Most supplements are generally safe to take, but there are exceptions. Excessive amounts of calcium and vitamin D can raise the risk of developing kidney stones. Taking megadoses (often the recommended daily amount) of vitamins is not recommended, as it can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients or medications, or even become toxic if taken in large amounts over a long period of time. In most cases, people don't need to take vitamin supplements and can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy, balanced diet.
The Department of Health and Social Welfare suggests certain supplements for certain groups of people who are at risk of suffering from a deficiency. However, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicates that people can continue to consume supplements. Eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods is linked to longer and healthier lives, so make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet and consult with a healthcare provider if you're unsure if taking supplements would be beneficial for you. Scientific evidence suggests that taking a lot of supplements does not have any real health benefits and, in some cases, can be harmful.
From late March or early April to late September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and by following a balanced diet. Even if none of the supplements individually exceed the upper limit of a given nutrient, combining several pills, such as a multivitamin and an additional vitamin D capsule, for example, may result in higher than recommended doses. Vitamins and supplements come in many forms, from pills to gummies, chewables, liquids and more. You should also be cautious when taking vitamins that contain additional substances, such as herbs and botanicals, which often lack research on long-term effects and potential side effects.
In other developed countries where there is generally more access to a wide range of foods, some of which are fortified with vitamins, scientists have found that people who eat plenty of foods rich in vitamins and minerals tend to live longer, healthier lives. Folic acid supplements should be taken before becoming pregnant, so start taking them before stopping birth control or if there is a chance you may become pregnant. Many people choose to take supplements, but taking too many or taking them for too long could be detrimental. Kitchin also suggested calcium and vitamin D supplements to some patients who are at risk for osteoporosis, but I always analyze their diet before prescribing them.