Vitamins 101

 

Vitamins fall into two categories – water soluble and fat soluble.  Water soluble vitamins are all the B vitamins, as well as vitamin C and biotin.  The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.

 

Why is this important?

 

Water soluble vitamins are more likely to be destroyed by heat or cooking and are minimally stored in your body.  One notable exception is vitamin B12, which is stored in your liver for a few years.  When you eat water soluble vitamins, they are absorbed directly into your bloodstream along with water in your small intestines.  Because they aren’t stored, and because they are easily excreted in your urine, you need them in your diet every day.  It’s these vitamins that people notice turn their pee fluorescent yellow.

 

Fat soluble vitamins are not absorbed directly into your blood.  Bile from your liver and gallbladder is necessary for proper breakdown and absorption of these vitamins.  Once broken down in your intestines, fat soluble vitamins go through your lymph channels to get into the bloodstream, and they typically need protein to carry them there.  Fat soluble vitamins are more stable than water soluble vitamins so they stand up better with cooking.  They are also stored in your body (mostly in your liver and fat tissue).  Because they are stored, you don’t necessarily need them in your diet every day.  To avoid toxicity of fat soluble vitamins, don’t supplement with them unless directed by a medical professional.

 

You need a variety of vitamins in your diet every day for optimal long-term health.  My favourite (and easiest) piece of advice for patients is to make sure you’re eating a rainbow on your plate at every meal.  What’s great about this advice is that it’s also easy for children to learn and understand, plus it can make eating fun.

 

Need ideas about how to incorporate greater variety into your diet?  Head over to Pinterest and check out my boards: www.pinterest.com/DrLisaGhent.  Follow me there to get notified about new and interesting recipes every week.

 

Want more personalized help?  Visit me for naturopathic care and I’ll do a full assessment of your current health and goals and get you on the right track.  Click here to book an appointment online: www.drlisaghent.com/book.