Since childhood, we have been told to eat our vegetables and take our Flintstones vitamin. At that age we did not understand why we took them; we just did it because our parents told us to. As adults, we now choose whether to take them and in what amounts.
Some may wonder if it could be bad to have too many vitamins? The phrase “too much of anything is not good” is in fact true in this case. Certain vitamins such as A, D, E and K, which are fat soluble, can be dangerous if ingested in great amounts. Water soluble vitamins include eight B varieties and one C variety and leave the body when you urinate if you overdose.
Here is a simple breakdown of the vitamins we consume. If you were unaware that there were two types of vitamins, you may want to pay close attention to this.
Fat soluble vitamins, which I listed above, are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids. They aid in good vision, healthy skin, hardness of bones, preventing damage to cell membranes and helping blood to clot. Some food sources of fat soluble vitamins include dairy products, fish oils, leafy greens and carrots.
Deficiency in these vitamins can cause certain consequences: Vitamin A leads to night blindness; vitamin D can cause rickets and osteomalacia; vitamin E can cause anemia in newborn infants; and a lack of vitamin K can lead to a bleeding tendency. It is important to remember that since fat soluble vitamins are stored in our bodies, we do not need them everyday.
Even though water soluble vitamins are more easily absorbed and secreted, they are just as important and can be harmful if not consumed in the correct amounts. They aid in good vision, healthy skin, normal appetite, a healthy nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. Some food sources of water soluble vitamins include meats, vegetables, fruits and grains. In contrast to fat soluble vitamins, these are not stored and must be replenished daily.
Throughout the year, we change along with the weather and our surroundings, which could cause us to take in more or less of certain vitamins. For example, during the sunnier seasons, like summer and spring, we get a lot of our vitamin D from the sun since we are outside so much. Consequently, during the cloudier seasons, like fall and winter (except when the weather is as nice as it is this week), we get less natural vitamin D and should take in more synthetic forms or from vitamin D fortified foods.
During the winter and spring, vitamin C is also a concern because of cold and flu season, but that does not mean we shouldn’t take in the correct amount during the summer and fall. In fact, some people overdose on vitamin C because they think it will help them get better, when in fact, once the body reaches maximum capacity, it just passes through in urine.
Vitamins are essential to our daily life and can have consequences if taken in the wrong amount. If you find it hard to eat foods containing certain vitamins, a multivitamin pill can help. Be careful though, because some simply aren’t absorbed at all and are just secreted.
So even though you used to think that old Flintstones vitamin was just your morning candy, now you know the importance of it. In fact, our parents were right when they told us to always take our vitamins and eat our vegetables so we can grow to be big and strong.