vitamin metabolism

Cofactor and Vitamin Metabolism

Our body is like one big science experiment. Chemical reactions influence everything from physical movement to emotional well-being to your gut health. The catalysts for many of these chains of events are cofactors and vitamins.
The microbiome opens the pathway to understanding how the body works more and more every day. With a Thryve Gut Test, we have the ability to analyze your DNA and look deep into many physiological functions carried out by your system on a molecular level. This is even more important when it comes to cofactor and vitamin metabolism. Thanks to these advancements in technology and following KEGG pathway maps, we can determine how efficiently your body absorbs calories and carries out cellular functions. Let’s take a look at cofactor and vitamin metabolism, and how Thryve Inside can help you feel your best! 


What is Cofactor and Vitamin Metabolism?

Our body is like one big science experiment. There are trillions of microbes and cells interacting with one another, making chemical reactions happen. These chemical reactions influence everything from physical movement to emotional well-being to your gut health. The catalysts for many of theses chains of events are cofactors and vitamins.


What Are Cofactors?

Cofactors are molecules that activate enzymes. With this interaction, enzymes can become catalysts for metabolic functions. There are two types of cofactors. We get them from our food.


Types of Cofactors

First, there are inorganic cofactors. These are chemicals made in a laboratory and put into your food. Inorganic cofactors include artificial foods, hormones, and pesticides.
One analysis of common pesticide ingredient, Thiocarbamates, stated,

“Thiocarbamates and their metabolites can modify biological macromolecules functions, in particular enzymes, through modification of cysteine residues, chelation of metal ions or modulation of the oxidative stress. Loss of enzyme activity can lead to the disruption of metabolic pathways [2].”

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol.
Then there’s organic cofactors. These come from vitamins that are found in your food. In some cases, vitamins are even considered cofactors. That’s why we’ll be discussing cofactor and vitamin metabolism together.
Cofactor and vitamin metabolism is the breaking down of these molecules and using them from energy. From there, what’s left is either recycled or thrown out as waste.


Thiamine Metabolism

Thiamine is also known as Vitamin B1. It is a crucial nutrient for energy production [3]. That’s because our body heavily uses thiamine during glucose metabolism. If you eat a high-carb diet, you are at risk of a thiamine deficiency.
vitamin metabolism pork
We consume most of our thiamine from:
• Pork
• Seafood
• Beans
• Peas
• Whole Grains
Our body begins thiamine vitamin metabolism outside of the cell membrane. It gets transported into the cell by a thiamine transporter. Here, Vitamin B1 interacts with the enzyme thiamin pyrophosphate kinase 1 to create the intermediate thiamine pyrophosphate. However, the work of thiamin pyrophosphate kinase 1 isn’t done yet. It also converts this intermediate into a new molecule, thiamine triphosphate.
Inevitably, thiamine triphosphate will meet up with the enzyme thiamine-triphosphatase. This reaction reverts thiamine triphosphate back to thiamine pyrophosphate. After interacting with nuceloside-triphosphatase, the molecule becomes phosphorylated. Now, our body has water-soluble thiamine. It dissolves in our bloodstream. Any excess thiamine leaves our body through urine.


Riboflavin Metabolism

Riboflavin also goes by the name Vitamin B2. This vitamin acts as a cofactor for the production of enzymes flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). FMN and FAD are essential in cell respiration, which is when microbes take in oxygen that we breathe in and release carbon dioxide that we breathe out.
Additionally, FAD and FMN are essential for creating energy that influences many metabolic processes. We need FAD and FMN for amino acid, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism.


Vitamin B6 Metabolism

B6 is vital in vitamin metabolism because it plays a critical role in cell metabolism. Also known as pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 is a cofactor in over 140 biochemical reactions [4].
It also influences production of hormones that influence fertility and neurotransmitters that regulate mood.
Vitamin B6 metabolism happens mostly in the liver [5]. It goes through a region known as the Vitamin B6 salvage pathway. Here it meets a number of enzymes.
In particular, Vitamin B6 interacts with:
• Pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase (PDXH)
• Pyridoxal Reductase (PRL)
• Pyridoxal kinase (PDXK)
The byproduct is pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP). This coenzyme plays an integral part in amino acid metabolism. To achieve this, PLP binds to serum albumin. This measure protects the coenzyme from interacting with phosphate. That way, organs can get this coenzyme to catalyze cell proliferation.


Nicotinate and Nicotinamide Metabolism

These cofactors are parts of vitamin metabolism for Vitamin B3, niacin. Nictonic acid can be synthesized by our bodies from the amino acid tryptophan. This byproduct of protein is also responsible for the production of nicotinamide.
When we received Vitamin B3 from milk, wheat, and animal fats, it gets metabolized into nicotinamide and nicotinate. Together, these compounds propel microbes to generate coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+).
According to the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics,

“These enzymes catalyze protein modifications, such as ADP-ribosylation and deacetylation, leading to changes in protein function. These enzymes regulate apoptosis, DNA repair, stress resistance, metabolism, and endocrine signaling, suggesting that these enzymes and/or NAD+ metabolism could be targeted for therapeutic benefit [6].”

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
NAD+ and NADP+ influence essential functions, such as:
• Glycolysis
• Citric Acid Cycle
• Fatty Acid Production
Pentose Phosphate Cycle
Our body circulates these enzymes throughout the system for continuous use. In the event there is too much niacin, we simply flush it out through our waste.


Pantothenate and CoA Biosynthesis

Coenzyme A (CoA) is one of the most prominent cofactors for the most crucial cellular functions. The greatest catalyst for CoA production is through the vitamin metabolism of pantothenate.
Also known as Vitamin B5, humans must consume pantothenate through a diet of fungi and plants. Otherwise, they must rely on their gut bacteria to produce some of this essential vitamin.
When we consume Vitamin B5, our intestines convert it into pantothenic acid. The small intestine absorbs the acid. It hooks up with red blood cells and is free to circulate the system. Most of the time, it will get converted into CoA but can be used as a carrier protein or free pantothenic acid [7].


Biotin Metabolism

Biotin is also known as Vitamin B7 and Vitamin H. It plays a role in many important cellular functions [8].
vitamin metabolism skin regimen
Vitamin H is responsible for five different coenzymes essential to amino acid, fat, and energy metabolism:
• Propionyl-CoA Carboxylase
• Methylcrotonyl-CoA Carboxylase
• PyruvateCarboxylase
• 2 Types of Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase
These enzymes are necessary for proper functioning metabolic processes. This benefit is valuable and all, but many are interested in biotin for its beauty benefits!
Vitamin B7 helps the body synthesize proteins. One protein it stimulates a lot of growth is keratin [8]. Keratin is the protein responsible for giving your nails and hair follicles structure. So, making sure your biotin vitamin metabolism is functioning properly is essential for all-natural beauty routines. 


Analyze Your Cofactor and Vitamin Metabolism

Want to make sure your body is creating and breaking down cofactors and vitamins efficiently? The best way to find out if this is happening is to get your gut tested. Using KEGG pathways, we can map out where the deficiencies are. That way, we can get your gut health on the right track. From there, you will metabolize vitamins and cofactors efficiently to support cellular respiration, improve your skin health, and create the energy needed to power you through the day!


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[1] Libretexts. “18.9: Enzyme Cofactors and Vitamins.” Chemistry LibreTexts, Libretexts, 12 Aug. 2019, Chemistry_(Ball_et_al.)
/18%3A_Amino_Acids%2C_Proteins%2C_and_Enzymes/18.09_Enzyme_Cofactors_ and_Vitamins.
[2] Mathieu, Cécile, et al. “Effects of Pesticide Chemicals on the Activity of Metabolic Enzymes: Focus on Thiocarbamates.” Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2015,
[3] Lonsdale D. (2006). A review of the biochemistry, metabolism and clinical benefits of thiamin(e) and its derivatives. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 3(1), 49–59.
[4] Mooney S., Leuendorf J.-E., Hendrickson C., Hellmann H. Vitamin B6: A Long Known Compound of Surprising Complexity. Molecules. 2009;14:329–351. doi: 10.3390/molecules14010329.
[5] Merrill, A H, and J M Henderson. “Vitamin B6 Metabolism by Human Liver.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1990,
[6] Sauve, Anthony A. “NAD+ and Vitamin B3: From Metabolism to Therapies.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1 Mar. 2008,
[7] “Office of Dietary Supplements – Pantothenic Acid.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
[8] Pacheco-Alvarez, Diana, et al. “Biotin in Metabolism and Its Relationship to Human Disease.” Archives of Medical Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2002,
[9] Patel, D. P., Swink, S. M., & Castelo-Soccio, L. (2017). A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin appendage disorders, 3(3), 166–169.

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