Most of us have taken a multivitamin or a vitamin/mineral supplement at sometime in our life. Have you stopped to ask yourself why you’re taking them or wonder ‘are they doing any good?’
Vitamins and minerals are crucial to our bodies functioning properly. Eating a variety of foods every day will pretty much cover all our nutrient needs, but we assume that popping an extra supplement or two can’t hurt either.
Or can it?
The majority of the vitamins and minerals that come from the foods we eat are almost completely absorbed into our system. In comparison, only about 15 percent of a supplement’s vitamins and minerals get absorbed. What happens to the other 85 percent? For the most part, what our body doesn’t absorb and utilize is simply excreted. Expensive, but pretty harmless. But some vitamins and minerals that build up in our bodies could potentially cause toxicity.
Check your supplement labels and think about the foods you eat every day. If you notice that you are getting more than adequate daily doses of particular vitamins and minerals, you may want to cut back or cut out the supplements completely. If you are not getting enough, try to get the amount you need by increasing the foods that contain the vitamins and minerals that you are deficient in before adding a supplement.
The following are some of the common vitamins and minerals we consume and the problems they can pose if consumed in excess—most commonly from taking supplements when we’re most likely getting a safe, adequate amount in our diets alone.