The beauty of vitamins is that they are completely natural substances essential for daily bodily functioning, and hence there is little danger in taking extra amounts, with a few exceptions. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides sufficient vitamins and minerals to prevent nutritional deficiencies, but a proactive intervention for memory loss requires supplementation well above the recommended FDA daily requirements. In other words, a healthy diet with proper nutrition is excellent for maintaining general health, but specific supplements are needed to obtain a promemory effect.
The free radical theory of aging and memory loss lies behind the use of vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as vitamin A or beta-carotene. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, whereas the B complex vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins are broken down mainly in the liver, which has a limited capacity to handle these compounds. Therefore, if taken in large amounts, fat-soluble vitamins like A and E can become toxic (vitamin D is needed for bone formation, and vitamin K is part of the normal blood-clotting process; these are not directly relevant to memory). In contrast, the water-soluble vitamins are essentially nontoxic because any excess is promptly flushed out by the kidneys into the urine. You need to understand this distinction if you are taking, or plan to take, massive doses of vitamins.
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