Consuming too much of certain vitamins can have serious consequences, ranging from mild discomfort to life-threatening complications. While taking a multivitamin supplement or treating a specific vitamin deficiency with a specific supplement is generally safe, it's important to be aware of the potential risks of overdosing on certain vitamins. Vitamins are essential nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. However, it's possible to take too high a dose, which can cause adverse side effects.
Overdosing on certain vitamins can lead to serious complications and, in rare circumstances, even death. Too much vitamin C or zinc can cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Excess selenium can cause hair loss, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. Sometimes less is proverbially more, and that certainly applies to vitamins. Supplementing the diet with a multivitamin supplement or treating a specific vitamin deficiency with a specific supplement is fine, but sometimes, the combination of vitamin fortified foods and vitamin supplements can be too good.
Some vitamins are relatively harmless even at high doses, but others are dangerous and even potentially lethal. Research has shown that multivitamins do not reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, cognitive impairment (such as memory loss and slowness of thinking) or premature death. Additionally, studies have found that vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements appear to be harmful, especially at high doses. You're more likely to be accidentally consumed if you take a monovitamin or multivitamin supplement and also eat processed foods fortified with vitamins. It's important to keep in mind that some vitamins should be taken together and others at different times. For example, high levels of niacin (vitamin B) can cause skin redness in some people, while too much vitamin B6 can cause a loss of sensation in the arms and legs.
Vitamin E is an anticoagulant, so consuming excessive amounts can cause blood thinning and cause fatal bleeding or interfere with blood clotting. Not all vitamins require them; for example, vitamin K has no observable toxicity even at high doses, so no maximum limit has been established. An extremely high intake of vitamin C can cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, and increase the risk of developing kidney stones. If you decide to take a vitamin supplement, choose one that doesn't contain more than the recommended daily intake. Potential health risks aside, supplements that contain high doses of water-soluble vitamins are likely to be a waste of money, as you'll end up flushing any excess down the toilet. Dwyer says that vitamin D, calcium, and folic acid are three nutrients that you can consume in excess, especially through supplements.
Half of American adults take a multivitamin or other vitamin or mineral supplement on a regular basis. It's important to remember that while vitamins are essential for our health and wellbeing, taking too much of certain vitamins can have serious consequences. It's best to consult with your doctor before taking any kind of vitamin supplement to ensure you're not taking too much or too little. By following these guidelines and being aware of the potential risks associated with overdosing on certain vitamins, you can ensure that you're getting the right amount of vitamins for your body without putting yourself at risk.