Supplements Multivitamin Precautions

Although we all know that taking vitamins is a good way to stay healthy and ward off illness, in some cases, vitamins and dietary supplements can be detrimental to our health. For example, if a person overuses vitamins by taking too many dietary supplements, his body will be strained as it tries to filter out the excess. Eventually, if vitamin overuse continues for long periods of time, an individual can suffer from serious health problems, including cirrhosis and reproductive problems.

Along with the potential for overdosing, other precautions people need to be aware of as they take vitamins include the potential for:

  • allergies to supplements
  • health problems due to vitamins’ negative effects on existing conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • interaction with other medications (either prescription or over-the-counter).

Similarly, other transient health conditions can cause people to have negative physical reactions to taking vitamins and dietary supplements. For example, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or going through menopause will have unique vitamin needs, as well as specific vitamins that they should avoid.

Allergies to Vitamins

When most people think of allergy-causing substances (referred to as allergens in the medical world), they tend to think of the most common types of allergens, such as pollen, dust and food allergies. However, allergens can be just as individualized as people themselves are. In fact, anything from mangoes to perfumes to vitamins can cause people to suffer from allergies.

Unfortunately, many allergies aren’t diagnosed until after an individual has suffered from an allergic reaction. This means that, if you or a family member has an allergy to vitamins, you likely won’t know until after the allergic individual has ingested the allergen and experienced an allergic reaction.

If you suspect that you (or someone you know) is allergic to vitamins, see a doctor immediately for the proper testing. Pinpointing the allergen and avoiding it is important for warding off potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

Taking Vitamins for Allergy Relief

While vitamins can cause allergic reactions, for some people, certain vitamins actually provide relief from allergy symptoms:

  • Bioflavonoids can reduce blood histamines, the substance the body releases when it suffers from an allergic reaction.
  • Magnesium can open up airways, making breathing easier for those suffering from allergic reactions.
  • Vitamin A, selenium and zinc can protect the mucous membranes, shielding them from potential allergens (such as dust and pollen).
  • Vitamin C can reduce the number of histamines in the blood.

Choosing the Proper Vitamin

As you are choosing among the various multivitamins on the market, keep in mind that the best vitamins and supplements for you will depend on the following factors:

  • your age
  • your current state of health
  • your diet
  • your exercise regimen
  • your gender.

Each of these factors will determine whether or not your body needs more or less of different types of vitamins and minerals. For example, while a young male body builder will likely need to increase his intake of protein, iron and calcium to maintain muscle and bone strength, a young child sick with a cold will be better suited by taking more vitamin C and B to boost his immune system.

Before selecting a multivitamin for you and each member of your family, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can inform you about the most effective brands on the market, as well as which types of vitamins are best for men, women and children.


Mother Nature (n.d.). Allergies. Retrieved October 25, 2007, from the Mother Nature Web site: