Can You OD on Supplements?

It seems like there's a supplement for everything these days. One for your brain health, another for stronger nails and shinier hair, another designed to slow the aging process- with so many positive claims it's tempting to want to take them all. Tempting until you take a moment and think to yourself "Can you take too many supplements? Is it possible to OD on Vitamin E?"

Too Much of a Good Thing

The answer is yes, there is such thing as too much of a good thing and that's especially true when it comes to supplements. Even if you take only one daily multi vitamin a day you could be doing more harm than good.

Often when you turn around a supplement bottle and look at the ingredients listed you notice different vitamins and minerals listed out with their dosage per serving. You'll also notice a percent of the daily value. If that percent is above 100- your taking too much! And that's not including the vitamins already in the nutrients from your diet or if you're taking multiple supplements.

What's the Worst That Can Happen?

Taking too much of a vitamin or mineral can have serious health effects. Your body doesn't just get rid of what it doesn't need. Many vitamins and minerals that accumulate in the body cause both long and short turn damage. Below are a few of the common vitamins and minerals to be especially careful of consuming too much.

Vitamin A- listed as retinyl palmitate, retinol, or retinoic acid, too much of it can lead to a condition called hypervitaminosis A. This occurs when there's a build up of vitamin A in the body over a long period of time. Symptoms include changes in vision and skin, bone pain, liver damage, and increased pressure on the brain. In some cases vitamin A toxicity can even be caused by topical skincare treatments - another reason to add to why we stay clear of in in our skincare formulas.

Vitamin B3- Most likely listed as niacin, it doesn't accumulate in the body, however high doses of the vitamin can cause digestion problems, muscle loss, and muscle pain.

Vitamin E- or tocopheryl acetate, it can accumulate in the body and can be especially dangerous for people talking blood thinners or even aspirin as it can reduce your body's ability to clot blood. 

Iron- A mineral that lives in your blood and prevents anemia. It can build up and put you at increased risk for heart disease and cancer. Only premenopausal women really need to take iron supplements and only when a doctor advises to do so.

But What About the FDA

Just like in the cosmetic industry, supplements are regulated by the FDA which has very lax regulations on both industries. Most are self regulated and claims are never verified by the FDA unless they are specifically stated to be so. 

The Doctor and Mother Nature

The best thing to do when it comes to supplements and making sure that you aren't doing more harm than good is to alway consult with a doctor before starting anything new. And try getting your vitamins and minerals from plant sources rather than supplements. Many minerals and vitamins are best consumed with the addition of the phytonutrients found in fruits and veggies. Plus, there hasn't been a reported case of kale overdose- well, not yet.


Alder New York and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Alder New York is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.

Leave a comment