[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ood supplements have become a part of our diets. They are more commonly used by athletes and those who exercise and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, however, too much of a good thing can be bad as we find out about vitamin poisoning in this article.
Those of you who follow my posts and updates on the social media networks, know that I am a believer in vitamins and minerals. You don’t need me to tell you how important vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are for your health. However, if you have too much of them, you risk vitamin poisoning.
Vitamin poisoning is also referred to as hypervitaminosis. It refers to “a condition of high storage levels of vitamins which can lead to toxic symptoms.” These toxic levels of vitamins are due to high intake of supplements, not from dietary sources.
Vitamin poisoning from fat soluble vitamins
Hypervitaminosis generally concerns fat soluble vitamins. These vitamins are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and in the liver. They build up and stay in the body for longer periods of time than the water soluble vitamins. Vitamin A, D, E and K are all fat soluble.
Vitamin A (or retinol as it is also known) is important for the health of our teeth, skin and bones. Due to its role in forming of pigments in the retina, Vitamin A is particularly important for the health of our eyes.
Taking too much of it can cause Vitamin A poisoning (Hypervitaminosis A). There are two types of Vitamin A poisoning: acute or chronic.
Acute Vitamin A poisoning occurs when an individual takes high doses in short periods of time. The symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and peeling of the skin. It can cause the pressure inside the skull to increase to dangerous levels. If that pressure increase is left untreated, it can cause permanent brain damage.
Chronic Vitamin A poisoning is caused from taking high doses over long periods of time. Symptoms include hair loss, dry and cracked skin, dry eyes, frail bones prone to fractures.
Vitamin D plays a role in the immune system, parathyroid gland and pancreas. It also plays a major role in our bone formation by maintaining ideal levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Vitamin D poisoning (Hypervitaminosis D) is associated with increased levels of calcium in the blood. Common symptoms include appetite loss, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, constipation and irritability. In more serious cases, Vitamin D poisoning can cause heart rhythm abnormalities and kidney stones.
If left untreated these calcium deposits in soft tissues (such as the kidneys) may lead to kidney failure.
Vitamin E is a powerful oxidant. It supports the immune system and it helps the preservation of cell membranes in our bodies.
Consuming more than the recommended daily intake can lead to Vitamin E poisoning (Hypervitaminosis E). Symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, diarrhoea, nausea and disturbed vision.
Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting. Over consuming Vitamin K can damage the cell membranes. It can also lead to negative health effects due to its interaction with other drugs and antibiotics.
The majority of vitamin poisoning occurs as a result of taking high doses of supplements. Therefore before you start taking any supplements, it’s always a good idea to consult with your general practitioner.
[quote_box_center]Please visit the NHS Choices website for more information and recommended daily intake.[/quote_box_center]