Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maybe the most important post of your decade: Antioxidants and vitamin B3

Every know that then we find new information that helps change our paradigm and/or significantly alters our actions. I believe that this post is one of these seminal moments.

Common sense tells us that the vitamins work together. When you eat nutritious food, you get a wide range of vitamins and hopefully minerals. It is very rare (non existent?) in nature to find a single vitamin all by its self. People who are diligent in their study of antioxidants and wellness know about the vitamin E and vitamin C synergy. Up to this point that was about all I knew. The current paper I am studying has the following diagram. (picture credit) Don't be put off with the scientific speak. Think of it as three gears, the vitamin E cycle starts the gears turning with a pro-oxidant event. This then turns the vitamin C cycle, which in turn rolls the Thiol cycle.

Three gears turning, real simple. Now clearly if one of these gears stops turning, then all the gears very quickly stop turning. Furthermore if one of the wheels is turning slowly, then the whole system has a lot lower efficacy, and work at sub optimal levels.

So the above diagram shows the vitamin E and vitamin C synergy. When vitamin E gets oxidized (it's job) then it is revitalized by the vitamin C. Thus if you have high vitamin E levels but low vitamin C levels the protection system cannot work optimally. Thus your antioxidant protection is significantly reduced.

Now here is the new information.

The Thiol cycle is limited by vitamin B3 levels. Vitamin B3 (niacin/nicotinic acid) is an essential component of NAD(P). NAD(P) is made from NAD (fancy that!). The full name of NAD is Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide. Take a close look at the Nicotinamide, it has very similar name of vitamin B3, Nicotinic Acid. Yeap you guessed it - nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), is an essential part of NAD, which is made into NADP.

If you look at the top right of the above diagram you will see that the last step is turning NAD(P)H to NAD(P)+H. Thus if you don't have optimal vitamin B3 levels you will not have optimal NAD(P) levels. Without these levels being optimal your antioxidant status will be lowered.

I have always believed that taking a signal vitamin in high doses is not as healthy as a high quaility multivitamin. As mentioned above healthy food always has an array of nutrients. However I had no scientific evidence to back my belief that non antioxidant vitamins were part of the bodies antioxidant defence.

Therefore this shows that most antioxidant trials will not show good results.
Now apart from that fact they tend to use cheap vitamins, which are synthetic, thus are not as "good" as natural ones (more on that another day). But that aside, the above diagram shows that large dose of vitamin E is going to be of limited value, as it cannot be recharged by vitamin C. So this is why most trials with vitamin E alone do not show any signifcant health benefits.

Like wise trials with vitamin E and C will not show optimal results as the metabolic pathway is hindered from working due to non optimal vitamin B3 levels.

I am astounded that no one seems to have grasped this fact. The only thing I can assume is that these studies are done by "experts" that "know" that the RDI is enough to provide maximum saturation/maximium enzyme activity. Which is not the case (see my book when it comes out)

1 comment:

  1. Excellent information David!
    Your ability to ferret out the truth and then present it in a way that we can all understand is extraordinary.