Close to half the population of the United States take vitamins. Multivitamins hold the number one spot as the most popular. They are sold in virtually every grocery store and are a thriving industry. Everyone you know is taking at least one – and are preaching to you why you should be. Vitamins are good for you, after all, and will improve the quality of your life. What’s more as humans, we live by the axiom, if a few help, a truck load can make us immortal!
AM I RIGHT?
Absolutely not. Consider how you wouldn’t seek out an antibiotic without suffering some illness, yet we blindly take supplemental vitamins despite having no deficiencies. While there are sites like smart health shop that provide accurate information on vitamins and minerals, many people just take vitamins without knowing exactly what they do. According to Medical News Today, “Vitamins are organic compounds needed in small quantities to sustain life. We normally get the necessary amounts from our daily diets, but sometimes individuals will develop vitamin deficiencies.” Registered Diectian, Marissa Puleo advised that taking too many vitamins and supplements does have negative consequences since although many are water soluble and are excreted, others remain in the body. She goes on to say that these vitamins can reach toxic levels and cause adverse side effects. All this is leading people to ask the question: “do multivitamins work?”
Is your diet rich in vitamin and mineral fortified foods? Before your shake your head to the affirmative, be honest. Do you actually think that adding a few chili peppers to your pepperoni and sausage pizza lets you consider it as a vegetable? Have you been considering the lettuce and tomato on your Big Mac as a food Group? (Then you may as well count the ketchup!) And I’d like to know, just who started this whole love affair with kale. I’ve tried an entire bottle of ranch dressing and still feel as though I’ve just eaten a house plant.
Since your diet has your doctor (and your mom) shaking their heads, and you’re thinking vitamins are your answer, keep in mind – there could be consequences. After all, does anyone really know how many vitamins it takes to kill a person? Actually, yes.
THE 5 VITAMINS YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE – without consulting your doctor first!
1. VITAMIN A
This vitamin plays a role in promoting eye sight, boosts immunity and forms and maintains healthy skin and teeth.
Unfortunately, it is fat soluble which means our bodies hold on to the excess, and doesn’t flush it out allowing it to build up in the liver. Consuming too much Vitamin A (hypervitaminosis) during a short period of time can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, bone pain, hair loss, liver damage, osteoporosis, hemorrhage, coma, or death.
Best Food Sources = liver from chicken, beef, or pork, sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupes, carrots, kale, collard greens.
Limit: It’s best to stay under 3,000mg per day. That is equivalent to 79 to 115 chicken eggs. I also discovered that if you ate a polar bear’s liver in one sitting it could kill you. (I haven’t done that in – forever!)
2. VITAMIN B
This family of 8 water soluble vitamins enhances energy levels, regulates moods, and boosts your immune system.
If you should take too much, your body will normally flush the excess out , so they don’t accumulate, but that doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t cause you trouble.
Vitamin B6 can damage nerves when taken in doses over 300mg per day.
A regiment of 2,000 to 3,000mg per day of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) taken to lower cholesterol can cause (reversible) nausea and jaundice.
Too much B9, has been linked to prostate cancer.
Best Food Sources: chicken, eggs, turkey, tuna, salmon, beef, lentils, peas, Swiss chard, spinach, black beans.
3. VITAMIN C (Ascorbic Acid)
In the 1700’s, Scottish doctor James Lind conducted an experiment proving citrus fruit cured scurvy, although Vitamin C itself wasn’t discovered until the 1930’s. In the 1970’s, it was also given credit to prevent the common cold – incorrectly, of course.
This water soluble vitamin is generally safe, while helping to fight skin aging and keeping your tendons and ligaments young, preventing injury. And of course, it’s great for your immune system.
Deficiencies can cause tooth lose, acne, fatigue, and death.
Mega doses of Vitamin C (about 2,000mg daily) can increase the risk of kidney stones, heartburn, insomnia, and diarrhea. But, it probably won’t kill you.
1,000mg of Vitamin C = 14 oranges
Best Food Sources: broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, chili peppers, kale, strawberries.
4. VITAMIN D
So why Vitamin D? It seems so harmless, right? Most of us believe that an afternoon in the sun is enough to give us all we need. Well, maybe, if you live where I do, in sunny South Florida where sunglasses are a daily part of our wardrobe. Unfortunately, not so much in the remainder of the world. (Honestly, the picture post card weather gets old after a while. I celebrate the occasional dark and drab day.)
Vitamin D protects against depression, heart disease, and cancer.
Symptoms that you may have a deficiency include fatigue, depression, and nighttime leg cramps.
A Vitamin D deficiency is bad for your body, although your levels may fluctuate through summer and winter due to the sun. Taking a Vitamin D supplement may not always be wise. The fat soluble vitamin has been linked to prostate and pancreatic cancers, and will require guidance by your doctor.
Best Food Source: salmon, sardines, cheese, eggs, mushrooms.
5. VITAMIN E
This fat soluble vitamin has long been touted as a bladder and prostate anti-cancer agent, is vital for brain health, and promotes healthy skin. For those interested, I even found research that it will amp up your sperm count!
That said, there is an important warning, a Danger Will Robinson! with this beloved antioxidant in that when taking very high doses, it may interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood. If you take prescribed blood thinners or aspirin, this could be a problem for you.
Best Food Sources: eggs, sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, whole grains.
It’s simple, actually. When it comes to monitoring vitamin intake, eat a healthy diet. This will normally be the best source of any vitamins or minerals your body needs. From there, trust your doctor to inform you should a deficiency arise that will need to be supplemented.
So relax – have a piece of fruit. Just remember to wash it first. Why? I’ll leave that for another day, another blog!
Leave me a comment! And keep your eye out for the release of my romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL. To Be Released December 2015!
FROM THE POINT ALWAYS, LORI FLYNN