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Is Vitamin Overdosing (OD) Possible?
- A vitamin is an organic compound whose molecules contain carbon. There are two types: water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins
- Vitamin overdose is possible. The symptoms include itchy skin, bone pain and fatigue
- Dietary minerals like amino acids and essential fatty acids don’t count as vitamins
- Fat soluble vitamins can be found in vitamin A and vitamin D supplements
- Water soluble vitamins can be found in vitamin C and vitamin B-12
When we were children, our parents nagged us saying that we needed to take our vitamins. Though this may not be an experience shared by everyone, chances are that most people learn during their childhood that the human body needs vitamins. Is it possible, however, for our bodies to be harmed by vitamins? Is overdoing on vitamins, even though they are good for our body, even possible? How can something so good become bad? It’s important to remember that just because something is good, more of it doesn’t always mean better.
What is a vitamin? A vitamin is an organic compound whose molecules contain carbon. Our body needs vitamins in very little amounts. Vitamins cannot be synthesized by our body in sufficient amounts; they are transported to our body via food. The classification of vitamins is not based on their structure, but on their biological and chemical activity. Each vitamin can be involved in several vitamer compounds. Other nutrients like dietary minerals, essential amino acids and essential fatty acids don’t fall into the vitamin category.
People knew a long time before vitamins were discovered that a certain kind of food would have a specific effect on the body. It was discovered by the Scottish surgeon, James Lind, that scurvy could be prevented by consuming citrus foods. Now, we can get vitamins in the form of pills, but this was not possible until the 1900s. Before that time people could get vitamins only through food.
We can discern two types of vitamins: those that are fat-soluble and those that are water-soluble. By eating fat-soluble vitamins, we contribute to the storage of this type of vitamin in the fat tissues of our body and in the liver. They stay inactive there for some time, waiting for the appropriate moment to be released. They can wait a few days or even a few months. When the body is in need of them, they are brought by special carriers to needed areas. These are A, D, E, and K vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins act in a different way. These vitamins are not stored in the body but travel in the body through the blood. Therefore, these vitamins should be replaced more often. These are C, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamine).
However, overdosing is possible. It is unlikely that you can ever cause an overdose of vitamins by food intake. This is much more likely to happen when vitamin supplements are consumed in large doses. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, dehydration, severe headache, itchy skin, bone pain, fatigue and diarrhea. Vitamin D supplements can be very dangerous if too much is taken. High vitamin E doses can increase your chance for a heart attack. High levels of vitamin A can cause birth defects as it accelerates osteoporosis.
If you think that you have overdosed your intake of vitamins, stop taking supplements. In most cases that should be enough, but if something serious results, consult your doctor. Don’t expect to be magically healed by pills that contain vitamins. Study the laws of health before buying and consuming.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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