Vitamins are essential for a healthy life. However, today’s practice of the abuse of multivitamins is dangerous. As always, a high-quality vitamin supplement under the supervision of a specialist is recommended.
Vitamins are essential for the body. The human body is able to synthesize only some of these compounds (vitamin D and niacin) and in minimal quantities. For this reason, their contribution comes almost entirely from diet. In the past, the world population was repeatedly hit hard by pathologies caused by vitamin deficiencies (scurvy, pellagra). Nowadays, they are still present in poor areas of the world, while in Western countries hypovitaminosis is rare and increasingly due to inadequate lifestyles and nutrition.
A phenomenon that is consolidating is the abuse of multivitamin supplements based on the wrong idea that there are no adverse effects from hypervitaminosis (excess of vitamins). The spread of multivitamins even on supermarket shelves and the aggressive marketing of some products, often of dubious quality and safety, push the consumer to make extensive use of them, even when this is not necessary.
What is still little known is that there are not only diseases caused by vitamin deficiency but there are also diseases caused by excessive consumption of these substances. The most frequent hypervitaminoses are mainly linked to the so-called fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E or K) which, due to their chemical characteristics, are stored in the liver and fat tissue. On the other hand, hypervitaminosis of vitamin C and group B are very rare because, being water-soluble, they do not accumulate in the body and an excess of them is eliminated in the urine.
Among the toxic effects of vitamin overdose we find:
- Vitamin A: increased intracranial pressure, chronic liver disease, skin changes, hair loss, osteomalacia
- Vitamin D: hypercalcemia, hypertension, kidney stones, metastatic calcification
- Vitamin E: increase in the anticoagulant action of Warfarin, increase in oxidation phenomena, intestinal disorders
- Vitamin K: haemolytic anemia, neonatal jaundice
It is important that vitamin supplementation occurs when there is a real need and that the choice of supplement, dosage and duration are determined in agreement with a health specialist and based on high-quality products, avoiding health risks (and waste of money).