Taking vitamins is a popular way to supplement your diet, but it's important to be aware of the potential side effects. Taking more than you need can be costly and may increase the risk of adverse reactions. For instance, too much vitamin A can lead to headaches, liver damage, weakened bones, and birth defects. Excessive iron intake can cause nausea, vomiting, and organ damage.
Children under four years old are particularly vulnerable to allergic reactions or digestive issues due to unsupervised ingestion of vitamins. According to nutritionist Dr. Lambert, many people experience stomach cramps and mistakenly believe they have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, once they stop taking their multivitamin, the problem often resolves itself. It's important to speak with your healthcare team before taking large doses of any vitamin, mineral, or supplement.
Dr. Lambert and other experts recommend that you prioritize getting your vitamins from food sources as they are easier for the body to absorb than in supplement form. In some parts of the world, taking a vitamin D supplement is recommended during winter months when there is less sunlight. Elderly people may have difficulty swallowing large vitamins or micronutrients in pill form. Multivitamins can be counterproductive as they contain high levels of iron, copper, and zinc which can prevent your body from absorbing other nutrients you consume.
Eating an orange or a cup of strawberries, chopped red pepper, or broccoli provides the recommended daily amount of 65-90 milligrams of vitamin C.Certain circumstances and individual differences may affect a person's vitamin needs such as pregnancy or if their doctor has recommended it. Scientists need to conduct more research to evaluate the effects of nutrient intake that falls between the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) and the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL).