Nutrition as therapy - Importance of Proper diet 

Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements

Dr Ashraf Virmani

There has always been an innate instinct in all animals and humans regarding their nutritional requirements. Since what we are is determined by the nutritional building blocks and by the energy we derive from foods, it follows that our very existence is intimately linked to nutrition. Therefore we have to recognise its enormous importance for our health. What we eat changes our body in subtle ways, there are interaction at the at the genetic and cellular levels, which contribute to the structure and functions of the body at the organ, organism an even social levels. For example, eating foods rich in tryptamines can affect the brain neurotransmitter levels and therefore mood. The various systems of the body, like the immune system, can also be affected by the diet. Therefore it is in the interest of the body as well as the mind that the role played by diet in maintaining good health is recognised.

 There are a number of nutrients that are absolutely essential:.  

  1. Water (the body is mainly water)

  2. Energy (calories) from protein, carbohydrate or fat.

  3. 8-10 essential amino acids (all 20 are necessary for protein synthesis, but we can make some from other amino acids or from carbohydrate and ammonium ions).

  4. Essential fatty acids (omega 3 fatty acids e.g. EPA, DHA)

  5. 13 vitamins (organic compounds required in small amounts). These typically function as enzyme cofactors, e.g. niacin (precursor of NAD and NADP), riboflavin (precursor of FAD, FMN), pyridoxine or B6 (precursor of pyridoxal phosphate).

  6. 16-20 minerals (inorganic compounds required in "small" amounts).

Below you will find links to the provide up-to-date information about vitamins, minerals and food supplements. 

Importance of Vitamins, Minerals and Other Supplements



Other supplements

1.        Vitamin A - Retinol

2.        Beta Carotene (Pro-Vitamin A)

3.        Vitamin B1 Thiamin

4.        Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

5.        Vitamin B3 - Niacin also Nicotinamide/Nicotinic Acid

6.        Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine

7.        Folate (folic acid)

8.        Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin

9.        Biotin - Vitamin H

10.     Pantothenic Acid - Vitamin B5

11.     Vitamin C - Ascorbic acid

12.     Vitamin D – Cholecalciferol

13.     Vitamin E – Tocopherol

14.     Vitamin K

1.        Calcium

2.        Phosphorus

3.        Chromium (trivalent)

4.        Copper

5.        Zinc

6.        Iodine

7.        Iron

8.        Molybdenum

9.        Magnesium

10.     Manganese

11.     Phosphorus

12.     Selenium


1.   Cod Liver Oil

2. Co-enzyme Q10

3. Cranberry

4. Echinacea

5. Evening Primrose Oil

6. Fish Oils

7. Garlic

8. Ginkgo biloba

9. Ginseng

10. Glucosamine

11. Royal Jelly

12.  St John’s Wort

13.   Saw palmetto

14.   Starflower Oil

More details here - 


References     British Nutrition Foundation    The Nutrition Society