Can We Overdose on Vitamin Supplements?

Popping a vitamin or several vitamins is part of a morning routine for many people in our community. Even though directions are listed on most bottles, it is very common to actually take more than needed. We are  bombarded with health information saying that taking high doses of certain vitamins can benefit our health but taking too many vitamins can be quite dangerous.

When consumed naturally through foods, vitamins are unlikely to cause harm, even when consumed in large amounts. Yet, when taken in concentrated doses in supplement form, it’s easy to take too much, and doing so can lead to negative health outcomes. Although it’s extremely rare to die from a vitamin overdose, there have been reported instances of death related to vitamin toxicity.

For example, too much vitamin C or zinc may cause nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Too much selenium may lead to hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue and mild nerve damage. Adults who regularly far exceed the 4,000 international units (IUs) daily safe upper limit for vitamin D may end up with serious heart problems. There is no benefit for taking more vitamins than recommended. For these reasons, it’s important to use vitamins responsibly.

OakBend Medical Center’s Food & Nutrition Department features Clinical Dietitians and Food Service Specialists. They provide food service to inpatients and outpatients according to physician orders. The dietitian provides specialized clinical nutrition therapy to assist inpatients and outpatients with implementing recommended nutrition goals. To schedule an appointment, call 281-633-4022.