There are basically two types of vitamins: water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins like ascorbic acid, folic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin are easily diluted in water. There is very little danger in consuming toxic levels of these vitamins. When water soluble vitamins are beyond absorption levels, they are simply passed through the body and excreted in the urine.
Fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K are much more difficult to purge from the body. They are stored in the liver when not being used by the body and can accumulate to potentially toxic levels. The American Association of Poison Control reports approximately 60,000 incidents a year of vitamin exposure with adverse outcomes. The majority of incidents occur in children under the age of 6. An easy way to avoid over exposure is to store vitamins in a safe place and consult the labels. These labels are required by law and list the percentages of daily allowance right on the product.
FDA and Vitamins
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the production of vitamins. In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) set the government standards on dietary supplements. These supplements include vitamin and minerals as well as amino acids, herbs, and other botanicals. Manufacturers are required to label these dietary supplements, disclose all their ingredients and the amount of each ingredient per dose.
In 2007, the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) regulations were passed. This required manufacturers to ensure the identity, quality, purity and strength of the dietary supplements they produce. This legislation became necessary due to the various supplements that were recalled before 2007. During their investigation some of the vitamins were found to be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes. These new rules were the US government’s response to the assortment of claims that the labels were not reflective of the actual ingredients in the product. This new requirement helps to ensure that supplements are safe and contain the ingredients as stated on their label.
To avoid harmful ingredients consider herbal or organic vitamins as a viable solution. These types of vitamins are made with ingredients like fruits and vegetables, grains, or bee pollen. Vitamins made from whole food sources provide a healthy alternative to synthetic vitamins. They also tend to have higher values of naturally occurring trace minerals.
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