Are you taking too many vitamins? A doctor weighs

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The right range of supplements can be a game changer. But as we looked at our assortment of capsules this morning, about to swallow a fifth horse-sized pill, we began to wonder if it was possible to take too much. (Spoiler alert: it does.) So we tapped Dr. Taz Bhatia to answer our questions.

Vitamins and supplements are important because many of us cannot get all the nutrients we need from our diet alone. “Our soil and crops have been so altered that many of them have been depleted of vital minerals and vitamins. We also need to think about our environment and the toxins we ingest and are exposed to in our daily lives,” explains Dr. Taz That said, there can be too many good things.

“Too many supplements and vitamins, like too many medications, are harmful to the gut and difficult for the liver to eliminate. For this reason, my team, @centrespringmd, and I strive to target all supplements to key issues and deficiencies,” says Dr. Taz. “With so many supplements on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for you.”

She says a few ways to tell if you’re going overboard with your supplement routine are:

  • An upset stomach after ingesting supplements
  • Burping or belching
  • feel nauseous
  • Skin color changes

It’s especially important to watch out for fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, says Dr. Taz. They can be stored in the fatty tissues of our body and their accumulation can have negative effects. Water-soluble vitamins are broken down in the digestive system with water, and the excess is eliminated when we pee. They are therefore less likely than fat-soluble vitamins to cause problems, but can still cause harm if used in excess.

Dr. Taz strongly recommends doing blood work instead of just guessing what we need. she has a lot of patients who come to see her taking way too many supplements. She suggests starting with a base of vitamins A, D, and C, as well as magnesium, omega-3s, and B vitamins (namely: B12 and folate). “Once your nutrient needs have been met, we recommend moving on to other goals or working with an integrative medicine practitioner to determine what your body needs,” she adds.

“At my center, we use lab results to recommend which supplements are right for patients, while rationalizing and suggesting only what’s needed,” says Dr. Taz. “I haven’t recommended the same supplement regimen yet because it’s a highly individualized process.”

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