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Nutrition basics
our health. your life. your way.
Vitamins are organic substances necessary for the proper functioning of your body. Every
day your body needs 13 vitamins. With the exception of vitamin D, that you synthesize
from sunlight, all other vitamins should come from food or food supplements.
We identify 13 different vitamins, which are classified into two groups.
➥ Water-soluble vitamins:
These are vitamin C and the B group vitamins (B1, B2, B3 or PP, B5, B6, B8, B9 and
B12). They are water-soluble, therefore they are dispersed in the body fluids, without
being stored. Consequently, they are not toxic. Even in the case of overconsumption,
they are eliminated via the urine.
This means that small deficiencies can develop within one month if your food does not
regularly supply at least 50% of the recommended intake. Their maximum effect in the
body occurs 8 to 14 hours after ingestion.
➥ Fat-soluble vitamins:
These are vitamins A, D, E and K. They are dissolved and stored in fat tissue.
Vitamins: our needs
and their roles
For each vitamin, the RDI
(Recommended Dietary Intake) varies according to age and life situation but there is only one RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance).
The values are often identical for men and women. For group B vitamins related to energy metabolism
(B1, B2, B3 and B6), the needs are often higher for men than for women, because their energy
requirements are higher.
Clearly identified
RDIs and RDAs for water-soluble vitamins
RDI Women
B3, PP
Source: Recommended Dietary Intake for the French population1, 2001
RDIs and RDAs for fat-soluble vitamins
RDI Women
Source: Recommended Dietary Intake for the French population1, 2001
• Go one step further…
RDAs and RDIs are references that correspond to 97.5% of the population’s nutrient needs. However,
a relevant question arises: what is good health? Is it a state where there is no nutrient deficiency or
a state where the body is using its full potential?
Food for thought: some health professionals think these values are not sufficient to guarantee
optimal health. When speaking about recommended dietary intakes (Canadian values), Lyle Mac
William, scientific consultant, author, teacher and biochemist says: “RDIs define the lower limit of
nutritional intakes necessary to avoid acute deficiencies; they are not an indication of an optimal diet;
they weren’t designed for that.“
Each vitamin’s
specific roles
Each vitamin has multiple roles and it would be too complex to list them all.
However, their essential functions will be highlighted.
The roles of water-soluble vitamins
➥ Vitamins B1, B2 and B3: are mainly involved in the conversion
of carbohydrates and fats into energy. They are found in almost all foods:
vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products.
Vitamin B1 is also involved in the functions of smooth muscles and plays an
important role in the transmission of nerve impulses in the body, this is why it is essential for
athletes. The RDA for vitamin B1 for athletes is higher than for the general population.
➥ Vitamin B6: is mainly involved in the metabolic transformation of the proteins that you eat. It is
also found in almost all foods.
➥ Vitamin B9 and B12: are needed for cell division as they contribute to DNA synthesis in the
cell nucleus. Risks arise during pregnancy due to a lack of vitamin B9, as it may be responsible
for foetal malformations. Vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 deficiencies (common in the elderly) cause
anaemia. Vitamin B9 is found mostly in plants (vegetables, fruits, starches, grains ...) while vitamin
B12 is found only in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.
The intake of vitamin B12 is tricky for vegans who may need supplements.
➥ Vitamin C: is involved in tonicity, vitality, stimulation of the immune system and the quality of
the body’s supportive tissues (gums, skin). It is also a powerful
antioxidant! It is found in some fruits (citrus, exotic fruits, red
berries) and some vegetables (raw cabbage, horseradish, sweet
There are two main chemical forms of vitamin C: ascorbic acid and
ascorbates. Ascorbate is the fusion of a mineral with ascorbic acid.
These molecules are named according to the mineral used: calcium
ascorbate, zinc ascorbate, potassium ascorbate, magnesium
ascorbate, etc.
The roles of fat-soluble vitamins
➥ Vitamin A: is involved in the quality of vision, it is also an antioxidant. It is found in butter,
margarine, cream, cheese, whole milk, egg yolks, and as carotene in orange coloured (carrots,
pumpkin, sweet peppers) or green coloured (spinach, watercress, lamb’s lettuce, sorrel) fruits
and vegetables.
➥ Vitamin E: is a powerful antioxidant and helps to reduce fat oxidation in the blood, thus
fighting against the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. It is mainly found in vegetable oils
and margarines.
➥ Vitamin K: is involved in blood coagulation. In excess, it causes
hypercoagulability - in deficiency, it increases the risk of bleeding. Antivitamin K is given to patients after a cardiovascular event, to prevent the
recurrence of a blood clot. It is found in almost all foods, especially cabbage,
spinach and liver.
➥ Vitamin D: promotes calcium absorption and bone health, as well as many
other benefits such as strengthening the immune system. We produce it partly from exposure to
the sun (15 minutes a day is enough) and by eating oily fish 2-3 times per week (sardines,
salmon, mackerel, herring) and vitamin D enriched products (dairy).
• Good to know
Beware of claims
Between knowledge of physiological effects and authorised claims on labels, there is a whole
world: the world of European regulations controlling health claims. For this reason, you will
generally find exactly the same phrases and highly controlled claims written on all USANA’s
product labels.
Why are antioxidant vitamins A, E and C important?
Oxidative stress causes permanent changes in our body and can damage our cells by accelerating
their aging process. It is a source of free radicals.
• Definition
In chemistry, a free radical is an atom or a molecule with a structure characterised by the
presence of a free electron that makes this chemical species much more reactive than the
atom or molecule it originated from.
These molecules, which originate from oxygen, are highly toxic to cells and can destroy them.
Our body has developed defence systems to protect itself: these are known as antioxidants or
anti-free radicals. Antioxidants are an integral part of the body’s defences and play a central role at
the cellular level.
Although the body has its defense systems, these may become overworked either because the
body is weakened, or because our diet is too low in antioxidants (vitamins A, E, C, zinc, selenium,
polyphenols... ) or because of a hostile environment (pollution, stress, tobacco... ). This is why it is
beneficial to consume USANA’s antioxidant supplements, in addition to following an optimal diet.
• For the proper functioning of energy metabolism, the nervous system and to fight against fatigue:
> Almost all vitamins except B9 and B12
• For the proper functioning of the immune system:
> Vitamin B6, B9, B12, C, D, A
• To contribute to the proper functioning of cells:
> Bone, teeth: vitamins D and K
> Hair, skin: vitamins B2, B3, B8, C and A
> Mucous: vitamins B2, B3, B8, C
> Retina (vision): vitamins B2 and A
• To optimise the cardiovascular system:
> Homocysteine metabolism: B6, B9, B12
> Synthesis of red blood cells: B2, B9, B12
> Iron metabolism: B2 and C
> Blood vessel walls: Vitamin C
> Regulating coagulation: Vitamin K
• To protect cells against oxidative stress:
> Vitamins A, E, C and B2
B1 B2 B3 B5 B6 B8 B9
Cell division
Vitamin deficiencies: identifying them
and compensating for them
Causes of
severe vitamin deficiencies
There are high risks of vitamin deficiency in the following cases:
➥ R egular restrictive dieting pratices:
Vitamins A, E and D deficiencies due to the elimination of fat Many vitamin B deficiencies due to the elimination of starches
➥ Vegan diet:
lack of vitamin B12 and D (elimination of meat, fish, eggs and dairy products)
➥ Uncontrolled, unstructured and insufficient diet and or consumption of highly refined
foods low in vitamins:
lack of almost all vitamins
➥ Malnutrition or undernutrition common after surgery, debilitating diseases, in old age or in
the case of anorexia nervosa...
➥ Generally speaking we are all potentially prone to vitamin deficiencies insofar as the
environment we live in and our lifestyles have made eating an optimal diet difficult and impact
our stress levels. Pollution, our fast-pace lifestyles, stress in general, the declining nutritional
content of fruits and vegetables due to modern intensive farming methods and transportation, soil
depletion and many other things, are all elements that impact our resources in vitamins. Do not
hesitate to consult a health professional.
• Good to know
According to the SU.VI.MAX3 study (results given in 2003 after a study launched in 1994), it
was estimated that on average 20-30% of adults in France had already at least one vitamin
deficiency. That’s a lot!
Intake of less than 70% of RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake):
> vitamins B1, B6, B9: for 30 to 50% of women
> vitamin C: for 20% of adults
> vitamin A: for 40% of adults
> vitamin E: for 40 to 90% of adults
Source: SU.VI.MAX study3.
About 40% of the population is affected by a lack of vitamin D4,5!
The ENNS 2006-2007 Survey5(National Nutrition and Health Survey) found that 42.5% of the
adult population has vitamin D blood levels of <50 nmol/L, which indicates a deficiency. This is
explained by the lack of sun exposure and low consumption of foods and products rich in vitamin
D. This leads to a lower binding of calcium in the bone but also to general fatigue, muscle and
bone pain and poor immune resistance. This is why vitamin D intake is very important.
How do I know
if I lack vitamins?
There is a common sign for all vitamin deficiencies: chronic
fatigue (from morning to night), without any medical reason. There are also specific signs for each vitamin:
> Lack of vitamin D: muscle and bone pain
> Lack of vitamin A: decline in the quality of vision and visual
> Lack of vitamins B9 and B12: anaemia, neurological disorders
(tingling, cramping, sensitivity and motor disorders)
> Lack of B vitamins: neurological disorders, skin and skin
appendages (nails, hair) disorders
> Lack of vitamin C: reduced immune defences
Who should follow a comprehensive
vitamin supplementation programme?
Identifying someone who may be deficient
> Anyone following a restrictive diet, because vitamin deficiency is systematic
> In the case of chronic fatigue, without any medical reason and associated with an insufficient or
unbalanced diet
> Anyone with high requirements and whose diet is not meeting these needs:
teenagers, sportsmen...
> Any active person whose diet is unsufficient or unbalanced
> Anyone who, after a serious medical condition, needs to quickly regain their health
> During the winter, to increase ones resilience and boost the immune system
> In addition to nutritional advice tailored to optimise cardiovascular and general health
> Because it is challenging to follow a healthy diet on a daily basis and the environment is becoming
increasingly threatening, resorting to a supplementation programme, in addition to following
a varied and well-balanced diet, has become a relevant option for each and every one of us.
What is in a daily dose of Mega Antioxidant?
With the daily recommended dose of USANA Mega Antioxidant or Body Rox, you will be getting on
average 100% or more of the Recommended Daily Intake for the majority of vitamins. 13 vitamins
are present, of which three are major antioxidants: A, E and C.
1 tablet
Mega Antioxidant
2 tablets
Body Rox
B1 (mg)
6.75mg (613% RDA)
4.2mg (382% RDA)
B2 (mg)
6.75mg (482% RDA)
4.8mg (343% RDA)
B3 (mg)
10mg (62% RDA)
24mg (150% RDA)
B5 (mg)
22.5mg (375% RDA)
18mg (300% RDA)
B6 (mg)
8mg (571% RDA)
2mg (143% RDA)
B8 (µg)
75µg (150% RDA)
200µg (400% RDA)
B9 (µg)
250µg (125% RDA)
200µg (100% RDA)
B12 (µg)
50µg (2000% RDA)
3µg (120% RDA)
C (mg)
325mg (406% RDA)
180mg (225% RDA)
A (µg)
2,060µg (258% RDA)
800µg (100% RDA)
D (µg)
11.25µg (225% RDA)
5µg (100% RDA)
E (mg)
82.6mg (688% RDA)
30mg (250% RDA)
K (µg)
15µg (20% RDA)
25µg (33% RDA)
USANA Mega Antioxidant is designed for everyone who needs to take vitamins and antioxidant
supplements. It includes a unique combination of ascorbates, USANA’s proprietary Poly C, which has
been shown to provide higher and longer-lasting levels of vitamin C in the blood.
Body Rox is specifically designed for anyone with particularly high needs (for example teenagers)
and during periods of stress (exam, stress at work ...).
• Good to know
There is no overdose risk
Regarding the group B vitamins, you may be surprised to see that the daily dose of USANA
tablets sometimes exceeds the RDA. Rest assured, there is no overdose risk with group B
vitamins or vitamin C. The body takes what it needs and eliminates the excess via urine.
With that excess, USANA ensures that you easily cover your needs, even if you eat poorly.
However, this is not a reason to eat poorly, the complex nutritional qualities of food are
Vitamin E is essential for its antioxidant role and its fight against free radicals, including fighting
the oxidation of blood fats for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, USANA has therefore
chosen a higher dosage for its tablets, to overcome frequent deficiencies. At a dose of 2.5
times the RDA, there is no overdose risk.
RDAs in vitamins and food equivalences
Favour foods that are rich in the following vitamins6:
➥ Vitamin C (RDA = 80mg): one large orange (100g) = 50mg / one glass of orange
juice = 70mg / one serving of raw cabbage (100g) = 50mg /1 large kiwi (100g) = 80mg
➥ Vitamin D (RDA = 5µg): one 100g serving of salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines
= 10 to 20µg
➥ Vitamin A (RDA = 800µg): one 10g serving of butter = 70µg. Oranges or green
coloured vegetables, or vegetables very rich in carotene such as carrots, pumpkin,
watercress, lamb’s lettuce, spinach, sorrel and sweet peppers.
➥ Vitamin E (RDA = 12mg): one tablespoon of oil = 1 to 3mg / 2 eggs = 1mg
➥ Vitamin
(RDA = 200µg): one serving of cooked vegetables (200g) such as
sprouts, spinach, sorrel (100-200µg) - a serving of raw vegetables (100g) such as
watercress, celery, chicory, spinach, lamb’s lettuce (100-150µg).
➥ Group B vitamins: whole-wheat bread, multigrain bread, green vegetables, and
dairy products.
In conclusion, enjoy your food, and eat as healthily as possible7!
Test your knowledge:
1- From the 13 vitamins that we need, which is the only
one that, with the right conditions, is synthesized by
the body?
❑ a. Vitamin C
❑ b. Vitamin D
❑ c. Vitamin B12
2- Which vitamin/s is/are primarily involved in the
transformation of the food we eat into energy?
❑ a. Group B vitamins
❑ b. Vitamin C
❑ c. Vitamin E
3- Which of these vitamins is not an antioxidant?
❑ a. Vitamin C
❑ b. Vitamin E
❑ c. Vitamin B9
4- W
hat is the common sign of all vitamin deficiencies?
❑ a. Convulsive neurosis
❑ b. Skin disorders
❑ c. Fatigue
5- What percentage of adults has at least one vitamin
❑ a. 4 to 10%
❑ b. 20 to 30%
❑ c. 50 to 60%
6- In one tablet of Mega Antioxidant, the RDA content is
❑ a. Between 50 and 100% of RDA
❑ b. Between 100 and 250% of RDA
❑ c. Between 400 and 500% of RDA
Answers: 1b - 2a – 3c – 4c – 5b – 6b.
1. Recommended Dietary Intake for the French population. CNRS, CNERNA, 2001.
2. Official Journal of the European Union. May 25th 2012.
3. Mineral and vitamin status of the French population. Serge Hercberg.
4. File HAS (High Authority for Health). Clinical usefulness of dosage of vitamin D.
5. E NNS Survey (National Nutrition and Health Survey), 2006.
6. Food corporate directory. Ciqual. 2013. Link:
7. Le Grand Livre de l’Alimentation. Dr Laurence Plumey. Ed Eyrolles, sept 2014.
This document has been produced with the help of a French medical nutritionist.