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ETpro's avatar

Do you take a daily multivitamin? If yes, do you watch out for overdoses that vitamin enriched foods might expose you to?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) July 16th, 2010

Marketers seem to be sticking vitamins in just about every factory food out there now in an attempt to distinguish their product from the maddening crowd, and to convince consumers that even chocolate bon-bons are health food. Do you check how much of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) your multivitamin gives you, and avoid vitamin enriched foods that, when combined with the dose your multivitamin provides, would put you over the RDA?

Some vitamins are harmless even in a double dose. The excess is excreted without doing any harm. But some vitamins do pose health risks when overdone. And even if they do no harm, paying extra to get something you already have in sufficient supply isn’t great for your economic health.

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20 Answers

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The RDA guidelines are closer to minimum requirements. Most people serious about human nutrition advise much higher intakes of many nutrients. The body excretes what it cannot use into the urine. Your question may engender alarm where none is necessary. My sister a registered and licenced dietitian with an MA in her field agrees with my viewpoint.

What levels of what nutrients pose health risks. please be very specific and cite references if you can.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t normally take a multivitamin, but I am currently taking a prenatal vitamin. I don’t worry about going over anything. After finding out how seriously low my Vit D level was back at the beginning of the year, I worry more about being too low on a nutrient than too high.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The folic acid or folate in your prenatal vitamin is so important too.

perspicacious's avatar

No I don’t worry about this. Most of the vitamins that are stored in the body rather than flushed daily are not likely to be consumed in an unhealthy amount (by me) even if they are added to some foods. Fresh vegetables, milk, and eggs are the mainstays of my diet.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I’ve never worried about this. And what @Dr_Lawrence says is true, the RDA is the bare minimum that you need so that your body doesn’t get diseased from a lack of that specific vitamin or mineral.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most vitamins don’t create an overdose problem, just expensive urine.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I consume daily vitamin C and E(each 1000mg). There’s no overdose threat in this kind of vitamin.

NaturallyMe's avatar

If i feel my throat getting tingly and my nose getting stuffy, i drink between 6000 & 9000mg vit C a day, and that takes care of that germ right away. I think one can drink too much vit C though, in that it may lead to something….maybe kidney stones? I can’t remember. Maybe that’s only if you don’t drink enough water though when drinking very high doses of vit C for a long period of time (weeks or months). Maybe someone else can clarify or confirm or something.

john65pennington's avatar

According to a report i read, only about 10% of vitamins are absorbed by the human body. if this is the case, addtitional consumed vitamins should not be a problem. it appears the words “enriched with vitamins” is just an advertising scheme to get you to buy their products.

ETpro's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence It is true that water soluble vitamins like the B vitamin group and C cannot be stored in the body for long periods of time. Unless you took a massive dose like Linus Pauling got into, you aren;t hurting anything but your bank account, paying for something only to piss it away. However, fat soluble vitamins such as A and D are cumulative and can reach dangerous proportions. Best show your sister this: http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vitamins/vitamin-overdose.html

@Doctor_D Check up on that Vitamin E. A Johns Hopkins study showed that doses above 400 Mg per day correlated with earlier death.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@ETpro Your question would have been much better if you referred specifically to the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E which are not supplied in massive doses in multivitamins. Someone would have to consume massive quantities of vitamin enriched foods to start accumulating dangerous levels of these vitamins. The body does after all use these vitamins in protein synthesis. The risks increase among the elderly whose bodies are doing less repair and replacement of damaged cells.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@ETpro I made a mistake,I meant 1000 IU of vitamin E. I took them according to the eating suggestion on its label. I believe this study is still controversial,or maybe just a hypothesis.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@ETpro While Vit D can be stored in fat cells, a lot of people are deficient in Vit D and don’t even know it. I had my levels checked for something else back at the beginning of the year and my Vit D level was 9. I had to start taking 6,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 a day every day for several months to get my levels up to a normal level. Now I am suppose to take 400 I.U. each day (the recommended daily amount) to maintain my healthy levels (luckily that is what is in my prenatal, so I don’t have to take additional pills).

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Seaofclouds – do you know why you have such low levels of vit D? And what were your symptoms? I’m just curious.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@NaturallyMe It was in the winter and I hadn’t been going outside (so I wasn’t getting sunlight needed to convert the Vit D and I wasn’t really eating a lot of foods with Vit D, so most likely I just wasn’t consuming enough on a daily basis. I didn’t have any symptoms at all. I had my levels checked as part of a pre-op blood work. When they got the results back, they put me on the prescription.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Seaofclouds – oh, ok…tnx. :) Simple problem, simple solution. I wonder if i don’t have a deficiency as well, since i don’t go outside all that much either. I think i heard you need at least 30 mins of sunlight a day to have healthy levels of vit D, and preferable most of your body should be exposed then to the sun so that you can get enough D absorbed.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@NaturallyMe There are a lot of variables in determining if you are actually getting enough of the UV rays needed for VIT D syntheseis (like location, weather conditions, and skin tone). This talks a bit about it.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@Seaofclouds – ah :), well i see the article also confirms what i heard.

ETpro's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I asked the question the way I did to provoke discussion and to get us all thinking about how to ensure we maintain healthy levels of nutrients and vitamins.

@Seaofclouds It was a stroke of luck you happened to have a blood workup for other reasons and discovered your vitamin D deficiency. I eat a very healthy diet and exercise outdoors—doing heavyhands—so I have to watch the other ned of the spectrum, having too much.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No I don’t take vitamins, I’ve always eaten healthily and believe I get all I need from my food. Besides, I get bugged by stinky urine.

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