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No New Vitamins

Consumers are always looking for the newest invention or the latest model. That works well if you are shopping for a car or a new stereo system, but when it comes to vitamins there have been no new recent discoveries that the health conscious shopper. If you see something that you haven´t heard of before - beware.

Christopher J. E. Johnson

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently ordered two companies from claiming that their product contains vitamin O and can be used to treat and prevent cancer, heart disease and lung disease. US regulatory officials, like their counterparts in other countries, are very strict when it comes to product claims that reportedly treat, cure or mitigate disease. These claims in most jurisdictions are limited to drugs, and only after extensive scientific/medical data have been submitted to support the claims. That is the first point. The second is that there is no such thing as vitamin O. In the decision handed down by the FTC, the conclusion was that the product being sold contained little more than salt water.

The list of vitamins is not very long and is recognized throughout the world by the science and medical community. Some compounds - called pro-vitamins - have structures very similar to vitamins and can be converted into the active vitamin in the body. An example is beta-carotene which is a pro-vitamin A. In other cases more than one chemically related compound has the physiological properties of the vitamin. The various isomers of tocopherol (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) all have some (but not equal) vitamin E potency.

Table 1
Vitamins and Related Compounds
Vitamin
Name
Alternate Names
(often historical)
Related Compounds
(pro-vitamins)
Vitamin Aretinol;
vitamin A1
alpha-carotene;
beta-carotene;
gamma-carotene
Vitamin Dvitamin D322-dihydroergosterol;
2-dehydrostigmasterol
Vitamin Ealpha-tocopherol;
antisterility vitamin
dl-alpha-tocopherol;
l-alpha-tocopherol;
beta-tocopherol;
gamma-tocopherol
Vitamin Kantihemorrhagic vitamin;
protromin factor
menadione
Thiaminevitamin B1;
antiberiberi factor
 
Riboflavinvitamin B2;
vitamin G;
lactoflavin
 
Vitamin B6pyridoxine;
pyridoxol
pyridoxal;
pyridoxamine
Vitamin B12cobalamin;
cyanocolalamin
nitrocobalamin
Ascorbic acidvitamin C;
antiscorbutic vitamin
l-glucoascorbic acid;
d-araboascorbic acid
Folic acidfolacin;
vitamin Bc;
Pteroylmonoglutamic acid
 
Biotinvitamin H 
Niacinnicotinic acid;
nicotinamide
 
Pantothenic acidvitamin B3 

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