Daily Vitamins - don't over do it - Women's Health Magazine

Daily Vitamins: Don't Overload Your System Dietary supplements are easy to overdo, make sure you know the proper dosage

At the rate vitamins and minerals are being added to food, it won't be long until fortified Jelly Bellys hit the market—oh wait, they already have. The National Institutes of Health warns of the dangers of too many vitamins. "Quite a few people who take a multivitamin and eat a healthy diet are getting twice what they need," says Diane Birt, Ph.D., director of the Center for Research on Botanical Dietary Supplements at Iowa State University. And that can be dangerous.

Here are five nutrients people often get too much of. Check out the dosage you're getting from the fortified foods you eat and the vitamins you take and make sure your intake falls within the recommended range for dietary supplements<.


RDA 1,000 mg

Top Limit 2,500 mg

The risk Watch out for calcium-fortified Tums or calcium-fortified chocolates. Too much calcium can lead to kidney stones, calcium deposits in your arteries, and, ironically, weakened bones. That's because an excess of calcium prevents absorption of other nutrients necessary for bone health, such as magnesium, says Mark Woodin, Sc.D., professor of epidemiology and environmental health at Tufts University in Boston.


Recommended daily amount (RDA) not established

Top Limit not established

The risk Smokers (and inhalers of secondhand smoke) beware: When beta-carotene taken in supplement form mixes with cigarette smoke, it changes from an antioxidant that wards off cancer to a harmful pro-oxidant that ups the risk of lung cancer. Get the nutrient through foods like carrots and sweet potatoes rather than pills.


RDA 18 mg

Top Limit 45 mg

The risk Studies show that high blood levels of iron (found in meats, spinach, lentils, and soybeans) may be a risk factor for heart disease. Iron also competes with important minerals like copper for absorption in the body, says Roberta Anding, R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Vitamin A

RDA 700 mcg

Top Limit 3,000 mcg

The risk Too much vitamin A can cause liver problems, diminished bone density, and birth defects, says Martha Belury, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at The Ohio State University. Since you get the vitamin A you need through foods like milk, eggs, carrots, and peppers, a supplement isn't necessary.


RDA 8 mg

Top Limit 40 mg

The risk An overdose of zinc can lead to upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle spasms. It isn't hard to max out when some lozenges for cold relief deliver between 46 and 50 milligrams a day, according to ConsumerLab, an independent firm that verifies commercial claims.

via Nutritional Supplements: Dietary Supplement Guidelines | Women's Health Magazine.