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Vitamin supplements often come with additives. However, some of these additives are extremely harmful to the human body. This is the reason why you should know the names of these harmful additives. Read on to know more about them.

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Vitamin E refers to a group of compounds that include both tocopherols and tocotrienols. Of the many different forms of vitamin E, γ-tocopherol is the most common form found in the North American diet. γ-Tocopherol can be found in corn oil, soybean oil, margarine, and dressings. α-tocopherol, the most biologically active form of vitamin E, is the second-most common form of vitamin E in the diet. This variant can be found most abundantly in wheat germ oil, sunflower, and safflower oils. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, it interrupts the propagation of reactive oxygen species that spread through biological membranes or through a fat when its lipid content undergoes oxidation by reacting with more-reactive lipid radicals to form more stable products. Regular consumption of more than 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) of tocopherols per day may be expected to cause hypervitaminosis E, with an associated risk of vitamin K deficiency and consequently of bleeding problems.

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A vitamin is an organic compound and a vital nutrient that an organism requires in limited amounts. An organic chemical compound (or related set of compounds) is called a vitamin when the organism cannot synthesize the compound in sufficient quantities, and it must be obtained through the diet; thus, the term vitamin is conditional upon the circumstances and the particular organism. For example, ascorbic acid (one form of vitamin C) is a vitamin for humans, but not for most other animal organisms. Supplementation is important for the treatment of certain health problems, but there is little evidence of nutritional benefit when used by otherwise healthy people.
By convention the term vitamin does not include other essential nutrients, such as dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, essential amino acids (which are needed in greater amounts than vitamins) or the many other nutrients that promote health, and are required less often to maintain the health of the organism. Thirteen vitamins are universally recognized at present. Vitamins are classified by their biological and chemical activity, not their structure. Thus, each vitamin refers to a number of vitamer compounds that all show the biological activity associated with a particular vitamin. Such a set of chemicals is grouped under an alphabetized vitamin “generic descriptor” title, such as “vitamin A”, which includes the compounds retinal, retinol, and four known carotenoids. Vitamers by definition are convertible to the active form of the vitamin in the body, and are sometimes inter-convertible to one another, as well.
Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions. Some, such as vitamin D, have hormone-like functions as regulators of mineral metabolism, or regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation (such as some forms of vitamin A). Others function as antioxidants (e.g., vitamin E and sometimes vitamin C). The largest number of vitamins, the B complex vitamins, function as enzyme cofactors (coenzymes) or the precursors for them; coenzymes help enzymes in their work as catalysts in metabolism. In this role, vitamins may be tightly bound to enzymes as part of prosthetic groups: For example, biotin is part of enzymes involved in making fatty acids. They may also be less tightly bound to enzyme catalysts as coenzymes, detachable molecules that function to carry chemical groups or electrons between molecules. For example, folic acid may carry methyl, formyl, and methylene groups in the cell. Although these roles in assisting enzyme-substrate reactions are vitamins’ best-known function, the other vitamin functions are equally important.
Until the mid-1930s, when the first commercial yeast-extract vitamin B complex and semi-synthetic vitamin C supplement tablets were sold, vitamins were obtained solely through food intake, and changes in diet (which, for example, could occur during a particular growing season) usually greatly altered the types and amounts of vitamins ingested. However, vitamins have been produced as commodity chemicals and made widely available as inexpensive semisynthetic and synthetic-source multivitamin dietary and food supplements and additives, since the middle of the 20th century. Study of structural activity, function and their role in maintaining health is called vitaminology.

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A multivitamin is a preparation intended to be a dietary supplement with vitamins, dietary minerals, and other nutritional elements. Such preparations are available in the form of tablets, capsules, pastilles, powders, liquids, and injectable formulations. Other than injectable formulations, which are only available and administered under medical supervision, multivitamins are recognized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (the United Nations’ authority on food standards) as a category of food.
Multivitamin supplements are commonly provided in combination with dietary minerals. A multivitamin/mineral supplement is defined in the United States as a supplement containing 3 or more vitamins and minerals that does not include herbs, hormones, or drugs, where each vitamin and mineral is included at a dose below the tolerable upper level, as determined by the Food and Drug Board, and does not present a risk of adverse health effects. The terms multivitamin and multimineral are often used interchangeably. There is no scientific definition for either.
In otherwise healthy people, most scientific evidence indicates that multivitamin supplements do not prevent cancer, heart disease, or other ailments, and regular supplementation is not necessary. However, there may be specific groups of people who may benefit from multivitamin supplements (for example, people with poor nutrition or at high risk of macular degeneration).

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Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-carotene). Vitamin A has multiple functions: it is important for growth and development, for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of retinal, which combines with protein opsin to form rhodopsin, the light-absorbing molecule necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision. Vitamin A also functions in a very different role as retinoic acid (an irreversibly oxidized form of retinol), which is an important hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other cells.
In foods of animal origin, the major form of vitamin A is an ester, primarily retinyl palmitate, which is converted to retinol (chemically an alcohol) in the small intestine. The retinol form functions as a storage form of the vitamin, and can be converted to and from its visually active aldehyde form, retinal.
All forms of vitamin A have a beta-ionone ring to which an isoprenoid chain is attached, called a retinyl group. Both structural features are essential for vitamin activity. The orange pigment of carrots (beta-carotene) can be represented as two connected retinyl groups, which are used in the body to contribute to vitamin A levels. Alpha-carotene and gamma-carotene also have a single retinyl group, which give them some vitamin activity. None of the other carotenes have vitamin activity. The carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin possesses an ionone group and has vitamin activity in humans.
Vitamin A can be found in two principal forms in foods:
Retinol, the form of vitamin A absorbed when eating animal food sources, is a yellow, fat-soluble substance. Since the pure alcohol form is unstable, the vitamin is found in tissues in a form of retinyl ester. It is also commercially produced and administered as esters such as retinyl acetate or palmitate.
The carotenes alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene; and the xanthophyll beta-cryptoxanthin (all of which contain beta-ionone rings), but no other carotenoids, function as provitamin A in herbivores and omnivore animals, which possess the enzyme beta-carotene 15,15′-dioxygenase which cleaves beta-carotene in the intestinal mucosa and converts it to retinol. In general, carnivores are poor converters of ionone-containing carotenoids, and pure carnivores such as cats and ferrets lack beta-carotene 15,15′-dioxygenase and cannot convert any carotenoids to retinal (resulting in none of the carotenoids being forms of vitamin A for these species).

^ a b “Vitamin A”. Micronutrient Information Center, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis. January 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
^ Fennema, Owen (2008). Fennema’s Food Chemistry. CRC Press Taylor & Francis. pp. 454–455. ISBN 9780849392726.
^
^ a b Tanumihardjo SA (2011). “Vitamin A: biomarkers of nutrition for development”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 94 (2): 658S–665S. PMC 3142734 . PMID 21715511. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.005777.
^ Wolf G (2001). “The discovery of the visual function of vitamin A”. The Journal of Nutrition. 131 (6): 1647–1650. PMID 11385047.
^ “Vitamin A”. Office of Dietary Supplements, US National Institutes of Health. 31 August 2016.
^ News Medical. “What is Vitamin A?”. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
^ Carolyn Berdanier. 1997. Advanced Nutrition Micronutrients. CRC Press, ISBN 0849326648, pp. 22–39
^ Meschino Health. “Comprehensive Guide to Vitamin A”. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
^ DeMan, John (1999). Principles of Food chemistry (3rd ed.). Maryland: Aspen Publication Inc. p. 358. ISBN 083421234X.

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B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Though these vitamins share similar names, research shows that they are chemically distinct vitamins that often coexist in the same foods. In general, dietary supplements containing all eight are referred to as a vitamin B complex. Individual B vitamin supplements are referred to by the specific name of each vitamin (e.g. B1, B2, B3 etc.).
Each B vitamin is either a cofactor (generally a coenzyme) for key metabolic processes or is a precursor needed to make one.

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Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc and multiple other biological effects. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the diet and from supplements. Only a few foods contain vitamin D. The major natural source of the vitamin is synthesis of cholecalciferol in the skin from cholesterol through a chemical reaction that is dependent on sun exposure (specifically UVB radiation). The Dietary Reference Intake for vitamin D, made by the Institute of Medicine, assumes all of a person’s vitamin D is from oral intake, as recommendations about the amount of sun exposure required for optimal vitamin D levels are uncertain in view of the skin cancer risk.
Vitamin D from the diet or skin synthesis is biologically inactive; enzymatic conversion (hydroxylation) in the liver and kidney is required for activation. As vitamin D can be synthesized in adequate amounts by most mammals exposed to sufficient sunlight, it is not an essential dietary factor, and so not technically a vitamin. Instead it could be considered as a hormone, with activation of the vitamin D pro-hormone resulting in the active form, calcitriol, which then produces effects via a nuclear receptor in multiple different locations. Cholecalciferol is converted in the liver to calcifediol (25-hydroxycholecalciferol); ergocalciferol is converted to 25-hydroxyergocalciferol. These two vitamin D metabolites (called 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D) are measured in serum to determine a person’s vitamin D status. Calcifediol is further hydroxylated by the kidneys to form calcitriol (also known as 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), the biologically active form of vitamin D. Calcitriol circulates as a hormone in the blood, having a major role regulating the concentration of calcium and phosphate, and promoting the healthy growth and remodeling of bone. Calcitriol also has other effects, including some on cell growth, neuromuscular and immune functions, and reduction of inflammation.
Vitamin D has a significant role in calcium homeostasis and metabolism. Its discovery was due to effort to find the dietary substance lacking in rickets (the childhood form of osteomalacia). Vitamin D supplements are given to treat or to prevent osteomalacia and rickets, but the evidence for other health effects of vitamin D supplementation in the general population is inconsistent. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on mortality is not clear, with one meta-analysis finding a small decrease in mortality in elderly people, and another concluding no clear justification exists for recommending supplementation for preventing many diseases, and that further research in these areas is unneeded.

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A dietary supplement is either intended to provide nutrients in order to increase the quantity of their consumption, or to provide non-nutrient chemicals which are claimed to have a biologically beneficial effect.
Supplements as generally understood include vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, among other substances. U.S. authorities define dietary supplements as foods, while elsewhere they may be classified as drugs or other products.
There are more than 50,000 dietary supplements available. More than half of the U.S. adult population (53% – 55%) consume dietary supplements with most common ones being multivitamins.
These products are not intended to prevent or treat any disease and in some circumstances are dangerous, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. For those who fail to consume a balanced diet, the agency says that certain supplements “may have value.” An exception is vitamin D, which is recommended in Nordic countries due to weak sunlight.

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Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) or hypovitaminosis A is a lack of vitamin A in blood and tissues. It is common in poorer countries but rarely seen in more developed countries. Nyctalopia (night blindness) is one of the first signs of VAD. Xerophthalmia, keratomalacia, and complete blindness can also occur since Vitamin A has a major role in phototransduction.
Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness and is critical to achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 to reduce child mortality. Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children in the developing world go blind each year from a deficiency of vitamin A, approximately half of whom die within a year of becoming blind. The United Nations Special Session on Children in 2002 set a goal of the elimination of VAD by 2010.
The prevalence of night blindness due to VAD is also high among pregnant women in many developing countries. VAD also contributes to maternal mortality and other poor outcomes in pregnancy and lactation.
VAD also diminishes the ability to fight infections. In countries where children are not immunized, infectious diseases like measles have higher fatality rates. As elucidated by Alfred Sommer, even mild, subclinical deficiency can also be a problem, as it may increase children’s risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development, and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illness.
VAD is estimated to affect approximately one third of children under the age of five around the world. It is estimated to claim the lives of 670,000 children under five annually. Approximately 250,000–500,000 children in developing countries become blind each year owing to VAD, with the highest prevalence in Southeast Asia and Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), VAD is under control in the United States, but, in developing countries, VAD is a significant concern. Globally, 65% of all children aged 6 to 59 months received two doses of vitamin A in 2013, fully protecting them against VAD (80% in the least developed countries).

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