Why you should avoid taking unprescribed supplements!

Published by M Johnson on

Macronutrients include minerals and vitamins. They are needed by the human bod in small quantities. Most of the foods that we consume have varied levels of some of these micronutrients. Thus, every time you eat, the food contributes to your micronutrient intake. That does not mean that the levels that are required can always be met this way. Often when the levels are not met, we suffer from deficiency diseases.

Supplements are concentrated forms of these macronutrients designed to deliver larger quantities. Often when taken without guidance, consumers may overlook their daily diet sources resulting in excess consumption. Micronutrients exhibit hermetic behaviors, that is, low intake will result in deficiencies while excess intake will result in toxicity. However, when taken in optimum levels, they enhance health. Thus, intake of suppliments can easily result in toxicity as shown below.

Examples for some micronutrient toxicity:

Vitamin A toxicity

Signs and symptoms of toxicity from excessive vitamin A is called hypervitaminosis A. It can appear with long-term supplement use at just six to ten times the RDA. The effects of toxicity are largely gastrointestinal upsets, headache, blurred vision, hair loss, bone abnormalities, liver damage and muscular in coordination. In pregnancy toxicity can cause birth defects.

Vitamin D toxicity

Vitamin D can be a very toxic substance. Intakes of just five times the RDA can be toxic, especially in childhood. The main symptoms of vitamin D toxicity are over absorption of calcium and eventually calcium deposits in the kidneys, heart and blood vessels leading to a condition called hypercalcemia. The typical symptoms of hypercalcemia are fatigue, nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, Diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, mental confusion and increased urine output.

Vitamin E toxicity

Vitamin E is relatively nontoxic. However, intakes of vitamin E greater than about 500mg/day can impair the functioning of the immune system, particularly the white blood cells. Besides, excessive vitamin E can antagonize vitamin K’s role in the clotting mechanism.

Toxicity of fluoride

Too much fluoride intake causes browning of teeth enamel and excessive amounts may cause dental fluorosis in which the teeth become mottled.

Iron toxicity

Excess intake may lead to hemosiderosis i.e. increased iron reserves due to excessive supplements. Hemochromatosis: A genetic disorder of iron metabolism characterized by increased absorption, saturation and deposition of iron in the liver tissues.

Selenium toxicity

High doses (a milligram or above daily) are toxic. Selenium toxicity causes vomiting, diarrhea, loss of hair and nervous system.