Vitamins are necessary for human life and health. They are required in minute amounts, and with the exception of Vitamin B12, cannot be manufactured in your bodies. These organic compounds need to be obtained from diet, and if deprived of a particular vitamin, you will suffer from disease specific to that vitamin. It is a matter of record that you are not getting enough vitamins. Though we Americans are living longer, our quality of life leaves much to be desired.
The thirteen different vitamins are classified into two main categories:
Water Soluble Vitamins – They dissolve easily in water. They are Vitamin C and the eight types of Vitamins B, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-7, B-9, and B-12.
Fat Soluble Vitamins – With the help of lipids, they are absorbed through the intestinal tract. These vitamins are Vitamins A. D, E, and K.
The term Vitamin does not mean to include essential nutrients, such as, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, or essential amino acids; neither does it mean to include other nutrients that just promote health, and may not be essential.
The Different Grades of Vitamins
Vitamin supplements are taken by more than 75% of the world’s population. With the plethora of different brands, it becomes difficult to know what is what. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements are made from three different grades of raw materials:
Pharmaceutical Grade – It meets pharmaceutical standards
Food Grade – It meets standards for human consumption
Feed Grade – It meets standards for animal consumption
The main difference is of quality and purity. Due to the addition of various other substances, no product is 100% pure. Pharmaceutical Grade Vitamins must be in excess of 99% purity containing no binders, fillers, excipients – substances used as diluents for a drug – dyes, or unknown substances. Regular Vitamins of the other two grades are available as Over The Counter (OTC) products, whereas pharmaceutical grade vitamins are only available through prescriptions.
Pharmaceutical grade vitamins are formulated to yield a higher degree of bioavailability – the degree at which the vitamin is absorbed into a living system. As these vitamins can be absorbed into your body quickly, they improve and enhance the quality of your life rapidly.
Of late, the American vitamin industry has gained a lot of bad reputation, and many feel it is rightly deserved. People walk into stores and pharmacies to buy regular vitamins. In some of the cases, the ingredients specified on the label are not in conformity with what they find inside the bottle. A variety of ingredients do not absorb into the body.
More and more people are opting for pharmaceutical grade vitamins, as they are available through prescriptions from doctors and licensed medical practitioners. Pharmaceutical grade vitamins, vis–vis regular vitamins, have been tested for their quality and ability to give results. They are tested by third parties to confirm that the bottles contain what they profess to contain.