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Multivitamins–Too Much of a Good Thing?


Taking a multivitamin every morning stems from a concerted effort by people to be healthier and keep their bodies in peak condition. What most people don’t know, however, is which micronutrients on that list on the bottle are putting them at risk due to toxicity–called Hypervitaminosis–and can result in issues such as liver failure, migraines, anemia, birth defects, and a host of others due to higher than needed levels of any particular vitamin. Vitamins A, D, E and K are considered “fat soluble” and are stored in your body whereas water-soluble vitamins have less potential for over-dosing as they are more easily flushed from your system, such as Vitamin C for example. Following the RDA or “Recommended Daily Allowance” amount for each vitamin, as well as getting lab work to check for deficiencies, is essential.

Some, but not all, vitamins have a UL or “Upper intake level”. These are the vitamins that, in large doses, can create the problems listed above, including a host of others. These “mega-doses” are benign with most vitamins, but the list below breaks down each potentially toxic vitamin and its mega dose side effect:

Vitamin Toxicity Symptoms

The difficult part is finding a multivitamin that will keep these toxic vitamins at the RDA and supply your body with the necessary nutrients where you may be deficient. For example, the UL of Niacin is about 35 mg. A certain popular vitamin touts 40 mg. Taking this vitamin daily has the potential to be dangerous because of its cumulative effect over time.

It’s common to grab vitamins off of the shelf without doing the research. Be sure to bring a list of RDA and UL amounts for the vitamins above when you go to buy a multi and enlist your doctor’s help to prescribe appropriate doses if you are deficient; it just might save you a lot of trouble, and at the risk of being overly dramatic, perhaps even save your life.

• Link to RDA and DRI (Dietary Recommended Intake) of vitamins:
• Link to UL of vitamins:


DRI Tables | Food and Nutrition Information Center. (n.d.). Home | Food and Nutrition Information Center. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/dietary-reference-intakes/dri-tables
Insel, P. M., Ross, D., McMahon, K., & Bernstein, M. (2013). Nutrition: My Plate update (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Vitamin Toxicity – definition of Vitamin Toxicity in the Medical dictionary – by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.. (n.d.). Medical Dictionary. Retrieved June 11, 2013, from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Vitamin+Toxicity

Toni Julian

Toni Julian is a nationally renowned health advocate, nutrition and fitness expert, and author of BITE ME! Change Your Life One Bite at a Time, as well as a 50-something mom of four. She is also the creator of TONI’S ultra-convenient protein meals. Toni is on the Board of Directors for NAWBO (National Association of Business Owners) and the recipient of the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Top Women of Influence 2017.


  1. […] guest post is written by Toni Julian, another blogger and advocate for health. Her book, Bite Me!, is carried at New Leaf Market, where […]

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