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Big Vitamin B6-cancer news raises the question: What do the B and 6 mean?

A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that smokers with greater amounts of Vitamin B6 may be less likely to develop lung cancer. The findings are preliminary, but have caused a lot of excitement.

Behind the promising health news is a great question: Why are vitamins named with various letters and numbers? Does the letter match the name of a chemical, like Vitamin C and citric acid? Is there some brilliant logic? No, there isn’t. First of all, the word vitamin started off as “vitamine,” a combination of the Latin vita for “life” and amine “any of a class of compounds derived from ammonia.”

The E on the end was dropped when it was discovered that vitamins actually weren’t connected to amines after all. Vitamins have alphabetical names based on vitamers, the chemical compounds that fulfill the nutritional function of a particular vitamin. So, for example, the chemicals that are necessary for certain eye functions are all classified as Vitamin A. Why did those become A? Because they were discovered first. B came second, etc. Now Vitamin B is a little different than the rest. Originally all of the different types of B were thought to be one classification, but it was later discovered that all 8 of them serve different nutritional functions. They tend to coexist in the same foods, and when they are combined in pills they are called Vitamin B complex.

The individual types of B are designated by a number, but there’s a problem: the numbers aren’t consecutive (which is why there is a B12 but only 8 types of B vitamin.) The missing numbers belong to substances that used to be considered vitamins but were dropped from the list by nutritionists over time, for various reasons. And that’s also why the alphabet of vitamins skips from E to K. Many substances that were formerly on the vitamin list have either been renamed or dropped from nutrition altogether. An example is the former Vitamin P, which has been relabeled flavonoids which are still included in supplements. Poor ex-Vitamin L1, anthranilic acid. The reason it was dropped from the vitamin list almost evokes pity: “Non-essential for human health.”

INCLUDED ON TONIGHT’S CARD: RACE AGAINST TIME

The Record (Bergen County, NJ) July 4, 1997 | MIKE FARRELL MIKE FARRELL The Record (Bergen County, NJ) 07-04-1997 INCLUDED ON TONIGHT’S CARD: RACE AGAINST TIME By MIKE FARRELL Date: 07-04-1997, Friday Section: SPORTS Edition: All Editions — Two Star B, Two Star P, One Star Column: HORSE RACING

Drivers John Campbell, Mike Lachance, and Howard Parker settled for a chartered helicopter. What they really need tonight is a Star Trek transporter.

The drivers are trying to resolve a scheduling conflict that requires them to be at The Meadowlands Racetrack and Yonkers Raceway at roughly the same time. The Big M is staging three eliminations for the $1 million Meadowlands Pace (the final will be July 11), and Yonkers also is presenting the $389,262 Yonkers Trot, the first leg of the trotting Triple Crown. web site chase banking online

Television compounded the time crunch. Two of the Pace eliminations and the Yonkers Trot will be televised live as the latest installment of the American Championship Harness Series on ESPN2 (10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.)

“This is the closest we’ve ever cut it,” Campbell said.

The madness will begin at 10:40 p.m. with second Pace elim. The drivers will then dash to the copter for the 12-minute flight to Yonkers, where post time is 10:56. Then it will be a scramble back to the Big M for the third Pace elim at 11:18.

The tight schedule allows no margin for error. Too bad Scotty can’t beam them from paddock to paddock.

TOUCH GOLD TO TRY AGAIN: Trainer David Hofmans set this morning as the tentative date for Touch Gold’s first workout since his victory in the Belmont Stakes. The workout, originally set for Wednesday at Hollywood Park, was delayed by Hofmans’ continued concerns over the colt’s left front foot, which was injured in the Preakness. site chase banking online

The postponement of the workout further enhances the chances that Touch Gold will start next in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3 at Monmouth Park rather than the July 20 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. The Haskell already has a firm commitment from the Silver Charm camp, setting up a potential glamour rematch. Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but was denied the Triple Crown by Touch Gold in the Belmont.

LLEWELLYN JOINS NYRA: J. Bruce Llewellyn, a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the New York Racing Association.

Llewellyn brings an impressive list of credentials to NYRA, which operates Saratoga, Belmont Park, and Aqueduct. He is chairman of the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company and serves on the board of directors of Chase Banking Corp., Coors Brewing Co., Teleport Communications, and Essence Communications. Llewellyn was a founder and former chairman of “100 Black Men,” a national civic organization, and is the current chair of the United States Small Business Advisory Council.

“I was asked to get involved with NYRA’s board of trustees because they felt my experience in business would be effective,” Llewellyn said.

“I believe thoroughbred racing has entertainment aspects and assets that we can capitalize on for the good of everyone.”

“SILVERHEELS” OUT FOR SEASON: Hi Ho Silverheels, winner of the Graduate Series final at the Big M, will be sidelined the rest of the year with a fractured cannon bone in the right hind leg.

35 Comments

  1. pdb -  January 12, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Vitamine A wasn’t discovered first!!

    Reply
  2. Michael adie -  November 7, 2011 - 7:20 pm

    I luv d stuff discuss here, it was formerly an argument btw me nd my frds but now i hav better understanding.

    Reply
  3. B6-CANCER | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  August 18, 2010 - 2:59 pm

    [...] “B6-CANCER” sounds like the Title to a series — It’s gotta be on Premium Cable — or the Satellite if there’s no Thunder Storm and you’re able — to seek mind numbing entertainment — twenty four hours a day — We can now watch TV in our Palm on the toilet — rolled paper over the top Peaches would say. — Peaches died of Cancer and so did Brother BB — It’s good to see “Death and Dying” as an uplifting comedy. — We’re not joking, — We wouldn’t have it any other way. — That is the reason we’re here — to participate in the process of evolving, — and living and dying and problem solving, — Since “In Heaven There is No Beer”. — Would that be Vitamin B six pack? –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

    Reply
  4. whaaaat -  June 24, 2010 - 10:33 pm

    Hey thanks for all the scientific stuff Ari N but go AshB for the original comment!

    Reply
  5. samrawi -  June 23, 2010 - 5:50 pm

    Interesting topic. Many times we get used to some common names or things, we think we know them but we dont.

    Reply
  6. Ari N -  June 23, 2010 - 8:41 am

    @ Nate: You provided more info to an already interesting article. Thanks buddy.

    Reply
  7. Nate -  June 22, 2010 - 2:56 pm

    @AshB: Vitamin is a vitamin. If the reason you believe it’s not is because of the misconception that you can just “absorb” Vitamin D from sunlight- then well, you’re misconceived.
    Vitamin D is a secosteroid, found in many foods such as flour, milk and butter.
    Vitamin “from” sunlight is Vitamin D3, this particular one is produced in the skin upon exposure to Ultra Violet light. So UV light elicits the production; sunlight is not Vitamin D.

    Reply
  8. Pop -  June 22, 2010 - 6:26 am

    Well done dictionary.com!!!!!! keeping people interested
    (please let this though)

    Reply
  9. ubara Emmanuel -  June 22, 2010 - 2:01 am

    i think this article is refreshing and enlightning to all.keep up the good write-up and article.i am impressed!

    Reply
  10. Mutha Tung -  June 21, 2010 - 6:11 pm

    I C 2 B6 E U nE..D A vitamin supplement….

    Reply
  11. Nitin -  June 21, 2010 - 10:54 am

    Well said Bella!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Bella -  June 21, 2010 - 10:11 am

    To Nan G.
    “The last comments(the ignorant ones) must have attended public school. It is encouraging to see that they are open to continuing educationm,..keep those words coming!”

    Correction:
    The last comments, the ignorant ones, must have attended a public school. It is encouraging to see that they are open to continuing their education, keep those words coming!

    From what I conclude you have a sad assumtion of people. You are an unintellegant troll. This maybe the internet, but how you say things and what you say people will judge you. Unless, you wish to look like a judemental babbling idiot then you were sucessful. Next time, think before you type. You never know who is watching.

    Reply
  13. Nan G. -  June 21, 2010 - 8:21 am

    The last comments(the ignorant ones) must have attended public school. It is encouraging to see that they are open to continuing educationm,..keep those words coming!

    Reply
  14. Geena -  June 21, 2010 - 8:09 am

    Eric–the article wasn’t asking what the B stands for. It was asking what’s the significance of the B and 6, what do they mean. And yes, it answered that question.

    Reply
  15. Lisa Fretwell -  June 21, 2010 - 6:16 am

    It’s always a good thing to learn something new. Thanks.

    Reply
  16. AshB -  June 21, 2010 - 4:53 am

    Vit D is not even a vitamin, then why has the name stuck to it?

    Reply
  17. Enoch Kim -  June 21, 2010 - 3:09 am

    really intresting

    Reply
  18. Pop -  June 21, 2010 - 2:40 am

    I LOOOOVE DICTIONARY.COM!!!
    WILL U LEAVE THIS ON HERE?

    Reply
  19. sreyleak -  June 21, 2010 - 12:44 am

    this ia good that introduce about important in show prepaid vitamin-D

    Reply
  20. Milds -  June 20, 2010 - 11:36 pm

    Those who suffer from vitamin-D deficiency should eat sunlight. Afterall, that good source of vitamin-D

    Reply
  21. Kylz -  June 20, 2010 - 10:18 pm

    The article may not give you much detail, but if you click on the links they will take you to the definition and it will even tell you what foods these vitamins are found in.

    Reply
  22. Sean Odger -  June 20, 2010 - 9:49 pm

    Joseph Graniczny on June 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    The author did not make a claim that Vitamin C and citric acid was one and the same. They were providing an example that most people would assume as much and do so wrongly.

    ———————————–

    That’s not entirely true. Even if that was their intended message, it is nonetheless ambiguously put, as it could imply that Vitamin C could be an exceptional case. They should likely have cited the misconception if they were going the route you suggested, as it leaves them open to the aforementioned criticism.

    Reply
  23. Elmar -  June 20, 2010 - 9:33 pm

    Thanks for this information, I am very impressed with your writting. I really like how you used that first paragraph to frame your story. Every paragraph provides a lot of information in such a summarized and clear way, good job.

    Poor vitamins, I use to think their name was more meaningful, but now. . .can we say they were named just by order of appearance?

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  24. Carlos -  June 20, 2010 - 9:28 pm

    The article about Vitamin B6 is partially supported, however, it does need to add more details on its topic to make it meaningful.

    Reply
  25. michelle -  June 20, 2010 - 8:59 pm

    i concur with eric. ^^^^^^^
    this is basically explaining why the vitamins are named that way, not the actual uses and effects.

    Reply
  26. Jim -  June 20, 2010 - 7:53 pm

    That begs the question; what are the best foods to eat if I suffer from Vitamin D defeciency, other than tacking suppliments or any vitamin defeciency for that matter?

    Reply
  27. Dr Robert E McGinnis -  June 20, 2010 - 7:31 pm

    Vitamins come to us in many forms, but it is important to know which and how much to take. Random guessing may not work for you.

    Reply
  28. Mr.Choice -  June 20, 2010 - 3:24 pm

    Fairly efficient details. I guess one of professors need to possess an awful lot of vitamin B6.

    Reply
  29. Joseph Graniczny -  June 20, 2010 - 12:45 pm

    eric on June 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    the article didnt answer its own question: what the b stands for.

    Vitamins have alphabetical names based on vitamers, the chemical compounds that fulfill the nutritional function of a particular vitamin. So, for example, the chemicals that are necessary for certain eye functions are all classified as Vitamin A. Why did those become A? Because they were discovered first. B came second, etc.

    Reply
  30. Joseph Graniczny -  June 20, 2010 - 12:42 pm

    The author did not make a claim that Vitamin C and citric acid was one and the same. They were providing an example that most people would assume as much and do so wrongly.

    Does the letter match the name of a chemical, like Vitamin C and citric acid? Is there some brilliant logic?

    No, there isn’t.

    Reply
  31. eric -  June 20, 2010 - 12:34 pm

    the article didnt answer its own question: what the b stands for.

    Reply
  32. r -  June 20, 2010 - 12:31 pm

    Vitamin C is citric acid and it is ascorbic acid.

    Reply
  33. iluvmykids -  June 20, 2010 - 12:01 pm

    Wow. Interesting stuff.

    Reply
  34. kayman mirra -  June 20, 2010 - 10:42 am

    owned

    Reply
  35. Black Dahlia -  June 20, 2010 - 10:28 am

    Vitamin C is not citric acid; it is ascorbic acid.

    Reply

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