This article was originally posted at EliteFTS.com
By Michael Keck
Published: November 26, 2010Posted in: NutritionTags: health, michael keck, vitamins
Vitamins, they’ve probably got to be the least exciting supplement we take, you usually can’t FEEL them work like you can Beta Alanine, or any of the stimulants we sometimes use, but they are oh so important to the goals almost all of us are striving to achieve!
So just why do we need to take a vitamin supplement? Because they’re some of the most crucial building blocks of the basic functions that we need to stay alive. You may ask yourself, “Well, I eat healthy enough, why should I take a multivitamin?” and it’s a valid question. The reality of it is, even though you may be eating a healthy diet, the foods we have access to these days aren’t as nutrient-rich as they once were. This is due to several factors that are beyond the scope of this article, but they can include over-farming, genetically modified foods, meat products that are not fed nutrient- rich diets in the growth process, antibiotics used, pesticides, pollution and even our own cooking methods can drain some of our foods natural vitamin stores.
So now lets look at what the under appreciated vitamins and minerals can do for us.
For cells to function on the most basic levels there are certain “things” that must be present. Often times these things are vitamins.
Now, we have all heard of enzymes before, but what are they…really? Enzymes are chemicals within the body that allow chemical reactions necessary for life to continue as we know it. With out enzymes our bodies are not capable of achieving a high enough temperature to allow for the energy needed to excite the atoms an most substances to bond or break from the increased atomic activity that heat provides. Enzymes lower the temperature needed for these reactions to take place.
Great, so what do enzymes have to do with Vitamins? Good question. Enzymes on their own are not usually chemically active, they are really Enzyme substrates that fall into 6 general categories
1. Hydrolases-these are water based
2. Isomerases- these rearrange the atoms in a molecule, but are neither Catabolic or Anabolic
3. Ligases/Polymerases-these are Anabolic in nature as they join molecules together using energy from ATP to form new molecules
4. Lyases- These are catabolic susbtrates as their job is to split molecules up into smaller pieces and they don’t use water in the process
5. Oxidoreductases- these rely on oxidation (increasing Oxygen atoms)
6. Transferases- These can be Anabolic and are usually responsible for transferring functional groups such as certain aminos, phosphates or acetyl groups between molecules
Ok, so now we know a bit about Enzyme substrates, but we still don’t know why vitamins are involved. Well lots of these enzymes are actually apoenzymes, which are protein portions (not the proteins we eat) and they are inactive unless bound to Co factors. This is where Vitamins come in!
Co factors are usually inorganic ions (contain no carbon) such as Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and Copper or Co factors can be organic in nature and contain Vitamins and these are required by the body because we cant synthesize them ourselves, which means they MUST be absorbed through our nutrition.
So we have Enzymes and Co factors……when you put them together you get a Holoenzyme and these are the active enzymes that allow so many of our bodies cellular processes to take place
Well, what do some of these vitamins actually do? Here’s a short look at a few examples:
· Niacin and magnesium are necessary for ATP production as they help form a bond with ADP during phosphorylation (ADP to ATP is one of our most primary energy systems)
· Folic acid is involved in the synthesis of nucleotides and certain amino acids
· Pantothenic acid is an essential part of the Krebs cycle which is a critical component of cellular respiration
· Pyroxidine is used in the in the Transaminations of amino acid synthesis
Not nearly an exhaustive list but, It should be becoming clear to us now just why taking our vitamins are important to our health and productivity in life. These seemingly simple little things allow our bodies to carry on the most basic functions that we need to survive and thrive. Moral of the story…take your vitamins!