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Should I worry about taking too many vitamins?

Internist, WebMD Medical Expert
Medical Editor, WebMD

Nowadays, everything from bottled water to orange juice seems to have souped-up levels of vitamins and minerals in it. That may sound like a way to help cover your nutritional bases, especially if your diet is less than stellar.

But are you in danger of getting too much of these important nutrients? And can these overloads hurt you?

Yes, if you're routinely taking megadoses. For instance, too much vitamin C or zinc could cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Too much selenium could lead to problems such as hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. Too much vitamin B6 may adversely affect your nerves, and there are suspected risks with too much vitamin E.

Most people don't realize there's no real advantage to taking more than the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals, and they don't recognize there may be disadvantages," says Johanna Dwyer, DSc, RD, a senior research scientist with the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements.

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