Vitamins & Minerals

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Transcript of show


JOHN PETROZZI: Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy with John and Josh. I’m John Petrozzi.

JOSH HARPER: And I’m Josh Harper.

JOHN PETROZZI: This is a show about wellness and health.

JOSH HARPER: What’s on the show today, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, Josh, today, we’ll be talking about vitamins. We’ll be talking about Vitamins A and B, and all the rest of them, and we’ll try and work out what foods carry the highest amounts of them, and what vitamins actually are and why we need them.

As a chiropractor, I always get asked questions by patients regarding vitamins. They ask, “Do I need to take them? Should I take a capsule or should I just get it out of food? My response is generally fairly standard, “You can get most vitamins from your foods, as long as you’re eating fresh foods.”

JOSH HARPER: And what do you recommend – the pills or the food?

JOHN PETROZZI: If you get can it out of foods, foods is always the best, Josh, for sure.

JOSH HARPER: Is there any big difference between them?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yup. Well, absorption rates are different. The form that you get in an organic compound, like in fruit, is much more readily absorbed by the body, as long as it’s good fruit, though, and it hasn’t been genetically modified, and all those sorts of things.

JOSH HARPER: And do you recommend taking the tablets?

JOHN PETROZZI: I do. Yup. If you feel that your diet is depleting in fresh fruits and vegetables, then definitely supplement your diet with some sort of multi-mineral or multi-vitamin.

JOSH HARPER: And do some people need more minerals than other people?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yes, some do. People who actually need more vitamins than other people do would be people who use their body a lot, so high-end athletes or even construction workers. They use their body a lot during the day and they sweat a lot, but also, we can’t forget about the person who uses their head a lot as well, because that mental energy absorbs a lot of vitamins as well.

It actually brings me to the point of “What is a vitamin?” A vitamin is actually an organic compound which is essential to life, so your body actually needs it to run the body, and if it doesn’t get it, the body doesn’t function like it should.

The body can’t make vitamins either. So because it can’t make it, you need to get it from the outside. You need to get it through food, or because it’s readily available, you can get it through a vitamin tablet.

Vitamins are used for everything. They’re used from things to do with metabolism; your body uses vitamins to actually process and digest food. For instance (we’ll be talking about it a bit later), if you eat a fatty meal (the meal contains meat, for instance, it’s actually the B-group of vitamins that helps you assimilate and break those foods down. If you didn’t have those vitamins, then your body won’t function like it should.

JOSH HARPER: I’ve heard vitamins can act as anti-oxidants. Is this true, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, that’s right. All the vitamins actually help in the process of getting rid of free radicals in the system.

JOSH HARPER: And what’s a free radical?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, a free radical is basically a cell or a molecule that’s been produced inside the body that’s gone berserk. What it does is it vibrates and it taps away the cells around it, and interferes with their ability to repair.

JOSH HARPER: So it’s a bad thing?

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s a bad thing. Yeah. What a free radical can do is interfere with the cell’s DNA and stop it from reproducing and repairing. It can also damage the cells and cause mutations as well. And mutations can lead on to other nasty things, like tumors and cancers. So we want to try and eliminate those as much as possible. A vitamin acts beautifully as an anti-oxidant.

So basically, what the vitamin does is it comes into your system, it gets absorbed by cells, and it helps immune cells in the body and other sorts of cells to turn on and start basically absorbing and mopping up these free radicals.


JOSH HARPER: Welcome back to Living is Easy with John and Josh. Today, we’re talking about vitamins and what they do for you.

What can you tell us about vitamin A, John?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, to start with the alphabet. Vitamin A is really important. It’s a really strong anti-oxidant and it’s used a lot in cells that help you see. The visual system of the body is really dependent on Vitamin A. Vitamin A is used by all cells when they repair, they grow, and they reproduce, to basically branch out to produce other cells. So for a cell to go from one little cell, divide, produce others, and repair, the actual component that allows that whole action to happen is Vitamin A. So if you’re deficient in Vitamin A, your body can’t do that growth properly, so your body is going to suffer because of it.

Also, it’s one of those vitamins that help protect the body against measles, so if your body is fighting an infection caused by measles, it uses Vitamin A to produce immune cells which go and fight that thing that’s causing the measles.

JOSH HARPER: We received an email from Janet from Bondi. She writes, “I take vitamins with B complex because I’ve heard that they’re good for relieving stress. Is this true?”

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, definitely. Thanks for your question, Janet. B-group of Vitamins—there’s quite a few of them—they all produce effects on the body that allow the body to actually get along and become distressed. You’ve got Vitamin B1, B2, and B3. They’re all really important in basically allowing the body to extract energy from food, so it works to basically improve your body’s energy.

You’ve got folic acid, B6 and B12, and they’re also involved in metabolism, but that helps to break down amino acids and convert that into energy and into useful building blocks for protein.

JOSH HARPER: So these all belong to the B-group?

JOHN PETROZZI: They do, yeah. So your body needs protein to produce muscles and those sorts of things, cells and everything. It’s those B-groups there that help the body to achieve its goal there.

Then you got B5 and biotin, and they’re predominantly involved in the metabolism of fats. When you eat fats, you need to convert them into some sort of energy source, and it’s those B5 and biotin vitamins that help you to convert those things into energy.

JOSH HARPER: I’ve heard B3 has other names.

JOHN PETROZZI: It does. It has several aliases. You might know it as niacin, which you find in some breakfast cereals. It’s also known as nicotinic acid. They’re all the same thing. It’s all referring to B3. Actually, interestingly, if you pull up your breakfast cereal and open the side on the nutrients guideline, you’ll actually see niacin and most Vitamin Bs and some other vitamins are already put into these cereals for your consumption. So what manufacturers have done is because of our depleted diet, they actually start to put in other sorts of minerals and vitamins into our food. So you’ll find that most of the flour that we use that produces our bread, it’s already got vitamin thrown in there for added benefit. Some milks do the same sort of thing. Again, you don’t know that; they don’t advertise it. But again, because our vitamins are depleted, there are certain policies put into place that make these guys put vitamins into the diet to supplement us.

Generally speaking also, you can’t overdose on Vitamin B. it’s not toxic. But one sort of not (not nasty) but some sort of strange little side effect that can happen from having too much Vitamin B3 is a flushing of the face or flushing of the skin or lips, those sorts of things – kind of like a hot flush but it doesn’t last very long. It’s kind of like an allergic reaction but it’s not really, and it does pass very, very quickly.

I know when I take Vitamin Bs, especially high dose, I get tingling around my lips, my nose start to get really itchy, and so do my ears, and I might get a bit  of burning on my eyes. But it’s not harmful and it passes very quickly.

JOSH HARPER: Can you overdose on any vitamins?

JOHN PETROZZI: I think if you’re pregnant, if you go and ask your doctor, how many sorts of vitamins you should take, I know that high doses of Vitamin A when you’re pregnant aren’t recommended because that can lead to birth defects. So if you do have any concerns, go ahead and see your local GP and they’ll give you some sort of indication on what vitamins you should take and how much of them.

Also, the reason for that tingling sensation with Vitamin B3 is it’s actually producing dilation of blood vessels, so blood vessels are basically opening up and increasing your circulation. So if it’s a particularly cold day and I’ll take some vitamins, it will be the colder days when I start to feel more of the burning sensation across my face, because my extremities are cold, my ears and my nose are cold. As soon as you take that, it pumps the blood vessels open and pushes blood right to the extremities, which is good for you, because you need to get circulation to bits of your body that aren’t getting it.

Vitamin B3 is also really important for the breakdown of glucose and sugars. It’s also really important to break down fatty acids; ketones are a byproduct of metabolising fats. Also, it’s important in breaking down amino acids as well.

Again, these vitamins are really essential to the body. We don’t produce them ourselves, so if you don’t get them from our food, we need to go and ask someone to give us some advice so we can integrate it into us.

JOSH HARPER: We’ve received another email from John from Coogee. He writes, “When I take too much vitamins, my pee goes yellow. What’s with this?”

JOHN PETROZZI: A really good observation. Most people who take vitamins, particularly Vitamins that contain the B-group, they’ll notice their pee goes yellow. It doesn’t mean you’ve taken too many; all it means it you’ve taken a vitamin that’s actually got B2 in it.

JOSH HARPER: And what does this mean?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, the natural color of Vitamin B2, which is called riboflavin, is actually fluorescent green-yellow.


JOHN PETROZZI: So the urine of people who take Vitamin Bs, their urine starts to yellow. It doesn’t mean you’ve taken too much. It just means it contains Vitamin B2. Vitamin B2—because we’re talking about that—can be found in foods like liver, dairy products, and also green veggies. They all contain Vitamin B2. Because most of us live on refined diets or refined cereals, we don’t get enough of it, so manufacturers actually enrich their flour and breakfast cereals with Vitamin B2.

So you might find, if you have a lot of some sort of vitamin or something that’s high in B2, you might find your pee will go yellow as well. So the fact that these guys actually put it into their breakfast cereals and into bread and flours and things, it means that it prevents a lot of illness from occurring, because again, most of us don’t get enough vitamins in our diet.

JOSH HARPER: Are there any telltale signs that you have B2 deficiency?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, there are, actually. You can get soreness around your mouth, around the angled part of your mouth; it’s called an angular stomatitis, (but it doesn’t matter what it’s called), basically any cracking on the outside of your mouth. Your tongue can become a little bit sore as well. Also, other things like anaemia. The milder cases, you’ll know if you got some cracking on your mouth or your tongue becomes sore, you might be lacking in Vitamin B2.

Elderly patients, alcoholics, and those guys on poor diets are the guys who are high risk of being vitamin-deficient. So it’s really important to look at your alcohol intake. If it’s too much, then it will be depleting your body of Vitamin Bs and other vitamins as well. Elderly patients, they cripple, mainly because they don’t have access to really good food if they’re not mobile and able to go and shop for themselves. So if they’re relying on someone to bring them food, sometimes that food is already pre-packaged, heated up too much, which would denature and kill some vitamins, which means their body is not getting it and they are more susceptible to all sorts of diseases. Again, like I said before, the common one is diarrhoea, dermatitis, and dementia.

So look at the foods you eat. It’s really important, because they are the building blocks for your next couple of days of life.

Folic acid is another B-group vitamin, and you can find that in vegetables, especially leafy, green veggies. You can find it in strawberries and citrus fruits. You can find it in meat and fish, fortified cereals and breads. So that’s actually one that’s readily available to a broad diet. You’re probably not lacking in that one, but still keep it in mind.

Folic acid is unstable; it’s easily destroyed. It’s also leached out of food from food preparation and heating, so if you heat up your food too much, you can denature or kill off that vitamin. It’s really important in the metabolism of amino acids and also the synthesis of DNA precursors. So what that means-

JOSH HARPER: So what does that mean?

JOHN PETROZZI: Basically, folate is used by our cells to help produce DNA, and DNA is a blueprint of your body. DNA is basically all the library books that every single cell in your body has got that produces cells and helps cells to differentiate, allows your body to be what it is today and also what it is in ten years’ time.

The current recommended dietary intake for folic acid is 400mcg per day, and for pregnant ladies, it’s 600mcg per day. I think it’s really important that people educate themselves about vitamins, again because you do relay on eating things to get your vitamin source, because your body doesn’t produce them at all. Each cell needs the vitamin to allow a certain metabolic activity or some sort of activity to occur inside the body. So really, we’re almost slaves to vitamins.

If you’re not eating the right food, and fresh fruits and vegetables are not available to you, go and visit your local health food store person, your doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, whoever knows about vitamins, and get their advice; it’s really important. Your life really does depend on it. Also, your function and high-functioning ability depends on it also.

If you’re somebody who doesn’t eat meat, if you’re a vegan, you can take out Vitamin B12 in things like algae and seaweed. Also, some people believe that it’s also found on the surface of fungi, like mushrooms. It’s also attached to the surface of some root vegetables as well, like potatoes or sweet potatoes and ginger.

So if you eat meat, you can easily collect Vitamin B12; if you don’t eat meat, you’ll also find it in those sorts of things. Also, miso soup and fermented is also high in Vitamin B12 as well.

One of the main functions of Vitamin B12 is in the metabolism of meat, so if you eat less meat, you require less Vitamin B12.

JOSH HARPER: So it breaks down the meat?

JOHN PETROZZI: It breaks down the meat, yeah, into useable things.


JOHN PETROZZI: So a Vitamin B deficiency can arise from failure to eat foods containing B12s, and chronic diarrhoea of any origin will reduce Vitamin B12’s absorption. So if you have a night out and have some food that doesn’t agree with you and you had diarrhoea flushed everything out, you can become depleted in Vitamin B12. So a good idea is to supplement your diet with things that have Vitamin B12 in them or better still, just pop in into your local health food store and grab one off their shelves.

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can also and is also believed to produce fatigue, chronic fatigue; it’s a horrible thing. People become very lethargic and they don’t have energy to go and do their regular things throughout the day. They feel like sleeping. Their body doesn’t quite work like it should. They say that Vitamin B injections can be used to supplement the body’s levels of Vitamin B, and that happens very, very quickly and rapidly.

So again, if you do have concerns, if you do have chronic fatigue, pop in to see your local GP and they’ll be able to direct you in the right direction and possibly, Vitamin B12 or Vitamin B might be a solution for you as well.

Vitamin B6 is the last in our second group of Vitamin Bs. B6 acts as a coenzyme for more than a hundred enzymes. An enzyme is basically a compound or protein inside you that acts to break down or allow an action to occur. So if you eat an apple or a banana or some sort of food, it goes right through your mouth, down into your esophagus into your stomach and it sits there. If there wasn’t acid enough inside the stomach to allow the breakdown of that food, that food will just sit there for ages. The gastric acid that gets produced are actually enzymes. So, all those enzymes that allow the body to work properly from day to day, one hundred of those enzymes actually need this Vitamin B6 to work.

If there’s a depletion of Vitamin B6 in the body, then your body won’t metabolise and enzymes won’t work like they need to.

JOSH HARPER: So it’s a fairly essential vitamin.

JOHN PETROZZI: It is, yes, really, really important.

JOSH HARPER: And where can you find this?

JOHN PETROZZI: You can find it in meat and dairy products, as well as vegetables. You can beat a vegetable. The recommended daily dietary intake of Vitamin B6 is about 1.3mg for adults and about 1.9mg for pregnant women. Again, like I said, you can find it in meat, fish and cereals, but also in citrus fruits, very, very high in citrus fruits..

Another episode dedicated to diets and what sorts of foods you should eat, and in that, we’ll be talking about proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and what sorts of combinations we should mix those in. But that’s another episode.

With vitamins B6, as well as other vitamins, you’ll rarely find them in processed flours and junk food, so don’t go looking to junk food for vitamins, even if the products, like those drinks, say they have this and that and they’re full of vitamins and things, don’t get sucked into it as a substitute for vitamins, because there’s lots of other things in there that deplete your body of water and other nutrients as well.

JOSH HARPER: What about the average orange juice?

JOHN PETROZZI: Healthy, yes, good. But there is some controversy with orange juice or juices, compared to eating whole fruits. For instance, if you get an orange and you put it through a blender or orange squeezer, it squeezes out all the orange juice. Compare that to the amount of juice that you could extract by eating an orange. You can actually extract less orange juice by eating an orange compared to the juicing of the orange.

So what they’re saying is basically, if you juice an orange, you’ll break up all the cells in the orange, which might give you too much of a rush of sugars or whatever or nutrients. But again, that’s another topic. We can talk about juicing at another time.

People who don’t have good absorption rates of vitamins might be people who have got coeliac disease or people with tummy upsets or chronic diarrhoea, because you’re always flushing everything out very, very quickly and rapidly and you don’t give your body enough time to absorb vitamins from the digestive system.

JOSH HARPER: And what can these people do?

JOHN PETROZZI: Well, they need to supplement. They’ll either need a supplement through food and eat the right source of targeted food, or through taking vitamins and taking them regularly as well, because again, your body needs vitamins to allow it to work properly.

We’re almost done with Vitamin B. It’s a big one, isn’t it? There’s now a Vitamin called B5, and you can find B5 in liver, in meat, milk, whole grain cereals and also, legumes and beans. So you can find it in lots and lots of foods. If you like beans, go ahead and eat lots of them, because you’ll find lots of Vitamin B5 in there. Again, you can’t find it in processed foods, unfortunately. So junk foods and white bread are out if you’re looking for your vitamin fix.

JOSH HARPER: White breads?

JOHN PETROZZI: White breads, yeah. Again, because white flour is highly processed, which means, they’ve bleached it, they’ve stripped a whole lot of husk off the outside of the grain, and they’ve milled it down until there’s nothing left apart from just white powder. But again, Vitamin B5 plays a really important role as an anti-oxidant, and it breaks down fats as well and converts that into energy.

In a moment, we’ll be talking about Vitamin C, but before that, let’s have a break.


We’ve got a question here from Jack. Jack is asking about Vitamin C. He eats lots of those chewable tablets, you know, the type that you can chew that tastes really, really nice.

JOSH HARPER: It tastes like orange?

JOHN PETROZZI: They’re the ones. He has lots of those, and again, he finds that his pee goes yellow, and he wants to know if it’s good for him.

Jack, it’s good for you. Keep eating them. If you can find them in fresh fruits and veggies, all the better for you. Vitamin C is a really important vitamin. Again, it’s a really strong and potent anti-oxidant, and it’s also important in functions of the body that relate to the nervous system. It helps to convert, for instance, dopamine which is a chemical inside your brain that produces a chemical response in the body that allows you to remember things and also allows you to become either stressed or less stressed. So it’s a really important vitamin.

JOSH HARPER: So can this help you become less stressed?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Well, they’re using one of the Vitamin Bs as an adjunct in people who’ve got depression and anxiety, so yeah, for sure. Vitamin C is also really important in the function of the thyroid gland, gonads, and digestive juices, bone metabolism, and all the neurotransmitters, which are nerve receptors and nerve transmitters inside the body, so it’s really important.

It’s also really important in the synthesis and the repair of collagen, so if you’ve got a damaged tendon or muscle or patch of skin, Vitamin C works to repair the collagen. Collagen basically makes up all the connective tissue parts in your body, so it’s really important.

JOSH HARPER: So if you were to have an injury and you took Vitamin C, would it speed up the healing process?

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. And if you’re depleted in Vitamin C or any other vitamin, then the rate of recovery will be a lot slower, so it will take a lot longer to heal.

It’s funny I just got a note here in front of me. It helps to repair damaged joints, especially in football, ballet dancers and elite athletes. You and I are in that category as well, of course. Everybody is in this category, because if we’re doing an exercise inappropriate for us, say, if we’re running and we’ve got joints that are stiff and sore that really can’t absorb the shock we’re putting to it, Vitamin C is a really important vitamin to take to allow the body to heal itself.

We’re going to cover a couple of other vitamins, but we’re really running out of time. So I want to just cover Vitamin E briefly, only because it’s a really important vitamin and we can get it from fish. It’s also a fat-soluble vitamin and it’s a really strong and potent anti-oxidant. So if you’re not taking or you’re not eating fresh fish at the moment, either bring it into your diet or pop into your local health food store and grab some off their shelf and start taking that.

Vitamin E is really important in the reproductive health, including the relief of symptoms of premenstrual tension and menopause symptoms as well. But it’s not just restricted to helping women; it also really important helping men as well. Again, it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it’s absorbed through the stomach lining as a fat and passes right into your blood system until it’s converted to something active.

Membrane covers the surface of every single cell and they form the outer and inner boundaries of every organ. That means you can picture yourself here in front of you like a sphere or like an apple; the covering of that is actually made of fat. So you’ve got basically Vitamin E or lipid fat around the outer portion of the cell and also around the inner portion of the cell as well.

So if you’ve got a crazy free radicals that comes into the system (remember that free radicals [u1] are those highly active and potentially damaging things or molecules buzzing around the body?) These crazy thing or free radical comes and bumps into the cell. It can disturb the lining or the fat around the cell, the lipid membrane. It can puncture a hole in it, and if that occurs, you can have the insides of the cell exposed to outside, which means basically that the cell’s damaged. From there, it can potentially start to develop things that could go wrong with that cell, not necessarily cancer straight off but they’re the sorts of things that will start to eventuate over time.

JOSH HARPER: Does that happen often?

JOHN PETROZZI: All day every day. Every single healthy person on this planet has cancer cells being produced every day, but every single healthy person on this planet is also repairing these cancer cells as well. You’ve got this immune system that basically guards your body. It tells you if there’s any invaders going on and it tries to produce immune response to eradicate those things. So Vitamin E is really important, because every single time you take a Vitamin E tablet or eat a bit of fish, all the fat that you’re absorbing across your stomach lining is being thrown around the body to repair gaps in cells and allow them to become sealed units again and not open to predator, crazy free radicals.

So unfortunately, we don’t have time to cover Vitamin D and Vitamin K.

JOSH HARPER: You’ve spoken a lot about vitamins today. What’s the overall message we should take home?

JOHN PETROZZI: Basically, eat fresh fruits and vegetables. If you don’t get enough of those, then go and speak to someone and get some supplements off the shelf.

JOSH HARPER: You’ve been listening to Living is Easy with John and Josh. I’ll see you next week.

JOHN PETROZZI: Join us next week, Wednesday night, 6-6:30. It’s been a great pleasure. Until next time, stay well and stay happy.