What is vitamin toxicity?
Vitamin toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis, is a condition in which the amount of vitamins stored in our body overpasses the normal recommended level of vitamins, poisoning the body.
Usually, since the water soluble vitamins (B6, B12, Biotin, Folic Acid, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid) are not stored in our body and the extra amounts are excreted as waste, they do not present a high level of risk for our health. On the other hand, the fat soluble vitamins, A,D,E,K, are stored for a longer time in our body, mainly in fatty tissues and liver, and taking supplements that contain large amount of these vitamins can lead to a high level of toxicity. Some health problems can affect the absorption of fats in organism, hence decreasing the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. A professional medical consult can establish the health problem and the appropriate intake amounts of fat soluble vitamins.
The extra amounts of each fat soluble vitamin can lead to the following symptoms, such that:
- extra amount of vitamin A: headache, loss of appetite, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, risk of hip fracture, severe birth defects, itchy and dry skin.
- extra amounts of vitamin D: extra amount of calcium detected in blood, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, slowed mental and physical development.
- extra amount of vitamin E: hazardous effects on patients that take warfarin and statins
- extra amounts of vitamin K: liver damage, change of blood clotting times, red blood cells disintegration.
Vitamin toxicity is when a person takes massive doses of vitamins that result in side effects. Also know as hypervitaminosis or vitamin poisoning, it is a very rare condition but is slowly becoming more prevalent in developed countries because people will feel slightly sick and take a lot of supplements to "get better."
The water-soluble vitamins usually aren't a problem when it comes to vitamin toxicity because if a person has more water-soluble vitamins in their body than is needed, they will just urinate out the excess. However if a person if ingesting far more than the body can catch up to get rid of, then they can get vitamin poisioning. Fat-soluble vitamins are the more problematic part of vitamin toxicity because the vitamins will continue to be stored within your body and build up. Having too much these vitamins can cause a very toxic effect. Vitamin A and D are the most likely vitamins to produce vitamin toxicity.
Each type of vitamin has different side effects ranging from something as simple as nausea (certain water-soluble vitamins) to kidney damage, irreversible deposits of calcium crystals in the soft tissues of the body which may damage the heart and lungs, and among many other serious problems death may also occur.
Most forms of treatment for vitamin toxicity is to simply stop using the vitamins so they can over time get out of your system. Vitamin D toxicity and sever hypercalcemia need to be medically treated.
Hypervitaminosis refers to a condition of high storage levels of vitamins, which can lead to toxic symptoms.
Any of various abnormal conditions in which the physiological effect of a vitamin is produced to a pathological degree by excessive intake of the vitamin.
More than 60,000 instances of vitamin toxicity are reported annually to US poison control centers.Forty-four percent of Americans take vitamins and dietary supplements daily,and as many as 84% of Americans consider vitamins and supplements to be safe,a perception that increases their risk for vitamin toxicity.
Vitamin A is present as fatty-acid esters in food sources such as liver, kidney, and milk, and as provitamin A carotenoids in plants usually as beta-carotene. High intake of beta-carotene (hypercarotenaemia) can colour the skin yellow, sparing the eyes (in contrast to jaundice where the sclera are also yellow).
Vitamin A toxicity can be acute or chronic. It is well absorbed and there is no effective mechanism for removing or metabolising large quantities. Adults require 500 μg retinol equivalents/day, children 250-350 μg/day. Pregnant women should not exceed their recommended intake of 600 μg/day. High doses of vitamin A can be teratogenic.Toxicity from vitamin supplements has been reported in children.
Usually this is caused by excessive ingestion or overprescription of prescribed medications such as calcium with vitamin D.Occasionally there is increased calcitriol production as in hyperparathyroidism or malignancy including some renal adenomas, sarcomas and lymphomas. In sarcoidis there is a hypersensitivity to vitamin D. Excessive levels of vitamin D do not result from excessive exposure to sunlight because of further breakdown of D3 into products which have no effect on calcium metabolism.Recent concerns about vitamin D deficiency have led to increased use of supplements.
Vitamin E is present in a great many foods and 3 or 4 decades ago it appeared to be 'a vitamin in search of a deficiency'. Its importance had been demonstrated only for reproductive efficacy in rats. Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is a fat-soluble vitamin which acts as an antioxidant and disposes of free radicals. Problems only usually occur after a very large overdose.The recommended daily dose is 30 mg per day, and side-effects are usually experienced at doses above 1 g/kg.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and one of eight B vitamins. As such, it might be considered safe but at doses over 200 micrograms per day it can cause neurological disorders when taken over a prolonged period.It used to be prescribed extensively for carpal tunnel syndrome and premenstrual tension.
Vitamin Toxicity is when a person develops side effects from taking massive doses of vitamins. It is basically like alcohol poisoning, but with vitamins and different side effects.