Vitamins & Minerals

Our genes make us unique in lots of ways — one of which is how we absorb and utilize vitamins and minerals from our food.

Take, for example, eating carrots to get your daily vitamin A. Some people are great at converting beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A in vegetables,  into the form of vitamin A that the body uses. Other people carry genetic variants that make that conversion process difficult.

Instead of wondering, you can simply check your genetic data to see which form of vitamin A is best for you.


Recent articles on Vitamins and Minerals:

Should you take folic acid?- There is a lot of buzz online about MTHFR variants and the need to avoid folic acid. I’ve seen recommendations ranging from avoiding all processed foods that are fortified with folic acid — to recommendations that people with MTHFR variants need to take extra...
How do your genes influence your vitamin B12 levels?- Vitamin B12 is essential for your health! It is a cofactor for biological reactions such as creating the myelin sheath in nerve cells and the synthesis of DNA (rather important!). A lack of vitamin B12 (also known as cobalamin) can create a cascade of...
Lithium: A mineral that affects mood, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and telomeres- Researchers found that Texas counties with higher levels of lithium in their groundwater had less of an increase in Alzheimer's rates compared with counties that had lower levels of lithium. This isn't a total surprise since previous studies had linked lithium to a decreased risk of dementia, but it is a great confirmation at a large scale population level. 
Shining Genetic Light on Your Vitamin D Levels- Vitamin D is essential to so many processes in the body! It isn’t actually a vitamin at all, but a prohormone that is synthesized in the skin using cholesterol in a chemical reaction with UVB radiation from the sun. Genes play a big role in...
Building Up Iron: Check your genes to see how iron affects your health- Hemochromatosis is a fairly common genetic disease that causes iron to build up in the body. Knowing that you carry the genetic variants for hemochromatosis can literally add years to your life since you can prevent the buildup of iron through giving blood. This...
Thiamine – Genetic Variations in Need for B1- Thiamine (thiamin), also known as vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin that serves as a cofactor in the metabolism of carbohydrates, branch chain amino acids, and fatty acids.  It is essential and needed in the production of A/TP, which is used in every cell...
Supplements for Methylation and More…- I have ended up a cabinet full of bottles of all kinds of supplements!  Every time I learn about something new — methylfolate for MTHFR polymorphisms, hydroxycobalamin for MTRR polymorphisms, vitamin A because I don’t convert beta carotene, etc – off I go to order...
Vitamin C Levels and Your Genes- As the weather here turns colder, thoughts turn to preventing colds and the flu.  My “go to” method of preventing sickness has always been by loading up on vitamin C, even though recent studies haven’t really supported the idea that vitamin C increase immune...
Your need for riboflavin (B2): MTHFR and other genetic variants- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is a water-soluble vitamin that is a cofactor for many enzymes in the body.  To put it in simpler terms: riboflavin is vitally important! Riboflavin is a ribose sugar bound to a flavin molecule.  It is the precursor to FMN (flavin...
Genetics of Biotin Deficiency- Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a cofactor which aids in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  Biotin deficiency due to diet is pretty rare, but eating raw egg whites for an extended period of time can deplete the...
MTHFR, Depression, and Homocysteine Levels- An interesting study looking at MTHFR and depression was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.  The study, Correlation of Clinical Response With Homocysteine Reduction During Therapy With Reduced B Vitamins in Patients With MDD Who Are Positive for MTHFR C677T or A1298C...
A little lithium and B-12 makes the world a happier place – for some.- It is funny sometimes, looking back on the journey you take to discover something new and personal to your health. For me, seeing first hand the power of supplementing with a little mineral (lithium orotate) was eye-opening as to the power of combining genetics...
Hemochromatosis – Genes involved- Hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder in which the body stores too much iron.  Normally, a person absorbs about 8 – 10% of iron that they eat, but a person with hemochromatosis can absorb up to 4 times that amount. In classic hemochromatosis, men may...
Vitamin E, Genetics, and Inflammation- Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is often promoted as a supplement that prevents cardiovascular disease and that prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It is an essential nutrient found in a variety of foods including wheat germ, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter. The...
How Well Do You Convert Beta-Carotene to Vitamin A?- Everyone knows that carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of vitamin A, right? Well…  it turns out it isn’t that straightforward for everyone. The beta-carotene in orange fruits and vegetables has to be converted into the form of vitamin A (retinol) that our...
The Link Between Vitamin D, MS, and Your Genes- Many researchers have speculated that there must be a link between Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis (MS) based on the distribution of cases at certain latitudes. There are increased numbers of MS cases in areas that don’t get as much sunlight, and thus residents...