What does it mean to eat healthily? We’re told to keep things nutritionally balanced. This may mean paying attention to macronutrients like fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The less prominent portion of our nutritional needs comes in the form of vitamins. We’re less likely to track our vitamin intake because it’s a more elusive molecule without any calories. Macronutrients directly relate to our weight loss and fitness efforts, while vitamins are the man behind the curtain facilitating chemical reactions.
Vitamins are one of the essential building blocks of life, however, and without them, we’d perish from malnutrition or a vitamin-deficiency related disease. While your vitamins should primarily come from the foods you eat, you may supplement with various tablets, gels, liquids, and powders on the market.
Types of Vitamins
There are two types of vitamins in our body:
1. Water-soluble: 8 B’s and C
2. Fat-soluble: A, D, E, K
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and absorb in our body through the liquids we intake. Because they are processed like other liquids in our body, any excess vitamins get flushed out of the body with urine or sweat. It’s possible to pass most of the vitamin through the body while absorbing very little of it if you’re drinking a diuretic such as coffee throughout the day.
Fat-based vitamins cannot be excreted from the body like water-soluble vitamins, aiding absorption. The bad news is, excess of the vitamin is stored in the liver, which can have many adverse effects of its own. Be sure to strictly adhere to recommended dosage guidelines when consuming fat-based vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
Should You Take a Supplement?
Research consistently points to vitamins not having much of an effect on health. Except for folic acid slightly improving heart disease rates and vitamin D being of benefit during winter months. People who are obsessed with vitamin use may find themselves doing more harm than good by consuming too much and inviting adverse effects from fat-soluble vitamins stored in the liver.
If you already adhere to a well-balanced diet, there’s no need to take vitamins on an everyday basis. If your diet is restrictive in any way, consider which vitamins you may not be getting enough of before committing to taking a supplement.