Normally, vitamins are a good thing that helps the body to function properly. Though they are typically beneficial, some people make the mistake of not realizing that vitamins can be dangerous. It is hard for a person to overdose on vitamins since they can be taken in very high amounts. However, in the rare cases where this happens, the consequences can be deadly. Here’s what you need to know about various types of mineral and vitamin overdose.
Vitamin A Overdose
Vitamin A is stored in the fat cells of the body, so it slowly builds up over time. For the average adult, taking over 770 mcg of vitamin A can cause issues. At first, it just causes rough skin, cracked nails, hair loss, and occasional nausea or dizziness. Over time, people may begin to develop blurred vision, jaundice, weakened and swollen bones, and a sensitivity to sunlight. If the overdose continues, it may lead to brain pressure, vomiting, and eventually death.
Vitamin B Overdose
There are many different B vitamins in this group, and all of them are generally responsible for regulating metabolism and building skin, hair, and nerves. When a person overdoses, the liver cannot handle the excessive amount of B vitamins so it starts to shut down. It is also possible to develop nerve toxicity from a vitamin B overdose. This causes random feelings of itchiness, numbness, pain, burning, and sensitivity in random nerves. Different types of B vitamins have different dosage levels. For example, you should never take more than 300 mg of B6 or 2,000 mg of B3.
Vitamin D Overdose
A lot of people suffer from vitamin D overdoses because they do not realize that it is in so many sources. Vitamin D is useful for building strong bones, so it is included in many fortified foods, including milk and orange juice.
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The human body can also synthesize this important vitamin through sun exposure. Therefore, if you already eat a lot of fortified foods and get time in the sun, taking extra vitamin D supplements can be risky. Humans can develop vitamin D toxicity if they are taking more than 50,000 IU daily.
Like vitamin D, calcium is needed for bone health so many foods are fortified with this mineral. Though a calcium overdose is not immediately life threatening, it still causes many issues. For example, a research study examined people who took over 1,400 milligrams of calcium per day. The researchers found that these people were almost 50 percent more likely to die due to a form of cardiovascular disease. This seems to happen because excess calcium in the bloodstream encourages the growth of dangerous, heart-damaging proteins.
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Too much of this normally beneficial mineral actually counts as poison. It is the biggest reason that children under the age of five die of poisoning. Unlike the other forms of vitamin overdose, iron toxicity does not build up over time. Instead, people develop life-threatening symptoms within just six hours. Taking more than 50 mg of iron at once causes vomiting blood, diarrhea, comas, seizures, liver failure, and low blood pressure. Even just taking around 45 mg of iron each day can nausea, stomach pains, and fevers.
Avoiding Vitamin Overdoses
The best way to avoid a vitamin overdose is to be cautious of what you eat. It is important to know how many nutrients are in each food item you take. The average human who eats a healthy diet gets all the nutrients they need from their food. If they also take a lot of supplements in addition to their normal diet, they may overdose. Try to be aware of the recommended amount of nutrients for someone of your age and weight. Though you will most likely be safe if you only go slightly over the recommended amount, exceeding it greatly causes issues.