What happens if you eat too many vitamins?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “What happens if you eat too many vitamins?” We will explain what Water-soluble and Fat-soluble vitamins are. We will also discuss some potential risks of eating too many vitamins.

What happens if you eat too many vitamins?

Consumption of too many vitamins in particular Vit C and Zinc can result in undesirable side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps. If you consume too much of Selenium it can result in fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, hair loss and even mild nerve damage.

Before we delve more into the potential risks of overdosing on vitamins, let’s first look at the types of vitamins. The 13 known vitamins are categorized into 2 water soluble and fat soluble vitamins.

What are water soluble vitamins?

There are 9 water soluble vitamins which comprise of 8 B vitamins and Vitamin C. Water soluble vitamins as the name suggests are Vitamins that are easily dissolvable in water and can be readily absorbed into the tissues.

They are also readily excreted from the body and not easily stored into the tissues that they are absorbed. They are more than their counterparts the fat-soluble vitamins.

The Water-soluble vitamins are:

  • VItamin C
  • Thiamine Vitamin B1
  • Riboflavin Vitamin B2 
  • NiacinVitamin B3 
  • Pantothenic acid Vitamin B5 
  • pyridoxineVitamin B6 
  • BiotinVitamin B7 
  • FolateVitamin B9 
  • Cobalamin Vitamin B12 

Water soluble vitamins are less likely to result in side effects when you consume a lot because they are easily excreted through urine. However,if you take mega-doses of them they can have life threatening side effects.

For instance, it has been studied that taking mega doses of Vitamin B6 can result in irreversible damage to the nerve over time and also taking megadoses of Niacin can result in liver damage.

What are Fat-soluble vitamins?

Fat soluble vitamins are mainly found in plant sources as well as animal foods and dietary supplements. They are usually absorbed together with fats in the diet and are stored in the liver and the body’s fatty tissues.

They don’t usually dissolve in water unlike the Water soluble vitamins and are easily stored in the body tissues.

The 4 Fat soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Due to the fact Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body and accumulate, they can lead to toxicity and side effects as compared to the water soluble vitamins.

Therefore, overdosing on Vitamins A, D, E can also result in some potential side effects. Taking megadoses of the non-synthetic Vit K has been found to be quite harmless which explains the reason why an Upper Intake Limit (UL) has never been set for it.

The UL are levels that indicate the amounts of nutrients that individuals in the general population can take without any risk and adverse health effects.

What are some potential risks of eating too many vitamins?

The potential risks of eating too many vitamins are:

Stomach upset

This is usually the first side effect that most people encounter after overdosing on Vitamins and supplements. You will likely experience some side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

It could signal that you have ingested Vitamins on an empty stomach or you’ve ingested too much supplements that your body cannot handle. To be on the safe side, always ensure that you have a talk with your Health Practitioner before taking any new vitamin or starting on a supplement regimen. 

Nerve problems

As earlier mentioned, consuming too much of certain Vitamins such as Vit B6 can lead to nerve issues such as neuropathy which is numbness or tingling. You should therefore exercise caution and never take more Vitamins than the Daily recommended allowance.

Excessive bleeding

This is another dangerous side effect of taking a lot of vitamins. In particular, overdosing on Vitamin E can have some life threatening side effects. Most people often think that because it’s a potent antioxidant it has potential health benefits.

While that might be true, overdosing on it can have risks that outweigh the benefits. This is because Vit E thins the blood and can in turn result in small and minor injuries being serious bleeding episodes.

To get more insights on the effects of eating too many Water soluble vitamins and Fat soluble vitamins click here.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “What happens if you eat too many vitamins?” We have explained what Water-soluble and Fat-soluble vitamins are. We have also discussed some potential risks of eating too many vitamins.



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