Halal Vitamins
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that the body needs for normal growth and activity.  They can often be obtained by eating a well-balanced diet from a variety of plant and animal foods.
Vitamins serve many functions in the body. Some, like vitamin D affect mineral metabolism. Others such as vitamin C function as antioxidants. The B-complex vitamins help enzymes function as catalysts. The presence of adequate amounts of vitamins in a person’s body is essential for good health.

Vitamins are generally categorized into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, & K are fat-soluble and may be stored by the body. However, most vitamins are not stored in the body and require a person to consume them through a healthy diet. 
Poor diets and malabsorption disorders may lead to vitamin deficiencies. Deficiencies in vitamins can often lead to unwanted health conditions such as rickets, scurvy, and pernicious anemia. All these conditions may be preventable through proper supplementation.
What are the 13 essential vitamins?
There are 13 vitamins that are considered absolutely essential for a healthy functioning body.
Vitamin Sources Function RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for adults
Vitamin A milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, fish liver oils Helps maintain normal vision and healthy skin 700-900 micrograms [1,300 micrograms if pregnant or nursing]
Vitamin D cheese, butter, margarine, cream, fish, oysters, and fortified milk and cereals Promotes calcium and phosphorous absorption aiding in bone mineralization, growth, and repair 200 IU  = 50 years or younger
400 IU = 51-70 years old
600 IU = above 70 years old
Vitamin E Vegetable oil, wheat germ, leafy vegetables, egg yolk, margarine, and legumes Antioxidant, protects body tissue from damage from free radicals 15 milligrams (22 IU if from a natural source; 33 IU if synthetic)
Vitamin K Green leafy vegetables (i.e. spinach, collards, etc), soybeans Helps in the formation of blood clotting factors 65 micrograms for women
80 micrograms for men
Thiamine (B1) Whole grains, meat, fortified bread, cereals, and pastas Required for carbohydrate metabolism, and normal nerve and heart function 1.1 milligrams for women
1.2 milligrams for men
Riboflavin (B2) eggs, meat, poultry, shellfish, and milk and milk products Required for metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. Supports healthy mucous membranes 1.1 milligrams for women
1.3 milligrams for men
Niacin (B3) Dried yeast, liver, meat, fish, legumes, and whole grains Required from metabolism of carbohydrates and fats 14 milligrams for women
16 milligrams for men
Pantothenic Acid (B5) Liver, meats, egg yolk, yeast, and vegetables Required from metabolism of carbohydrates and fats 5 milligrams (no established RDA)
Pyridoxine (B6) Dried yeast, liver, organ meats, whole-grains, fish, & legumes Required for metabolism of amino acids and fatty acids, supports nerve function, and the formation of red blood cells 1.5 milligrams for women
1.7 milligrams for men
Biotin (B7) Liver, kidneys, egg, yolk, milk, fish, yeast, nuts & legumes Required from metabolism of carbohydrates and fats 30 micrograms (no established RDA)
Folic Acid (B9) Leafy green vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, organ meats (cooking destroys 50-90% of folic content of food) Required for the maturation of red blood cells and DNA & RNA synthesis 400 micrograms
Cobalamin (B12) Liver, meats, eggs, milk and milk products Required for the maturation of red blood cells, DNA & RNA synthesis, and healthy nerve function 2.4 micrograms
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers Antioxidant, protects against cell damage from free radicals, promotes healing and growth, and aids in iron absorption 75 milligrams for women
90 milligrams for men
[smokers require an additional 35 milligrams]
Vitamin Deficiency
Inadequate levels of vitamins may result in an array of conditions. Low levels of vitamins may be due to lack of dietary intake. This is referred to as primary deficiency. When a deficiency occurs as a result of a disease or lifestyle factor, this is called secondary deficiency. For example, smokers need to increase their intake of vitamin C by 30-50%. Not getting enough sunlight affects the body’s level of vitamin D, which assists in calcium absorption for healthy bones.
The first disease directly linked to a vitamin deficiency was scurvy. Scurvy is characterized by general malaise and lethargy, progressing on to spotty skin and bleeding gums. If left untreated scurvy can be fatal. In 1753 the Scottish Surgeon, James Lind postulated in his Treatise on the Scurvy that lemons and limes, a key source of vitamin C, may be used to prevent scurvy. His recommendation was proven as fact in 1932. 

Vitamin D deficiency is often associated with rickets, a disease that causes the softening of bones in children usually resulting in fractures and deformities. This is due to the fact that vitamin D plays a key role in calcium absorption.

Beriberi is a condition where a person has a severe deficiency in vitamin B1. It is characterized by nerve, heart, and brain abnormalities. An alcoholic binge can worsen the brain abnormalities in a person with chronic vitamin B1 deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is commonly associated with eye disorders, and is a common cause of blindness in developing countries. Deficiencies in B12 and folic acid can also result in anemia.

Disorders related to vitamin deficiency are uncommon in developed nations due to an adequate food supply. However, there are other factors that may give rise to these conditions. Diets low in fat reduces the absorption of vitamin E. Alcohol consumption has an impact on folic acid levels. Medications can also cause vitamin deficiencies. Certain antibiotics such as isoniazid can cause B6 deficiency. Anticonvulsants can decrease absorption of folic acid and drugs such as methotrexate and sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim can interfere with folic acid metabolism.
What are Minerals?
Minerals are inorganic chemical elements that enable the body to perform essential functions. Like vitamins, minerals can be obtained through a well-balanced diet, but individuals with certain disorders may be prone to deficiencies.
Minerals are often separated into two categories, macro-minerals and trace minerals. The body needs larger amounts of macro-minerals than trace minerals. The macro-minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur, and can be found in the body in abundance. Trace minerals, such as selenium and chromium exist in the body in limited quantities. 
The role of minerals in the body varies greatly. For example, calcium is needed to support strong healthy bones. Sodium and potassium function in the body as electrolytes. Iodine is needed for the body to make thyroid hormones. 

Most people who eat a balanced diet will consume an adequate amount of minerals. However, consuming too much may be very harmful. Your doctor can detect mineral deficiencies by performing a blood or urine test.
Multivitamins
Multivitamins are supplements containing a combination of vitamins and sometimes minerals. They provide an easy means of ensuring adequate daily vitamin intake. Generally, multivitamins are taken once a day.
Many studies have been done supporting the use of multivitamins and touting their health benefits. In 2002, the Harvard School of Medicine reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that "it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements." The researchers examined articles spanning from 1966 to 2002 regarding the relationship between vitamins and various chronic diseases. They concluded that inadequate intake of several vitamins has been linked to the development of diseases including coronary heart disease, cancer, and OsteoporosisCondition of decreased bone mass which leads to fragile bones which are at increased risk for fractures.


Multivitamins may even have significant impact in reducing mortality. In July of 2000, the American Journal of Epidemiology examined over a million people in the U.S. and compared their mortality rates. Participants were divided based on multivitamin use. Those who supplemented with a multivitamin containing vitamins A, C, and E were found to have a significantly reduced risk of heart disease related deaths!2

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003, 130 participants were followed over the course of a year and given either a placebo or a multivitamin. According to the results, those taking the placebo reported a higher rate of illness while those taking the multivitamin reported less illness. This study suggests that the use of a multivitamin may have some protective qualities against some illnesses.3

Consistent use of multivitamins has been shown to promote good health and general well being. Multivitamins are not intended to replace a healthy diet, nor are they meant to correct a poor nutritional diet. Rather, multivitamins are meant to supplement one’s dietary intake to ensure there are no deficiencies. 

1 Vitamins for Chronic Disease Prevention in Adults, Clinical Applications Robert H. Fletcher, MD,MSc; Kathleen M. Fairfield, MD,DrPH. JAMA. 2002;287:3127-3129. Published 19 June 2002. Accessed 27 Dec 2007. 
2 American Journal of Epidemiology. 152(2):149-62, 2000 Jul 15.
3 Annals of Internal Medicine. 138(5):365-71, 2003 Mar 4.
Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that display a wide array of health benefits. There are three kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are primarily found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, and other seafoods. ALA can be found primarily in plant sources such as flaxseed.
Because omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated, they are considered the “healthy fats” that are good for the body, as opposed to trans-fats and saturated fats. They are considered so beneficial that even the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week. However, caution must be exercised, especially by pregnant or nursing women, when consuming fish or omega-3 supplements. They may be exposed to harmful levels of mercury.

Consumption of fish or omega-3 fatty acids may aid people with various cardiovascular problems by improving blood circulation, breaking down fibrin which plays a major role in clot formation. Also, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce blood pressure. They also appear to reduce blood triglyceride levels as well as decrease the risk for heart attack. Consumption of ALA (the plant derived fatty acid) does not demonstrate the same level of cardiovascular protection as does the EPA and DHA which are found more abundantly in fish.1
In 2006, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) both released studies that supported the claim that regular consumption of fish oils ( omega-3 fatty acids) results in decreases in total mortality and cardiovascular incidents such as myocardial infarctions.2-3

Omega 3’s also have a positive effect on one’s lipid profile. In a study conducted in 2007, the American Journal of Health System Pharmacy stated that patients with triglycerides levels above 500mg/dl were given 4 grams of EPA and DHA daily. They reduced their triglycerides by an average of 45% and VLDL cholesterol by more than 50%.4
 Omega-3 fatty acids also have mild antihypertensive effects. In 1993, the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that patients who consumed omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) reduced their systolic blood pressure by about 3.5-5.5 mmHg.5

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are not restricted solely to the cardiovascular system. Many studies have been done linking omega-3 fatty acids to preventing cancers such as breast cancer and colon cancer. Omega-3’s have also been linked to reducing pain in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis as well as helping sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease.   
1 .Wang, C; Harris, WS; Chung, M; Lichtenstein, AH; Balk, EM; Kupelnick, B; Jordan, HS; Lau, J (2006). "N-3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review". The American journal of clinical nutrition 84 (1): 5–17. PMID 16825676
2. Mozaffarian, Dariush; Rimm, Eric B. (October 2006). "Fish intake, contaminants, and human health: evaluating the risks and the benefits". JAMA 296 (15): 1885–1899. doi:10.1001/jama.296.15.1885. PMID 17047219

3 .Wang, C; Harris WS, Chung M, Lichtenstein AH, Balk EM, Kupelnick B, Jordan HS, Lau J (July 2006). "n?3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review". Am J Clin Nutr 84 (1): 5–17. PMID 16825676

4 .McKenney, James M.; Sica, Domenic (2007). "Prescription omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia". Am J Health-Sys Pharm 64 (6): 595–605. doi:10.2146/ajhp060164. PMID 17353568
5 Appel LF, Miller ER, Sidler AJ, Whelton PK (1993). "Does supplementation of diet with 'fish oil' reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials.". Archives of Internal Medicine 153 (12): 1429–1438. doi:10.1001/archinte.153.12.1429. PMID 8141868
Children’s Multivitamins
Most experts agree that kids who eat a balanced diet should be getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need, and supplementation may not be necessary. However, kids are often the pickiest eaters, refusing to eat vegetables and foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, making it difficult if not impossible to maintain a balanced diet.
Kids require many of the same vitamins that adults do, but in different amounts based on their age and condition. Some recent studies suggest that increasingly kids are not getting enough vitamin D1, which promotes tooth and bone formation and regulates the absorption of minerals like calcium. Other studies suggest that many kids aren’t getting enough iron2, which is essential for the production of blood and building muscles, especially during periods of rapid growth.
Some other vitamins that may be beneficial for kids include: 

  • Vitamin A, which promotes normal growth, healthy skin and tissue repair, and vision
  • B vitamins, which promote red blood cell formation and assist in various metabolic activities
  • Vitamin C, which helps strengthen connective tissues, assists in the healing of wounds and bones, and helps prevent infections.
For many youngsters, diet alone isn’t enough to provide these essential vitamins. Taken daily, and at recommended values, multivitamins for children are safe, provide all the essential vitamins and minerals their bodies need, and may help to supplement an inadequate diet. Additionally, many pediatricians recommend multivitamins particularly for children who have erratic eating behaviors, poor appetite, or certain conditions, which may result in a lack of particular essential vitamins and minerals.3

Every child’s needs are different. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician to find out if daily multivitamins are right for your child.

1 NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Dietary Supplements: Background Information. Accessed June 10, 2010.http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/dietarysupplements/.
Pregnancy and Prenatal Vitamins
Pregnancy is a special time in a woman’s life. It brings with it hope and expectations. Of these expectations is the joy of seeing a healthy new baby. Often physicians will recommend taking a prenatal multivitamin several months before conception in order to give the best possible start for the newborn.
During pregnancy, the body’s demands change. So too will the nutritional requirements. Although a balanced and healthy diet is the key to good nutrition, supplementation with a prenatal vitamin may help ensure an expectant mother is covering all her bases. Pregnant women generally need more folic acid, iron, and calcium in their diet.  

Folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in babies. Neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. The most common neural tube defect is spina bifida, a condition where the spine doesn’t close. This may ultimately lead to paralysis, incontinence, and in some cases, mental retardation.

Since neural tube defects develop in the first 28 days after conception the Department of Health recommends that you take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day while trying to conceive and continue for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In women who are on anticonvulsants or who have had a previous pregnancy with a neural tube defect, doses as high as 4,000 micrograms have been recommended.1

Folic acid has also been shown to reduce the incidence of cleft lips.2
During pregnancy the fetus requires a lot of calcium to develop strong bones and a healthy heart. Failure to consume adequate quantities of calcium will result in the fetus drawing on the calcium stores in the mother’s bones. This will put her at increased risk for osteoporosis later on in life. 

Iron is a key component in red blood cells that helps them carry oxygen. In pregnancy, the need for this mineral is greater due to increased metabolic demands. Pregnancy approximately doubles the amount of iron needed. Non-pregnant women are recommended to take in 18 milligrams of iron per day. For pregnant women, the amount is increased to 27 milligrams per day.3  Iron has also been shown to decrease the risk of pre-term delivery, low birth weight, and infant mortality.

Prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to meet the demands of pregnancy. Sometimes omega- 3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA will be added to the formulation to support healthy brain and nerve development and vitamin D will be added to prevent rickets, a bone disorder.
In prenatal vitamins, the levels of vitamin A are also reduced. This is done because high doses of vitamin A have been associated with birth defects. The plant form of vitamin A, beta-carotene, has been shown to be safe and is often found in most prenatal vitamins. 
Although prenatal vitamins are available as both prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) retail products, little difference can be found between the two in regards to potency of ingredients. Differences may exist in the amount of folic acid. Prescription formulations usually contain 1 milligram (1,000 micrograms) of folic acid while OTC products will have less. The recommended daily dose for pregnant women is 400 micrograms. It is best to talk with your physician to see which vitamin is best for you. 

1 "Why do I need folic acid?". NHS Direct. 2006-04-27. Archived from the original on April 13, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-19
2  Wilcox, AJ; Lie, RT; Solvoll, K; Taylor, J; McConnaughey, DR; Abyholm, F; Vindenes, H; Vollset, SE et al. (2007). "Folic acid supplements and risk of facial clefts: national population based case-control study.". BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 334 (7591): 464. doi:10.1136/bmj.39079.618287.0B. PMC 1808175. PMID 17259187
3 Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Everyone knows calcium is responsible for strong bones, but the body needs calcium for so much more. Calcium is also needed for muscle contractions, electrical conduction of the heart, and maintaining healthy cell physiology.
A deficiency in calcium can lead to many health issues such as rickets, hypocalcemia (a low level of calcium in the blood), and most famously, osteoporosis. 

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become gradually thinner and lose density. This is a natural phenomenon. Risk factors for osteoporosis include being female, thin, inactive, and elderly, as well as smoking, drinking heavily, taking immune suppressing drugs such as prednisone, and having a family history of osteoporosis.

Calcium supplementation is one of the keys to slowing down the progression of bone loss and fractures associated with osteoporosis by increasing calcium deposition.1 Calcium is often given with vitamin D in order to aid in calcium absorption. The following is a chart of the daily recommended intake of calcium and vitamin D:

Calcium: Dietary Reference Intake2
Age mg/day
Infants
0 to 6 months
7 to 12 months

210
270
Children
1 to 3 years
4 to 8 years

500
800
Males
9 to 13 years
14 to 18 years
19 to 50 years
51+  years
Females
9 to 13 years
14 to 18 years
19 to 50 years
51+ years

1300
1300
1000
1200

1300
1300
1000
1200
Pregnancy
<= 18 years
19 to 50 years

1300
1000
Lactation
<= 18 years
19 to 50 years

1300
1000

Vitamin D: Dietary Reference Intake3
Age IU/d
Infants
0 to 6 months
7 to 12 months

400
400
Children
1 to 3 years
4 to 8 years

600
600
Males/Females
9 to 18 years
19 to 70 years
51 to 70 years
> 70 years

600
600
600
800
Pregnancy
<= 18 years
19 to 30 years
31 to 50 years
 

600
600
Lactation
<= 18 years
19 to 30 years
31 to 50 years


600
600
Studies have also suggested that there is a benefit in supplementing with calcium to prevent certain cancers. In 2005, the international Cochrane Collaboration conducted a meta-analysis and found that calcium "might contribute to a moderate degree to the prevention of adenomatous colonic polyps."4  Colonic polyps are small overgrowths that carry a risk of becoming cancerous. 

More recently, a study conducted in 2007 had found that high calcium and vitamin D intake was associated with "lower risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer."5  
Among the other benefits of calcium, other studies have suggested that calcium aids in weight management6  as well as decreasing the risk for developing kidney stones.7

1 Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Krall EA, Dallal GE (1997). "Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older". N. Engl. J. Med. 337 (10): 670–6. doi:10.1056/NEJM199709043371003. PMID 9278463
2 Berkow R: Merck Manual. Rathway, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories.    85:S199-S203.
3 Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press,   1997;   288-313.
4 Weingarten MA, Zalmanovici A, Yaphe J (2005). "Dietary calcium supplementation for preventing colorectal cancer, adenomatous polyps and calcium metabolisism disorder.". Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (3): CD003548. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003548.pub3. PMID 16034903
5 Lin J, Manson JE, Lee IM, Cook NR, Buring JE, Zhang SM (2007). "Intakes of calcium and vitamin d and breast cancer risk in women". Arch. Intern. Med. 167 (10): 1050–9. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.10.1050. PMID 17533208
6 Zemel MB, Thompson W, Milstead A, Morris K, Campbell P. Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obes Res 2004;12:582-90.
7 Borghi L, Schianchi T, Meschi T, et al. Comparison of two diets for the prevention of recurrent stones in idiopathic hypercalciuria. N Engl J Med 2002;346:77-84.
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The dietary supplement information contained on this site has been compiled from published sources thought to be reliable, but it cannot be guaranteed.
Efforts have been made to assure this information is accurate and current. However, some of this information may be purported or outdated due to ongoing research or discoveries. The authors, editors and publishers cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions or for any consequences from applications of the information in this site and make no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the contents herein.