Why fruits and vegetables are healthy? Because they have vitamins! This is probably the most common answer out there. Everybody knows that vitamins contribute to good health, beautiful skin, hair, and nails. Many people take several vitamins as supplements to improve their condition. But there is a hidden fact that the supplement manufacturers don’t tell you: some vitamins should not be taken together, because they neutralize their effect. Are you curious which those vitamins are?
Well, first, let’s have an overview of vitamins, answering the following few questions: what are vitamins? What types exist?
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Let’s dive in!
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are one of two micronutrients (the other one is minerals). The human body requires relatively small amounts of them. Without vitamins, the body and mind cannot function properly and become more prone to viruses, bacteria, infections, and free radical damage. Those micronutrients are an essential part of enzyme systems, which work for energy production, improved physical condition, and stamina. Besides, vitamins are essential for proper hormonal balance, strong immune, and nervous systems.
Types of vitamins and their function
There are two types of vitamin categories: Fat-soluble and Water-soluble. In total, 13 vitamins exist.
The vitamins which fall into this category are vitamin A, D, E, and K. They are heat stable and are not killed during any cooking process. When consumed, they are stored in the liver and the tissues as fats. This means that an excessive dose of those vitamins can cause weight gain and improper liver function. Keep in mind that if you supplement with fat-soluble vitamins, it is very easy to overdose, so strictly follow the recommendations of your doctor.
The two representatives of this category are B group vitamins (B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12) and vitamin C. They are not heat-stable, thus if you cook foods, rich in vitamins B and C, the nutrients will decrease steadily. The best way to prepare such foods is to steam them. When those vitamins are consumed, they are not stored in the body. This means that if you take a higher dose of B group or C vitamins, the chance to overdose and to experience any symptoms of toxicity are close to zero. That is the case because the excess amount of the vitamins just pass through the body and exit as water (that is why they are water-soluble). If you supplement with B and C vitamins, you should take them every day, because the body does not have any stored resources.
Even though it is difficult to overdose with vitamins B and C, always follow your doctor’s recommendations and do not take huge doses without medical consultation.
Proper vitamin intake
It is essential to know that our bodies cannot create vitamins. Thus we have to supply them externally. However, in the world that we live in, often people have vitamin deficiencies and need to take additional supplements. Vitamins are mainly found in foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Thus, deficiencies are usually caused by lack of meal diversity and diet based on junk/fast food. Lack of particular vitamin the body can lead to diseases, weakened immune system, fatigue, and improper body functions.
On the other hand, exceeding the daily recommended dose of the intake of the vitamins, in the long run, can also harm your body. This is because overconsumption of vitamins may lead to toxicity. Toxicity can occur only if it is stimulated by supplement self-treatment. You can hardly overdose vitamins from your food intake.
To identify if you have vitamin deficiency, you have to do a blood test.
In case you have a deficiency of any vitamin, you have to compensate for the loss by taking a vitamin supplement. Now, supplementing is not the same as receiving vitamins with food, therefore there are some things that you have to take into account:
- Fat-soluble vitamin supplements have to be taken with food, which contains fats.
- If you supplement with 2 or more fat-soluble vitamins, do not take them together! They neutralize their effect by up to 50% when they are taken with another vitamin from the same type. It is best to wait about 2 hours between each supplement.
- Large doses of vitamin C should not be taken together with vitamin B12, as they will interfere with its absorption. Wait about 2 hours between the two supplements.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and I do not aim to give any medical advice. The information presented in this article is based on research and aims to give information about the topic.