Vitamin supplementation is very common today with many people including them in their daily routine. Taking vitamins can be beneficial and safe, but there are several components involved when taking them in a safe and healthy manner. First, there are fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Vitamins that are fat-soluble which are A, E, D, and K, are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and liver and are eliminated slowly from the body (Insel et al, 2017, p.390). Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, which are the B vitamins and C, are filtered by the kidneys and excreted out of the body in the urine much more quickly and readily than the fat-soluble vitamins (Insel et al, 2017, p.390). The dangerous part about taking vitamins can be when the fat-soluble ones are taken in excess and the body is unable to store anymore which then leads to toxicity. Water-soluble vitamins are not as much a toxicity concern because they are eliminated so quickly from the body, but it can occur.
Some advertisements claim that vitamins can give you energy, but that is not entirely true. The energy that serves the body comes from eating fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the diet. Vitamins cannot replace these key nutrients from the food that are necessary for the body to survive, but vitamins do help regulate chemical reactions in the body and allow the body to extract energy from the nutrients that are in the foods we eat (Insel et al, 2017, p.388).
Vitamins are not a replacement for eating a whole food diet, and one should be able to get all of the nutrients they need from their diet if they’re eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and dairy products. However, vitamin supplementation can be important for a few different groups of people, such as pregnant women, vegetarians and vegans, older adults, people with medical conditions that affect nutrient absorption, women with heavy menstrual periods, and people with limited diets (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017). If you are thinking of including a vitamin in your daily routine, it is always best to check with your doctor first.
Insel, P., Ross, D., McMahon, K., & Bernstein, M. (2017). Nutrition (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett.
Mayo Clinic Staff (Ed.). (2017, October 25). Supplements: Nutrition in a pill? Retrieved October 19, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/supplements/art-20044894.