You may not want to eat that next multivitamin.
Vitamins and minerals are good for you, and if you’re like most people in Atlanta, you do not get enough of them. Current US diets are almost disastrously low in nutrients, with the vast majority of Atlantans not getting nearly enough of the nutrition they need.
To counter this, many people take multivitamins – simple, easy to swallow pills that have all of the daily value of nutrients that research recommends. The intention of these multivitamins is to make sure that you have at least your daily value of the vitamins and minerals you need, each and every day.
Everything in Moderation
It is already questionable how much taking a single pill filled with dozens of different vitamins and minerals can really help improve your health, especially given that the body digests these nutrients in complex ways.
But there is a secondary issue as well – namely, that even though vitamins and minerals are healthy, too many vitamins and minerals may not be good for you. This is true in all forms of nutrition, and one of the main reasons that doctors and nutritionists use the term “everything in moderation” when talking about food choices.
What Happens with Too Many Vitamins
Eating an egg a day can be healthy. Eating 100 eggs a day can be dangerous. Eating a small handful of nuts is healthy. Eating 3 lbs of nuts a day can be dangerous. All foods have limits, and vitamins and minerals are no different. Depending on your diet, taking too much of any vitamin or mineral can cause several nutritional problems:
- Fat Storage – One problem arises as a result of how vitamins and minerals are stored in the body. Some vitamins, such as lipid soluble vitamins, are stored in fat cells when they are found in excess. If you consume these vitamins every day in high doses, they may build up in your body to levels that could be toxic to your kidneys or liver.
- Overdose – Similarly, you may not be measuring all of your vitamin intake. Calcium, for example, which is found in daily products (among other places), is also found in medicines like Tums, in nearly all multivitamins, and it’s added to several foods. Too much calcium can cause an excitatory response in the brain that may lead to anxiety. Far too much calcium may have toxic effects.
- Stomach Issues – All vitamins need to be processed in some way. If you take more vitamins than your stomach, intestines, liver, or kidneys can handle, that excess can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and more.
- Cancer – It’s not entirely clear how vitamins can lead to the development of cancer, but studies have consistently showed that very high doses of some vitamins, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B, lead to an increased risk of developing some forms of cancer. The most groundbreaking study involved Vitamin A, which is known to reduce cancer risk in “healthy doses,” but backfired on researchers who believed that it would help cure cancer in high doses. The high dose group started developing their own cancers, and the study had to end.In addition, high doses of some vitamins and minerals can lead to blood clotting, kidney stones, irregular heartbeat, liver damage, and much more.
Know Your Body to Know What You Need
This is not to say that vitamins and minerals will not help you, or that a multivitamin is necessarily harmful. But it is true that simply adding a multivitamin to your diet is not necessarily going to give you the nutrients you need, and depending on your DNA, your health, your age, your diet, and countless other factors, it could actually be harmful for you.
If you’re looking to improve your health, don’t simply reach for a multivitamin. Instead, consider looking at your specific body composition and nutrition profile, and get matched with the vitamins and nutritional guidelines that will help benefit you most. Integrative Wellness Atlanta offers genetic testing for your fitness profile that will tell you exactly what supplements will work best for your body. For more information, call Integrative Wellness Atlanta today at 678-841-7055.