Due to lack of proper diet and reliance on 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. Such people feel that taking more vitamins will keep them healthier. They do not realize that overdosing on vitamins can actually create health issues. It makes us wonder if there is something called too much vitamins. Can taking too much vitamins kill you? To answer such questions, here’s what we need to know.
Water soluble vitamins overdose
Vitamins can be broadly classified into water soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. The water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and B vitamins (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 amount is excreted via urine. However, if the dose is very high, even water-soluble vitamins can create health issues. For example, extremely high doses of B6 can result in irreversible nerve damage.
Similarly, niacin in high doses can cause liver damage. Taking B9 in very high doses can impact mental function and result in compromised immune system. Vitamin C overdose can lead to conditions like diarrhea, gastrointestinal disturbance, vomiting and cramps. It can also lead to issues like tissue damage.
Some vitamins are relatively safer such as B1, B2, B5, B7 and B12. Higher doses of these vitamins have not shown any major toxicity. However, they can still cause adverse reactions with certain medications when taken in higher doses.
Fat soluble vitamins overdose
These include Vitamin A, D, E and K. Since fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body, taking these in high doses can create health issues. For example, very high doses of vitamin A can cause hypervitaminosis A toxicity. It can result in 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 lead to irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite and weight loss. High Vitamin D dose can also result in hypercalcemia, which can be fatal. High doses of Vitamin E are dangerous, as it can result in life threatening conditions such as hemorrhages.
The only exception in fat soluble vitamins is Vitamin K. It has not shown any adverse reaction even at high doses. However, it can interfere with other medications and blood test results.
It is apparent that taking too much vitamins is not a good idea. It is not going to boost your health. For optimal health gains, it is important to follow the dose prescribed by your doctor. Vitamins will be beneficial only when taken in appropriate doses.