Sources and Functions of Common Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) Carbohydrate metabolism, supports appetite and nervous system function Whole grain cereals, legumes, beans, nuts, liver, pork
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Healthy skin and eyes, part of coenzymes in energy metabolism Dairy, meat, leafy greens, whole grains
Vitamin B3 (niacin) Part of coenzyme in energy metabolism, maintains healthy skin and digestive system Tuna, dairy, meat, nuts, proteins, whole grains
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) Protein absorption and metabolism, aids in red blood cell formation Whole grain cereals, vegetables, meats, nuts, eggs, bananas
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Energy metabolism, nervous system and mental health Meat, fish, yogurt, cheese, eggs, soybeans, spinach
Vitamin D Bone and teeth growth, calcium absorption Sunlight, milk, egg, fish liver oils
Vitamin K Blood clotting cascade Green leafy vegetables, milk, liver, potatoes
Calcium Strengthens bones, teeth, muscular tissue, muscle action and nerve function, blood clotting Milk and dairy products
Chromium Glucose metabolism, increases effectiveness of insulin, fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis Salt, soy sauce, brewers yeast, whole grain cereals
Folic acid Part of coenzymes for new cell formation, prevention of neural tube defects, protein metabolism, proper brain function Leafy green vegetables, liver, fortified grain products, legumes, seeds
Iron Part of hemoglobin and myoglobin, increases resistance to stress and disease Meats, legumes, eggs, fish, beans
Magnesium Bone mineralization, enzyme action, nerve function Nuts, leafy green vegetables, seafood, whole grains
Potassium pH balance, nerve function, fluid balance, influences muscle activity Avocado, banana, yogurt, orange, leafy greens
Zinc Immune function, cell division, cell growth, carbohydrate breakdown Seafood, meat, nuts, seeds, chocolate

What I Learned on Amazon

Little book, big cure starring niacin (vitamin B3)

If not a cure then very close to one. Briefly stated– The vitamin cure for alcoholism is niacin. The old fashioned kind that gives you a flush. 20 years ago this was the common form of niacin but has since been crowded out of the market by the no_flush, time release niacin which is not what you want to buy. Rugby makes this kind of flushing niacin. Swanson has their own brand of flushing niacin that is 500mg capsule x 250 capsules x $6.98 and as of December 2013. Swanson and Rugby niacin can be bought at Amazon. Buy the 500mg size and start with part of the tablet or capsule. Eat it at mealtime to reduce or eliminate the flush. Hoffer will say 1.5-3 grams is a good daily amount for you. You take niacin a few times a day and the daily total is 1.5-3 grams. Maybe some need more but start gradually. Don’t be scared of the niacin flush, it is your friend.

Everyone has a different niacin reaction. I started gradually….By now I am up to 1000mg first thing in the morning. Taken with 4oz hot or cold water. This produces more of a flush than when taken with food. The classic Abram Hoffer (niacin guru who lived to 91) advice is to take niacin after meals. I take a few more 500mg capsules during the day so I take about 2500mg daily. To get over the hump you need to spread out your niacin. You want to maintain high niacin levels in your body throughout the day. So divided doses of niacin.
I know that if I took zero niacin for a week then took 500mg with hot water, that I will get a strong flush. I have done this. This is what scares off niacin newbies. Once you start daily niacin and take it a few times during the course of a day, the flush gets diminished.

Niacin is the core but get this book for the full story. Such as take a good B-50 complex a few times a day. This is a common supplement and contains 50mg of all the B vitamins. Take Thiamin (B1) (preferably the benfotiamine variety of B1) for brain health and repair. Yes, the B50 complex contains niacin and thiamin but you need more of those two. Also take vitamin C. The easiest C to take for me is the magnesium ascorbate powder and I take a total of 3 half teaspoons each day in divided doses. This equals about 3 grams of C. Magnesium ascorbate is a buffered C.

Eating a more plant based diet will help you. Take chromium picolinate which helps glucose metabolism. Read the book- “Lifting Depression: The Chromium Connection”. He advocates 1000 mcg chromium picolinate daily. Many are in mild or severe depression caused by long term alcohol overuse. You might be a functional alcoholic who still does well at your job. Your life is not a mess but you have mild depression. Good for you! You have been strong so far. Intelligent use of niacin + B vitamins will lift this curtain of unhappiness.

Why all the B vitamins? Because high alcohol intake over years has put you into B vitamin deficiency. Why? Because alcohol functions much like sugar in your body and in the process of being metabolized it has been using up any store of B vitamins you have. When you start a high intake of niacin and the other B vitamins your sugar and glucose metabolism is returned to normal. So you will have reduced desire for alcohol due to hypoglycemic cravings. Cut it out totally perhaps.

You will find more information at co-author Andrew W Saul’s website. Getting on an exercise program will help your alcohol situation. Will give you a daily improvement you can feel good about, that will help lift you out of the alcohol pit.


Hello realist, you know your stuff! Interesting that the lypo-spheric C produced by LivOn Labs has ETOH as an ingredient…supposed to make it encapsulate better. There is a good website: which claims to have the original recipe (mol) that was created from a patent sold to LivOn by a Chinese gentleman. The author, Chris, lays out the research, ingredients and process to make this high quality product at home. I tried it twice, once with sodium ascorbate, which was completely disgusting 🙁 and then with ascorbic acid which made it pretty tart but more palatable. But the ETOH is a problem for me and it has a good amount of vodka in it. Boy, the insulin and blood sugar connection is right on. I have more to say about that.

I am on board with vitamin D3 and have told so many people about it that when they see me coming they duck for cover! I have handouts and extra bottles to pass out and cannot believe that the FDA STILL advocates such a low dose, but it’s no different with C. I have been reading about the need to take Vitamin K with it…..bought some Thorne K2 drops (pricey) and not totally sure that’s the right thing. Also, I feel bad about the people I preached about D3 to but didn’t mention K. I guess we are all learning together. The best thing is to sit in the sun with lots of exposed skin :-)Thank you for your informative reply and willingness to share information. I’ll read the Mark Sircus info and I would be so glad to correspond with you further via email.Beth


Those optimum Vit C doses are for when you have a real problem. Lypo-spheric vitamin C is the most powerful and has gotten me out of a jam or two, If you have the funds then take two of these per day during initial period of a month or two. Magnesium is depleted in heavy drinkers. So lots of magnesium ascorbate kills two birds with one stone. Heavy drinking hurts liver functions which hurts the way the liver works with the fat soluble vitamins. So 5000 units Vit D and 20000 units Vit A for a while is good idea. My opinion quick release niacin (Swanson has it) dose of 500mg/3x daily is sufficient. I like NOW brand vitamins and buy my “stuff” at Swanson’s and Amazon.

Sodium ascorbate is good, Take it separate from mag-ascorbate. 6-10 grams total daily ascorbate intake is good to get over the hump. Once you are “good” then 3 grams is sufficient….much depends on how much you weigh. Obviously a man 6ft4inch tall and 280lbs needs more than a 5ft5inch guy.

Walk fast 30 minutes each day and do better every day. Faster or a bit longer every day. If your work situation allows an hour walk or more is good. Or walk a few hours each day off. Get those juices circulating.

Read what Mark Sircus has to say (on internet) about alkalinizing with baking soda aka sodium bicarbonate. Optimum way to do this is with Bob’s Red Mill brand of baking soda…also buy potassium bicarbonate which is a common brewer’s/winemaker’s item found at Amazon and ebay. Consume them together in a hot drink it goes through you quicker. In a 4 to 1 ratio of sodium bicarb to potassium bicarb.

My opinion is saying goodbye to heavy alcohol consumption is 75% bio-chemistry and 25% in your mind. Serious alcoholics have malnutrition problems and are pre-diabetic or have low level undiagnosed diabetes. They have insulin and blood sugar problems.


Hello realist, I want to thank you for an excellent review which enabled me to easily order these items from amazon. I do believe that correcting deficiencies of critical vitamins and minerals, plus adding healthy plant based foods to ones diet will improve many ills.

I do want to give you some information concerning your source and dose of vitamin C, if I may take the liberty. According to Thomas Levy, MD JD, an optimum dose of Vitamin C “would range between 6,000 and 12,000 mg daily, with most adults needing closer to 12,000”. This information is found in his 2002 book, Curing the Incurable, Vitamin C, Infectious diseases and Toxins. He also addresses the particulars of opti-dosing including the bowel tolerance issues.

It seems that magnesium ascorbate is acceptable in smaller amounts but as he words it “the dosage level of vitamin C that you would need to take on a daily basis would require an overdose of associated mineral forms (magnesium)”. Calcium ascorbate should not be used at all and he recommends ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate for a buffered version. The sodium is not a problem, per Dr. Levy.

More interesting reading is available at his website and now deceased Dr. Frederick Klenner, vitamin C pioneer, has his many clinical anecdotes available via Lendon H Smith’s “vitamin C conspiracy” at

Thanks again, realist.


This book is SO helpful in understanding one of the causes of alcoholism and what you can do about it. If you know an alcoholic who has tried unsuccessfully to win his battle, this book could be the missing link. Both my parents were alcoholics. My father went through AA and detox centers over and over unsuccessfully until he died from cirrhosis of the liver. I bought this book since addiction runs in our family and I have a family member who is struggling with dependency to prescription meds. When he takes the recommended dosages consistently, which is definitely the battle, he has noticed his need for anxiety meds reduce and his need for pain meds reduced. What this book has shown me is that all of our needs for nutrients are different because of genetics and lifestyle and some of us need thousands of times more than the recommended daily allowance. Niacin and B vitamin deficiency is at the top of the list for alcoholism and correcting the deficiency was the key to helping those in AA to success. Read this book, educate yourself and then find a good naturopath to help you with a plan to help you win this battle.

Global Subclinical Malnutrition

Subclinical and covert malnutrition-NIH

Obvious or overt malnutrition is diagnosed from characteristic clinical signs. Subclinical malnutrition is revealed only by biochemical changes but is an unstable state which, if untreated, will develop to clinical malnutrition. There appears to be a stable state where the subject has adapted to low levels of nutrient intake for which the name ‘covert malnutrition’ is suggested.

Examples are: (1) vitamin C intake of 10 mg per day which is adequate to prevent scurvy and where no clinical signs appear until the stress of wounding is applied to the tissues; (2) inadequate intake of vitamin A without signs of deficiency because the poor diet limits growth–deficiency shows up when growth is resumed: (3) protein intake which is adequate to maintain N balance but not adequate to withstand stress. All dietary surveys reveal apparently healthy individuals whose intake of nutrients appears to be grossly inadequate–these may be ‘suffering’ covert malnutrition, although there is no evidence to indicate whether or not this stable condition is harmful.

Global Malnutrition-NIH

The four most important forms of malnutrition worldwide (protein-energy malnutrition, iron deficiency and anaemias (IDA), vitamin A deficiency (VAD), and iodine deficiency disorders (IDD)) are examined below in terms of their global and regional prevalences, the age and gender groups most affected, their clinical and public health consequences, and, especially, the recent progress in country and regional quantitation and control.

Zinc deficiency, with its accompanying diminished host resistance and increased susceptibility to infections, is also reviewed. WHO estimates that malnutrition (underweight) was associated with over half of all child deaths in developing countries in 1995. The prevalence of stunting in developing countries is expected to decline from 36% in 1995 to 32.5% in 2000; the numbers of children affected (excluding China) are expected to decrease from 196.59 millions to 181.92 millions. Stunting affects 48% of children in South Central Asia, 48% in Eastern Africa, 38% in South Eastern Asia, and 13-24% in Latin America. IDA affects about 43% of women and 34% of men in developing countries and usually is most serious in pregnant women and children, though non-pregnant women, the elderly, and men in hookworm-endemic areas also comprise groups at risk.

Clinical VAD affects at least 2.80 million preschool children in over 60 countries, and subclinical VAD is considered a problem for at least 251 millions; school-age children and pregnant women are also affected.

Globally about 740 million people are affected by goitre, and over two billions are considered at risk of IDD. However, mandatory salt iodisation in the last decade in many regions has decreased dramatically the percentage of the population at risk. Two recent major advances in understanding the global importance of malnutrition are (1) the data of 53 countries that links protein-energy malnutrition (assessed by underweight) directly to increased child mortality rates, and (2) the outcome in 6 of 8 large vitamin A supplementation trials showing decreases of 20-50% in child mortality.