Can Excess Vitamin Intake Hurt You?

Understanding Vitamin Neccessity!

Vitamins are organic compounds which are essential to the body in small quantities for sustaining life. We usually get the required amount of vitamins from the food we eat on a regular basis. However, at times, some individuals may suffer from vitamin deficiency and may require taking additional supplements of vitamins. Well! It must be mentioned that though vitamins may be essential for our body, taking excess of vitamins can also be harmful. Read below to know if vitamin overload can hurt you.

Can Excess Vitamin Intake Hurt You?

Can Excess Vitamin Intake Hurt You?

There is a belief that “If a little can do good, a lot can do even better.” Many times people feel that if taking vitamin in small quantity is good for health, then it is even better to take more and more of vitamin supplements. However, excess vitamin intake or vitamin overload can be harmful and actually hurt you in many ways. Though most water soluble vitamins get excreted when too much is consumed, others, however, remain in the body. These vitamins can reach toxic levels and may cause serious side effects in the body. We will have a note on each vitamin and what happens when that vitamin overload occurs.

  1. Consequence of Excess Vitamin A Intake:

    Vitamin A is known to promote good vision and also helps in forming and maintaining healthy skin, teeth and skeletal and soft tissue and also the mucous membrane. It is noted that those individuals who do not get enough of vitamin A are more likely to get infectious diseases and vision problems.

    However, a high dose of vitamin A or vitamin A overload can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, tiredness, headaches, loss of appetite, dizziness, blurred vision, itchiness and scaling of the skin, poor muscle coordination, hair loss, bone pain, irregular menstruation in women, osteoporosis and temporary or permanent liver damage. Moreover, it is also known that a higher dose of vitamin A can increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers. Acute hypervitaminosis is another severe condition that is caused from the vitamin A overload and it may cause symptoms like loss of skin and hair, hemorrhage, liver damage, coma and also death.

    Now, talking how much of vitamin A can actually harm you, it can be mentioned that 3000 mg of vitamin A per day is the limit and anything more can cause unpleasant consequences.

  2. Consequence of Excess Vitamin B Intake:

    There is a group of 8 distinct vitamins in Vitamin B and each one is responsible for helping various bodily functions. These functions of the vitamin G group may range from supporting the rate of metabolism, promoting healthy skin and hair to memory support.

    However, with vitamin B6 overdose, there may be nerve toxicity, vitamin B3 can cause nausea, liver toxicity, jaundice, etc. Folic acid or vitamin B9 overload can be associated with cancer risks. It is also known to cause stomach problems, rashes, seizure, trouble sleeping etc.

    Taking more than 200 mg or 300 mg of Vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage.

  3. Consequence of Excess Vitamin C Intake:

    Vitamin C is one of the most widely recognized vitamins of all. Deficiencies of vitamin C can lead to teeth loss, fatigue, acne and also death. Most doctors also recommend taking vitamin C to help fight off cold. However, a vitamin C overload can cause several problems.

    It is considered that around 2000 mg of vitamin C can be consumed; though taking this amount may cause serious symptoms of heartburn, vomiting, insomnia,, headache and kidney stones.

    Taking anything more than 1000 mg per day can lead to diarrhea. It is good to take foods like cereals, fruits like oranges, vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts can be good to consume vitamin C naturally.

  4. Consequence of Excess Vitamin D Intake:

    There have been a lot of buzz about vitamin D deficiency in recent times. Vitamin D or the Sunshine vitamin is primarily responsible for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus in our bones. Vitamin D deficiency may cause an increasing risk of broken bones, osteoporosis, discomfort in bones etc.

    However, vitamin D overload can cause permanent damage to your heart and kidneys. Some of the symptoms of vitamin D overload can include vomiting, nausea, alternating constipation and diarrhea. Sometimes an overdose of vitamin D can cause serious heart rhythm abnormalities. Moreover, vitamin D overload in pregnancy can increase the potential of mental retardation in babies.

    It has been shown that taking 40,000 IU of vitamin D in infants and 50,000 IU in adults for several months can cause severe toxicity. It is always advisable to know in a very appropriate way about the required dosages of vitamin D intake, especially if you are pregnant. Do consult with your doctor about it.

  5. Consequence of Excess Vitamin E Intake:

    Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is easy to get in your diet from foods such as eggs, meat and vegetables. This is why it is very rare for people to suffer from Vitamin E deficiency.

    It is known that the average person requires only 15 mg of vitamin E per day, though the body can tolerate more. A vitamin E overload can cause problems with blood clotting, and poses risks of hemorrhage. High doses of vitamin E can also be linked to both, lung and prostate cancers.

  6. Consequence of Excess Multivitamins Intake:

    We usually get vitamins from our regular diet. However, health conscious people usually take multivitamins. It must be noted that more than one a day may hurt you over a long period of time.

    As per the National Institute of Health, the most serious risk from multivitamin overload can be calcium toxicity that may cause weak bones, abdominal pain, constipation, depression, irregular heartbeat etc. Multivitamins that include iron when taken in large amount can cause problems like diarrhea and liver damage as well as low blood pressure and coma.


It must be noted that depending on the severity of the health problems, a vitamin overload or excess vitamin intake may not be cause for immediate alarm. You can simply reduce them or discontinue taking daily multivitamins if the health issues are not life threatening. However, if you have any concerns it is always best to seek medical assistance. You need to take emergency medical treatment for acute life threatening symptoms of vitamin overload.

Though vitamin supplementation could be a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, if there are no underlying health problems. Yet, the risk of excess vitamin intake or vitamin overload cannot be ignored. So, always seek expert advice from a healthcare profession, before implementing any vitamin regimen and keep you health safe and secured.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2017

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