Am I overdoing the vitamins by eating prepackaged goodness?
February 27, 2007 8:51 AM   Subscribe

I often consume a Clif Bar, an Odwalla Super Protein, and a multivitamin all in one day. Am I at risk for vitamin overdose?
posted by juniper to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1) B complex vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble and it's basically impossible to get too much; you'll just pee it out.

2) Vitamins A & D are fat soluble and can be retained by the body to an unhealthy degree (see here), and apparently too much Iron and Calcium can be harmful too (see here).

3) So, read all the labels and see if you're far over your RDA for any of those 4 ingredients.

Obviously I am not a doctor; if you feel sick you'll go to the doctor instead of asking random strangers for advice, right??
posted by rkent at 9:05 AM on February 27, 2007

First Google result for "vitamin overdose".

"The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions."

If you have any of those symptoms, ask them. If you don't, don't worry about it.
posted by scottreynen at 9:07 AM on February 27, 2007

Am I the only one who didn't interpret overdose in the sense of a literal Pulp Fiction style overdose. I thought juniper just meant "could I be consuming enough to hurt me?"

This New Scientist article suggests that too much vitamin E has been linked to heart disease and too much vitamin C has been linked to "atherosclerosis in some people with diabetes." These links are clearly very preliminary. On the other hand, the positive health impact of vitamins and anti-oxidants (the subject of the article), also seems to be in doubt. People who consume antioxidants as part of their diet definitely benefit but these benefits don't seem to translate to those who consume antioxidants via supplements.
posted by stuart_s at 9:16 AM on February 27, 2007

You're fine. And that sounds like a tasty snack.
posted by drstein at 9:45 AM on February 27, 2007

Response by poster: Whew. Thanks. No sick feelings, just concern. And yeah, maybe overdose was a bad word choice. "Am I slowly poisoning myself with vitamins?" would have been better.
posted by juniper at 10:23 AM on February 27, 2007

If the Vit. A is supplied as beta-carotene you can't overdose on it. Beta-carotene is a precursor to Vit A, so if you have enough A in your system already, your body just doesn't convert it. Vitamin A is the most worrisome one, that's why I'm focusing on it. I'll see if I can dig up max daily values for the others.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:27 AM on February 27, 2007

Here's one chart of max daily values, and here's another. Both seem in the ballpark of what I'd expect.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:32 AM on February 27, 2007

Somewhat off topic but when I started taking Accutane I was also eating a lot of Luna bars. I had to stop eating them because they were making me nauseous. I assume because of the vitamin A added to the bars; you can't take A with Accutane because it's already taxing the hell out of your liver with A.

In addition to A and D, K and E are also fat soluble. I remember it by saying AKED.
posted by birdie birdington at 11:49 AM on February 27, 2007

Anyone who's taken Accutane can tell you that if you were getting too much vitamin A, you'd know something was off.
posted by crinklebat at 6:09 PM on February 27, 2007

Today's BBC has a story about a study suggesting that taking some vitamins can shorten lifespan. Apparently results of studies have bene decidedly mixed; the article suggests, like stuart_s above, that the better option is probably to eat a balanced diet.
posted by Tuwa at 5:09 AM on February 28, 2007

I drank that vitamin C Monster Odwalla juice every day for a few weeks and my mouth started bleeding until I stopped. I think when you OD on vitamins your body tells you.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 5:38 PM on March 3, 2007

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