Can You Take Too Many Vitamins?

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your body gets all the nutrition it needs is to take vitamins. When it comes to vitamins, the options are endless, and they're easily accessible. With so many to choose from, you may find yourself piling bottles into your cart to achieve better health. You are not alone in taking vitamins for your health. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, almost 50% of adults in the United States take vitamins, and one-third take a multivitamin.

The foods you eat may not provide you with all the vitamins you need each day, so taking vitamins can give your body what's missing in your diet. Getting enough vitamins is crucial to your health because vitamin deficiency can lead to serious illnesses like rickets and scurvy (via Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). Although getting the proper amount of nutrients is important for your health, could you be taking too many vitamins?

There's no advantage to taking too many vitamins

Vitamins are necessary for our health, and taking a vitamin supplement can help prevent major health conditions. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for your health. According to WebMD, for each vitamin the body needs, you want to reach a daily value (DV) for good health. If you get vitamins through the food you eat and take a supplement that exceeds the DV, you may be getting too much of that vitamin.

Taking a vitamin that is lower than the DV is one way to ensure that you're not taking too many vitamins. Johanna Dwyer, a senior nutrition scientist at the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, tells WebMD, "Most people don't realize there's no real advantage to taking more than the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals, and they don't recognize there may be disadvantages."

Taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can be dangerous

There are two types of vitamins, water-soluble and fat-soluble. It is unlikely that taking too many water-soluble vitamins will cause a health concern. If you take too many water-soluble vitamins, the body can easily get rid of the excess. However, taking too many fat-soluble vitamins can lead to health issues (via Healthline).

Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you take more than the DV, fat-soluble vitamins can get stored inside fat cells in the body. As a result, vitamin toxicity can occur, according to Healthline. Vitamin toxicity's serious side effects include blood clotting, coma, stroke, irregular heartbeat, organ damage, and death. 

While taking vitamins may be a necessary step in obtaining better health, you should speak with your doctor or dietician to see how much of a vitamin you need or if you need vitamins at all. Your healthcare team can also help determine if any vitamins could potentially interact with your current medications.