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Vitamins – It’s Like Making A Cake

by Tony Bowling on September 26, 2011

Confession

Okay the cake title is a bit of a trick. This article is about the correct proportion or ratios of different vitamins but I will include an analogy about baking a cake.

Bodies need certain vitamins and minerals and the body will of course do better when taking the right amount of these things. So what are the right amounts, he said rhetorically!  Well that depends a lot on your current food intake, activity (like sports or heavy physical work in a hot climate), habits (like staying up late, working under stressful conditions), etc.

What Do Bodies Need

An important thing to know is that all bodies need the same vitamins and minerals but it is the quantities that vary. Under ideal conditions we get all of these things from the food we eat, but if not, then vitamin/mineral supplements may be necessary. This then introduces three additional questions:

1. What are these vitamins/minerals (I refer to as the “standard vitamins”) that every body needs?

2. What proportions of each vitamin are needed? In other words if one takes 1000 mg of vitamin X does one also need 1000 mg of vitamin Y?

3. Last and most importantly what do you personally need at this time or will need next week?

This article addresses # 2 above.

What you have to know is that taking certain vitamins (in excess) can all by itself cause a deficiency of another vitamin. This is where the cake analogy comes in.

The Recipe

The ingredients for a cake could be (I’m no baker)

2 cups flour

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk.

Now while putting these together you accidentally put in twice the amount of, say, baking powder? What you will have done, inadvertently, is create a need for twice the amount of all the other ingredients. As it would be difficult to remove (in this case) just the baking soda one’s only solution would be to double up on all of the other ingredients and have a whooping great time with a bigger cake!

It is similar with vitamins: Take a ton of  one vitamin and the body is going to start absorbing that one vitamin and look for the rest of the vitamins it needs. If it does not get those other vitamins then that is tantamount to a created deficiency.

Possible Dangers

This is why it is sometimes dangerous to have just a little information without having the whole picture. Someone comes along and tells you that  vitamin B1 helps you recover after alcohol (which is true) because booze burns/destroys B1 in the body. So you take a bunch of B1 and start to feel better so keep taking just B1 and if you take enough you will soon have a vitamin C  deficiency as evidenced by one’s teeth becoming loose, gums bleeding easily, etc.

Does this apply to all vitamins? No. For example you could probably take a lot of the B vitamin “Pantothenic Acid” or vitamin E before any adverse effect would be noticed, if any at all. I know this makes the subject more complicated but that is why I am writing these articles — there are things to know if you really want to establish what the body needs in terms of nutrition at any given point in time or condition of your life whether it is while you are already sick, or preparing for a sports event, or just interested in general health.

Eating all healthy food (whatever that may be for you) at all times kind of cuts through the need to know the above. But if you are taking supplements, or plan to, then it is good to know this stuff.

Tony

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