Vitamins are organic micro-nutrients that keep the body functioning at peak performance. They are not energy pills or substitutes for food! In humans there are 13 known vitamins including four fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and are stored by the body. Water soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are excreted via the urinary tract. Vitamins are necessary for growth, vitality, and resistance to disease. Even small deficiencies can lead to serious problems.
It is not uncommon for people to suffer starvation and related diseases due to lack of food and vitamins. Vitamin supplements help save the lives of many children and adults during times of famine, droughts, and other disasters.
In America, people are at risk for vitamin deficiency due to poor eating habits -- like living off of processed and fast foods. Even though lots of processed foods (from flavored water to pasta and snack foods) are enriched with vitamins – they may be of such poor quality that they are never absorbed by the body.
Many factory farms are producing genetically modified vegetables grown in overused soil. These foods have been proven to contain far less nutrients than the same varieties grown in rich soil. People that grow their own vegetables and fruits or buy from small farmers are much more likely to be consuming vitamin and mineral rich foods. If someone eats a good balanced diet with lots of fresh veggies and fruits, they probably do not need to take many vitamin supplements unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional.
It can harm the body if too many vitamins are consumed through pills and supplements. Excess amounts are excreted in urine or stored until needed and can lead to conditions like hair loss, toxicity, insomnia, and kidney stones. Too many vitamins can lead to problems just like too few.
People that may need to take vitamin supplements include women with heavy periods, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly, people taking medications, people on strict weight loss diets, people who have undergone recent surgery (or serious injury), people with periodontal disease, and vegetarians.
Other people that may need vitamin supplements include smokers (they need extra B and C), drinkers (they need more C and B), nervous people (may need more B), overweight people (may need more E), and anyone consuming lots of preservatives (need more C). People who don’t eat many fresh vegetables and fruits may also need vitamin supplements (but it’s best to change the diet). If vitamin supplements are necessary, buy high quality products.
* Do not take out-of-date vitamins. Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking vitamins and supplements especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medications.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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