Is there a such thing as too many vitamins?

I’ve shared about vitamins and whether or not they’re good for you, but what about in excess amounts?

In past blog posts, I’ve shared about vitamins and whether or not they’re good for you. In an interview with Norton Healthcare family medicine physician Alison Tucker, M.D., she listed vitamins that are generally on the “good for you list,” such as vitamin D. (Watch interview: To take or not to take? Solving the vitamin dilemma)

Dr. Tucker said it’s always a good idea to tell your primary care provider what vitamins you are taking in addition to your prescription medicines. “Your doctor can review the over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements you take to see if they should be continued or discontinued based on your current medical condition,” she said.

But what about so-called megavitamins? They’re the ones that deliver far more than the average daily requirement—150 percent and up.

Some researchers have argued that the Food and Drug Administration should regulate these megavitamins. According to Paul A. Offit, M.D., of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, taking too many antioxidant-rich vitamins can be harmful. For example, a 1994 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that smokers who took a daily beta-carotene supplement were more likely to die from lung cancer or heart disease than those who didn’t take the supplement.

A 2012 study showed that excess amounts of beta-carotene, vitamin E and possibly vitamin A may also be linked to increased mortality risk. In a New York Times article, Offit wrote, “Most people assume that … excess vitamins can’t do any harm.” He added, “Scientists have known for years that large quantities of supplemental vitamins can be quite harmful indeed.” For more on this topic, go to:


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