Large Doses Of Minerals Can Also Lead To Health Problems
Excessive doses of some minerals may also cause problems for example:
- At just five times the RDI, zinc, iron, chromium and selenium can be raised to toxic levels in the body.
- Large intakes of fluoride may stain, and even weaken, the teeth.
- Very large doses of fish oil can lead to decreased blood clotting.
- Iron toxicity is also common. Even a small amount over the RDI can cause gastrointestinal upset, nausea and black bowel actions . Severe toxicity can lead to coma and even death.
Essential Nutrients Vs Nonessential Nutrients
So what exactly distinguishes an essential nutrient from a nonessential nutrient?
There are six essential nutrients found in the body, including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins and minerals with proteins, carbs and fats classified as macronutrients. These are the main classes of nutrients, which can further be broken down into specific micronutrients that are especially important for health.
Essential nutrients cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through other means while many nonessential nutrients can be both synthesized and absorbed from food.
Cholesterol, for example, is needed to produce hormones and maintain the cell membrane, but it can be either obtained from food or produced in the body.
Three Types Of Fat: Saturated Monounsaturated Polyunsaturated
Dietary fat falls into three categories:
- Saturated fats are generally solid or waxy at room temperature. You mostly find them in animal products and a few oils such as coconut oil.
- Monounsaturated fats have a heart-healthy glow because research shows many foods rich in them can reduce your risk for cardiovascular-related problems. They contain one double bond, hence the name monounsaturated. Many sources of monounsaturated fat are rich in the fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin E.
- Polyunsaturated fats contain more than one double bond, making them more unstable than other fats. That fishy smell? Fish are high in unstable polyunsaturated fats, which can go rancid quickly. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are considered essential for brain function, cell growth, and more because your body cannot make them.
- Youll find omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. The primary omega-3 is alpha-linolenic acid, which your body can theoretically convert to the longer-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid .
- Youll find omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds. The primary omega-6 is linoleic acid, which your body converts into longer-chain omega-6s.
Very few foods contain just one type of fat. A grass-fed steak contains some saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat.
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Vitamin C Water Soluble
What it does: You need Vitamin C for wound healing, skin health, strong immunity and healthy gums and teeth. It also triggers the production of collagen.
The lowdown on supplements: Aside from multivitamins, Vitamin C is typically the most popular supplement among U.S. adults. The market is predicted to generate about $9.8 billion between now and 2022.
Daily Vitamins In Your 30s
At this age your body is protecting itself from current and future diseases while keeping all its systems functioning efficiently.
For example, in your 30s, the elasticity and overall health of your skin depends on your intake of vitamins A and E.
- Your immune and nervous systems are optimized thanks to the B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium.
- Additionally, your bodys healthy function is improved thanks to zinc, vitamin A, and iron, while phosphorus and calcium ensure that your cells are replenished and restored.
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Path To Improved Health
Try to incorporate more of these nutrients in your daily diet. Its best to get these nutrients through food, instead of just taking a multivitamin. This is because it is easier for your body to absorb micronutrients through food.
If you are unable to get all the nutrients you need from food alone, ask your doctor if dietary supplements are right for you.
Essential Nutrients Your Body Needs Now
With so much information circulating out there about nutrition, it can be challenging to make sure youre getting the nutrients you need each day. In fact, with some sources listing as many as 90 essential nutrients, following a balanced diet can quickly become overwhelming.
However, getting all the nutrients you need doesnt have to be complicated. In fact, by just being mindful about a few specific nutrients, eating a healthy diet full of nutrient-dense foods can be pretty simple.
Breaking it down into essential versus nonessential nutrients can help simplify and streamline your diet, making it easier than ever to achieve better health. But what are those nutrients, and what do nutrients do, anyway? Lets take a look at the 11 essential nutrients your body needs, why and how to obtain them.
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Essential Vitamins We Need To Live
The vitamins our bodies need can be broken down into two groups: fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. Our bodies need both types to function properly.
Fat soluble vitamins need body fat to be absorbed and used by our organs. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoids are all fat soluble vitamins. Because these vitamins rely on fats to be used, we must eat a diet full of healthy fats. “A lack of healthy fats in the diet can lead to fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies, leading further into disease and malnutrition,” nutritionist Amanda Henham of Vaga Nutrition tells us. “They can also become toxic, as they are stored in fatty tissue.”
The other class of vitamins, water soluble vitamins, cannot be stored in our tissues like fat soluble ones. They are found in food, and once our bodies have used them, they excrete the excess in the urine. Because our bodies can’t hang on to these vitamins, we need to take them in, either from food or supplements. Common water soluble vitamins include folate, vitamin C, and the B vitamins. According to Henham, everyone needs these vitamins in their diets everyday, and “the requirements increase in certain conditions such as immune disorders, poor kidney and liver health, chronic stress, and medication use.”
Vitamin A And Carotenoids
Vitamin A is crucial for our bodies, and it does a lot more than help our peepers. Vitamin A supports a healthy immune system, reproductive system, cell health, and vision. Because vitamin A helps produce healthy cells, it also affects our vital organs like the heart and lungs. Some research has even linked taking vitamin A with improving measles and some types of cancer.
Vitamin A comes in two forms, and we need to get them both from our diets. First there is provitamin A, which is found in darkly-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash. Once we eat those fruits and vegetables, our bodies convert the provitamin A into vitamin A that our tissues can use. The most important type of provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene. The second type is preformed vitamin A, which is found in animal sources like dairy, fish, and meat. We can also get carotenoids from supplements, liver and fish oils, as well as palm oil, algae, and fungi. Mmm one order of algae and fungi to go please!
Most multivitamins contain vitamin A, and women should aim for about 770 micrograms of vitamin A per day.
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The Difference Between Vitamins And Minerals
Although they are all considered micronutrients, vitamins and minerals differ in basic ways. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid. Minerals are inorganic and hold on to their chemical structure.
So why does this matter? It means the minerals in soil and water easily find their way into your body through the plants, fish, animals, and fluids you consume. But its tougher to shuttle vitamins from food and other sources into your body because cooking, storage, and simple exposure to air can inactivate these more fragile compounds.
High Doses Of Vitamin Supplements Are Unsafe
Many people mistakenly believe that since small amounts of vitamins are good for you, then large amounts must be better. However, it is better to follow the rule of less is more.
Taking higher than recommended doses of some vitamins may cause health problems. Such as:
- Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, which means they are stored in the body and if taken in high doses can be toxic.
- High doses of some water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin B6, can also become toxic.
- Large folate intakes can hide vitamin B12 deficiencies.
- High levels of vitamin B6 have also been linked to some types of nerve damage.
- Doses of vitamin C above one gram can cause diarrhoea.
- Large doses of vitamin C may also cause nausea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fatigue, kidney stones interfere with your bodys ability to process other nutrients such as dangerously raising your iron levels.
- Excessive amounts of vitamin C in the body can also interfere with medical tests such as diabetes tests, by giving a false result.
- High doses of vitamin A may cause birth defects, as well as central nervous system, liver, bone and skin disorders.
- High-dose vitamin E supplements have been linked to higher rates of early death .
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A Closer Look At Water
Water-soluble vitamins are packed into the watery portions of the foods you eat. They are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food is broken down during digestion or as a supplement dissolves.
Because much of your body consists of water, many of the water-soluble vitamins circulate easily in your body. Your kidneys continuously regulate levels of water-soluble vitamins, shunting excesses out of the body in your urine.
- Folic acid
Vitamin And Mineral Supplements Are A Short
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is a short-term measure. The long-term use of some high-dose supplements can lead to symptoms of toxicity. If you feel that you could be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, it may be better to look at changing your diet and lifestyle rather than reaching for supplements. If you need help, see your doctor or a dietitian.
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What The Numbers Mean
Many of the terms you see on labels or supplement web sites can help you understand how much of the vitamin or mineral you should take. For example, here are some guidelines set up by the Institute of Medicine:
The RDA and the AI are the amounts of a vitamin or mineral you need to keep healthy and stay well-nourished. They’re tailored to women, men, and specific age groups.
The UL is the maximum amount of daily vitamins and minerals that you can safely take without risk of an overdose or serious side effects. For certain nutrients, the higher you go above the UL, the greater the chance you’ll have problems.
The DV is the only measurement you’ll find on food and supplement labels. That’s because space is limited, and there’s a need for one single reference number. That number is the amount of a vitamin or nutrient that you should get for top health from a diet of 2,000 calories a day. The DV is sometimes the same as the RDA.
Although the details may be different, remember that the RDA and DV are both set up to help you get the nutrients you need to prevent disease and avoid problems caused by lack of nutrition.
Vitamin Use And Cancer Claims
Some claims have been made that certain vitamins can treat different cancers. However, research shows this is not the case. For example:
- Vitamin A in large doses does not cure cancer and can be toxic, particularly if taken as pills rather than food. Studies have linked vitamin A to an increase in other cancers such as lung cancer in smokers, if taken in supplement form.
- Although there is some evidence vitamin E could play a small role in preventing some cancers equally, there is evidence that it could speed up the onset of other types of cancer. However, this has not been proved or disproved.
- High doses of antioxidants are unlikely to help with the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments . In fact, megadoses of antioxidants can interfere with some medical treatments for cancer by helping to protect the cancer cells that the therapies aim to destroy.
- Some studies have shown prostate, breast and lung cancer risk are not decreased by taking high-dose supplements containing vitamins E or C or selenium.
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Vitamins And Minerals For Older Adults
Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential vitamins vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins .
Vitamins have different jobs to help keep the body working properly. Some vitamins help you resist infections and keep your nerves healthy, while others may help your body get energy from food or help your blood clot properly. By following the Dietary Guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from food.
Like vitamins, minerals also help your body function. Minerals are elements that our bodies need to function that can be found on the earth and in foods. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities. Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.
Vitamin B12 Dosage: How Much Should You Take Per Day
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient thats required for many crucial processes in your body.
The ideal dose of vitamin B12 varies based on your gender, age, and reasons for taking it.
This article examines the evidence behind the recommended dosages for B12 for different people and uses.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in several of your bodys processes.
Its necessary for proper red blood cell production, DNA formation, nerve function, and metabolism .
Vitamin B12 also plays a key role in reducing levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, high levels of which have been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimers .
Additionally, vitamin B12 is important for energy production. However, theres currently no evidence that taking B12 supplements increases energy levels in people who are not deficient in this nutrient .
Vitamin B12 is found mostly in animal products, including meats, seafood, dairy products, and eggs. Its also added to some processed foods, such as cereal and nondairy milk.
Because your body can store B12 for several years, serious B12 deficiency is rare, but up to 26% of the population may have a mild deficiency. Over time, B12 deficiency can lead to complications like anemia, nerve damage, and fatigue.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by not getting enough of this vitamin through your diet, problems with absorbing it, or taking a medication that interferes with its absorption .
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Vitamin K Fat Soluble
What it does: One of the least popular of the essential 13, Vitamin K is crucial nonetheless, aiding in blood clotting and other important functions within your body.
The lowdown on supplements: Youll find Vitamin K in many multivitamins. As a standalone supplement, youll most commonly see Vitamin K1, from plants, or Vitamin K2, from dairy. Vitamin K hasnt seen a market explosion like vitamins C, D and E, which leaves many analysts predicting its golden days are yet to come.
If youre exploring the world of nutrition supplements, keep in mind that many top-rated fat burners and high-quality nootropics contain some B vitamins. So if youre concerned youre not getting enough of these magic 13, multivitamins or single vitamin pills dont have to be your only options.
Essential Nutrients 101 The Science Of Why
Looking at the six essential nutrients reveals their complexity, but also underlies one particular conclusion: We often dont typically consume nutrients in isolation.
Instead, we usually consume nutrients together in food and supplements. And for the most part, the six macronutrients and micronutrients work synergistically.
While calcium often gets touted for strong bones, this major mineral works synergistically with vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, and phosphorus to protect your bones against fractures.
Some vitamins and minerals including vitamins C and E, as well as selenium work separately and synergistically as antioxidants.
Macronutrients also work together. You dont usually eat protein, fat, or carbohydrates individually. You eat wild-caught salmon, which contains protein and fat. Or you eat lentils, which are mostly fiber along with protein. And of course, those foods come loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Dietary fat and protein work together to support your muscles, brain, bones, skin, and so much more. Dietary fat helps your body optimally absorb the fat-soluble vitamins . Along with protein, dietary fat slows the absorption of carbohydrates so you feel full longer.
Even then, meeting your nutrient quota from food alone can be challenging. That means supplementing with a solid nutrient foundation may be necessary, even with an ideal diet.
Consider these foundational supplements:
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Vitamin Pills Are Not Miracle Cures
It is commonly believed that taking mega-doses of certain vitamins will act like medicine to cure or prevent certain ailments. For instance, vitamin C is suggested as a cure for the common cold, and vitamin E is widely promoted as a beneficial antioxidant to help prevent heart disease.
After extensive research, however, neither of these claims has been shown to be true. Large-scale studies have consistently shown little benefit in taking mega-doses of supplements. In fact, there is some evidence that taking high-dose supplements to prevent or cure major chronic diseases , may be harmful to your health.