Vitamin Overdose

Although it might sound strange to our ears, vitamin overdose may cause a toxicity condition in which individuals develop symptoms as side effects from the intake of massive doses of vitamins. In the United States, people can obtain enough vitamins by eating a well balanced diet so, with the exception of folic acid supplements; the practice to intake non prescribed or required vitamins by healthy persons has no relation at all with a good health condition.

The amounts of vitamin required to develop a toxicity condition and its specific symptoms vary depending on the individuals and the dose taken. Vitamin overdose is a problem more often observed in developed countries, where the popularity of vitamin and dietary supplements is becoming increasingly common day after day. This condition is also called vitamin poisoning or hyper-vitaminosis, and occurs when people treat themselves for minor illnesses with large doses of vitamins at their sole discretion at levels far greater than the RDA.

The toxicity condition may come as result of a single or multiple vitamin overdose at a time after swallowing more than the recommended amount of vitamins, especially if they are prescribed as medical treatment that should not exceed a certain dose or combined with other medications or dietary supplements in large amounts, including those with iron or calcium from where the most serious risks comes from.

Certain vitamin combinations may cause unexpected consequences, even if they seem harmless at first glance, such as drinking larger amounts of carrot juice, which is rich in vitamin A, that can cause a yellowy orange pigmentation in the hands and feet, maybe funny indeed, but some other vitamin overdose may result in dangerous side effects.

By prescription or by own decision the intake of vitamin supplements in moderate doses may be useful in the treatment or preventive measure for various diseases, including those supplements of folic acid that reduce the risk of cancer and certain birth defects in pregnant women, but vitamin megadoses bring the risk for irreversible vitamin toxicity, particularly with the intake of large amounts of vitamin D, which has toxic levels moderately greater than the recommended dietary allowance, followed by vitamin A, vitamin B-6 and niacin, this one usually prescribed for the treatment of heart disease.

Any vitamin or dose may be toxic if it is medically supervised, even when the dose seems to be greater as the regular dose prescribed just as a dietary vitamin supplement. Some vitamins are considered to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and aging, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, so it is not strange that the intake of large amounts of these vitamins sometimes recommended by health practitioners. However some not confirmed studies have revealed indirect evidence that vitamin C megadoses may cause cancer. Vitamin overdose toxicity may be developed through time and not as an immediate side effect.

Fortified products intended to boost health are an excellent aid for those busy individuals that for any reason have to skip a meal since they compensate the missed nutrients needed during the day, but it becomes a bad practice when people take megadoses of those supplements which are regulated a little or not all, since they are available to anyone in most grocery stores, besides of addition by the food industry to cereals, margarine, and dairy products among other processed foods.

Vitamin overdose may come accidentally taken to excess those fortified foods along with vitamin supplements, usually as the result of advertising promoting the health benefits of the "balanced" combination or addition of them into our diets. However, practically anything can be toxic if consumed in excess, not only vitamins and minerals but also salt, alcohol and even water or oxygen, although when it comes to vitamins, those water soluble such as the vitamin B Complex, can't be stored by the body to any great extent.

Water soluble vitamin overdose is simply excreted by the body so there is rarely presented as a condition by itself, but may occur in combination of megadoses of other vitamin supplements. Fat soluble vitamins, including vitamin A and D, can be accumulated in the body, not presenting any risk if they are consumed within the safe upper limits recommended for them.

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