A Closer Look At Vitamins And How They Work In Your Body

It can be difficult to get the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals from food alone, which is why many adults rely on dietary supplements to help make up the difference. In fact, about 58% of adults take multivitamins, and about three in four Americans use dietary supplements. While supplements can help you attain the recommended daily intakes, it is possible to consume too much of certain vitamins. Here’s a closer look at what vitamins do and how to make sure you’re getting the right amount, without taking too much.

A vitamin is an essential nutrient which your body needs to function properly and maintain good health. Vitamins are used to metabolize food as well as to maintain healthy bones, blood, skin and your brain. While your body can produce some vitamins, there are numerous vitamins that cannot be produced by the body. Thus,one must consume them in food or in supplements. Those vitamins include vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K.

Vitamins are often divided into two categories—fat- soluble and water-soluble. Most essential vitamins are water-soluble and are digested and used by the body without accumulating in tissue. Fat-soluble vitamins, however, such as vitamin A, D, E and K can be stored by the body. Because of this, they are more likely to cause toxicity.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in foods such as liver, dairy products, eggs, sweet potatoes and carrots. Vitamin A toxicity can affect the skin, causing irritation and reddening; long-term excessive use can result in nausea, migraines, bone pain, possible liver damage, coma and death. Vitamin B3 toxicity can also cause itchy, burning reddened skin and overuse may cause liver damage. Taking too much B6 can result in neurological symptoms, loss of coordination and digestive problems. Vitamin D toxicity can cause kidney stones, digestive issues, weight loss, and confusion and may increase your risk of heart disease, bone fractures and cancer. Finally, taking too much vitamin E can increase your risk of stroke, hemorrhages and prostate cancer in men.

To avoid any issues with vitamin toxicity, talk to your health care provider about the supplements you take and in what dosages. The attached resource, Are Vitamin Supplements Safe?, describes more about how to take vitamin supplements safely.







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