mainly stored in the liver. Of all of the sources of Vitamin A, beta-carotene is the most available and also the form that yields the highest amount of Vitamin A. There are many functions performed by Vitamin A, including promoting cellular growth and healing. Vitamin A has a variety of uses in basic tissue and health maintenance, in clinical treatment for a number of problems (some of which may be Vitamin A deficiency symptoms), and in the prevention of many illnesses and diseases. Vitamin A works better when there are sufficient body levels of zinc and an adequate intake of protein.

Beta-carotene may help protect the elderly from mental impairments. Research found that in a population of males and females from 55-95 years old, increased beta-carotene intake was associated with improved mental abilities.

In a placebo controlled study involving 218 patients with PMS, expressed as headache, agitation, irritation, depression and fatigue, patients received 200,000 –300,000 I.U. of Vitamin A daily. 48% of the patients experienced complete symptom relief, 41.2% had a partial effect, and 10.8 failed to improve.

100 female patients were administered Vitamin A at 50,000 I.U. twice per day (100,000 I.U. total/day) during the second half of their cycles with favorable results.

Another PMS study conducted with 30 patients using 200,000 I.U./day of Vitamin A was administered for a period of 2-6 months. The majority of the patients considerably improved. It was noted that the symptoms did not reoccur in the year following cessation of the vitamin therapy.

Vitamin A plasma level was reduced in depressive patients. In a study involving 202 healthy controls and 58 depressive patients, the depressive patients showed a significant decrease in serum Vitamin A levels when compared to the healthy controls.

Toxicity: Numerous studies have shown that Vitamin A is safe and has a low level of toxicity. “Approximately 10 to 15 cases of Vitamin A toxic reactions are reported per year in the United States, usually at doses greater than 100,000 IU/d. No adverse effects have been reported for beta- carotene.”

A study presented in 1996 in the Archives of Internal Medicine (an American Medical Association Journal) indicated “The mean time to intoxication is estimated to be 7 1/2 months at doses of 300,000 IU/d and 3 1/2 months for 500,000 IU/d for 70-kg person”.

There are studies using beta-carotene doses as high as 300,000 IU/d for over 15 years providing evidence of no adverse effects.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C has been proven to have a beneficial affect on cellular health. Studies have shown that vitamin C is used by approximately 35% of the US population. Linus Paulin, winner of two Nobel prizes (one in medicine), indicated that optimum levels of vitamin C are between 2,500 and 10,000 mg per day.

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato juice, and potatoes are major contributors of vitamin C to the American diet. Other good food sources include red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe.

Historically, vitamin C was used for preventing and treating scurvy. Scurvy is now relatively rare, but it was once common among sailors, pirates, and others who spent long periods of time onboard ships. When the voyages lasted longer than the supply of fruits and vegetables, the sailors began to suffer from vitamin C deficiency, which led to scurvy. In vitamin C research it was established that depression is the first clinical symptom of scurvy or vitamin C deficiency in humans.

It appears that vitamin C deficiency may have a role in mental disorders. Plasma vitamin C concentrations in psychiatric patients were measured in 885 patients in a psychiatric hospital and in 110 healthy controls. The average value of vitamin C was lower in the patients (0.51 mg/100 ml) than in the controls (0.87 mg/100 m1).

A double blind study involving 45 delinquent boys aged 16-18 at the Beaumont, Virginia School for boys was undertaken. The treatment group was administered 1 gram each of vitamin C and Niacin for a 6-week period. After the 6-week period the active group showed significant improvement while the placebo group showed minor improvement.

Groups at Risk of Vitamin C Inadequacy are: smokers and passive “smokers”, infants fed evaporated or boiled milk, individuals with limited food variety, people with malabsorption and certain chronic diseases.

Nervousness may be associated with deficiency in vitamin C. Based on repeated testing for plasma ascorbic acid levels, those found to be chronically deficient in vitamin C also demonstrated significant symptom levels on the Adjective Check List.

Toxicity of vitamin C is not an issue, given that there are so few case reports of adverse reactions (U.S. statistics) in a population where vitamin C is used so commonly.

Vitamin C tablets are commonly produced in 500 mg and 1000 mg sizes.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Think about vitamin D when you’re catching up on summer rays. The body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. All you need is 10 minutes a day of midday, pre-sunscreen sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin.

You can also get vitamin D through certain foods. Few foods contain vitamin D naturally (salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp), so it can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day. For many people, consuming vitamin D-fortified foods and, arguably, being exposed to some sunlight are essential for maintaining a healthy vitamin D status. Taking vitamin D supplements can help.

Groups at risk of vitamin D inadequacy are: breastfed infants, older adults, people with limited sun exposure, people with dark skin, people with inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions causing fat malabsorption, people who are obese or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery.

A diet deficient in vitamin D in conjunction with inadequate sun exposure causes osteomalacia (or rickets when it occurs in children), which is a softening of the bones. In the developed world, this is a rare disease. However, vitamin D deficiency has become a worldwide problem in the elderly and remains common in children and adults.

In January of 1937 a nine-year study was presented with 64 dogs and 773 humans. In the humans, vitamin D “doses routinely given ranged upward from 200,000 total daily dose for periods ranging from 7 days to 5 years. Both human subjects and dogs generally survived the administration of 20,000 I.U. per kilogram (14,5545,000 for 160 pound man) per day for indefinite period without intoxification.”

Other human studies using extreme doses of vitamin D were published in medical journals demonstrating safety. ” During four three-day periods, vitamin D was given beginning with a dose of 200,000 I.U. per day. This was increased by 200,000 I.U. during each of the two succeeding three-day periods. During the last period, each patient received 1,000,000 I.U. per day. None of the patients showed signs of toxicity. During the last three days there ensued an increase in appetite and the patients had less discomfort. There was neither loss of weight nor marked change in the clinical picture. The blood pressure remained normal.”

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in eight different forms. Each form has its own biological activity, which is the measure of potency or functional use in the body Alpha-tocopherol (a-tocopherol) is the name of the most active form of vitamin E in humans. It is also a powerful biological antioxidant. Vitamin E in supplements is usually sold as alpha-tocopheryl acetate, a form of alpha-tocopherol that protects its ability to function as an antioxidant. The synthetic form is labeled “D, L” while the natural form is labeled “D”. The synthetic form is only half as active as the natural form.

Antioxidants such as vitamin E act to protect your cells against the effects of free radicals, which are potentially damaging by-products of energy metabolism. Free radicals can damage cells and may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Studies are underway to determine whether vitamin E, through its ability to limit production of free radicals, might help prevent or delay the development of those chronic diseases. Vitamin E has also been shown to play a role in immune function, in DNA repair, and other metabolic processes. Vitamin E is most commonly found in foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals.

In an extensive review of available animal and human data, Bendich and colleagues concluded that vitamin E supplementation resulted in few adverse effects, even at doses as high as 3200 mg/day. Numerous studies have been also completed using high doses of vitamin E.

VITAMIN B1

Vitamin B1, which is also called thiamine, is a nutrient with a critical role in maintaining a healthy central nervous system. Adequate thiamine levels can dramatically affect mental functions by helping us maintain a positive mental attitude and by enhancing our learning abilities. Conversely, inadequate levels of B1 can lead to eye weakness, mental confusion, and loss of physical coordination.

Vitamin B1 is required for the production of hydrochloric acid, for forming blood cells, and for maintaining healthy circulation. It also plays a key role in converting carbohydrates into energy, and in maintaining good muscle tone of the digestive system and the heart.

Like all the B vitamins, B1 is a water soluble nutrient that cannot be stored in the body, but must be replenished on a daily basis. B1 is also synergistic, meaning that it is most effective when taken in a balanced complex of the other B vitamins.

A chronic deficiency of thiamin will lead to a beriberi, a devastating and potentially deadly disease of the central nervous system. Due to improved diets and widespread use of inexpensive supplements, beriberi is extremely rare in the developed nations, with one important exception. Beriberi symptoms are frequently found in chronic alcoholics due to the destructive effect alcohol has on B1. Thiamine levels can also be affected by ingestion of antibiotics, sulfa drugs, caffeine, antacids, and oral contraceptives. A diet high in carbohydrates can also increase ones need for B1.

“In the years 1994-1997, 9 patients with no history of alcohol abuse presented with acute signs of ophthalmoplegia or nystagmus and ataxia which resolved within 48 h after intravenous thiamine”.

In a study of 20 patients involving biochemical evidence of thiamine deficiency related to “junk” food diets, especially the adolescents, were impulsive, highly irritable, aggressive, sensitive to criticism, and angered easily.

Anxiety may be associated with a B vitamin deficiency. In 12 agoraphobic patients 7 were found to be deficient in thiamine, 6 in pyridoxine, 3 in niacin and 3 in vitamin B12.

Food sources high in thiamin include dried beans, eggs, brewers yeast, whole grains, brown rice, and seafood. In supplemental form, B1 is generally found in a combination with vitamins B2, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. There are no known toxic effects from vitamin B1, and any excess is simply excreted from the body. The Recommended Daily Amount for B1 is 1.5 milligrams, though more typical daily intake ranges from 50 to 500 milligrams per day.

VITAMIN B2

Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, is an easily absorbed, water-soluble micro nutrient with a key role in maintaining human health. Like the other B vitamins, riboflavin supports energy production by aiding in the metabolization of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Vitamin B2 is also required for red blood cell formation and respiration, antibody production, and for regulating human growth and reproduction. Riboflavin is known to alleviate eye fatigue, prevent and treat cataracts, increase energy levels, and aid in boosting immune system functions. It also plays a key role in maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails, and in combination with vitamin B6, forms part of an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

A recent study completed at King’s College School of Medicine, London, U.K. demonstrated that Vitamin B2 deficiency may be involved in fibromyalgia. In a study involving anorexic adolescent females compared to healthy adolescent females, the anorexic patients showed lower levels of erythrocyte and plasma riboflavin and riboflavin cofactors. In dementia research, deficiency of riboflavin was associated with forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and mild confusion.

A deficiency of vitamin B2 may be indicated by the appearance of cracks and sores at the corners of the mouth, a swollen and sore tongue, reddening of the lips, and the appearance of scaly, oily, inflamed skin. Use of oral contraceptives can dramatically increase the need for riboflavin, as does strenuous exercise. Pregnant women need to pay particular attention to assure they have adequate levels of B2 which are critical for the proper growth and development of the baby.

Foods high in vitamin B2 include beans, cheese, eggs, fish, meat, milk, poultry, spinach, and yogurt. In supplement form, B2 is usually found in a complex combined with vitamins B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folic acid.

The Recommended Daily Intake for B2 is 1.2 mg. to 1.7 mg. per day. For pregnant women, the RDA is 1.6 mg per day, and 1.8 mg. per day for the first 6 months of nursing. RDA’s aside, the common doses available on the market range from 100 to 300 mg per day. There are no known toxic effects for B2, but large doses can lead to tingling in the extremities and an increased sensitivity to sunlight. Deficiency appears to be of greater concern rather than toxicity.

VITAMIN B3

Vitamin B3, also called Niacin, Niacinamide, or Nicotinic Acid, is an essential nutrient required by all humans for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as well as for the production of hydrochloric acid for digestion. B3 also supports proper blood circulation, healthy skin, and aids in the functioning of the central nervous system.

Because of its role in supporting the higher functions of the brain and cognition, vitamin B3 also plays an important role in the treatment of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Lastly, adequate levels of B3 are vital for the proper synthesis of insulin, and the sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.

Deficiency in Niacin may cause emotional lability and irritability. ADHD is positively affected in a double blind study involving 33 children using niacin and ascorbic acid vs. a placebo. The majority of the patients suffered with disturbed and disturbing behavior. Only 1 out of the 33 children failed to respond positively, and all relapsed within thirty days of cessation of the supplement program.

A deficiency in vitamin B3 can result in pellagra, a disorder characterized by malfunctioning of the nervous system, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dementia, depression, and severe dermatitis and skin leasions. Recently Niacin has been embraced by the medical community for its ability to safely lower elevated blood cholesterol and triglyceride serum levels without harmful side-effects. Due to the large amounts of niacin used, it is best to undertake such a program only in close partnership with your physician.

High doses of niacin may result in a niacin flush, a natural allergic reaction that is harmless, but can be uncomfortable if unexpected. A niacin flush will generally result in a burning, tingling, and itching sensation, accompanied by a reddening flush, that spreads across the skin of the face, arms and chest. This effect is harmless and will pass within 20 minutes to an hour. Drinking a glass of water will also speed relief if too much niacin has been consumed.

High amounts should be used with caution by those who are pregnant and megadoses of pure niacin may aggravate health problems, such as stomach ulcers, gout, glaucoma, diabetes mellitus, and liver disease. Again, check with your physician before taking doses of niacin greater than 1,000 mg. per day.

Natural food sources for Vitamin B3 include beef, broccoli, carrots, cheese, corn flour, eggs, fish, milk, potatoes and atoes.

VITAMIN B6

Vitamin B6, also called Pyridoxine, refers to a family of water soluble substances – including pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine, that are closely related in form and function. Vitamin B6 is a water soluble nutrient that cannot be stored in the body, but must be obtained daily from either dietary sources or supplements.

Vitamin B6 is an important nutrient that supports more vital bodily functions than any other vitamin. This is due to its role as a coenzyme involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Vitamin B6 is also responsible for the manufacture of hormones, red blood cells, neurotransmitters, enzymes and prostaglandins. Vitamin B6 is required for the production of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that controls our moods, appetite, sleep patterns, and sensitivity to pain. A deficiency of vitamin B6 can quickly lead to insomnia and a profound malfunctioning of the central nervous system.

Among its many benefits, vitamin B6 is recognized for helping to maintain healthy immune system functions, for protecting the heart from cholesterol deposits, and for preventing kidney stone formation. B6 is also effective in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, night leg cramps, allergies, asthma and arthritis.

Common symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency can include depression, vomiting, anemia, kidney stones, dermatitis, lethargy and increased susceptibility to diseases due to a weakened immune system. Infants suffering from vitamin B6 deficiency can be anxious and irritable, and in extreme cases may develop convulsions.

Anxiety may be caused by deficiency of Vitamin B6. A clinical trial involving 1081 men ages 17-29. Those found to be depleted of B6 (based on erythrocyte activity) were significantly more anxious on the Freiburg Personality Inventory.

Double blind autistic study. 52 Children with autism and 11 controls (normal) were treated with Vitamin B6 and magnesium. The treatment combining both ingredients was the most effective in reducing in autistic behavior.

Supplemental B6 is a commonly used as a treatment for nausea, morning sickness and depression. Pregnant women have an increased need for supplemental vitamin B6, as do patients suffering from heart disease or those undergoing radiation treatment. Persons on high protein diets require extra vitamin B6, as do those taking antidepressants, amphetamines, oral contraceptives, and estrogen.

Natural foods highest in vitamin B6 include brewers yeast, carrots, chicken, eggs, fish, avocados, bananas, brown rice, and whole grains. The RDA for vitamin B6 is 2 mg per day. Most B-complex formulas contain between 10 to 75 mg. of vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6 is one of the few vitamins that can be toxic. Doses up to 500 mg per day are uncommon but safe, but doses above 2 grams per day can lead to irreversible neurological damage unless under the treatment of a physician. Vitamin B6 supplements should not be taken by Parkinson’s disease patients being treated with L-dopa as vitamin B6 can diminish the effects of L-dopa in the brain.

METHYL FOLATE

Folate is a general term for a group of water soluble b-vitamins, and is also known as B9. Folate aids the complete development of red blood cells, reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood, and supports nervous system function. It is well known for its role in preventing neural tube defects in newborns. Women planning on becoming pregnant should consume between 800 and 1200 mcg of folate per day for several months before the start of pregnancy. Also folate is necessary for fertility in both men and women.

Folate has been used to support a range of health concerns, including: mood disorders, homocysteine reducer (an amino acid associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems), diabetic peripheral neuropathy, skin disorders, prenatal supplementation.

Folate deficiency can be caused by unhealthy diets that do not include enough fruits and vegetables, some diseases such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, some genetic disorders that affect levels of folate, and certain medicines (such as phenytoin, sulfasalazine, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole). Folate deficiency is accelerated by alcohol consumption.

Folate deficiency may lead to glossitis, diarrhea, depression, confusion, anemia, and fetal neural tube defects and brain defects (during pregnancy). Other symptoms include fatigue, gray hair, mouth sores, poor growth, and swollen tongue.

Folate naturally occurs in a wide variety of foods, including vegetables (particularly dark green leafy vegetables), fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs, seafood, grains, and some beers. Avocado, beetroot, spinach, liver, yeast, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are among the foods with the highest levels of folate.

VITAMIN B12

Methylcobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 active in the central nervous system. It is an active coenzyme of the vitamin B12 analogs, that is essential for cell growth and replication. The liver may not convert cyanocobalamin, the common supplemental form of vitamin B12, into adequate amounts of methylcobalamin the body may need for proper neuronal functioning. Methylcobalamin may exert its neuroprotective effects through enhanced methylation, acceleration of nerve cell growth, or its ability to promote healthy homocysteine levels.

Vitamin B12 is essential in humans to ensure proper nervous system function. It also plays a part in blood formation. In addition, this vitamin aids in the production of fatty acids, and has an active role in the metabolism of all cells in the body. It is especially important for DNA synthesis. Methylcobalamin has been used medically to treat sleep rhythm disorders, but with limited success.

Vitamin B12 is a particularly important coenzyme that is required for the proper synthesis of DNA which controls the healthy formation of new cells throughout the body. B12 also supports the action of vitamin C, and is necessary for the proper digestion and absorption of foods, for protein synthesis, and for the normal metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, vitamin B12 prevents nerve damage by contributing to the formation of the myelin sheath that insulates nerve cells. B12 also maintains fertility, and helps promotes normal growth and development in children.

A deficiency of vitamin B12 can result in a potentially fatal form of anemia called pernicious anemia. Since vitamin B12 can be easily stored in the body, and is only required in tiny amounts, symptoms of severe deficiency usually take five years or more to appear. When symptoms do surface, usually in mid-life, it is likely that deficiency was due to digestive disorders or malabsorption rather than to poor diet. The exception to this would be strict vegetarians who do not consume any foods of animal origin, since B12 only comes from animal sources.

Due to its role in healthy cell formation, a deficiency of B12 disrupts the formation of red blood cells, leading to reduced numbers of poorly formed red cells, leading to a anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea and moodiness. B12 deficiency can lead to improper formation of nerve cells, resulting in irreversible neurological damage, with symptoms ranging from disorientation, delusions, eye disorders, dizziness, confusion and memory loss.

The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2 micrograms for adults, 2.2 micrograms for pregnant women, and 2.6 micrograms for nursing mothers. Vitamin B12 is not found in vegetables, but can be found in pork, blue cheese, clams, eggs, herring, kidney, liver, seafood, and milk.

Vitamin B12 is available in supplement. Due to poor absorption in the stomach, B12 is usually taken as a sublingual or in injection form. Supplements range in strength from 50 micrograms to 2 milligrams. There are virtually no known toxic symptoms for megadoses of vitamin B12, and any excess is simply excreted from the body.

An interesting case was recently published involving an 11-year-old boy presenting with severe sub- acute sensory ataxia, unusual skin hyper-pigmentation, megaloblastic anemia, low serum B12 levels. He was diagnosed with pernicious anemia. A spinal MRI demonstrated extensive demyelination of the posterior columns along the entire length of the spinal cord. “Treatment with cobalamin produced complete remission of the neurologic deficits and normalization of the MRI findings in the short space of 2 months. Although rare, childhood pernicious anemia is a treatable disease that should be included in the differential diagnosis of the sensory ataxias in children.”

Another case study published recently involved a “twenty-one-year-old female known to suffer from bipolar type I disorder [who] developed features of a pseudodementia. Following prompt initial response to treatment with antidepressants, there was an early recurrence of cognitive impairment. Blood investigations confirmed a macrocytic anaemia and vitamin B12 with folate deficiencies. There was dramatic resolution of cognitive impairment after vitamin replacement.”

The following demonstrates the results of an observational study on deficiency of Vitamin B12 in those exhibiting anxiety. In that study of young males cobalamin levels were determined using repeated plasma measures. Those patients found to be seriously deficit in cobalamin were also significantly more anxious on the Adjective Check List.

In a hospitalized observational study Serum B12 was measured in every patient over 30 years old. It was estimated that the percentage of hospitalized patients with a B12 deficit was 30 times higher that the general population for that area.

Deficency of B12 relates to depression, confusion, mental slowness and memory deficits. In a study of 25 patients it was shown that in all cases but two, response to B12 supplementation was significant.

BIOTIN

Vitamin B7, or also called Biotin, is a water-soluble vitamin and member of the B-complex family. Originally isolated in 1901, over the years numerous researchers attached different names to this nutrient, referring to it alternately as bios, vitamin H, protective factor X, and coenzyme R. Today the scientific name for this sulfur-bound vitamin is biotin, though occasionally it may be referred to as vitamin B6.

Biotin is an essential nutrient that is required for cell growth and for the production of fatty acids. Biotin also plays a central role in carbohydrate and protein metabolism and is essential for the proper utilization of the other B-complex vitamins. Biotin contributes to healthy skin and hair, and may play a role in preventing hair loss.

Biotin supplements may help to improve blood glucose control in diabetics by enhancing insulin sensitivity and increasing the activity of enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. Biotin in high doses may also be useful in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Biotin has also been used to treat metabolic abnormalities in sufferers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A study was hosted wherein 4 normal subjects were fed a diet only deficient in biotin for 10 weeks. Symptoms of depression, lethargy, anorexia and fatigue were created in the patients. All sign and symptoms were then alleviated with supplementation of biotin.

A biotin deficiency of is rare, as biotin is easily synthesized in the intestines by bacteria, usually in amounts far greater than are normally require for good health. Those at highest risk for biotin deficiency are people with digestive problems that can interfere with normal intestinal absorption, and those taking antibiotics or sulfa drugs, which can inhibit the growth of the intestinal bacteria that produce biotin. Consuming raw eggs in large amounts over a prolonged period can contribute to biotin deficiency, as eggs whites contain a protein called avidin, that binds to biotin and interfere with its absorption. This is not a problem when consuming cooked eggs, which are a good dietary source of biotin.

Some symptoms of biotin deficiency are depression, lethargy, eczema, dermatitis, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, inflammation of the tongue, and muscle pain. Infants with seborrheic dermatitis, evidenced by dry and scaly face and scalp, may also be suffering from a biotin deficiency.

The adult Recommended Daily Allowance for biotin is 300 micrograms. Natural sources highest in biotin include liver, egg yolks, brewer’s yeast, salt-water fish, milk, soybeans, and rice. Biotin is also found in virtually all B-complex supplements in doses ranging from 25 micrograms to 300 micrograms. There are no known toxic levels or symptoms for biotin.

VITAMIN B5

Pantothenic acids’ most important function is as an essential component in the production of coenzyme A, a vital catalyst that is required for the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy. Pantothenic acid is also referred to as an anti stress vitamin due to its vital role in the formation of various adrenal hormones, steroids, and cortisone, as well as contributing to the production of important brain neuro-transmitters such as acetyl choline. In addition to helping to fight depression Pantothenic acid also supports the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and is required for the production of cholesterol, bile, vitamin D, red blood cells, and antibodies.

B5 has been shown to have a significant effect on human health, in combating disease. A study completed in an Iowa State Prison showed that deficiencies in pantothenic acid cause irritability.

Male volunteers were provided a diet adequate except for pantothenic acid. The men became quarrelsome, hot tempered, and were easily upset. They also developed low blood pressure, dizziness, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, sleepiness, stomach distress, constipation, rapid pulse on exertion and upper respiratory problems.

Fatigue is also cited as an issue of deficiency in vitamin B5. 10 healthy men were placed on a diet restrictive in vitamin B5. Five of them as well were supplemented with vitamin B5 at 10 mg./day. After 63 days the deprived men were listless and suffered with fatigue.

There is no specific deficiency disease associated with inadequate intake of pantothenic acid, though under severe dietary conditions a lack of vitamin B5 can lead to a variety of symptoms including hypoglycemia, skin disorders, fatigue, depression, digestive problems, lack of coordination and muscle cramps. The current RDA for pantothenic acid is 10 mg.

Pantothenic acid is found in a wide variety of foods including beans, beef, liver, salt-water fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, whole grain breads and cereals, avocados, cauliflower, green peas, beans , nuts, dates, and potatoes. Most common B-complex formulas contain from 10 to 100 mg. of B5, though daily doses up to 1000 mg are not uncommon, especially for treatment of arthritis and allergies.

AMINOS

DL-PHENYLALANINE

Amino Acid F, or more commonly known as DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA), Phenylalanine, or L-Phenylalanine in its natural form, is an essential amino acid of tremendous nutritional importance, although often found low in the blood serum levels of vegetarians. It is a known nutritional precursor or forerunner of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline) which latter substances control or affect heart rate and output, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, blood sugar levels, fat metabolism and other brain functions. Interestingly, “Phenylpropanolamine” (a substance which attempts to mirror some of the activities of phenylalanine) is a synthetic substance used to promote the release of CCK (cholecystokinin) in the stomach, a “satiation” hormone which naturally induces satiety, transmitting its chemical message to the brain, signaling the body that it should stop eating.

Phenylalanine is reported to have similar attributes that may nutritionally decrease one’s appetite naturally, having the same causes of the synthetic substance above. DL-Phenylalanine is also involved in the release of PEA, phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter closely related to norepinephrine, and which can sensitize endorphin receptors to endorphins, and aids in the relief of depression and the regulation of mood. PEA, by itself, can increase the manufacturing of norepinephrine in the brain, a natural pick-me-up.

Research has shown that most deprressed individuals have low levels of PEA, and that most antidepressant drugs raise PEA levels.The “D-” form of phenylalanine nutritionally inhibits the production of enzymes which defeat the naturally occurring “opiates” of the body, the endorphins and enkephalins, those naturally occurring “pain-relievers” that the body produces when faced with neurochemical messages of discomfort. More specifically, supplementation of the “D-” form of phenylalanine appears to lengthen the biochemical life of these naturally occurring substances by inhibiting enkephalinase, and endorphinases, the enzymes that breaks down our naturally occurring pain relievers, allowing the body to naturally “remove” itself from pain for longer periods of time. Interestingly, the body’s natural pain relievers, the endorphins and enkephalins, are known to be some 400 times more powerful than morphine in their concentrated strength.The combined D- and L- forms of phenylalanine, known as DL-Phenylalanine, are used supplementally to simply complement the body’s natural ability to relieve discomfort, while also ensuring that enough of the “L-” form has been supplied. Both D- and L- forms are naturally occurring in nature.

L-GLUTAMINE

Amino Acid Q, or more commonly known as L-Glutamine, is a conditional amino acid used in maintaining the body’s nitrogen balance, it is also thought to be a necessary constituent of the Glucose Tolerance Factor which aids in the regulation of insulin production. Glutamine has been thought by some to be a protective agent for the body against the ravages of alcohol, at times decreasing the desire for it, as well as sugar.

Glutamine, an amino acid belonging to the population of brain nutri-chemicals called the three musketeers, participates in the production of DNA chromosomal activity and production. Glutamine is primarily an energy source, and a primary energy food for the brain, as well as a mediator of both glutamic acid and GABA activity.

L-METHIONINE

L-Methionine is an essential amino acid in humans and is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. The support of healthy liver function is one of the most common reasons for taking L-methionine. They are also used to support exercise recovery, connective tissue production and cardiovascular health.

The highest concentrations of L-methionine are found in animal protein such as beef, fish, poultry and eggs. Some plants seeds such as Brazil nuts and sesame seeds also contain significant levels of L-methionine. Additional plant-based sources of L-methionine include cereal grains.

The most common signs of an L-methionine deficiency include a fatty liver, edema and skin lesions, hair loss, low moods and muscle weakness and a growth rate that’s below average in children’s case. There is no toxicity rating for methione.

MINERALS

CALCIUM

Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, and accounts for between 2 to 3 pounds of our total body mass. Adequate dietary sources of calcium are necessary throughout our lives for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as regulating muscle growth. In conjunction with magnesium, calcium also plays a vital role in the regulation of electrical impulses in the central nervous system and in the activation of various hormones and enzymes required for proper digestion and metabolism. This vital mineral is also necessary to support bodily functions such as blood clotting and maintaining blood pressure. Inadequate intake of calcium can aggravate hypertension, and calcium supplements are known to lower blood pressure in some cases. There is also strong evidence that calcium plays a role in colon cancer, and those with low intake of calcium and vitamin D are more prone to this disease. Inadequate calcium levels can also result in tetany, a condition that commonly results in leg cramps and muscular spasms.

Inadequate intake of this mineral can also result in osteoporosis, a bone disorder caused by loss of calcium in the bones. Osteoporosis results in brittle, porous bones which can be easily fractured or broken. Contrary to popular belief, bones are very much alive, and are constantly losing and replacing calcium. Inadequate intake can result in a slow and dangerous loss of this mineral, leading to osteoporosis.

Half of America’s adults are not getting enough calcium according to a panel of experts assembled by the National Institutes Of Health (NIH). The federal committee estimates that calcium deficiencies, resulting in brittle bones and fractures, are costing the health care system $10 billion a year. The report said the recommended daily allowance for calcium was too low, leading to weakened bones for children, adults and, especially, elderly women. “Calcium is an essential nutrient for developing and maintaining strong bones,” the committee said. Without proper levels of calcium, children enter adulthood with a weakened skeleton, increasing their risk later for osteoporosis. Inadequate calcium intake in later years further aggravates the problem.

New studies show that recommended levels of calcium now carried on most food labels are far below what nature requires for strong bones. “Recent nutrition surveys have shown that the average diet of Americans has a calcium intake considerably below the recommended daily allowance.” according to Dr. John Bilezikian, professor of medicine at Columbia University and chairman of the committee.

The Dr. Bilezikian also emphasized the importance of getting the recommended levels of vitamin D, which is important for proper calcium absorption. Half of the recommended vitamin D dose of 400 international units (iu) are contained in two cups of milk, and the rest can be manufactured by the body with just a few minutes exposure to sunlight.

Calcium absorption takes place in the small intestines, and requires adequate amounts of vitamin D. The current Recommended Daily Allowance of calcium is 800 mg. for adults, 1,200 mg. for pre menopausal women, and 1,500 mg for post menopausal women unless taking estrogen. Those with kidney disorders should not take calcium supplements unless directed to do so by a health care professional.

Good dietary sources of calcium include all dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, and seafood . Absorption of dietary calcium can be drastically reduced by consuming large amounts of foods such as cocoa, spinach, kale, rhubarb, almonds, and whole wheat products which are high in oxalic acid, and are known to interfere with calcium absorption. Taking antibiotics such as tetracycline, or aluminum containing antacids can also result in lower absorption of calcium. Alcohol, sugar, and coffee can also effect the body’s levels of this mineral.

IRON

Iron plays a significant role in oxygen transport in the body. It is the base of the hemoglobin molecule, which drives the blood oxygen activity. Enzymes involved in many metabolic functions require iron. Thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolic processes, need iron for production. It is necessary for cell division and growth through its role in DNA synthesis. It is also essential for protein metabolism. Iron also plays a role in oxygen transfer involving the production of energy in cells.

Iron deficiency may be the most common nutritional deficiency in the USA. Results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994) suggest that iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia are still relatively common in toddlers, adolescent girls, and women of childbearing age. Nine percent of toddlers age 1 to 2 years, and 9 percent to 11 percent of adolescent girls and women of childbearing age were iron deficient; of these, iron deficiency anemia was found in 3 percent and 2 -5 percent respectively. These percentages correspond to approximately 700,000 toddlers and 7.8 million women with iron deficiency; of these, approximately 240,000 toddlers and 3.3 million women have iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency occurred in around 7 percent of older children, and those older than 50 years, and in 1 per cent of teenage boys and young men.

An interesting case series with two adolescents exhibiting conduct, dysthymic and movement disorders involved iron deficiency. The case research was concluded with the following comments: “…the weight of the evidence suggests that correcting the nutrient deficit may be an essential step toward a refinement of therapeutic strategies.”

Iron deficiency may point to conduct problems in adolescents and children. A study of 163 patients who were incarcerated delinquents (male and females) showed a significantly higher prevalence of iron deficiency.

Chelated iron is better absorbed and less toxic than ferrous sulfate and have been shown to be efficacious in treating iron deficiency with significantly less side effects.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include anemia, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, breathlessness, inability to concentrate, giddiness, disturbed sleep, severe menstrual pain and bleeding, cracks in the corners of the mouth, eye inflammation, mouth ulcers and hair loss. Low blood plasma levels of iron can cause generalized itching, especially in elderly people.

Compared to age and sex matched controls (176 children) the serum, urine and scalp hair iron levels of 486 hyperactive children indicated significantly reduced levels of iron. This suggests the need for iron supplementation in hyperactive children.

Iron supplements may improve verbal learning and memory in those suffering with iron deficiency. In a study published in The Lancet in 1996, researchers at Johns Hopkins University evaluated 78 girls with non-anemic iron deficiency and measured their cognitive ability, memory and concentration. The girls were then divided into two groups, some were given a placebo and some were given iron supplements. After eight weeks, measurements showed an increase in iron levels in the supplement group while the levels in the placebo group remained low. Tests showed that the girls who took the iron supplements performed better on the verbal learning and memory tests than the girls who took placebo. Both groups scored the same on tests measuring their ability to pay attention and concentrate. There was a direct relationship between how much the blood iron levels went up and the ability to learn.

Iron deficiencies are also cited in anorexia nervosa research.

Doses of 25 to 75 mg per day have been taken without side effects, although those with iron overload or kidney disorders might develop symptoms at lower doses. The usual dose for treatment of deficiency is 100 mg per day in adults.

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is a mineral that is required for the proper growth and formation of human bones, muscle tissues, and enzymes. It is used to convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. It is involved in the transmission of nervous system impulses, assist in the uptake of calcium and potassium. Higher intake of magnesium has also been linked to lung function, according to a study published recently in England. Researchers found that adults consuming an average of 380 milligrams of magnesium per day exhibited increased lung function, and benefits were consistent regardless of whether or not the subjects smoked.

The body’s relative balance of magnesium and calcium has a profound impact on health as these two minerals must work smoothly together to insure proper muscle control. Calcium is involved in stimulating muscle contraction, and magnesium is required to allow the muscles to relax. Both an excess intake of calcium or a magnesium deficiency can result in poor muscle coordination, irritability and nervousness. Magnesium also helps to prevent depression, muscle weakness and twitching, heart disorders, and high blood pressure.

Magnesium deficiency affects body tissues. CNS symptoms of severe deficiency, include anorexia, personality changes, weakness, tiredness, vertigo, convulsions, nervousness, irritability, tremors, involuntary eye movements and irregular heartbeat.

Magnesium studies show that it’s use may be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of migraine. In a double blind study performed in 1996, researchers assessed the effect of magnesium in the prevention of migraine in 81 patients aged from 18 to 65. They were either given a placebo or magnesium supplement of 600 mg/day for 12 weeks. In weeks 9 to 12, the migraine frequency was reduced by 42 per cent in the magnesium group and by 16 per cent in the placebo group. The number of days with migraine and the drug consumption for symptomatic treatment per patient also decreased significantly in the magnesium group.

Magnesium was also found to be useful in the treatment of menstrual migraine.

Magnesium deficiency may also contribute to anxiety, sleeping problems, and (CFS) chronic fatigue syndrome. Low serum levels of magnesium have also been found in patients with anorexia, bulimia and patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Chronic deficits in magnesium in children may be characterized by fidgeting, learning difficulties, anxious restlessness, and psychomotor instability in the presence of a normal IQ.

In a large scale observational study, parents of autistic children provided approximately 4000 completed questionnaires providing a rating on various treatments which their autistic children had undergone. The treatment with the highest ranking was high dosage magnesium and B6.

In other observational studies 116 children with ADHD were studied. Levels of magnesium were tested in serum, hair and red blood cells. A magnesium deficiency was found in 95% of the ADHD children. There was a negative correlation between distractibility in the ADHD children and the greater the deficiency in the magnesium.

Blood cell concentrations of magnesium appear to be low in women with (PMS) premenstrual syndrome. The calcium to magnesium ratio was found to be affected by female hormone fluctuations, which affect neurotransmitter levels causing premenstrual symptoms. In 1991 an Italian study demonstrated the effects in a two month long magnesium supplementation trial on premenstrual symptoms in 32 women. Three hundred and sixty milligrams daily at three times a day were provided from the 15th day of the menstrual cycle to the onset of menstrual flow. The results demonstrated that magnesium supplementation assisted greatly and was effective in the treatment of premenstrual symptoms related to mood changes.

Magnesium sulfate injections have been shown to improve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Magnesium toxicity is rare as magnesium is found within body tissue in abundance and the body excretes excess. Clinical trials using 1080mg./day have been proven to be safe and well below toxic values.

Foods high in magnesium include fish, dairy products, lean meat, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables. Consumption of large amounts of zinc and vitamin D increase the body’s requirement for magnesium as does alcohol, fats, proteins, and diuretics. The body’s uptake of magnesium can also be inhibited by consuming foods high in oxalic acid, such as spinach, cocoa and tea.

ZINC

Zinc is an essential mineral that is involved in over 20 different enzymatic reactions in the body, ranging from the synthesis of proteins and collagen, to the production of cellular energy. This vital metal helps to support the immune system by regulating the thymus glands’ production of T cells. Adequate amounts of this nutrient metal are also vital for the body to manufacture the antioxidant enzyme Sodium Oxide Dismutase, a large molecule that serves as our main line of defense against free radical damage. Zinc also helps in protect the liver from damage, and promotes the rapid healing of wounds. Because it’s involved in the production of prostaglandins, special hormone like substances that regulate the reproductive organs, zinc also plays an important role in maintaining healthy prostate function.

After about age 40, the thymus gland begins to shrink and blood serum levels of zinc begin to slide, falling by about 3 percent every 10 years thereafter. This decline is mirrored in the thymus glands declining output of thymulin, the hormone responsible for stimulating the production of immune-system T cells, the killer cells responsible for keeping tumors in check and protecting us from infections. By age 65 the thymus gland shrinks so much that it can only release about 10 percent of the thymulin it did in our youth, greatly impairing our ability to stave of diseases. Recently researchers gave zinc supplements to animals and found that the thymus gland returned to 80 of normal size, and most importantly, thymulin output and T cell counts returned to youthful levels. Human studies soon followed, with similar results. Persons aged 65 and older, taking 15 milligrams of zinc per day soon evidenced the same restoration of youthful levels of thymulin and T cell activity. Similar studies with Downs Syndrome patients who are very prone to infections showed similar results, cutting the number of new infections by over 50 percent after treatment with zinc supplements.

A study conducted at Dartmouth college has reported that college students where able to recover from colds in half the normal time when given zinc lozenges. Those taking the zinc recovered from their symptoms in 4 days, while those students taking a placebo took over 9 days to fully recover from the illness. Carl C. Pfeiffer, MD, PhD, thought the whole human population was borderline deficient in the mineral zinc, which could account for our sensitivity to the common cold. Now, a new study shows that the common cold can be shortened significantly when ample zinc gluconate is made available.

While in vitro studies have long shown that zinc inhibits the common cold rhino-viruses, the experimental data has been mixed when the zinc studies have used throat lozenges. Scientists have now identified a flaw in the studies that used hard-candy zinc lozenges containing citric acid. It seems the low pH produced by the acidic formulation inhibited zinc delivery.

Building on this knowledge, the new study, conducted at Dartmouth College, found that college students given non-acidic throat lozenges one day into their cold had colds that were more than 50% shorter. For those students taking look-alike, taste-alike placebo candies, colds lasted 9.2 days on average versus 4.3 days for those taking zinc.

Zinc serum levels can be reduced by diarrhea, kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes and overconsumption of fiber. Zinc deficiency may be associated with mental lethargy, emotional disorders and irritability. A recent Japanese study found low blood levels of zinc in people suffering from tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The adult recommended daily intake for zInc is 15 mg. per day. Daily dosages above 150 milligrams may actually depress the immune system and increase susecptability to disease. Continued intake of 25 milligrams per day can also interfere with the body’s absorption of copper.

Foods highest in zinc include fish, legumes, meats, oysters, poultry, seafood, whole grains, egg yolks and brewers yeast.

Studies are being conducted to see whether zinc supplementation has any benefit in the treatment of AIDS. Some studies have shown improvement in immune function while using zinc doses of 200 mg/day for 30days (1995 Italian AIDS study zinc sulfate supplements). Results showed stabilization in body weight and increases in CD4+ lymphocytes and immune-stimulating hormone levels. Toxic effects of zinc are rare as excessive absorption is usually prevented by the abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting that very high doses (above 200 mg) cause.

SELENIUM

Selenium is one of many important dietary minerals, and we require a small amount of selenium in our daily diet. While selenium is a necessary mineral, high amounts are toxic. Selenium content in plants varies and depends on the richness of selenium in the soil.

Selenium has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage. A selenium-based enzyme is involved in the production of thyroid hormones. Studies have shown that thyroid hormones in elderly people are influenced by selenium status. In other studies thyroid function was affected by lack of minerals. Reduced intake of both selenium and zinc lead to a 30% reduction of several thyroid hormones.

According to a Lancet publication in July of 2000, selenium also plays a role in CNS mood control. In this study a deficiency was linked to adverse mood states.

A 1996 study completed at a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center suggests that people with low selenium levels experience depressed moods. Selenium is involved in maintaining liver function and protein synthesis. It also protects against toxic minerals such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead.

Selenium may reduce anxiety. In a Double blind trial 50 patients randomly received a daily supplement of either 100mcg of selenium or placebo. An improvement in mood and a decrease in anxiety was seen in the selenium group vs. the placebo group.

Selenium toxicity can occur at doses of 600 to 750 mcg. Early signs of selenium toxicity include fatigue, irritability and dry hair. More and more people now take chelated minerals daily to ensure that the body has enough of these nutrients to function properly.

COPPER

Copper is an essential trace element that is vital to the health of all living things (humans, plants, animals, and microorganisms). In humans, copper is essential to the proper functioning of organs and metabolic processes. Copper is essential to the formation of many genes and enzymatic factors within the human body and stimulates the immune system to fight infections, to repair injured tissues, and to promote healing. Copper also helps to neutralize “free-radicals”, which can cause severe damage to cells. Copper is mostly concentrated in the brain and liver and it is necessary for the synthesis of cell membrane phospholipids, and so helps maintain myelin, the insulating sheath that surrounds nerve cells. It also helps regulate neurotransmitter levels.

Some foods are especially rich in copper. These include most nuts (especially brazils and cashews), seeds (especially poppy and sunflower), chickpeas, liver and oysters. Natural foods such as cereals, meat and fish generally contain sufficient copper to provide up to 50% of the required copper intake in a balanced diet.

The adult body contains between 1.4 and 2.1 mg of copper per kilogram of body weight. Hence a healthy human weighing 60 kilogram contains approximately 0.1 g of copper. However, this small amount is essential to the overall human well-being.

Research has shown that the cerebral spinal fluid in the schizophrenic shows lower than normal levels of copper when compared to normal controls. Copper deficiency can impair the function of the nervous system. This impairment causes poor concentration, numbness and tingling, and a variety of nervous system disorders.

Copper deficiency in offenders: comparing 27 age and sex matched controls, diets of the 27 chronic juvenile offenders were low in copper. Copper serum levels were shown to be depressed in patients with anorexia nervosa compared to controls. As an interesting side note, up to 70 percent of the copper content of flour may be lost when it is refined.

Toxicity of copper is thought to be fairly rare but high concentrations (daily intakes of 200 mg and over) can cause effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle pains, heart problems, immune suppression and abnormal mental states.

MANGANESE

There are a whole group of trace minerals, which are not generally as well known, that we derive from our diets in very small amounts that are just as critical to healthy lifestyles. One of these is manganese.

Manganese is an essential nutrient involved in many chemical processes in the body, including processing of cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein. It might also be involved in bone formation and plays an active role in CNS function. The average adult body contains between 10 and 20 mg with the highest concentrations in the bones, liver, kidneys and heart.

Manganese may help some of the following conditions: osteoporosis (weak bones), arthritis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), diabetes, epilepsy. Manganese superoxide dismutase levels are higher in alcoholics and may help to protect against oxidative damage by alcohol. Manganese supplements have also been used successfully to treat schizophrenia, mania and other psychoses. Hair analysis in observational studies have shown lower than normal levels of manganese in schizophrenic patients.

Manganese is a mineral that is found in several foods including nuts, legumes, seeds, tea, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables.

Low levels of manganese in the body can contribute to infertility, bone malformation, weakness, and seizures. It is fairly easy to get enough manganese in your diet but some experts estimate that as many as 37% of Americans do not get the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of manganese in their diet. Toxic effects from oral ingestion of manganese are very rare and include lethargy, involuntary movements, changes in muscle tone and posture.

CHROMIUM

Chromium is a very important mineral which works with vitamin B3 (niacinamide) in maintaining blood sugar levels. It is a true Glucose Tolerance Factor working with insulin it moves glucose into cells where it generates energy, and has recently been given a US Patent because of this singular nutritional importance, plus two more because of its ability to lower cholesterol. The average human body should contain about 6 mg. of chromium.

Only one such Chromium product actually satisfies all of Dr. Mertz’s laws to be established as a true GTF, and ChromeMate is that Chromium source. In such form, chromium is known to activate enzymes for carbohydrates, fat, and protein metabolism. Chromium is also thought to aid the body in improving its circulation for healthy skin and hair.

Chromium tissue levels have been shown to decrease with age. British researchers in a study published in 1997 tested for chromium levels in hair, sweat, and serum samples obtained from over 40,000 patients. The results showed highly significant age-related decreases in older people. Impairment from chromium deficiency appears to be a major issue. In research completed at the University of Texas it was determined by Dr. Kenneth Blume that chromium acts as an active transporter of the amino acid tryptophan in moving it across the blood- brain barrier where it is converted into serotonin. An important function of in CNS control over issues like Tourette’s Syndrome, Clinical Depression and ADHD.

Symptoms of chromium deficiency include high blood fat and cholesterol levels and diabetes-like symptoms of glucose intolerance, weakness, depression, confusion, weight loss, thirst, hunger and frequent urination. Many weight loss programs are now advocating the use of chromium with doses at 1,500 mcg/day and above.

MOLYBDENUM

Since the 50’s molybdenum has been considered an essential trace mineral. The main known function of molybdenum is to act as a catalyst for enzymes and to help facilitate the breakdown of certain amino acids in the body. It is found as a part of the enzymes, xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase and aldehyde oxidase. These enzymes are responsible for the production of uric acid, a waste product of protein metabolism; carbohydrate metabolism; iron utilization; and sulfite detoxification.

We need only very small amounts of molybdenum. The adult body contains about 9 mg with highest concentrations in the kydneys, liver, and skin.

Toxic effects of excess molybdenum intake include weight loss, slow growth, anemia, diarrhea, increased blood levels of uric acid and swelling in the joints. This may occur at intakes of 10,000 to 15,000 mcg./day. Molybdenum is conserved by the body at low intakes but is rapidly excreted in the urine when intake is too high.

POTASSIUM

Potassium helps trigger your heart to squeeze blood through your body, helps your muscles to move, your nerves to work, and your kidneys to filter blood.

Potassium doesn’t treat or prevent heart disease but getting enough of it can help your heart in many ways: better blood pressure (help cut systolic blood pressure by more than 10 points in people with high blood pressure), lower cholesterol, regulated heartbeat.

Foods with high sources of potassium include kiwifruit, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, coconut, avocados, apricots, parsnips and turnips, although many other fruits, vegetables, legumes, and meats contain potassium. Common foods very high in potassium: beans (white beans and others), dark leafy greens (spinach, Swiss chard, and others), baked potatoes, dried fruit (apricots, peaches, prunes, raisins; figs and dates), baked squash, yogurt, fish (salmon), avocado, and banana; nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts, etc.) and seeds (squash, pumpkin, sunflower). The most concentrated foods (per 100 grams) are: dried herbs, sun dried tomatoes, dark chocolate, whey powder, paprika, yeast extract, rice bran, molasses, and dry roasted soybeans.

Severe potassium deficiency can present symptoms of fatigue, vomiting, acute muscular weakness, paralysis, pins and needles, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, intense thirst, drowsiness, confusion and eventually coma. Muscle spasms, tetany, heart arrhythmias and muscle wealmess can also be caused by increased nerve excitability associated with inadequate intake of potassium. The sudden death that can occur in fasting, anorexia nervosa or starvation is often a result of heart failure caused by potassium deficiency. Potassium supplementation has been shown to be of benefit in menopause to control mood swings and fatigue.

Gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common side effects of potassium supplements, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. Taking potassium with meals or taking a microencapsulated form of potassium may reduce gastrointestinal side effects.

Having too much potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia (it occurs when potassium builds up faster than the kidneys can remove it); having too little is known as hypokalemia. Keeping the right potassium balance in the body depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood.

No RDA has been set in the USA but the estimated minimum requirement for a healthy person is 2000 mg./day. Kidneys are the main regulators of body potassium levels, maintaining blood by controlling excretion. Supplementation of potassium in doses greater than 18,000mg may cause muscular weakness, low blood pressure, mental confusion and eventually heart attack.

MICRONUTRIENTS

IODINE

Iodine is an essential trace element for life, the heaviest element commonly needed by living organisms, and the second-heaviest known to be used by any form of life.

Iodine plays an important role in the production of the thyroid gland hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxin, which set the metabolic rate of the body. Thyroid hormones are important for development of all organs, brain growth, nerves, skin and bones. The thyroid is involved in protein manufacture, cholesterol synthesis, carbohydrate absorption and the conversion of carotene to Vitamin A.

The body needs iodine but cannot make it. The needed iodine must come from the diet but there is very little iodine in food. Most of the world’s iodine is found in the ocean, where it is concentrated by sea life, especially seaweed.

The average adult body contains between 25 to 50 mg iodine, and the greater part is concentrated in the thyroid gland. The remainder is in thyroid hormones in the ovaries, blood and muscle.

Iodine can cause significant side effects in some people. Common side effects include nausea and stomach pain, runny nose, headache, metallic taste, and diarrhea. In sensitive people, iodine can cause side effects including swelling of the lips and face (angioedema), severe bleeding and bruising, fever, joint pain, lymph node enlargement, allergic reactions including hives, and death.

Iodine deficiency and the resulting low levels of thyroid hormone can cause women to stop ovulating, leading to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is serious for both the mother and the baby. It can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy for the mother, and mental retardation for the baby. A 1996 study demonstrated that iodine deficiency may cause learning disabilities and poor motivation in children.

Iodine is applied to the skin to kill germs, prevent soreness inside the mouth (mucositis) caused by chemotherapy, and treat diabetic ulcers. Iodine is also used for water purification.

The average iodine intake in the USA is over 600 mcg per day. Iodine is rapidly absorbed from the gut. Excesses are excreted in the urine. A fatal dose is 2 to 3g of iodine. Toxic effects from the iodide form of iodine are rare and may include a reduction of thyroid hormone secretion, acne, and inflammation of the salivary glands when doses reach 1,500mcg.

CHOLINE

Choline is usually grouped within the B-complex vitamins and is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control. It can be made in the liver but humans can produce it only in very small amounts, so it is an essential nutrient. It is also found in foods such as liver, muscle meats, fish, nuts, beans, peas, spinach, wheat germ, and eggs.

Choline supplementation can be used in the treatment of liver disorders, hepatitis, glaucoma, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder and possibly other neurological disorders. Choline has also been shown to have a positive effect on those suffering from alcoholism. Athletes use it for bodybuilding and delaying fatigue in endurance sports. Choline is taken by pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects in their babies and it is used as a supplement in infant formulas. Other uses include preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol, and controlling asthma.

In a 1994 study, lecithin was given to patients with Alzheimer’s disease daily in doses of 1000 mg for 30 days. Results showed slightly improved mental performance. Choline supplements have been shown to provide benefit in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Five out of six patients with Bipolar disorder showed significant relief of symptoms following the administration of a choline supplement. Bipolar patients (10) treated with choline achieved a permanent remission of mania. A clinical trial with 70 ADHD children and adolescents using choline provided positive results. All trial patients demonstrated some positive results. Titration occurred to 3000 mg/day of choline.

Most common signs of choline deficiencies are fatty liver and hemorrhagic kidney necrosis. Choline deficiency may play a role in liver disease, atherosclerosis, and possibly neurological disorders. Endurance athletes and people who drink a lot of alcohol may be at risk for choline deficiency and may benefit from choline supplements.

Daily Upper Intake Levels (UL, the highest level of intake that is not likely to cause harm) for choline are set to: 1 gram daily for children 1-8 years, 2 grams for children 9-13 years, 3 grams for children 14-18 years, and 3.5 grams for adults over 18 years of age.

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