We all know that receiving the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients is essential to keep your body and mind balanced and in great health, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Vitamins are generally good for you, but it doesn't mean you can take as many as you want. Certain vitamins are easier to overload with compared to others, so you need to be aware of the various sources where you might find any one vitamin. If you're already receiving sufficient amounts of a specific nutrient through your diet, it's critical to make sure you don't go over the recommended intake when supplementing. If not monitored carefully, the levels of vitamins in your body can become overabundant, and while rare, they can cause harmful effects. There are several things to keep in mind when taking multiple vitamins and supplements, to stay safe and avoid excess.
4 Vitamins and Minerals to Watch Out For
When it comes to the risk of overdose, there are certain vitamins that can be more troublesome than others. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that you are sticking to the correct recommended daily intake for each, consuming only 100 percent of the daily amount, not more. Here are some of the most common vitamins that can quickly build up in your system and potentially cause health problems when levels rise too high.
Though folate or folic acid is especially important for pregnant women to help prevent birth defects, an overdose can occur if you take more than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 400 mcg per day, for those 14 and up.
Supplementation with iron is typically only required if you are premenopausal or your doctor recommends it. Most people receive enough iron through their diets. The RDA for iron in folks aged 19-50 is 8 mg for males, 18 mg for females and 27 mg for pregnant women.
While calcium can aid with bone fortification, too much of it can contribute detrimental effects. Men and women aged 19-50 can safely take up to 1,000 mg of calcium per day. An excessive calcium intake can increase your risk of having a heart attack.
In adults aged 19 and up, men can receive 11 mg of zinc and women can have 8 mg. Healthy amounts of zinc may be able to help strengthen your body's defense against the common cold, but taking too much can cause the opposite—weakening your immune system while also messing with your body's ability to absorb certain minerals.
Questions to Consider Before Starting a New Supplement
Before you try any supplement, you should always consult your physician. There are several questions to think about in determining whether you should start taking a new supplement.
- Are there any interactions with medications you're currently taking?
- Are you adhering to the proper dosage and usage instructions?
- Do you know all of the ingredients in it?
Taking supplements unnecessarily can cause adverse effects. When it comes to interactions, vitamins C, E and K can interfere with the proper functioning of heart medications, blood thinners and even chemotherapy drugs. Many multivitamins have such a long list of contents that it can be hard to keep track of each nutrient inside. When taking more than one supplement, it's important to make sure you're not doubling up on certain vitamins or minerals. Don't fall victim to the incorrect notion that more is better.
Signs of a Vitamin Overdose
Symptoms of a vitamin overdose are rare, yet they can occur. If you are experiencing anything out of the ordinary, talk to your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately for severe symptoms. Markers of a vitamin overdose may include:
- Cloudy urine and/or frequent urination
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Bone, muscle or joint pain
While vitamins are intended to be beneficial for your health, proper usage is paramount in terms of their effectiveness and safety. Always consult your doctor before trying a new supplement, and make sure you strictly adhere to guidelines and recommended allowances.
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