Vitamins are essential to the body as they are responsible for carrying out important biochemical pathways. Vitamins also play a significant factor in aging, medications, genetics, and can metabolize differently depending on gender. There are thirteen vitamins the body depends on. These vitamins are not able to be produced by our body so we must obtain them from our diet.
The fat-soluble vitamins we require are vitamins A, D, E, and K. The water-soluble vitamins we require are vitamins C and B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12).
High carotenoid intake and elevated plasma is correlated with a decreased risk of multiple chronic diseases. It is known that dietary carotenoids and retinoids play important roles in innate and acquired immunity and in the body response to inflammation. Additionally, vitamin A is highly important in embryonic development as well as eye and skin health. Environmental factors such as exercise, oxidative stress, smoking, and aging are determining factors for the levels of provitamin A. These have strong evidence directly associating dietary intake to serum levels.
Once digestion and absorption occur, these are broken down and converted into retinal, then retinol, which is the active form of Vitamin A. This is done by the enzyme, encoded by the BCO1 gene. The BCOM1 enzyme is expressed in the intestines, liver, and lining of the lungs.
The BCO1 G>T polymorphism has three genotypes. GG is a wild type and shows no impact. GT is the heterozygote and shows a moderate impact. TT is the homozygote and shows a high impact. BCO1 C>T polymorphism also has a wildtype with no impact (CC). The heterozygote CT shows a moderate impact, and the TT homozygote shows a high impact. Those who carry the T allele may have up to 30% reduced enzymatic conversion. This is strongly associated in females.
For those who have the risk genotype, it is key they take pro-vitamin A carotenoids and active vitamin A sources should be included in the diet. Food sources to eat include sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, and carrots. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, the human gene database.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that undergoes metabolic reactions to become a steroid hormone. Vitamin D is required to properly absorb calcium, phosphate, and magnesium, making it a critical aspect in bone development. When vitamin D is active, it has cell signaling abilities and vitamin D deficiency is associated with the progression of osteoporosis, rickets, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
This is a vitamin D binding protein that binds and transports the metabolites in the circulation to target tissues. Those who have a SNP with this gene are known to have varying levels of vitamin D, hyperparathyroidism, maternal and fetal health outcomes, bone disorders and disruptions of oral health. The CGT>G polymorphism has a TT wild type genotype that shows no impact, a heterozygote TG that shows moderate impact, and a GG homozygote that shows high impact. The G allele is associated with a decrease in vitamin D binding and are shown to have lower concentrations.
The CGT>GT polymorphism also has three genotypes. The GG wildtype has no impact. The GT heterozygote has moderate impact and the TT homozygote that has a high impact. With this SNP, if you carry the T allele, you may have a higher risk for developing conditions such as metabolic syndrome.
It is extremely important to eat vitamin D rich foods like egg yolks, mushrooms, and certain fatty fish. Additionally, getting outside for 30 minutes a day and having sun exposure will increase vitamin D levels. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, the human gene database.
Vitamin B12 is extremely important as it is an essential nutrient for the brain and neural function. Vitamin B12 is also a co-enzyme in multiple cellular processes including DNA synthesis, methylation, and carbohydrate synthesis. When you are deficient in vitamin B12, you have an increased risk for neurological conditions.
The FUT2 enzyme interferes with Vitamin B12 absorption due to having an impact on the gut microbiome and decreasing secretion of intrinsic factor. The A>G polymorphism has three genotypes. AA is the wildtype, leading to no impact. AG is heterozygote with a moderate impact, and GG is homozygote with a high impact. Those who have the G allele have increased activity of the FUT2 enzyme.
Additionally, this SNP has been associated with increased international permeability and gastrointestinal infections and inflammation. If you have the G allele, it is recommended you eat foods rich in vitamin B12 like clams, egg yolks, and beef. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, the human gene database.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that helps with gene regulatory enzymes. Vitamin C has also been shown to protect mucosal tissues from damaging oxidative stress.
The GSTT1 encodes for detoxifying enzymes. Most of the interactions between vitamin C and GSTs are mediated by reactive oxygen species. There are certain genetic variations in the GST genes that can impact glutathione levels. If you have this insertion, you possess the wildtype and have no impact. However, if you have this deletion, you have a high impact. If you have a deletion of this genotype, it is important to actively practice stress-relieving activities. Additionally, it is important to decrease toxins in your environmental element. Lastly, eating foods that contain vitamin C like kiwis, guava, and other citrus fruits will help with vitamin C levels. For more information, please visit GeneCards, the human gene database.
We see that vitamins are essential to perform daily functions, so ensuring proper vitamin intake is key. To best to do this, we use the micronutrient test from Spectracell. This test not only shows us if you are deficient in essential vitamins, but it includes a visual of where in your biochemical processes these deficiencies are coming into play. A sample of the report is shown below:
Information provided from these two tests provides extraordinary insight into what is occurring inside our body and how to best reduce our risk factors. Although these two tests provide a great deal of information, it is important that we never stop asking “why”. To make an impact on overall health, we need to understand and use the information we have, but continue to look for more.
One of the most important things is to know your body. By having these two tests done, you get a great insight. Additionally, knowing what vitamins you are deficient in makes supplementation more efficient. A great tip to getting more of your vitamins in is to make a smoothie in the morning! By combining spinach, kiwi, ice, yogurt, and other citrus fruits to get your desired flavor, you are feeding your body with the proper vitamins it needs. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
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