Vitamins and minerals are essential to healthy living. Experts believe many illnesses are caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise. Good nutrition is vital to the cells of our body and the optimal function of our bodily systems. A healthy diet requires the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Many nutritional supplements can be quite high in vitamins and minerals. Which begs the question…
Can too much of a good thing be a bad thing? Before answering this question, lets take a closer look at vitamins and minerals. Why are they important in our diet? And, is it possible to get too many vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins are organic and can be broken down into smaller parts. They are either fat or water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body. Water soluble vitamins remain in the body for only a short time. They are excreted through bodily fluids (1).
Minerals are inorganic, and cannot be broken down into smaller chemical units. They are classified as either electrolytes or trace minerals.
Vitamins are organic and assist in various biochemical bodily reactions. Some vitamins are fat soluble, and some are water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins must be taken with dietary fat and are stored in fat cells or the liver. Fat soluble vitamins include: vitamin A, D, E, and K (2).
Water soluble vitamins are transported from the stomach to other parts of the body, primarily in blood plasma. They are excreted mainly thru urine. Water soluble vitamins include: vitamin C, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyrodoxine, biotin, and folic acid). Water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body and require daily intake (2).
Minerals are inorganic and assist in various bodily enzymatic reactions, being especially important to electrolyte balance. Minerals are needed for the growth and maintenance of our cells.
While there are standard charts indicating an average daily need for certain vitamins and minerals, this can vary significantly by individual. Nutritional needs can change based on lifestyle, age, sex, and health concerns. Below is a chart of average daily adult needs. But first, here are some big factors to consider:
Especially with fat soluble vitamins and minerals, too much can cause issues because excess cannot be excreted easily. Ingesting vitamins or minerals in doses far exceeding the daily recommended amount can be dangerous in some instances. Here is a list of concerns specific to certain vitamins and minerals:
Optimally, we receive the vitamins and minerals our body needs just by eating a well balanced, healthy diet. Unfortunately, the foods we eat today are often less nutritious than what our bodies need. Not receiving our required essential nutrients can cause health issues.
Thus, nutritional supplementation can be very beneficial. A person should always assess the contents of a supplement before use.
Read the label of each supplement, and add up how much of each of the vitamins and minerals you are ingesting each day. Plus, consider the nutrition you receive from your daily food diet. Also, be aware of specific vitamin and mineral needs related to your own personal health that may vary from the recommended daily dose.
First, try to eat lots of natural foods to obtain your nutritional needed. Then, dietary supplements can fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet. This can be especially helpful for people who eat poorly, for those who do not eat enough, and for people with certain health conditions.
Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition. Further, it is important to know, when taking prescription drugs, of possible drug-nutrient interactions that could be dangerous.