Vitamin Overdose Concerns: 3 Expert Revelations Exposing ...
Vitamin Overdose Concerns Vitamin Overdose Concerns

Deficiency of vitamins and minerals is a concern for disease control and prevention centers. The agency notes that these micronutrients are ‘essential for good health, disease prevention, and overall well-being,’ except for vitamin D, as they are not naturally produced in the body and should be obtained through dietary sources.

While many people get recommended amounts of essential nutrients from a healthy diet, some groups opt for vitamin and mineral supplements in the form of capsules or powders. This is because certain medical conditions, lifestyles, or dietary restrictions limit one’s intake of essential nutrients.

Dr. Beatrice Zurboni, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition, clarifies that these groups include vegetarians, pregnant women, individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly, individuals with digestive disorders, smokers, alcohol consumers, medication takers, and those with food allergies or intolerances.

However, for most others, micro-nutrient supplementation is often unnecessary and can be potentially harmful when taken in excess.

Can you take too many vitamins?

In general, excessive intake of nutrients where there is no deficiency is a wide area of concern compared to eating too much, which is why more research is available on this front. Dr. Jane Mayer, RD, a director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Team at Tufts University, says, ‘We know very little about obtaining excessive essential nutrients.’

She further explains that ‘results are emerging,’ but concern is generally low for obtaining excessive water-soluble vitamins compared to fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, as excess water-soluble vitamins are typically excreted from the body while fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K can accumulate in the body and potentially have adverse effects in some case

Is it safe to mix different vitamins together?

Mix Vitamins
Mix Vitamins

Nevertheless, ‘taking excessive amounts of both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins from both water and fat-soluble vitamins can lead to irregular heartbeats, frequent urination, stomach pain, weakness, and reduced appetite,’ including various negative reactions, warns Dr. Alexandra Volos, DO, a Family Medicine Physician at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania. Dr. Volos also notes that excess iron intake can lead to low blood pressure, liver damage, lung injury, coma, and even death.

She states that excessive calcium intake can ‘affect bone health, increase blood pressure, and cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, itching, and, in extreme cases, irregular heartbeats.’ Excessive magnesium intake is generally associated with diarrhea and an over-accumulation of magnesium can be linked to symptoms like nausea and vomiting, confusion, itching, and extremely rare heart irregularities.

Excess intake of niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin A is also associated with various health risks. ‘The fundamental result of excessive intake of vitamin D is the accumulation of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination,’ explains Czerwony. Heartburn and headaches are related to excessive vitamin C intake, and an excess of vitamin A can lead to dizziness and irritability.

Dr. Shauna Regal, MD, a Family Medicine Physician at Inspira Medical Group in Clarksboro, adds that the most common side effect of excessive magnesium intake is diarrhea, and ‘the excessive shine of the face is associated with excessive niacin (vitamin B3) intake.’

Is it advisable to combine various vitamin supplements simultaneously?

Vitamin Supplements Combination
Vitamin Supplements Combination

Apart from toxicity, another area of concern for some people is whether taking many vitamins or minerals simultaneously is detrimental. Although combining supplements generally does not interfere with their effects, and in some cases, it can be beneficial (such as how vitamin C aids in iron absorption), there are instances where supplements can interact negatively with each other.

‘It is important to know which supplements you are taking and why because a capsule, pill, or powder can contain several vitamins, and the possibilities for excess use and negative effects increase,’ advises Dr. Jennifer Brakeman, a Family Medicine practitioner at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Learning and adhering to the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for any vitamin or mineral supplement is also essential. Such information can be obtained from your healthcare provider, the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, or educational institutions like the Harvard School of Public Health.

‘Generally, excessive intake of essential nutrients is not a good idea,’ recommends Dr. Lichtenstein. ‘If there are concerns about the amount of nutrients, the best approach is to discuss with a healthcare provider. This way, you can avoid potential interactions and adverse effects of excessive nutrients.’

How can you increase your iron intake?

Foods rich in iron include 

  • fortified cereals and breakfast grains

    Foods rich in Iron
    Foods rich in Iron
  • beans and lentils, nuts
  • complete pasta and bread
  •  fruits like dried fruits
  •  cooked fruits, legumes and seeds
  •  Leafy green vegetables such as spinach
  • Swiss chard, and broccoli
  • Tofu

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