Hypervitaminosis: what it is and what the risks are 

Discover what hypervitaminosis is, how it can occur and the health risks associated with an excess of vitamins in the body. Don’t miss out!

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Vitamin supplements are beneficial in certain situations, given that vitamins are essential for the body to work properly, but their using them incorrectly can trigger risks to health in the medium and long term. For that reason, it is important to take them in a balanced and conscious way, with the help of a health professional.

Over the last few years, vitamin supplements have become part of our daily routine. There are a variety of reasons that push their consumption: feeling more energetic, boosting the immune system, bones, muscles, skin or re-establishing levels of vitamins and minerals. But in some cases, this habit is not as harmless as people think.

What is hypervitaminosis?

Hypervitaminosis is the presence excessively high levels of vitamins in the body. The main risk is due to the toxicity of fat-soluble vitamins, which, when stored in the body, can reach toxic levels if consumed in high quantities for prolonged periods of time. Vitamin supplements, when taken without medical supervision or when they are not needed, are a common cause of hypervitaminosis. Moreover, children have started to be given them, particularly by parents concerned about their children being “poor eaters”.

Symptoms of hypervitaminosis

There are two groups of vitamins in foods: water-soluble (consisting of vitamins from group B and C), which do not build up in the body and are released in urine, and fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) which are stored in fatty tissue and the liver.

The main symptoms include:

  • Vitamin A. An excessive build up can cause vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, hair loss or irritability. In the long term, it can cause hypercalcemia, liver damage and bone decalcification.
  • Vitamin D. The main symptoms include a loss of appetite, constipation, fatigue, vomiting, frequent urination and, even a tendency to suffer from episodes of dehydration. In serious cases, it can cause calcium deposits on soft tissue and permanent kidney damage.
  • Vitamin E. Excessive consumption is linked to abdominal pain, diarrhoea or wind. It can also cause headaches, blurred vision and muscle weakness.
  • Vitamin K. The main symptom of an excess of this vitamin is anaemia and liver damage.