Maintaining a healthy diet and taking a multivitamin will ensure we get the vitamins and minerals our body needs to run properly. Yet sometimes many people will decide to take a supplement to get more of a specific vitamin for an ailment or for more of its protective properties. But this can have a negative impact on your overall health if you get too much of certain vitamins or minerals. Let’s explore what is too much of some vitamins and minerals and why.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of phosphorus for an adult is 700 mg. Phosphorus helps with healthy bone formation, improved digestion, regulated excretion, protein formation, hormonal balance, improved energy extraction and cellular repair. Phospholipids, which are created when Phosphorus unites with fatty acids, reside inside cell membranes. They are both water and fat soluble and are actually what allows nutrients (both fat and water soluble) to pass through cell membranes. High levels of more than 3,000 mg of phosphorus can lead to calcium deficiency. When the diet is high in phosphorus, calcium may be lost in the urine, increasing the risk of disorders such as kidney stones, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. It can also prevent absorption of iron, magnesium and zinc. Signs of an overdose include diarrhea, constipation and stomach problems.

The RDA of calcium for an adult is between 1000-1200 mg and the risk of overdose is low because it is water soluble. Calcium is an essential part of healthy bones and teeth. The heart, nerves, and blood-clotting systems also need calcium to function properly. Taking more than 2,500 mg daily (between diet and supplements) can be dangerous. Calcium overdose can cause kidney stones, excessive drowsiness, muscle weakness, nausea, vomitting, frequent urination, changes in heart rate, confusion, constipation, diarrhea, headaches and coma.

The RDA of iodine is 150 mg but taking 1,100 mg a day and it is water soluble so while overdosing is rare-it can be dangerous. Overexposure and overdose can occur with constant, repeated exposure to high concentrations of iodine. Aside from supplements and diet, an individual could come in contact with high concentrations from tinctures of iodine, such as when using it as an antiseptic or disinfectant. Symptoms of iodine overdose include abdominal pain, delirium, fever, vomiting, and shortness of breath. If a large amount of concentrated iodine enters the body, it can result in serious damage to primary organs with the potential result of death.

The RDA of potassium chloride is between 1800-2300 mg depending on age. Taking more than 3,600 mg can have negative effects include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, gas, diarrhea, weakness, listlessness, vertigo, and mental confusion. More serious effects of an overdose include paralysis, hypotension, cardiac arrhythmia, heart block and death.

The RDA of Copper is 900 mg and taking more than 10,000 mg daily can have negative effects. Overdosing is becoming increasingly common due to the widespread occurrence of copper in our food, our hot water pipes, along with the common nutritional deficiencies in Zinc, Manganese and other trace minerals that keep levels of Copper from getting too high. Signs of overdose include hypertension, acne, allergies, hair loss, anemia, anxiety, ADD, arthritis, depression, male infertility, migraines, fibromyalgia, insomnia and neuralgia.

While there are many reasons and benefits of supplementing specific vitamins and minerals, it is important to know what the safe daily intake for each is. Consult your doctor prior to implementing dietary supplements into your daily routine.

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