Vitamins in General

The Why, When & How of Vitamins

By Brandy Siegler

Wellness Specialist


Vitamins are organic substances necessary for growth, vitality, and well-being. They are found in minute quantities in natural foods, and with few exceptions, cannot be synthesized by our bodies. Think of vitamins as spark plugs in your body’s car. Vitamins

are components of our enzyme system which, like spark plugs, energize & regulate our

metabolism, keeping us tuned up and functioning at high performance.  Vitamins are not “pep pills” or a substitute for food, however.  You cannot take vitamins in place of good food and expect to be healthy.

NUTRIENTS include the vitamins. Carbohydrates, proteins (made up of the amino acids), and fats constitute the macronutrients, and vitamins, minerals, and water make up the micronutrients. The macronutrients require the micronutrients to release energy, and all work together to promote growth and proper organ function.


Nutrients become available through digestion, which is the process of continuous chemical simplification of food that enters the body through the mouth.  Enzymes split food into simpler & smaller chemical fragments that are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Understanding your digestive tract is important.

Digestion begins in your mouth when teeth grind the food and an enzyme in saliva splits starches into simple sugars. Glands in the stomach produce mucus, enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and an “intrinsic factor” that allows vitamin B12 to be absorbed. An ordinary meal leaves the stomach in 3-5 hours. Nothing is absorbed here except alcohol. Most digestion occurs beyond the stomach in the small intestine…all 22 feet of it. Any material left from digestion moves into the colon or large intestine, which serves primarily as a storage and dehydrating organ. The colon is lavishly populated with bacteria, many of which are essential to health. Feces are composed of bacteria, indigestible fiber, and toxins eliminated through the intestine. The liver is associated with the digestive tract and is essential for digestion, absorption of nutrients, and detoxification. One of its main functions is to produce bile, which promotes the efficient digestion of fats by “detergent action”.  It is a reservoir and storage unit for vitamins A & D and for sugar in the form of glycogen, which can be released when needed to sustain blood sugar levels. The liver also manufactures enzymes, cholesterol, proteins, vitamin A (from carotene) and blood clotting factors, and can break down a variety of toxic molecules, rendering them harmless.  The pancreas releases digestive juice into the small intestine to break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and to ensure the right pH for optimal digestion.  The pancreas also helps maintain proper levels of blood sugar by releasing the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. So you can see that a well functioning digestive tract, liver, and pancreas are essential for processing nutrients and ensuring good health.


A balanced diet is rarely on the table. Soil depletion, storage, food processing, and cooking destroy many nutrients.  Although many of our processed foods have been “enriched”, they rarely contain the nutrients they had in the natural state. Are you positive that you get all 24 essential vitamins & minerals daily in your food choices? Are you one of only 7% of Americans who eats according to the new food pyramid?

Synthetic vs Natural vitamins

Synthetic vitamins may appear to be the same as natural vitamins, but the natural source is often better. For example, natural vitamin E usually includes all the tocopherols, not just the alpha form, which is more potent. Also, according to Dr. T.Randolph, a noted allergist, “a synthetically derived substance may cause a reaction in the chemically sensitive person when the same material of natural origin is tolerated, despite the 2 substances having identical chemical structures”.  There are fewer stomach upsets and fewer toxic reactions with natural supplements.

Fillers, binders, and Sweeteners

Fillers are inert materials added to vitamin tablets to make the preparation a practical size for compression. Dicalcium phosphate, sorbitol, and cellulose are used in the better brands.

Binders give cohesive qualities to the tablet. Cellulose, ethyl cellulose, sorbitol, and lecithin are often used. Binders to be aware of include acacia (gum arabic), which is generally recognized as safe but can cause asthma attacks, and algin (alginic acid or sodium alginate), which is under investigation as a potentially harmful substance.

It is best to avoid vitamins with sweeteners like sucrose, sugar, or aspartame.


Our bodies excrete the water-soluble B and C vitamins in urine within about 4 hours of ingestion. The oil soluble vitamins, A,D,E,& K, remain for 24 hrs.  It is best to space your B and C vitamins through the day and to take vitamins after meals for maximal absorption. If you take all of your supplements at one time, do so at your largest meal. It is also best to take your vitamins and minerals together for optimal absorption.


  1. Make sure that all 8 B vitamins, including biotin (more expensive than silver), are present in 100% DV.
  2. Make sure the multivitamin includes adequate amounts of the minerals calcium (45%), magnesium (45%), and phosphorus (30%).
  3. There should be no artificial colors.
  4. Trace elements should be present (chromium, selenium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, boron, and tin)
  5. The label should make a statement about clinical testing, proven bioavailability and potency.  Always look for legitimate scientific facts, especially with absorption.

Shaklee nutritional supplements meet all these standards.

For proper health, to feel better, to have more energy, and to prevent or delay health problems in the future….insure that you have an adequate diet, including those important vitamins!

For more information call 814-643-3768 or visit my website at


The Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association makes no medical claims or recommendations.  Check with your doctor about your specific health care needs.  For more information on the Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association contact Jennifer Champion, president, at 814-667-2097 or