How Many Supplements is Too Many? An Expert's Perspective

Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health, but it is possible to consume too much. Taking too many supplements can be hazardous to your health, and it is important to understand the recommended daily dose and upper tolerable level of each nutrient. In this article, we will explore the potential risks of taking too many supplements, the warning signs to look out for, and how to ensure you are taking the right amount. The upper tolerable level for most vitamins and minerals is 1,000 milligrams (1,500 IU), while the recommended daily dose is 30 IU. It is not possible to overdose through a diet or fortified foods.

However, people often take supplements in an effort to prevent Alzheimer's, heart disease, macular degeneration and cancer. In a study on Alzheimer's disease, people took 2000 IU for four years with no adverse effects. In another study, people took 800 IU for six years with no adverse effects. Dr. Johanna Dwyer of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health says that vitamin D, calcium and folic acid are three nutrients you can consume in excess, especially through supplements.

Once you know what you need most, it is important to add supplements to your daily routine. Supplements have labels that indicate how much of a recommended dietary dose is needed, so that's where you can fill the gap. Dr. Bailey suggests targeting 100 percent of the recommended daily dose as a good barometer to follow. The problem arises when the percentage is not tracked.

Each nutrient has different warning signs when taken in excess, but the Office of Dietary Supplements has fact sheets that describe everything in detail. The symptoms of taking more supplements than the body needs vary depending on the nutrient and the amount ingested, and may only appear in blood tests. A person taking some supplements may be surprised to discover that two of the capsules contain the same ingredient and therefore take much more than the recommended daily allowance. According to the NIH, you're more likely to experience side effects from dietary supplements if you take them in high doses or use many different supplements. Among those who updated their regimens, 91 percent reported increasing their supplement intake. Increased inflammation and oxidative stress may promote the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and some dietary supplements have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help prevent both health problems. It is important to talk to your doctor about any supplements you're taking, including vitamins and minerals, and also about the dose you're taking.

For example, a vitamin B12 supplement may be a good idea for older adults and people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. If you're taking medications that interfere with nutrient absorption or if you're an elderly person whose caloric intake is low, a multivitamin supplement may be beneficial. If you eat cereal for breakfast and carrots or sweet potatoes for lunch, and then take an eye health supplement, you've probably exceeded the recommended amount according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin C supplements may also interact with cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Many women continue to take iron-containing supplements after menopause when menstruation stops and iron needs decrease. In conclusion, it is important to understand how much of each nutrient your body needs in order to stay healthy.

It is also important to be aware of potential side effects from taking too many supplements. Talk to your doctor about any supplements you are taking and make sure you are not exceeding the recommended daily dose.

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