Due to lack of proper diet and addiction to junk food, many of us have become deficient in vitamins. As a solution, vitamin supplements are usually prescribed. However, some people ignore the prescribed dose and choose to consume more vitamin supplements. These people believe that taking more vitamins will keep them healthier. They don’t realize that an overdose of vitamins can actually create health problems. This makes us wonder if there is something called too many vitamins. Can taking too many vitamins kill you? To answer these questions, here’s what we need to know.
Overdose of water-soluble vitamins
Vitamins can be broadly categorized into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins are vitamins C and B (B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate) and B12 ( cobalamin)).
Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. Any excess is excreted via the urine. However, if the dose is very high, even water-soluble vitamins can create health problems. For example, extremely high doses of B6 can lead to irreversible nerve damage.
Likewise, niacin in high doses can cause liver damage. Taking B9 in very high doses can impact mental function and lead to a weakened immune system. An overdose of vitamin C can lead to conditions such as diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and cramps. It can also lead to problems such as tissue damage.
Some vitamins are relatively safer such as B1, B2, B5, B7 and B12. Higher doses of these vitamins did not show major toxicity. However, they can still cause side effects with certain medications when taken in higher doses.
Overdose of fat-soluble vitamins
These include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body, taking them in high doses can create health problems. For example, very high doses of vitamin A can cause toxic hypervitaminosis A. This can lead to nausea and increased intracranial pressure. Higher doses can also lead to coma and even death.
Vitamin D is well tolerated, but very high doses can cause irregular heartbeats, loss of appetite, and weight loss. A high dose of vitamin D can also lead to hypercalcemia, which can be fatal. High doses of vitamin E are dangerous because they can lead to life-threatening conditions such as hemorrhaging.
The only exception in fat-soluble vitamins is vitamin K. It has shown no adverse reactions even at high doses. However, it may interfere with other medications and blood test results.
It is obvious that taking too many vitamins is not a good idea. It’s not going to improve your health. For optimal health gains, it is important to follow the dose prescribed by your doctor. Vitamins will only be beneficial if taken in proper doses.