Vitamins and minerals are essential for proper development and function of the body. Vitamins fall into two categories: those that are water soluble and those that are fat soluble. The length of time a vitamin will remain in the body will depend on which category it falls in. Zinc is a mineral used by the body to facilitate a large number of metabolic reactions, and you need a daily supply.
Zinc in Your Diet
You can meet your body’s need for zinc by eating meats, beans, fish, fortified cereals and nuts. Oysters are a rich source of zinc, providing 76.7 mg in a serving of 6 oysters. The recommended daily allowance of zinc for a male 19 years of age and over is 11 mg, and a female the same age would need 8 mg. Your body has no mechanism for storing zinc, so whatever is not used is expelled from the body, and you will need a steady dietary supply to keep your body functioning well.
Water Soluble Vitamins
The B complex vitamins and vitamin C make up the water-soluble vitamins. Since they dissolve in water in your body, they are not stored. When your intake is more than your body needs for immediate use, the rest is excreted in urine. This means that your diet must be a continuous source of vitamins so your body has the amount you need available when it is needed. The exception is vitamin C, which can be stored in the adrenal gland for 3 to 4 months.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. These are stored in the body for various amounts of time. Many people who are properly nourished will have a three-month supply of vitamin D stored in the body. Vitamin K, although supplied by some foods, can be made by the bacteria in your intestines, so your body should have a continuous supply of vitamin K in storage. Your body will continue to store fat-soluble vitamins until they are used, hence it could be dangerous to take large doses of these vitamins without your doctor’s knowledge and recommendation.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for adult males is 900 mcg per day and for adult females is 700 mcg per day. Vitamin D has an RDA of 15 mcg per day for adult males and females, while vitamin E has an RDA of 15 mg per day for the same age range. According to the Institutes of Medicine, 120 mcg per day is an adequate intake of vitamin K for an adult male as is 90 mcg per day for an adult female. Taking supplements of these vitamins in excess of the recommended amount can lead to toxicity as your body stores more and more of the vitamins. Vitamin toxicity can be detrimental to your health.