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Vitamins And Your Health

March 9, 2012, 6:15 PM by Hailey Higgins

Vitamins And Your Health

Vitamins are known to help everything from your immune system to your vision and Americans are buying into those promises. We spend up to $28 billion a year on dietary supplements, but in some cases, taking too many may actually do more harm than good.

Staying healthy is important to Rachel Weisbecker. She exercises regularly and makes a point to eat organic foods.

"I want to feel good. I want to be able, when my grandchildren come around, to play. I don't want to get old before my time," Weisbecker said.

While shopping at Pomegranate Market Friday, Weisbecker picks up a couple supplements to pick up where her food lacks in her diet.

But supplements, including popular vitamins like A, E, C and D, can actually lose their main benefits when taken in excess. In fact, Avera Registered Dietician Jessie Buth says taking too many can actually build up inside your body's tissues.

Depending on the vitamin, the buildup can become toxic and severely damage the kidney or liver.

"It would take a little while to get to that toxic level but the problem is, it is not doing us any good at that large level anyway," Buth said.

And while some vitamins can build up over time if you take too many, water soluble vitamins like C, just flush right through you.

"You're spending a lot of money on something you are not going to get any benefit from and not going to absorb," Buth said.

But in high enough doses, studies show Vitamin C can cause kidney stones, diarrhea, stomach cramps and even nausea.

Buth says the best way to get the recommended nutrients is by eating proper foods, like fruits and vegetables, throughout the day.

And that is advice Weisbecker tries to live by.

"I try to look at the healthier side of eating and getting my vitamins because that's the best way," Weisbecker said. "A supplement is a supplement, but that just means you're trying to boost what you're already doing."

Most of us have a Vitamin D deficiency, so Buth recommends taking up to 2,000 IUs each day. However, she says one would need to have their levels checked by a physician regularly.

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