Almost one billion of us take a regular dietary supplement, mainly vitamin tablets. Vitamins are enthusiastically endorsed by celebrities, and vitamin-fortified foods line our supermarket shelves. But how safe are these products? Is it true that vitamins are "natural" and therefore can't do you any harm? How are they regulated, and how can parents make the right choices for their children's health. These surprisingly urgent questions are investigated by scientist Dr Derek Muller in Vitamania, the latest documentary made by Emmy Award-winning Australian filmmakers, Genepool Productions.Written by
The vitamin "B9" that is added to bread is not folate, it's folic acid. Most people can convert this to folate which is the usable form of B9, but there are many mutations )(collectively called MTHFR mutations) that impair this process and make folic acid do more harm than good.
The same is true to some extent for the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A. The best source of vitamin A is liver.
Same idea again for vitamin K. Plant-based K1 needs to be converted to K2 in your body. Some bodies are better than others at doing this. Fermented foods and pastured animals are the best sources for the two types of vitamin K2 - MK4 and MK7. You probably need both for optimal health.
Same idea once more with Vitamin D. Some people are better than others at converting cholesterol to Vitamin D in their skin - if they even spend enough time outdoors mid-day.
The one thing the film gets right is that vitamins should be consumed in their natural context. Supplements might prevent the most severe deficiencies but it's a gamble.
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