There’s an old saying that you can get too much of a good thing, and that is actually true. Though it’s rare, and many people don’t even know it’s possible, you can overdose on vitamins. Find out if you’re taking too many vitamins, and learn how to regulate your intake so that you stay healthy.
Fortified foods are everywhere, whether you’re aware of it or not. Lots of the stuff you buy — even water — is infused with vitamins. On the surface, it seems like a great idea, but you can get too many vitamins and minerals. So if you’re sucking down health water and sports drinks, taking multivitamins and eating lots of vitamin-rich food, you need to find out if you’re getting too much of what’s supposed to be a good thing.
Not only is having too many vitamins bad for you, it can actually severely damage you. An excess of Vitamin C or zinc can give you painful stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea.
It gets worse. If you consume too much selenium, you can give yourself hair loss or even cause nerve damage. An excess of Vitamin A or Vitamin D can cause long-term kidney and liver damage.
Are you having trouble concentrating or sleeping? Do you feel any numbness or tingling in your extremities or digits? Have you been excessively irritable? All of these issues are signs that you may be getting too much of a certain vitamin.
In the U.S., consumers spend about $30 billion per year on supplements, and more than 50 percent of all American adults have taken a supplement within the last 30 days. If you’re one of them, check your bottles and your doses. You may not even need those supplements. It’s very hard to get too many vitamins in your body from food alone. Trouble comes when you eat lots of healthy food and take supplements and vitamins at the same time.
Safety in Vitamins
If you’re taking a supplement or a specific regular vitamin, check your dosage. You want to make sure you aren’t taking any more than the recommended daily value. If you have any questions or concerns, speak with your doctor or pharmacist to find the dose that’s safe for you.
Daily multivitamins are generally safe, even if you’re also eating energy bars and fortified foods. Multivitamins give you the nutrients you need in small doses and they’re made specifically for safety.
In fact, most vitamins are typically safe. But you do need to monitor your intake of Vitamin D, folic acid and calcium. These nutrients are commonly used in fortified foods and there are many supplements containing these vitamins, so it’s possible you’re ingesting too much. Taking too much Vitamin D can lead to heart problems, so this is one to watch.
Many foods, particularly breads, are enriched with folic acid. Most people get plenty of folic acid without taking supplements. So check any supplements and vitamins you may take regularly, and see if they contain folic acid. If they do, you might be accidentally overdosing yourself.
The best way to prevent excessive vitamin intake is to monitor what you eat. Look at your labels, and see how much of which vitamins your food and beverages contain. Skip your supplements and vitamins for a day if you’re eating fortified foods. You can also use an app to record everything you eat, and monitor your vitamin intake this way.