EXPERT.COM - response to Vitamin Toxicity by Dr. Wald

Hi. Is it at all possible that I could overdose if I take nutritional supplementsThank you.


Hello Miss Susie:

Regarding overdose of vitamin supplements you bring up an important question. The quick response to your question is YES a person can overdose taking any vitamin, mineral or herbal product. There are fat and water soluble nutrients. The major water soluble nutrients are the B-vitamins including B1, B2, B5, B6, folic acid and B12. B6 in the form of pyridoxine can be toxic to nerves causing neuropathy (painful nerves) that can be irreversible. The other B-vitamins, if overdosed, generally cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Too much folic acid without a balance of vitamin B12 can also cause irreversible neuropathy. Having said this if blood levels of B12 and folic acid levels are elevated this is not a toxic situation and almost never needs to be corrected. High levels of vitamins appearing on blood work may also mean that the person needs higher levels. The ranges of various nutritional tests on blood work are often too low anyway thus "high" levels may be appropriate for most people. There are also fat-soluble vitamins: this group includes vitamin A, D, E and K .Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body in excess and can create many side-effects almost all of which reverse once the nutrient is removed. Fear over overdosing of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins D and A have actually lead, in part, to deficiencies of these nutrients in many of my patients and an increased risk of many diseases. The epidemic of vitamin D deficiency for example is so prominent that it is causing worldwide increased in overall death risk and disability. 

As each person is different requiring their own ideal amounts of various nutrients what may be too much of certain nutrients in one person may be just right in another. Careful laboratory testing, consultation and physical exam will often reveal nutrient excesses. 

You have mentioned a specific product and the relative toxicity or non-toxicity of this or any other product is based upon how your body physiologically manages it. 

If you are interested in avoiding toxicity and optimizing your nutritional intake I would suggest you consider visiting with a qualified clinical nutritionist. 

I hope that this information is helpful. 

Dr. Michael Wald
The Blood Detective, DC, MD, CDN /

Posted on January 24, 2014 .