For many people, taking a One A Day multivitamin has been part of the daily routine for years. And for many others, it is something they plan to get into their lives someday soon. But with all the good that can come from getting the recommended daily amounts of essential vitamins and minerals into your body comes a risk of side effects should you get too much.
A public-opinion survey by The American Dietetic Association revealed that half of America's adult population takes a vitamin supplement each day, and the trend is continuing upward as baby boomers age and become more concerned about their health. With the rise in number of people taking a vitamin every day comes a rise in occurrences of side effects associated with them. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), side effects range in cause from allergies to overdose with repercussions going from mild stomach irritation to liver damage and birth defects. One A Day is a multivitamin supplement that is available in many forms, including vitamin supplements for the elderly, specifically for women, specifically for men, for teens and for children. Common ingredients found in these products Vitamins A, C, E, K and the B-complex vitamins, which the FDA says the body has an absolute need for. Other minerals are also present depending on the variety selected.
Taking One a Day multivitamin supplements, according to the product's advertising, helps you stay healthy and active by supporting heart health, immunity, eye health and physical and mental energy by converting food to energy, a statement that the FDA has not evaluated. While the company doesn't claim their products diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases, it is widely accepted that getting the recommended daily vitamins and minerals are key to good health. Among the benefits of taking vitamins are the promotion of digestion, nerve function and growth.
We've all heard the phrase "If some is good, then more is better." That's not the case when it comes to vitamin supplements. "Vitamins are not dangerous unless you get too much of them," says Vasilios Frankos, Ph.D., director of FDA's Division of Dietary Supplement Programs. "More is not necessarily better with supplements."
The most common complaint when taking multivitamins is an upset stomach, which is likely caused by getting too much Vitamin C or Niacin (B-3), according to the FDA. But the agency also claims these two vitamins can cause flushing, redness of the skin and even kidney stones. Vitamin B-6 can cause nerve damage and numbness in the limbs, while folate can hide the signs of a B-12 deficiency in older people, which can also lead to nerve damage. According to the FDA, taking in too much of a fat-soluble vitamin such as Vitamin A can lead to nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, clumsiness, birth defects, liver problems and possible risk of osteoporosis. People who drink a lot of alcohol, have existing liver problems, high cholesterol or do not get enough protein are at a higher risk for these side effects. Similarly, the FDA notes that overdoing it on Vitamin D can lead to nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, weight loss, confusion, heart rhythm problems and deposits of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues. Vitamin E or K carries a risk for people on blood thinners and shouldn't be taken without consulting a doctor, according to the FDA.
Remember to tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking, because the FDA also claims that taking too much of a vitamin can often interfere with prescribed medicines or medical tests. In fact, the FDA recommends working with a physician to determine what, if any, supplement you should be taking. The variables you will want to discuss with your doctor may include your diet and daily routine. You may only need more Vitamin C, but already get plenty of Vitamin D. The need for a multivitamin varies from person to person and choosing what to take should be a decision you do not take lightly. See the resource link below for a printable chart of recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals by gender and age.