Can taking vitamins be harmful? What experts say

In a world where wellness and health are top priorities, vitamins have become a topic of constant debate. Many believe that these little pills are the key to a healthier life, but Is it possible that some of them could be harmful? The scientific Coco March dove into this topic in a recent interview on La Mesa Caliente, offering valuable perspective on the importance of vitamins and the possible risks associated with their consumption.

The danger is not taking them. In an ideal world we wouldn't need vitamins, but we have a combination of things. Unfortunately the crops are not what they were, the other problem is that the life we ​​lead is not the life our great-grandmothers led. 100 years ago women had different expectations and if we do not supplement it is practically impossible to reach optimal levels for our body to function.”

What you should know about vitamins

With a balanced diet in which fresh products are abundant, we can obtain all the vitamins and minerals that our body needs. These must come through food, since the human body cannot synthesize them.

There are two groups of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble. The first, including vitamins A, D, E and K, dissolve in fats. This means that they can be stored in some organs, especially in the liver, and in adipose tissues.

In the same way, If consumed in excess (more than ten times the recommended amounts) they can be toxic. and have health problems.

This means that when preparing the food, they can be transferred to the washing or cooking water and the food, once cooked, does not provide all the vitamins it initially contained.

Experts emphasize that, unlike what happens with fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins “are not stored in the body, so they must be supplied regularly and can only be dispensed with for a few days.

Furthermore, excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted through urine and, therefore, do not have a toxic effect no matter how high their intake is.

The key to obtaining the different vitamins is to follow a balanced diet with a wide variety of foods. They are all important for the body to function correctly and each of them has a role to play. It is important not to have a vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin A, skin, bones and teeth

Thus, vitamin A is necessary to have “healthy skin, strong bones and teeth in children, to maintain resistance to infections, for growth, for cellular structure and for vision,” says the Heart Institute of Texas.

Vitamin A, also called retinol, is only found as such in foods of animal origin. However, many vegetables contain carotenes, substances that the human body transforms into vitamin A. Among them, beta-carotene stands out.

“It is a plant pigment that the liver transforms into vitamin A,” he points out. Patricia Ibanezdietitian and nutritionist at the Henao Clinic in Bilbao, in northern Spain.

The specialist clarifies that beta carotenes “they give their yellow, orange or red color, taste and smell to fruits and vegetables” and explains that they are present in “carrots, spinach, tomatoes, plums, apricots, lettuce, green beans, watermelon, currants, oranges, tangerines, apples, lemons, grapes, papayas or melons, among other fruits and vegetables.

Regarding foods of animal origin, the Texas Heart Institute points out that Liver, fish liver oils, and dairy products are good sources of vitamin A.

Thiamin and riboflavin

For its part, Vitamin B1 or thiamine “is necessary to disintegrate carbohydrates and be able to take advantage of their nutritional principles”, detail the UNED specialists. They also warn that tobacco and alcohol “reduce the assimilation capacity of this vitamin, so people who drink, smoke or consume a lot of sugar need more vitamin B1.”

Vitamin B1 is found in “whole grains, beans, peas, organ meats, lean pork, seeds and nuts,” says the Texas Heart Institute.

Vitamin B2, known as riboflavin, “favors the formation of antibodies and red blood cells and intervenes in the maintenance of mucous membranes and epithelial tissue, especially the cornea of ​​the eye,” says the Spanish Heart Foundation.

According to this entity, vitamin B2 is present in milk, cheese, egg whites, liver, green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish.

Vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B8

Vitamin B3 (niacin) “intervenes in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins,” say the UNED specialists.

This vitamin is found in brewer's yeast, wheat bran, roasted peanuts, calf liver, almonds, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, peach kernels, brown rice or mushrooms.

For your part vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid “intervenes in cellular metabolism as a coenzyme in the release of energy from fats, proteins and carbohydrates”, indicate the UNED specialists.

Its name derives from the Greek “pantothen” which means “everywhere.” Nevertheless, The products richest in pantothenic acid are organ meats, brewer's yeast, egg yolk and whole grains.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) ““It is essential in the metabolism of proteins,” highlights the UNED. “The sources of this nutrient are red meat, fish, cereals, dairy products, legumes, nuts and yeasts,” explains the Spanish Foundation of Heart. Since It is found in a wide number of foods, both of animal and plant origin, cases of vitamin B6 deficiency are very rare.

Vitamin B8 or biotin “is important for the metabolism of both carbohydrates and lipids”emphasizes the Spanish Heart Foundation.

In this sense, the Texas Heart Institute specifies that biotin is necessary when “breaking down the fatty acids present in carbohydrates and for the elimination of waste products derived from the breakdown of proteins.”

Among the foods that provide biotin, this entity highlights nuts, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, organ meats and brewer's yeast.

Folic acid and red blood cells

Vitamin B9 or folic acid is necessary in important metabolic processes. According to the Spanish Heart Foundation, it participates in the formation of red blood cells and is essential for the formation of leukocytes in the spinal cord and for their maturation, among other functions.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) indicates that the richest sources of folic acid are “dark green leaves, liver and kidney. In addition, other vegetables and meats contain lower amounts.”

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) “It is essential for the formation of red blood cells and for body growth and tissue regeneration,” say UNED specialists.

Likewise, they point out that the deficiency of this vitamin gives rise to the so-called pernicious anemia.

Regarding diet, “the most important sources of this vitamin are foods of animal origin,” they add.

Vitamin C, that of fresh vegetables

On the other hand, vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is found mainly in fresh vegetables.

“It is found in oranges, lemons and grapefruits, among other citrus fruits, but also in kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and raw vegetables,” details nutritionist Patricia Ibáñez.

Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant, but it also has “an important role in collagen synthesis, wound healing, immune function and the synthesis of neurotransmitters,” reports the Spanish Heart Foundation.

Furthermore, this entity emphasizes that vitamin C enhances the intestinal absorption of iron from foods of plant origin, intervenes in the formation of connective tissue, in the regulation of bone resistance, protects mucous membranes, reduces susceptibility to infections and prevents appearance of scurvy.

Vitamin D, the essential calcium

Vitamin D “is essential to maintain balance in calcium metabolism in the bodywhich has an impact on the musculoskeletal system.

Hence, its deficiency is related to bone pathology. But it also intervenes in the modulation of the immune response and in adequate communication between cells, it is important for the function of the immune, cardiovascular and respiratory systems and it is believed that it has a possible protective role against various types of cancer,” he details. Bibiana Perezmember of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV).

The dermatologist explains that Vitamin D is found “in some foods such as fatty fish, milk or eggsbut in very small quantities, which means that a normal diet does not guarantee the adequate supply of this vitamin.”

Thus, the specialist states that The main source of vitamin D for our body is its synthesis in the skin. through sun exposure.

Vitamin E or tocopherol acts as an antioxidant. In fact, UNED specialists claim that it is “the best fat-soluble antioxidant (which dissolves in fat) in mammalian cells and blood.”

“We can find it in vegetable oils, mostly in olive oil, and then in sunflower, corn and soybean oils. It is also in wheat germ, corn, avocado and egg yolk,” emphasizes Patricia Ibáñez. .

Vitamin K, clotting blood

Finally, vitamin K or phytomenadione “intervenes in blood clotting and in the different factors involved in the process”, describe the UNED experts.

We can find it mainly in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard, broccoli, cabbage or lettuce, among others.

It is also present in the liver and there are small amounts in cereals, fruits, meats, dairy products and eggs. In addition, the bacterial flora of the lower part of the intestine forms a significant amount of vitamin K, details the Spanish Heart Foundation.

(With information from EFE)