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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Common knowledge seems to dictate that if we need vitamins to keep us healthy, then more vitamins can only be better for us. Unfortunately, this is not always true. While some vitamins taken in excess are merely excreted out in the urine, others can accumulate in the body and cause problems. Some vitamins that were at one time thought to make us healthier, have turned out to be dangerous when taken in excess.

Vitamins are substances that the body requires to grow, stay healthy and maintain the immune system amont other functions. They are either fat soluble or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins (A, D,E and K)are stored in the body and used as needed. For this reason, taking too much of certain vitamins can cause abnormally high levels as the body does not readily use them up or excrete them. Water soluble vitamins (all B vitamins and C) are used up daily and any excess taken in is excreted in the urine. Taking too much of these usually is not harmful, but one might question the need to take them in high doses if you eat a healthy diet. In general, if someone has no chronic illnesses, feels well and eats an adequate diet, it is not necessary to take a multivitamin. The key here is to eat a healthy diet. To be sure you are getting adequate vitamins, you need to eat a wide variety of different colored fruits and vegetables. Be adventurous, and try many different kinds. Make sure the at least half of any plate of food you eat for a meal is fruit or vegetable. A diet rich in plant based components is a healthy one!

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