Vitamins: A Mystery to Me

I’ve been taking vitamins for years.  In recent years, it’s been the WalMart Clone of Centrum Silver (Now With 50% More Vim!) for those of us over fifty.  According to the container, they contain one zillion percent of the Daily Adult Required-by-the-United-States-of-America Gubmint-Dosage of Vitamins A, B, C, D, R, Q, and L (and I think there are some others).  There’s also Niacin, Anacin, Iron, Bronze, Brawndo, Analids, and Thalidomide, I think.  I’d go get the bottle and look, but I have gout and it hurts to walk.

Apparently, without Vitamin C, your cheeks fall off.

Anyway, while I was gulping down the big gray caplet this morning, I had a most disturbing thought: If someone asked me to define the word vitamin, I would not be able to do so in any meaningful way.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and theorize that I’m not the only one, but maybe I am.  What I mean to say is that, for all practical purposes, although I’ve been taking vitamins, hearing about vitamins, watching commercials for vitamins and probably tripping over vitamins in the yard, I don’t know what a vitamin is.

Okay, I know that they’re essential to life as we know it, and that certain vitamins have certain jobs.  Vitamin C is in citrus fruits, and it seems to ward off colds.  Vitamin B has something to do with brain function.  Vitamin L takes care of your liver, or at least it stands to reason that it should, because it begins with L, and Vitamin P has something to do with the urinary tract, I think.

But I don’t know what a vitamin looks like (or at least I didn’t until I looked them up,) and, really, what they do.  Are vitamins liquid, solid, or gaseous?  And what, specifically, do they do?  I mean, do they go and give pep talks to the cells?  Do they have a glue-like consistency, and go into your organs and patch things up?  Are they like little strips of duct-tape doing… well… what can’t you do with duct tape?  (See Fig 1)

Fig 1 Apparently figs contain a lot of B vitamins

  It’s sort of embarrassing to get to this point in my life and not know what a vitamin actually is.  It makes me wonder how many other everyday things I just take for granted without really knowing what they are.

Of course, I’ve now done a bit of research, which consisted primarily of googling “Vitamins” and then seeing if I could find pictures of them.  Apparently, some vitamins look oddly like the Flintstones.

Vitamin F. And, I think, B.

And that brings me to another mystery:  Why does the Flintstones Vitamin brand still exist?  It seems relatively obvious that they’re marketed for children, right?  Well, the Flintstones were a modern stone-age family… from the… town of Bedrock… they’re a page right out of his-to-ree!  “The Flintstones” debuted fifty years ago, and was a “Honeymooners” rip-off, never intended for children in the first place.  Ask your hip, 21st Century 7-year-old if he ever even heard of Fred Flintstone.  No, really. Go ask.  I have no idea what he might say.  I’ll wait here.

I am glad I realized that I had the opportunity today to learn something about vitamins, and to pass that new-found knowledge on to you.  And, hey, you kids — Be cool.  Stay in school.

 

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Bev on August 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    LOL …. I loved the Flintstones when I was a kid, but I probably didn’t get about 75 percent of the jokes and pop culture references!

    Reply

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