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Vitamin B4

Vitamin B4 William J. Whelan Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami Florida, USA My attention was recently caught by a headline announcing that the European Commission had imposed a 66 million euro fine on an animal feed vitamin cartel, the vitamin in question being vitamin B4. I was curious about what is vitamin B4 and learned that although it is seldom given this name, even in three tomes devoted to nutrition, the general consensus is that vitamin B4 is choline. We can synthesize it but we also rely on supplementation through the diet. Whether choline should be termed a vitamin is a digression into which I shall not enter. This led me to search for vitamin B4 on the web, where I found that many dietary supplement vendors include B4 in their products and identify it as choline. But I also came across several other websites where the vendors think that vitamin B4 is something else. Why not search for yourself? You will find vitamin B4 defined as adenine, folic acid, and pantothenic acid, while at the Onestophairshop, vitamin B4 is pyridoxine. The same website names vitamin B12 as ‘‘cyanscohaenia’’. Other ingredients for hair care being sold on this site include inosital (sic) and para-aminobeteic acid, for PABA. Another website authored by a Dr. Bruce West describes vitamin B4 as ‘‘the anti-paralysis’’ vitamin, claiming that a supply is vital to counter heart disease. Just what is vitamin B4 according to Dr. West? Definitely none of the above. Although he is willing to sell you vitamin B4, never does he reveal what it is. Indeed he creates an air of mystery about it by describing B4 as a ‘‘little studied, never synthesized vitamin’’. Choline? Three websites state that B4 is adenine and in www.chiro.org/chiro-list/newsfile/vit-hist.txt Harvey Newstrom goes on to say that adenine is a nucleic acid. But then he defines vitamin B8 as ‘‘the nucleic acid adenylic acid, also known as ergadenylic acid’’. William Kyle (www.albhealth.co.uk/ services/info/suplements/vitamin_b-4_1.php) states that ‘‘complex carbohydrates provide the best fuel and it is my belief that most complex carbohydrates contain vitamin B-4 (Adenine).’’ Adenine is a vitamin? A nucleic acid? The Every Vitamin Page (db.ancient-future.net/ vitamins.html) also lists B4 as adenine as part of a comprehensive list of vitamins from A to Y, with a big subdivision for B. Harvey Newstrom also has a long list, although whether, in light of his belief in what constitutes a nucleic acid, his remarks can be regarded as enlightening, as opposed to amusing, is open to question. But neither of these comprehensive vitamin listings mentions vitamin O. What is vitamin O? Try typing that into your search engine. Mine came up with 987,192 results. There is a mine of useless information out there, of which until now I had been largely unaware. Received/accepted 21 January 2005 Address correspondence to: William J. Whelan, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, PO Box 016129 (M823), Miami, FL 33101: E-mail: wwhelan@miami.edu ISSN 1521-6543 print/ISSN 1521-6551 online # 2005 IUBMB DOI: 10.1080/15216540500078939 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png IUBMB Life Wiley
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