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Don't Go Overboard On Vitamin Supplements

-- When it comes to taking vitamins, taking too much can be as bad as not taking enough.

On Friday's edition of The Early Show, Dr. Emily Senay provided us with some guidance on the dangers of vitamin overdoses.

Do people need to take vitamin supplements?

The best way to get the recommended amount of vitamins is with a well-balanced diet. But many of us do take supplements, and the right amount can vary from person to person when it comes to factors like age, sex, existing medical conditions, pregnancy and so forth.

How do you know which vitamins to take?

A basic rule to remember is to consult with your doctor to see which supplements you need. Don't just assume that more is necessarily better. Some vitamins just wash right through you if you take too much like vitamin C. Some build up in your fat tissue and can cause problems like vitamin A.

Can a multivitamin fulfill your vitamin needs?

Your doctor will tell you if you need to take them, but most brands of multi-vitamin taken once a day will provide the recommended allowance of a whole spectrum of vitamins and nutrients... And won't give you enough to make you sick.

What are some potential problems?

These days it's easy to get many times the recommended daily allowance in one pill. For instance, this vitamin c supplement is 1000 milligrams That's about fifty to a hundred times more than you actually need.


Vitamin C is an essential part of the diet and helps the body in many ways; for instance, it's an anti-oxidant. Because it dissolves in water, the body can usually easily get rid of what it doesn't need.

But more than 1000 milligram a day is too much and can cause headaches, intestinal and urinary problems and prolonged use can cause kidney stones and a recent study has suggested that heavy doses can also cause hardening of the arteries.


Vitamin E is also an anti-oxidant, but too much can cause fatigue, nausea and diarrhea.


This can be very toxic in high doses and can be life-threatening. It can also cause a lot of problems if you take too much over time, including liver damage, blindness, osteoporosis and gastric cancer.

Excessive Vitamin A can also cause birth defects if taken while pregnant and fluid on the brain in children.


Many women take this for osteoporosis in conjunction with calcium because it helps the body absorb calcium. But if you take megadoses of vitamin D you run the risk of kidney failure, mental changes, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhea.

Some of the B vitamins like niacin can also cause health problems in high doses.

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