Vitamins are substances needed in small amounts for normal body functions that the body cannot synthesize in adequate amounts. In many cases vitamins act as cofactors that are needed in order to allow enzymes to perform their important work of facilitating metabolism in the body. In this case the vitamins are called coenzyme vitamins. Some examples of coenzyme vitamins include Vitamin B1 in the form of thiamin diphosphate (or cocarboxylase) and Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal 5’-phosphate.
Coenzyme vitamins and direct precursors of coenzyme vitamins are found in foods in relatively small, but significant amounts. In order to create supplement with larger amounts of vitamins, manufacturers have synthesized vitamins that are similar to but not the same as the coenzyme vitamins that are needed to facilitate metabolism.
Examples of synthesized vitamins are Vitamin B1 as thiamin hydrochloride and vitamin B6 as pyridoxine hydrochloride. Most synthesized forms of vitamins tend to be quite stable and offer relatively low cost. However, fact that they require conversion in the body means both that they are not immediately available for use by the body and that metabolic energy is required for the conversion.
The body cannot directly utilize synthesized vitamins, but must convert them by adding a phosphate group (usually from adenosine triphosphate, i.e., ATP) in order to become active coenzyme form vitamins. For most healthy people, the process of converting synthesized vitamins into coenzyme vitamins is not difficult. However, for individuals who are not healthy or who are nutritionally deficient, this conversion process can be significantly more difficult to carry out, and therefore can become problematic.
It is precisely because synthetic vitamins must be converted in the body to coenzyme forms that manufacturers are increasingly producing stabilized forms of the active coenzyme vitamins. We at HPDI call these active coenzyme forms “bio-identical” vitamins, i.e., they are identical to the coenzyme vitamins used in the body.
While “bio-identical” vitamins usually cost significantly more than the synthesized vitamins (up to 50 times more), they remain quite affordable because they are only required by the body in very small amounts. That is, the body only needs small amounts because there are no in vivo losses related to any conversion processes. We therefore include coenzyme form vitamins in our formulas in quantities needed by the body.
The inclusion of coenyzme forms of vitamins significantly contributes to making our supplement formulas more effective than if we used conventional (i.e., non-coenzyme form) vitamins. Moreover, it increases effectiveness without substantially raising our costs. Thus, the benefits considerably outweigh the costs, especially for individuals who consume our supplements, thereby reaping the benefits coenzyme vitamins offer for human health and well-being.
The following provides a list of currently available “bio-identical” coenzyme vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 in the form of thiamin diphosphate (or cocarboxylase)
- Vitamin B2 in the form of riboflavin 5’-phosphate sometimes called flavinmononucleotide (FMN)
- Vitamin B3 in the forms of forms of niacinamide (partial coenzyme), nicotinamide diphosphate (NAD), and nicotinamide diphosphate hydrate (NADH)
- Vitamin B5 in the form of panthetine
- Vitamin B6 in the form of pyridoxal 5’-phosphate
- Folate in the forms of folinic acid (5-formyl tetrahydrofolate) and methyltetrahydro folate
- Vitamin B12 in the forms of methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.
Health Products Distributors, Inc. has been using these all of the above “bio-identical” coenzyme vitamins for many years. In our experience, these forms provide significantly better results for individuals supplementing their diets with our nutritional supplement formulas.
An excellent article written by Dr. Pangborn provides more in depth logic for using coenzyme vitamins – especially pyridoxal 5’-phosphate. See the following:
Vitamin B6 by Dr. Jon B. Pangborn (pdf)
An excellent discussion of the chemistry of Thiamin and its coenzyme form can be found here: