Different Types Of Vitamins And The Effects of Excess Vitamins

Different Types Of Vitamins And The Effects of Excess Vitamins

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Health, Updated On
December 14th, 2021

 The main concern when it comes to vitamins is their deficiency in the body. Most health care providers warn about the dangers of not taking sufficient vitamins and the symptoms of vitamin deficiency. Just as taking insufficient vitamins could lead to diseases, taking excess vitamins also has its risks.

Consuming excess vitamin is possible, but it rarely occurs. You could have excess vitamin if you take a multivitamin daily and strength boosters of some supplements as a vitamin D spray with a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins.

If you are taking excess vitamins and minerals, it could be detrimental to your health. Most times, the effect of excess vitamin intake are subtle, so you may not know that you are at risk of any health condition. We advise you to visit a GP near me for blood tests in order to diagnose for excess vitamins.

What is the result of excess vitamin intake?

Taking excess vitamins and minerals is almost impossible, especially from fortified food alone. For example, bananas have high potassium content and eating excess bananas can be dangerous. To have high potassium from eating bananas, you need more than seven fingers of bananas to get the recommended 3,500 mg per day and more than 42 fingers of bananas for a short period to get sick from a dietary overdose of potassium.

Generally, a lot of people believe that vitamins are suitable for the body, so they can consume any amount of them and still be safe. Contrary to this belief, a scientific review involving controlled trials of the use of vitamins showed that consuming high doses of vitamins A, E, D, C, and folic acids causes more harm than good in most cases.

Different types of vitamins

There are two main types of vitamins- fat and water-soluble vitamins.

Water-soluble vitamins

The body quickly metabolizes these types of vitamins, and any excess is excreted through urine. Water-soluble vitamins are less dangerous even when consumed in large quantities because they are rarely stored in the body’s tissues.

Water-soluble vitamins include the following –

  • Vitamin B1(thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
  • Vitamin C

Although these vitamins rarely cause harm, it is still not safe to consume them in large amounts. For example, if you consume excess vitamin B3, you could have red skin flushes, and excess consumption of vitamin B6 could lead to loss of feeling in the legs and arms.

Fat-soluble vitamins

Fat-vitamins do not dissolve in water, and they can be easily stored in the fat tissues of the body. Accumulating a dangerous amount of these vitamins are easy and could lead to hypervitaminosis (vitamin poisoning).

The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins K, E, D and A. Asides the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of these vitamins which tells us the specific amount of nutrients the body needs every day, there is also the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) that shows the maximum dose of nutrients anyone can consume. Although, some vitamins, like vitamin K, does not have any known toxicity even with high doses, so it does not have an upper limit value.

Vitamins that do not have a UL value may not be completely safe. They can still interact with some medicines to cause harm, especially in those who have underlying health issues. So take all vitamins and minerals as recommended by your health care provider.

The potential risk of consuming excess vitamins

Most water-soluble vitamins are known to be harmless just like vitamin K, so they have no set upper limit.

However, the following vitamins could be toxic if high doses are consumed. The vitamins in this category can be harmful through an acute poisonous dose (when a very high quantity is taken at once) or a chronic toxic dose (when a high amount is taken consistently for an extended period).

Vitamin A

Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity in the body include nausea, loss of appetite, irritability, skin rash, drowsiness, coma, vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, intracranial pressure, headache, and even death. The set upper limit of vitamin A is 3,000 mcg a day.

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

The set upper limit of vitamin B3 for adults is 35 mg a day, and if you exceed this, you may have the following symptom. Stomach pain, high blood sugar, liver damage, skin flushing, vomiting, loss of vision, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gout, irregular heartbeat, itching, and dizziness.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

The upper limit of pyridoxine for adults is 100 mg a day. Toxicity of this vitamin may lead to skin lesions, heartburn, nausea, sensitivity to light, numbness, muscle weakness, hyperaesthesia, and paraesthesia.

Vitamin B9 (folate)

The upper limit of folate for adults is 1,000mcg a day and consuming the vitamin above this recommended value may lead to seizures, skin reactions, nausea, confusion, sleep disorders, irritability, abdominal cramps, digestive issues, and risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin C

The recommended upper limit for adults is 2,000 mg per day. Symptoms of vitamin C toxicity include nausea, increased risk of kidney stones, stomach cramps, and, diarrhea. Vitamin C toxicity is particularly dangerous for people with genetic conditions like diabetes.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D toxicity mostly leads to hypercalcemia (build-up of calcium in the blood), and this causes nausea, vomiting, calcium stones, and bone pain. Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, and weight loss. The recommended upper limit for adults is 100mcg a day.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E serves as an anticoagulant. Excess vitamin E causes blood thinning which interferes with blood clotting and causes fatal bleeding. The upper limit of this vitamin for adults is 1,100 mg a day.

Can excess vitamin be fatal?

In extreme cases, vitamin toxicity could lead to death, but this rarely happens. Megadoses of specific vitamins could lead to organ damage and failure.

If you have a health condition, always consult your private GP in London before taking a new vitamin supplement. Also, ask your GP if you have signs of an allergic reaction after taking a vitamin tablet.

You can contact the Private Blood Tests London Clinic on 020 71830244 to book an appointment with our GP for your vitamin blood test.

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