How Long Do Vitamins & Zinc Stay in the Body System?

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How Long Do Vitamins & Zinc Stay in the Body System? (Image: Claudia Totir/Moment/GettyImages)

Vitamins and minerals are essential for proper development and function of the body. Vitamins fall into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The length of time a vitamin remains in the body depends on which category it falls into. Zinc is a mineral used by the body to facilitate a large number of metabolic reactions, and you need a daily supply.

Tip

Excess vitamins that are water soluble are excreted through urine, while fat-soluble vitamins are stored in body fat. The body does not store zinc.

Zinc in Your Diet

You can meet your body’s need for zinc by eating meats, beans, fish, fortified cereals and nuts. Oysters are also a rich source of zinc. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc for a male who's 19 years of age and over is 11 mg, and a female of the same age would need 8 mg, according to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Your body has no mechanism for storing zinc, so whatever isn't used is expelled from the body, and you'll 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 — with the exception of vitamin B12, which is stored in your liver. When your intake is more than your body needs for immediate use, the rest is excreted in the urine. This means that your diet must supply a continuous source of vitamins so your body has the amount you need available when it 's needed. The exception is vitamin C, which can be stored in the adrenal gland for three to four 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 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.

Recommended Daily Allowance

According to Harvard Health Publishing, the RDA 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 <ahref="http: nationalacademies.org="" hmd="" ~="" media="" files="" activity%20files="" nutrition="" dri-tables="" 2_%20rda%20and%20ai%20values_vitamin%20and%20elements.pdf?la="en""> </ahref="http:>of 15 mcg per day for adult males and females, whereas vitamin E has an RDA of 15 mg per day for the same age range. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 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.

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