The Surprising Side Effects of Excessive Multivitamin Intake

Are you taking a multi-vitamin? If so, you’re not alone. Multivitamins are a billion-dollar industry. We all have heard that taking a vitamin is good for us, and many suggest that everyone should take vitamins.

But what isn’t talked about very much is the potential dangers of taking these supplements. We’ve all heard the old saying “too much of a good thing,” and it also applies to vitamins and supplements if we’re not careful.

Vitamin Toxicity Symptoms

Here are a few common symptoms of vitamin toxicity:

Vitamin C or zinc

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps

Selenium

  • Hair loss
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Mild nerve damage

Multivitamin Toxicity Symptoms

It’s not just individual vitamins we should be aware of. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, here are a few signs of multi-vitamin toxicity:

  • Cloudy urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Yellow-orange areas of the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
Person Holding Clear Drinking Glass

Will everyone experience these symptoms? Of course not. However, there could be cases where a person is experiencing these symptoms (among others) and does NOT realize it’s because of a vitamin overdose. As a result, they might take medicine to feel better, not knowing the extra vitamins they are taking every day is the culprit.

In other words, that vitamin isn’t helping them, it’s hurting them, and they don’t even know it.

Decrease Reliance on Multivitamins

Multivitamins play a key role in our society. For example, individuals with low vitamin D levels can benefit from vitamin D supplements. Pregnant women are advised to take multivitamins and maintain adequate folate levels.

It’s critical people not become reliant on multivitamins. Yes, we can easily become reliant on supplements, as there’s a big push to be healthy. The key is to make an effort to eat high quality foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and other nutrient dense foods daily.

In addition, there’s two thing we must keep in mind:

1. It’s not the pill that’s going to help keep us healthy, it’s the foods we eat (or don’t eat.) Many of us are under the impression that a pill, powder, or energy bar will meet all our nutritional needs but that’s not true.

2. Our body actually stores some nutrients in our fat and bones. This is why people are able to refrain from eating up to 40 days and be perfectly healthy when the fast is completed.

Multivitamins can only do so much. Many of the healthy foods we eat have various compounds in them that interact together, providing us with a variety of additional health benefits pills can’t replicate. While the pill just tries to extract a certain vitamin or component, there’s no guarantee we’ll get the same benefit as eating that specific food.

For example, an apple has vitamin C, but it also has fiber and a high-water content. It can also remove food particles off the teeth.

Hispanic teenage girl biting fruit while having picnic with basket of apples in green garden with green plants
How many supplements would you have to take to get the same benefits of eating one apple?

A single vitamin supplement can’t duplicate these benefits, so if you choose to take a supplement, make sure you’re eating good food at the same time.  Don’t rely on that pill to keep you healthy.

In addition to monitoring your vitamin intake, it’s critical we look at the ingredients in these supplements as well. Some vitamins are not as healthy as we are led to believe:

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Multivitamins have many benefits, but like everything else, moderation is key. If you want to take a vitamin supplement, take one that gives just the recommended daily allowances and not more, because your body may not need it. Be mindful of the foods you eat and the supplements you take. Your body will thank you.

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