Supplements Vitamin Role

Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in sustaining our bodily functions and keeping us healthy. Whether or not you eat the healthiest foods, taking a multivitamin and other dietary supplements is a good idea. You are likely not getting every essential vitamin, given that some vitamins we need aren’t present in many, if any, foods.

While growing infants and children should take a multivitamin to ensure proper development, so too should adults and the elderly take dietary supplements to preserve their health and ensure proper functioning of their bodies.

Similarly, those with certain health conditions, such as pregnancy or a common cold, should take vitamins to ensure that their bodies are getting enough nutrients during this temporary strain on their systems.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals are essential to keeping us healthy because they ensure that our bodies’ systems and organs can maintain their proper functioning. However, when people aren’t getting necessary nutrition, they can develop a number of mild to severe health complications, including:

  • abdominal pain
  • blindness
  • brittle bones
  • depression
  • edema (general inflammation and swelling)
  • excessive bleeding
  • infection, such as blood, respiratory and ocular (eye) infections
  • insomnia
  • muscle weakness
  • nerve damage
  • skin lesions.

Keep in mind that the type of serious side effects that you experience due to vitamin deficiency will depend on your age, gender, ethnicity and general health status. For example, if you already suffer from a chronic condition, such as asthma or diabetes, vitamin deficiencies are far more likely to cause other serious conditions than if you are healthy adult with no other underlying health problems.

However, over a significant period of time, untreated vitamin deficiencies will cause serious health problems and potentially death, regardless of age or overall health.

Vitamin or Dietary Supplement Overdoses

Just as a lack of vitamin and mineral intake compromises peoples’ health, excessive intake of them can cause serious health problems, especially if intake persists for extended periods.

Keep in mind, as well, that overdoses of water soluble vitamins will affect the body far differently than overdoses of fat soluble vitamins. For example, while excess amounts of the water soluble vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin B) will be excreted by the body, overdoses of fat soluble vitamins (such as vitamin D) will accumulate in the body, namely in the liver. Over time, excessive fat soluble vitamins can cause serious, irreversible damage to the liver.

Here are some of the other types of health complications and side effects that arise from vitamin overdoses:

  • blood clots
  • cirrhosis of the liver (a disease that scars the liver and causes it to swell with fat, impeding its proper function)
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • nerve damage
  • rashes
  • reproductive problems
  • vomiting.

The main reason that people overdose on vitamins is that they simply take too many dietary pills, putting an immense strain on the body as it tries to filter them out. Similarly, those who do get enough nutrients in their foods and still take a number of dietary supplements are also at risk of overdosing on multivitamins.

To avoid overdose, talk to your doctor. Inform him of your usual diet and inquire about which types of supplements would be best for you. This will not only ensure that you are getting the nutrition you need, but it will also prevent you from ingesting too many vitamins and minerals.


Obikoya, George (n.d.). Vitamin Overdose. Retrieved October 24, 2007, from The Vitamins and Nutrition Center Web site: