Often taken to treat ailments like colds, arthritis and osteoporosis, and sometimes taken to offset issues like stress, nervous tension and even memory loss, vitamins are commonly misused and their benefits misunderstood. Vitamins are not wonder drugs and should not be taken with that belief or hope. Vitamins are organics compounds that assist in various metabolic functions of the body and most of us get our recommended doses of essential vitamins from our dietary intake. However some of us need to supplement our diet with vitamin supplements. Here are some commonly asked questions which will dispel the confusion that surrounds vitamins.
Is there a recommended amount of vitamins that I should consume?
Many people assume that vitamins can be taken in any quantities, blindly going along with the logic that if small amounts of vitamins are good for you then larger amounts must be even better. The Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI) of vitamins is not the recommended amount to take daily, but rather the minimum amount required per day by the body to prevent a deficiency. The general rule of thumb to follow is less is usually more. Our bodies are capable of storing fat soluble vitamins like vitamins D, E and K. High does of these vitamins can result in toxic levels in the body. Even high doses of water soluble vitamins can cause toxicity in the body and is linked to health damaging side effects.
How soon should I address a vitamin deficiency?
Vitamins A, D, E and K, which are fat soluble, are stored in the fat content in our body for a long period of time. Even water soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B- complex are stored albeit for a shorter period of time. So a deficiency can take weeks and sometimes months to manifest itself, and affect your health. So you won't just contract rickets or beri beri suddenly; it will take months of no vitamins for you to reach that stage. The conclusion is that a random lapse in good eating habits will not damage your health as long as you aren't consistently erratic.
Will vitamin C cure my cold?
No. This is a myth. There has been extensive research done on this subject and there is still no evidence to suggest that vitamin C prevents common cold. Studies do show that taking vitamin C in large may ease the symptoms, and may even curtail the duration of the cold, but it does not prevent the onset of the cold. Our body requires only 40 mg of vitamin C in a day. The rest of it is excreted. Excessive doses can cause a wide range of health disorders.
Will taking vitamins alleviate my stress and anxiety?
Again, the answer is no. Deficiency of some vitamins can lead to emotional disturbances but the answer to most peoples' angst lies in overcoming personal and emotional problems and changing lifestyles. Taking vitamins will not help the cause.