by Emily Finnan, RD LDN
Vitamins have received so much media play lately you’d think they were celebrities. But what if vitamins really were celebrities? Would they be the troubled reality star or the all-American movie hero? Read on for our take!
The current star of the nutrition world, vitamin D has been touted to play a beneficial role in seemingly everything from osteoporosis, some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and more (see Melissa Hudec’s December article in The Sprout for more info). Vitamin D research is hot and trendy much like…
JENNIFER LAWERENCE. She gained superstardom from starring in 2012’s The Hunger Games. From winning an Oscar to her adorable red carpet stumble, America is in love. Forbes even named her the most powerful actress in 2014. However, vitamin D research is still emerging, and Jennifer Lawrence’s blockbuster franchise is ongoing. Time will tell if they will both remain in the spotlight.
This vitamin’s past reminds us of vitamin D’s stardom. In the 1980s, this antioxidant was thought to be the magic nutrient for conditions like cancer, atherosclerosis, vision loss, and heart disease; though further research did not support this. In some cases even negative effects were shown at large doses. However, this vitamin sprung back into the media recently due to a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial showing an association between large-dose supplements and a reduction in functional decline for those with Alzheimer’s disease (3). This vitamin’s comeback reminds us of…
MADONNA. Becoming the 80s pop queen with her 1984 hit album Like a Virgin, she revolutionized fashion and women’s role in pop. Madonna has released other albums since, but nothing has compared to her initial celebrity status. Madonna is set to have a new album, Rebel Heart, released this year, so perhaps she too will have a comeback.
You have a choice with vitamin A: preformed, found in animals and supplements, or provitamin A, found in plants pigments. The most well-known provitamin A is beta-carotene, found in orange and dark green vegetables and fruits. Excess doses of preformed vitamin A, usually from supplements, may lead to serious liver damage. Yet excess beta-carotene can also cause a harmless, though maybe hilarious, orange pigmented skin much like…
SNOOKI, or Nicole Polizzi. Though her orange hue is the result of too much spray tan, rather than excessive intake of beta-carotene, both are harmless and will dissipate over time.
Present in high amounts in leafy greens, a vitamin K deficiency may result in the blood’s decreased ability to clot. This could result in nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and cuts that take longer to stop bleeding. This would be a problem for most people except for…
ROBERT PATTINSON. He will forever be remembered as Edward Cullen, the hunky vampire from the Twilight series. His character would surely revel in a vitamin K-deficient person, what with all of that easily-accessible blood – YUM. Although deficiencies aren’t common, avoid satisfying Edward, and eat your leafy greens!
This vitamin is best known for its presence in citrus fruits and its alleged ability to “cure” the common cold. Well, that wishful thinking has not held up in clinical trials, but it stems from the true power of vitamin C as an antioxidant and its role in immune functions. Despite this, Americans still swoon for vitamin C supplements and continue to take mega-doses during flu season. It seems we simply cannot get enough, much like…
TAYLOR SWIFT. This 25-year-old singer/songwriter has been topping the charts since her days as a teenage country star. With seven Grammys to her name, she is the only singer to have three albums selling more than a million copies in their debut week. Just like with Taylor Swift, it’s possible to overdose on vitamin C. Excess intake may lead to gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and kidney stones. What about too much Taylor? Attending concerts and buying all those albums gets expensive!
The B vitamins
This family of eight encompasses a variety of important functions including macronutrient metabolism. Excessive intakes generally have minimal side effects, much like THE KARDASHIAN FAMILY. This group of eight is everywhere, be it on television, over social media, and in celebrity news. Thankfully no side effects have been reported yet…
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
Thiamine is found in a variety of foods, with pork and fortified grains being especially great sources. It is the number one B vitamin, just like KRIS JENNER is the first Kardashian. As the mother of the group we wouldn’t know any of these famous faces if it wasn’t for her.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
This is a major player in making energy for the cell via the electron transport chain (ETC). The ETC occurs in the mitochondria, and the cell works very hard to keep it going. This reminds us of KENDALL JENNER. She is the only one of the family who is currently working at something other than being famous: through a successful modeling career.
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
Unlike with the other B-vitamins, there is a quick-reacting side effect to excess intakes of niacin known as niacin flush. This typically happens after high-dose supplementation and causes blood capillaries in the face to dilate, resulting in a blush and warm feeling. Perhaps this is the culprit behind KYLIE JENNER’s new pouty lips? Likely not. (8, 9)
- Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5)
Pantothenic Acid forms a part of the coenzymes used in many metabolic reactions. Very little attention has been paid to it in scientific research and the media much like ROB KARDASHIAN. Whomp, Whomp.
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6 )
This vitamin is necessary in many reactions including the creation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, and a serotonin imbalance has been linked to depression. This is the opposite of KHLOE KARDASHIAN. The jokester of the family, she’s guaranteed to turn any Kardashian pucker into a smile.
- Biotin (vitamin B7)
Biotin is abundant in the foods we eat, so deficiency is uncommon. You probably don’t need to seek out biotin, much like KIM KARDASHIAN. She’s everywhere, and you probably don’t need to see more. Biotin and Kim also share a startling resemblance…
- Folate (vitamin B9)
Folate is necessary for a growing fetus, and inadequate amounts may lead to spina bifida, a debilitating birth defect. Getting enough folate probably wasn’t an issue for KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN. With three healthy children she probably consumed her fair share of folate-rich foods like leafy greens and fortified grains.
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
Certain populations are at increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiency, particularly the elderly. Maybe BRUCE JENNER, the elder of the family at age 65, should consider the possibility of a deficiency should he show signs and symptoms like fatigue, pale skin, and easily bruising or bleeding.
Emily Finnan is a first-year biochemical and molecular nutrition student. In her time off from school and working as a pediatric dietitian she enjoys cooking and watching critically-acclaimed documentaries along with the latest realty television shows.