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Can taking too many vitamins be bad for you?

We've all grown up with one family relative that swears by ingesting mounds of vitamins every morning as a part of our daily routine; keeping us both healthy and energetic. Though, recent research has found that while consuming vitamins regularly can be beneficial, overdosing on vitamins can cause more harm to your system than good.

Water-Soluble Vitamins:

It is a common misconception that consuming all the vitamin C tablets you have, drinking liters of vitamin C fizzers and undisclosed gallons of orange juice, will help prevent a cold or help you get over one. This, however, is untrue, ingesting all the vitamin C in the world doesn't get rid of your cold.

Vitamin C is water-soluble (meaning, it hangs around in your body until it is passed through urine) and can be generally harmless if over-done, other vitamins though aren't so easily passed, they hang around in your body's fat and don't just get flushed out.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

These kinds of vitamins are known as fat-soluble and should be ingested over a few weeks to a month. An over consumption of these vitamins can create a buildup in the liver and can build up to toxic levels, causing problems ranging from weak bones to liver damage

As a general rule (unless instructed by a certified Dietician), fat-soluble vitamins should generally be avoided as a vitamin supplement in favor of the correct balanced dietary intake.

Fat-soluble vitamins you should always have in moderation, even in supplement form. These vitamins include Vitamins A, D, E and K. The following guide can give you some indication of your upper dosage limit per vitamin:

  • The upper limit for vitamin A is 3,000 micrograms, or twice the daily value
  • The upper limit for vitamin D is 50 micrograms, or 5 times the daily value
  • The upper limit vitamin E is 1,000 milligrams, or 50 times the daily value
  • There isn't an upper limit for vitamin K, but large amounts can cause liver damage and the breakdown of your red blood cells

Vitamin E toxicity may cause digestive-tract disorders and nausea; vitamin D toxicity may result in kidney problems, irritability, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and excessive calcium in your blood; and vitamin A toxicity may cause blurred vision, bone pain, irritability, liver and spleen enlargement, nausea, hair loss and skin changes.

Get your Vitamins from Food not Supplements:

A lot of the time when it comes to vitamins, we can get our daily requirement through the right kinds of foods and balanced diet plan.

Vitamin C seems to be our go-to vitamin, so let's talk about it first.
When it comes to your daily vitamin C intake, consider a food option over a tablet first. Consider trying out vitamin C rich foods such as strawberries, brussel sprouts, kale or papaya, these foods are tasty and can give you what you need in general.

Though remember, if you feel you're not getting enough, consult your Hatmed Dietician: Nolandi Botha, for a detailed diet plan.

When it comes to food sources for fat-soluble vitamins consider the following list, just remember, everything in modern and you should consult your Dietician for further information and breakdowns:

  • Vitamin A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, apricots, cantaloupe, liver, egg yolks and fortified milk
  • Vitamin D: Eggs, and fatty fish such as sockeye salmon, mackerel, sardines, and grass-fed, fortified dairy, such as milk and yogurt
  • Vitamin E: Spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados, shrimp, rainbow trout, olive oil, broccoli, butternut squash
  • Vitamin K: Dark leafy greens, scallions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage

While enjoying food is essential, having the right amount of intake and vitamins per servicing of food impacts your health and longevity of the vitamins you take in from that food.

Our Hatmed team is ready to take your call and email:

Nolandi Botha offers dietetic advice and consultations.
Mobile: 082 443 9926



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