Taking Too Many Vitamins

High dosages of vitamins and supplements are considered prescriptions.

Did you know that high dosages of vitamins are considered prescription? I didn’t know or even cared to know.  After my physical earlier this year, my doctor asked me to start taking vitamin D3 and he was very specific on the dosage. These were his instructions: take 5,000 unit for 2 months then 2,000 units afterwards for maintenance. While I was out to buy D3, I also bought fish oil, vitamin C, zinc, B complex, and Vitamin E. Out of all these D3 was the only one recommended by the doctor, I bought the others because I believed they were good for me. Instead of taking 5,000 units for 2 months I kept taking it until my next check up, which was 4 months after my last visit. When I went back to the doctor he was sort of mad at me for taking all these vitamins and supplements I didn’t need. He was also upset that I was still taking 5,000 units instead of 2,000 units.

Initially, I was slightly confused because I believe taking vitamins & supplements was good for you. So then I decided to start looking into it. I found out that a high dosage of vitamins is considered prescription. Which means I was basically prescribing myself things I didn’t need.

Vitamins are considered safe, which contributes to people buying vitamins they don’t even need and also taking a high dosages. When it comes to vitamins & supplements, I think we forget that too much of anything can be harmful. For example, too much of Vitamin C can cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Too much of Vitamins B12 can cause headaches, itching, nervousness & anxiety. I didn’t experience any side effects but I could have if I didn’t stop taking 5,000 units of D3 everyday. One of the possible side effects of taking more than 4,000 units of Vitamin D daily is high levels of calcium in the blood.

Something very interesting that I found while looking into the vitamin obsession is that Vitamin C does not treat or prevent the cold. Research has been done on this and there’s little to no evidence that vitmamin C can prevent or treat the common cold. I was shocked when I found out about this one. One of the research articles I read found that taking Vitamin C will not prevent but can reduce the duration of the cold by 8% in adult and 14% in children (1).  And to benefit from this 8% reduction, you need to take vitamin C regularly. So basically you’re still going to get a cold wether you’re taking vitamin C or not. And if you do get a cold, taking Vitamin C will not help if you have not been previously taking it.

I also read multiple articles, some of them written by doctors, stating that if you’re not deficient a vitamin, there’s no benefit in supplementing it. Taking vitamins you don’t need may only cause you harm.

I’m not saying vitamins are bad or that you should throw your stack of vitamins away; I’m only saying to ask your doctor if you really need to them. And maybe even ask yourself if you’re showing symptoms of deficiency before you taking the vitamins. If you’re worried about not getting enough vitamins, try turning to a balanced diet, which will give you almost everything you need.