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Are Large Doses of Dietary Supplements Safe?

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Are Large Doses of Dietary Supplements Safe?

Let’s us talk about a nutritional supplement myth

There is a common myth or misconception that vitamins and herbal supplements are safe even in large doses because they are natural and available over the counter. But the truth is that the use of large doses of vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, and other natural products to combat diseases is not supported by scientific research.

In fact, some research studies have shown that large doses of some minerals or vitamins can cause serious adverse effects in humans. For example, high levels of vitamin C can cause deficiency of copper, a metal required by the body in normal levels, as it can interfere with its absorption. High levels of phosphorous can reduce the body’s absorption of calcium. The human body cannot eliminate the large quantities of vitamins A, D, and K, and Iron, and therefore large doses of these supplements can cause unwanted side effects.

Are water soluble vitamins safe?

Unlike fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), the water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins) do not accumulate in the body. However, overdosing of some of them can produce deleterious effects. For instance, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) when taken in excessive amounts can cause nerve damage, although that is unlikely in doses lower than 300 mg/day.  

Consult doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health practitioners before overdosing any vitamin, mineral, or other natural products.

Danish Raza
Pharmacist, PhD
Emory University Hospital
Atlanta, GA, USA 

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