- Nutritional Vitamins & Supplements
How Common is Deficiency?
Vitamins are made in the green leaves of plants and are transferred into the seed of the plant to nourish the next generation. As we cannot make most vitamins, we rely on plants, and animals that have eaten the plants, to obtain sufficient quantities of these nutrients.
The Department of Health established recommended daily allowances (RDA) of 15 vitamins, which should be supplied in the diet to prevent deficiency. In 1980 a nationwide survey revealed the diet of 85 per cent of the British population to be deficient in at least one of these vitamins. Clearly the average diet, even if it is fairly varied, does not cover most people's minimum nutritional requirements. If we look at the changing pattern of food consumption we can begin to see why.
Since the 1940s the consumption of fruit and vegetables, both high in vitamins, has dropped by 25 per cent, while the consumption of junk foods, lacking in nutrients, is up some 80 per cent. This increase in junk foods which consist largely of fat and sugar, also increases our need for vitamins. Pollution, many medical drugs, and food additives, all of which are on the increase, further tend to make us vitamin deficient, and so amplify our need for vitamin supplements.
Furthermore, the food we eat that does contain vitamins has less than it did thirty years ago. Why? Because our soil is increasingly being depleted of its essential nutrients, by over farming and because toxic insecticides kill off the micro-organisms that naturally revitalize the soil. In addition the processing of food usually substantially reduces its vitamin content.
Optimum Nutrition not Deficient Nutrition
Perhaps the greatest misconception about vitamins is the notion that we only need them in small amounts, to correct deficiency. Firstly, the idea that the lack of a nutrient merely causes a deficiency disease is incorrect. Each vitamin has so many parts to play that any vitamin deficiency will disrupt our entire health. For instance, vitamin C keeps our arteries healthy, protects us from infections, takes poisons out of the body, and is involved in the production of energy.
If we have insufficient vitamin C our heart and arteries deteriorate, our immune system is weakened, and production of energy is disrupted long before the advent of scurvy, the 'vitamin C deficiency' disease. It is time we started to think about the levels of vitamins that will promote optimum health, and not the levels that will prevent illness. The concept of a vitamin to cure a disease, is simply a variation of a 'drug to kill a bug'. The question we should be asking is how did the bug or disease get there in the first place? If improper nutrition was a causative factor, then how can that person improve his nutrition? By approaching the cause of disease there is no need to treat the symptoms. They will just clear up as part of the healing process.
Your Needs are Individual
Normal people's vitamin needs commonly vary by as much as 200 to 400 per cent. Infrequently they vary by as much as 1000 per cent. Given this information probably less than one-sixth of the population have their basic vitamin needs covered by a diet containing the RDA's. However, there are situations when our need for vitamins is even in excess of these levels. Our needs are higher when:
- We are recovering from an illness,
- We are correcting a deficiency,
- A deficiency has caused a permanently increased need for a vitamin,
- We are stressed or engaged in extreme physical work,
- We are exposed to pollutants, medical drugs, toxic foods and food additives which rob us of nutrients.
Basically, almost all of us can benefit from taking supplements, and the amount to take will depend on your individual needs.
Vitamin A is mainly supplied as beta carotene, a reddish yellow substance found in foods such as carrots, beet, spinach, kale, broccoli and apricots. However, a much more usable form of this vitamin is found in liver and kidneys. Most vitamin A capsules contain fish liver oil.
The fact that liver, high in this vitamin, can prevent night blindness was known to the Egyptians many thousands of years ago. What they didn't know was that it strengthens against infection, improves the condition of the skin, both inside (the digestive tract and mucous membranes) and outside. It also slows down signs of aging, helps prevent cancer, and is needed to make protein and sex hormones.
Vitamin A strengthens the outside surfaces of our body. Sufficient quantity means less spots and dryness of the skin. It protects our 'inside' skin against ulcers and viral invasions of the digestive tract, which cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders.
Many of the so-called aging symptoms, such a loss of smell, worsening eyesight and hearing, may be the result of a deficiency of this essential nutrient. With the discovery of RNA and its role in slowing down the aging process, it has also been discovered that RNA production is proportional to the amount of vitamin A in the liver. So, the more vitamin A we have, the less we age. As RNA is also needed to make body protein it is not surprising to find that we can use dietary protein much better if we have adequate levels of vitamin A.
Your need for vitamin A goes up if you eat too much protein, breathe polluted air, or are recovering from an infection. Because vegetable consumption is decreasing and few people eat organ meats, more than half the population get less than the recommended daily allowance.
Deficiency may lead to: Bronchial infections, asthma, colds, flu, night blindness, eye cysts, sty's, redness on rims of eyes, dandruff, difficulty digesting fats, gum disorders, conjunctivitis ulcers, infections, loss of hearing and smell, dry skin, slow healing of cuts, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
Vitamin B Complex
Some fourteen separate vitamins make up the B complex and no doubt more will be added to this list as time goes on. While individual B vitamins have specific functions, they are supplied together in nature and work together in our bodies. They help determine our moods and mental attitude, promote healthy blood and circulation, improve our vitality and ability to cope with stress, keeping us young and energetic. The highest dietary sources are yeast, wheatgerm, whole grains, seeds, nuts, black strap molasses, green vegetables, legumes, milk products, liver and eggs.
Since thiamine (B1) is needed for burning glucose in the cell, and for making the important nerve chemical acetyl choline, it is not surprising to find beri-beri, a disease of the nervous system, as one of its deficiency symptoms. Thiamine also aids protein metabolism, the muscle tone of the digestive system, promoting growth, good appetite and the healthy functioning of the digestive tract. Deficiency of thiamine will therefore affect digestion, growth processes, energy production and, most of all, the brain and nervous system.
Deficiency may lead to: Loss of initiative, depression, failing memory, lack of concentration, confusion, rapid tiring, and poor appetite. Pins and needles in toes and legs, burning sensation on soles of feet, swollen angles and feet. Possible future heart problems. Beri-beri. Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis.
Riboflavin (B2) is an orange yellow fluorescent chemical found in small amounts in vegetables, meat, milk, yeast and wheatgerm. It is essential for manufacturing the enzymes used to metabolize fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It is also needed for normal growth and tissue maintenance, and helps to neutralize acidity created when nutrients are burned to make energy.
Unlike other vitamins, riboflavin is primarily destroyed by light, so milk is not such a good source. While levels below the RDA are commonly found, perhaps the most disturbing fact is that fetuses are particularly susceptible to B2 deficiency, causing birth defects, even though no signs of deficiency may occur in the mother.
Deficiency may lead to: bloodshot itchy eyes, sore tongue, dull oily hair, excema, cataracts, cracked lips and mouth are all signs of over-acidity. Vaginal inflammation, numbness in legs, intolerance of bright light.
B3 is a nutrient that comes in two forms, each with two different names. Niacin, or nicotinic acid, is different from niacin-amide, or nicotinamide, in that a sufficient dose of the former will cause vasodilation, which is characterized by a blushing and slightly itchy sensation. This effect is good and is used to improve circulation and detoxify the capillaries. It is therefore recommended during a fast.
Niacin is intimately involved in metabolism and the burning of sugars to form energy, the regulation of blood sugar levels and histamine, and helps to keep down blood cholesterol. Because of its many roles it is useful in treating arteriosclerosis, arthritis, acne, depression, hypoglycaemia, alcoholism, headaches, and of course pellagra, for which it was discovered. It has been used in large amounts to successfully treat schizophrenia.
Its overall character is one of expansion, releasing emotional and physiological blocks, and grounding. Perhaps its role in schizophrenia, and moments of high stress or tension is in bringing the person back to reality and grounding them.
Nicotinic acid is found in peanuts, meat, grain and liver. It is used in the treatment of certain types of headache, nervous disorders, poor circulation and blood diseases.
B3 is needed in much larger quantities than most other B vitamins, and since it is involved in sugar and carbohydrate metabolism even more must be supplied to those who eat plenty of sugars and starches.
The individual variation in the need for this vitamin can be enormous. Flushing occurs with doses in excess of 100 mg and usually lasts for 15 minutes.
Deficiency may lead to: Irritability and general tiredness, recurring headches, dermatitis, loss of hair, arthritis, arteriosclerosis, Parkinson's disease, severe mental disorientation (Schizophrenia), bad breath, canker sores, tender gums, irritation of mucous membranes in gastro-intestinal tract.
B5, also known as Pantothenic acid, is in almost all foods, hence its name, pantos meaning everywhere. This is just as well, because the number of roles B5 plays in our bodies is enormous. It is needed for energy production, fat and cholesterol synthesis, antibody formation, manufacture of nerve chemicals, and, most of all, it is needed for the adrenal glands. By strengthening the adrenal glands and improving the production of cortisone, B5 increases your resistance to stress. As a result of its anti-stress quality, it has been found very useful in treating rheumatism and arthritis. B5 aids and bolsters all other B vitamins and prevents premature aging and promotes healthy hair.
Deficiency may lead to: wiry hair, loss of hair color, muscular weakness, adrenal exhaustion and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), fatigue, desire to sleep a lot, loss of appetite, constipation, discontent and irritability, wrinkly skin, baldness, burning feet, muscular cramps and lowered resistance to infections are very common. Yet because this vitamin has not yet been officially recognised few people are aware of its importance.
Another unrecognized vitamin is B17, or laetrile, is virtually banned from use in Australia and most of USA although it is used in over 17 countries throughout the world in the treatment of cancer.
A natural substances made from apricot pits and containing cyanide locked in a sugar molecule. Its advocates say the substance attacks only cancerous cells.
Other sources include: bitter almonds, alfalfa sprouts, mung beans and the whole kernels of most fruits. Minute amounts have been found in legumes and berry fruits.
B6, also known as Pyridoxine, has so many functions it is hard to know where to start! It makes hormones, enzymes, nerve chemicals. It is needed for protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. It makes anti-bodies, is needed to absorb B12, and helps regulate sodium/potassium balance. 100mg a day for a couple of months will stop the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It can relieve morning sickness, post natal depression, nervousness, hormone imbalances, kidney stones and digestive difficulties. Its essential role in making pancreatic enzymes also makes it vital for allergies and diabetics. It is also a natural analgesic and can be used to relieve pain. It is often wise to give it with zinc since these two nutrients work together.
So many processes rob food of B6, including cooking. But probably the most damaging of all is the Pill. For this reason, women often require 100 times the RDA before the symptoms of PMT are relieved. Too much protein, especially meat, also puts up B6 needs.
Deficiency may lead to: Arteriosclerosis, spasm or cramps in arms, legs, heart, neck (migraine), uterus (period cramp), fluid retention prior to period, constipation, temporary paralysis of a limb, anemia, convulsions, Parkininson's disease.
Vitamin B15, also known as Panganmic acid, is not available in the USA or Australia although it is known to improve heart conditions, glandular and nervous disorders and blood circulation. It reduces cholesterol levels, helps in overcoming addiction to alcohol, and provides some protection from pollution and improves health generally.
In Russia considerable attention has been focused on B15, which is thought to facilitate oxygen transfer to the muscles.
Natural Sources: Whole grains, all seeds, apricot kernels, Brewer's yeast.
Vitamin B7, also known as Biotin or Vitamin H, is essential for the cellular growth of all body tissues and the oxidation of fatty acids and carbohydrates. It utilizes protein, folic acid, pantothenic acid and Vitamin B12. Vitamin B7 helps to release energy from foods. It is necessary for hair health and prevents hair loss.
B7 breaks down abnormal bowel flora so you can exrete it with normal feces... eg: if the toilet stinks 20 minutes after you've had a bowel movement it means you must have been carrying around a lot of dead material. If you have plenty of biotin in the intestine and you eat food that is 'off' you will excrete immediately. If not enough you could feel off-color for days.
Deficiency may lead to: dermatitis, grayish skin color, eczema, muscle pain, depression, baldness, obesity (if there is no biotin to break down fatty foods to glucose as usable energy).
Vitamin B9, also known as Folate or Folic Acid. Folic acid is essential for the basic functioning of cells, and extra amounts may be needed during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and in the treatment of anaemia and alcoholism.
Folic acid is essential for formation of genetic material of new body cells. It keeps the correct body balance for conception and maintaining pregnancy, and helps the fertilized ovum adhere to the uterine wall. It stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid which helps prevent intestinal parasites and increases appetite. It aids Vitamins B12 and C to form body protein and red blood cells.
Deficiency may lead to: Low sperm count, difficulty with ejaculation, uterine prolapse, anemia, arteriosclerosis, premature birth, after birth haemorrhaging, toxemia, mental and physical tiredness leukemia.
Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid
Unlike all other vitamins, vitamin C (also known as Ascorbic Acid) is made by all animals except humans, apes and guinea pigs. For this reason some leading authorities think that vitamin C isn't a vitamin after all. The theory is that we lost an enzyme needed to make ascorbic acid, perhaps at a time in our history when we ate a tropical diet containing much more vitamin C. As we were getting plenty in our diet, there was no need to use the energy consuming physiological process of transferring glucose to vitamin C. This gave us more mobility and put us at an advantage over other species. However, the climate is different now, and if current theories are correct we are all lacking in vitamin C. Colds, infections, allergies, arthritis and even an age span of only seventy years may all be the deficiency symptoms of too little vitamin C!
Whether we base our need for vitamin C on the amount that our ancestors would have obtained from eating a raw natural plant food diet, or the amount produced by an animal our size, the minimum requirement is 2,300mg. In relation to other vitamins this is a lot, but vitamin C does a lot more than most. Firstly, it makes collagen, our intercellular glue, which supports bones, cartilage, skin and connective tissue. Secondly it is essential for activating white blood cells, and also acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent. With proper use of vitamin C, colds and infections simply need not occur. Thirdly, like vitamin E, it is an antioxidant. It therefore protects other vitamins and fatty acids from destruction within the body. This is achieved by the ascorbic acid attaching to the harmful oxide and taking it out of the body. This it also does to carbon dioxide, mercury, DDT and even lead.
Animals produce as much as three times the amount of vitamin C under conditions of stress, such as illness or overcrowding, and presumably we would too - if we could. Pollution, cigarettes, heat, the Pill, alcohol and many medical drugs also put up our need for this nutrient. To recommend 2g a day is conservative.
Deficiency may lead to: headaches, anemia, rheumatic pains, nose bleeds, varicose veins, atherosclerosis, susceptibility to colds and flu, strokes, constipation, shingles, swollen joints, hypertension, bruising... and plenty more besides!
Vitamin D can be made in the skin in the presence of sunshine. However, since places like Britain cannot boast of hot summers, it is necessary to get the bulk of it from your diet. The major sources are milk, liver and egg yolk. Any shortfall should be made up with a Vitamin D supplement.
It is essential for the balance of calcium and phosphorus in the bones and bloodstream, but it is not used routinely in the treatment of disease. Helps regulate the absorption and distribution of calcium, and is therefore essential for healthy bones and teeth. Necessary for growth of bones. It helps maintain normal heart action and normal blood clotting.
Deficiency may lead to: rickets, pyorrhea, osteoporosis, retarded growth, weakness osteomalacia in adults, tetany (muscular numbness and tingling), poor metabolism, myopia, age spots and and lack of vigour.
Vitamin B12 is best taken with folic acid since the two have the same functions of improving RNA production, building protein and healthy red blood cells. They are used to treat anemia, alcoholism, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, tiredness, and morning sickness.
It is essential for the normal metabolism of all other B vitamins and assisting the action of Vitamin C and Iron.
Vitamin B12 contains cobalt in its formula and tiny amounts of copper, as we know one of the prominent treatments for manhy forms of cancer is to bombard the affected area with cobalt and copper in huge doses (under strict medical supervision).
Six B12 Facts
- B12 is stored in the liver and can last up to five years.
- People who dramatically change to a vegetarian diet from the typical high-meat western diet should carefully watch their B12 intake. A deficiency may manifest itself in the babies of vegetarian mothers.
- B12 takes over after biotin has broken down substances to dead matter.
- B12 breaks down the pathogenic dead material that accumulates in our bodies creating 'garbage heaps' by way of its cobalt and copper and by working closely with Iron and Vitamin C.
- Cancer is not a disease. IT's a process of degeneration. Your body is making more garbage heaps than it's able to clear... dead cells, toxic waste, foreign matter. You 'die' in the small area first and this can start 25 years before it's deetected.
- Once you start manufacturing abnormal cells there is a desperate need for B12.
Deficiency may lead to: nervousness, mental slowness, unpleasant body odor, lower red blood cell production and the possiblity of immature red blood cells, menstrual disturbances, pernicious anemia. Diseases that hit you when you're emotionally low: glandular fever, shingles, anorexia, herpes, metabolic diseases.
Vitamin E is readily available in most foods. It is fat-soluble, and high doses may cause serious diseases and abnormalities including blood clots, high blood pressure, breast tumors and headaches. It is a quite dangerous drug, and is only rarely used in medicine.
There are many forms of this vitamin, called alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherol and so on. However, the most effective is alpha tocopherol. It is an oil and is found in many sources, the richest of which are green leafy vegetables, whole grains and especially wheatgerm. The oil of wheatgerm is most commonly used for vitamin E supplements.
Protects other substances in the body from oxidizing. This stops the destruction of unsaturated fats, hormones and vitamins, leaving the red blood cells supplied with pure oxygen, improving the functioning of the muscles. It also allows cells to function with less oxygen, and is beneficial for heart conditions and the skin. Protects body fats.
Inorganic iron, estrogen, and unsaturated oils put up your need for vitamin E. So if you take the Pill you will need more vitamin E and if you take iron supplements, leave ten hours before taking vitamin E. The dietary sources of vitamin E are not commonly eaten in sufficient quantities to supply more than 15 IUs, so most nutritionists recommend supplementing this vitamin. People with high blood pressure should not take more than 100 IUs to start with, increasing the dose by 100 IUs each month.
Deficiency may lead to: shriveled-up glands, particularly pituitary and adrenal glands and inefficient production of associated hormones, low sperm count, less active and less potent sperm, excessive or scanty menstrual periods, low ability to conceive and maintain pregnancy, menopausal problems (such as flushes and headaches), reduced sexual desire, irritation and dryness of the vagina, reduced oxygen and nutrient transportation throughout the body, varicose veins, thrombosis, flabby muscles, early aging, age spots, tardy circulation and possible heart problems.
Vitamin B13, or orotic acid, assists Vitamin B12 and folic acid. For better absorption of essential minerals, B13 combines with them chemically to form salts such as calcium orotate and magnesium oratate.
As a supplement it is not available in the USA or Australia, although it has produced some successful results in Europe in treating multiple sclerosis.
Natural Sources: Some root vegetables and milk whey (the liquid portion of soured milk)
Vitamin F consists of the essential unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acid. It is found in the germ of grains, and in the seeds, and is therefore in vegetable oils.
Like other nutrients, certain types of fat are of vital importance. They are used as part of the structure of every cell, must be present for healthy nerves and brain. Of these essential fats, only those constituting vitamin F cannot be made within us and must be obtained from our diet.
Helps make adrenal, sex, and thyroid hormones and keeps the brain and nerves healthy. Found together with unsaturated fats, these nutrients protect the skin, regulate blood coagulation, and dissolve cholesterol deposits on artery walls. For this reason vitamin F is good for arteriosclerosis and heart disease.
Some people, especially those with multiple sclerosis, cannot transfer these fatty acids into gamma-linolenic acid, which is the form the body can use. Luckily for these people the oil of evening primrose contains vitamin F as gamma linoleic and linolenic acid.
The need for vitamin F increases in proportion to the amount of saturated fat eaten. Saturated fat should only make up a third of all fat intake, the rest being cold pressed vegetable oils. As these are the source of vitamin F there is no need to supplement one's diet provided it contains at least 4 tablespoonsful of these oils.
Deficiency may lead to: high cholesterol levels, acne and eczema, middle aged spread, constipation, diarrhea, underweight/overweight.
Vitamin K is a valuable part of your body's first aid kit. Without it you would bleed to death when you cut yourself, as it is essential for blood clotting. You can manufacture your own vitamin K, provided the right bacteria, promoted by eating yogurt, are present in the intestines, otherwise it must be obtained from green vegetables, kelp, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes. What Does It Do? Apart from clotting blood, it helps in the process of storing energy (glycogen) in the cells. It is also thought to be a factor in promoting vitality and long life.
It is very rare to have a deficiency of this vitamin unless there is a restriction of fat absorption. Antibiotics will decrease its availability by destroying intestinal bacteria, and a lot more of this vitamin may be used to stop prolonged menstruation.
Deficiency may lead to: hemorrhages internally- brain, spinal cord, intestines, eyes, miscarriages, nose bleeds.
Natural sources of vitamin C contain other substances known as the bioflavanoids or vitamin P. Together they are called vitamin C complex.
The bioflavanoids have only one well known action: they are vital for the health and strength of our capillaries. As the capillaries are so small they can break without the right care. A tendency to bruise can therefore be a sign of deficiency. The bioflavanoids also act as ascorbic acid synergists. In other words they amplify and improve its efficiency.
The components of Vitamin P are citrin, hersperidin, rutin and other flavonoids. These are found in the white pith just under the skin of citrus fruits and are needed for full absorption of Vitamin C.
They assist all illnesses associated with Vitamins C and K plus rheumatic fever and glaucoma.
Deficiency may lead to: bruising and weakened capillaries.
Choline and Inositol
Choline and Inositol are supplied together in lecithin, usually derived from soya. Choline is used to make up acetylcholine, an important nerve transmitter, and therefore helps to balance nervous activity. Choline is also essential for the health of the liver and kidneys.
Deficiency may lead to: high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, heart palpitation, M.S., dizziness, glaucoma and visual disturbances, ear noises, loss of hair, liver or kidney damage.
Inositol acts as a natural tranquillizer and can replace valium in doses of 2g a day. It also prevents the uptake of various minerals including zinc. It is essential for the elasticity of the arteries (cleanses blood of excessive fats), support of the liver, metabolism of all other B vitaminsm healthy functioning of the nerves.
Use if you have a heavy intake of caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, soda).
Deficiency may lead to: constipation, eczema, hair loss, high blood cholesterol levels, heart disease.
Octacosanol is not a vitamin in the sense that it has not been established as essential for life. However, this waxy alcohol, found in plants and especially wheatgerm oil accounts for some of the beneficial effects usually attributed to vitamin E.
Octacosanol improves endurance, speeds up reaction time, provides glycogen to the muscles, strengthening them, and allowing them to use oxygen more efficiently. Octacosanol may also increase fertility, prevent spontaneous abortion, lower cholesterol and aid in the improvement of neurological disorders. It has been used to treat muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis and conditions in which there has been brain damage.
No deficiency has been established, so there is no Recommended Daily Allowance.
PABA (Para Amino Benzoic Acid) may prevent graying. PABA is also used as protection against sunburn, and may be needed to improve absorption of B12 and B6.
It is essential for stimulating intestinal bacteria to produce folic acid and protecting natural hair color and skin pigmentation.
Deficiency may lead to: premature graying hair, Vitilgo (large white patches of skin).
Lecithin, which is a natural constituent of bile, acts as an emulsifier, breaking down cholesterol deposits and preventing the formation of gall stones and moves fats from the liver and helps the even distribution of them around the body. If the liver is out-of-whack (through excess alcohol, trapped emotions or hepatitis) then usually lecithin is the missing link which leads to high blood pressure.
The body also breaks down lecithin into choline and inositol to be used in other processes.
Unsaturated fatty acids are metabolized better with lecithin - if you liver is not soundly covered with lecithin, choline and cholesterol, then margarine will make you just as as butter and could be even harder to digest. Lecithin is therefore indicated for those who are painfully thin - fatty acids are not being processed at all - going straight through the body.
Lecithin combines with Vitamin D to provide calcium and phosphorus to all body tissues... people who go on fad diets cutting out all meats, oils and fats and dairy products overnight, will rob the liver of necessary compounds needed in digestion - calcium will be the first to become deficient.
Deficiency may lead to: high cholesterol level, acne and eczema, middle age spread, dry hair, constipation and diarrhea.
How to Take Supplements
Supplements are best taken with food as this helps their absorption. Some nutritionists feel that it is important to take vitamins C and B, two or three times a day, as excess is readily excreted. However, most of the time the body will take what it needs, and it is taking all supplements with breakfast, unless you have difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients. The same situation applies to vitamin E and iron. These nutrients compete for absorption, so if your ability to absorb is poor, take extra E and iron six hours apart from each other. Selenium supplements should also be taken separately from food or other supplements.
It is always best to get professional advice from your doctor, dietitian or nutritionist before engaging in a sudden or long term course of vitamin supplements. It is especially important that pregnant women seek proper medical advice before taking any supplements.