Hypervitaminosis is a rare disease caused by an excess of vitamins in the body. This problem usually does not lead to harmful health consequences.
However, when the concentration of vitamins is higher than the body needs and they are not excreted through the urinary tract, they can cause shock as well as a detrimental and toxic effect on metabolism.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are complex organic substances that trigger various functions in the body. Their absorption is necessary in small amounts, which is why they are called microelements.
The body does not synthesize most vitamins except D, K, B1, B2 and folic acid. For this reason, they must come from the outside, from the diet.
Each of the vitamins has a unique and irreplaceable function in the body’s metabolic processes. Thus, both the deficiency and the excess of these substances will affect the metabolic processes of the body. Below we take a look at the most common types of hypervitaminosis.
Vitamin Excess: Vitamin A.
Hypervitaminosis A refers to the excess vitamin A reserve in the body, also known as retinol.
The main cause that triggers this condition is the misuse of vitamin supplements. Instead of consulting a doctor, many people self-medicate without knowing about the consequences this habit can cause. Among the negative effects of supplementation, we can distinguish:
- Fetal Defects : A pregnant woman must be overly careful about vitamin supplements and control her intake of vitamin A. It is the most dangerous in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Liver problems.
- Changes in the central nervous system.
- Bone density decline.
Also, the symptoms and signs that a person suffering from this condition varies. Below is a list of the most characteristic symptoms:
- Anorexia and weight loss.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Increased susceptibility to infections.
Another characteristic symptom that does not pose a health risk is hypercarotenosis. It consists in an excess of carotenes that settle under the skin, causing a yellowish color on the hands.
Vitamin excess: vitamin D.
Vitamin D hypervitaminosis is rare. However, it can be caused by over-consumption of supplements.
Too much vitamin D is another common cause of hypervitaminosis. Although sunbathing is the best known way to obtain vitamin D, hypervitaminosis D is highly unlikely, no matter how often you are exposed to the sun.
Also, the consumption of foods rich in this vitamin is not often the cause, except for an extreme excess of fish oil.
Therefore, as with vitamin A, the cause of this condition is usually the misuse of vitamin supplements. Currently, some tables show the maximum tolerated amount of vitamins for our body.
There are two very characteristic symptoms of this condition:
- Hypercalcemia : This is where the level of calcium in the blood increases. This situation leads to another series of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, mental disorders, loss of appetite and weight loss, kidney stones, and joint and muscle pain.
- Wapnica : this term refers to the formation of deposits of calcium and phosphate in soft tissues such as the skin and kidneys.
Hypervitaminosis: vitamin E.
As in the other two cases, the main cause of this condition is the use of vitamin E in vitamin supplements. For this reason, vitamins should not be taken or given without the supervision of a doctor or dietitian.
While it can also cause hypervitaminosis, vitamin E is considered safe in high doses. However, when the dose exceeds 800 IU, the following symptoms may occur :
- High blood pressure.
- Liver problems.
- Reduced resistance to bacterial infections.
Hypervitaminosis is not very common. Moreover, its main cause is the abuse of vitamin supplements. For this reason, it is very important to follow the instructions given by your doctor or dietitian.
Finally, hypervitaminosis of soluble vitamins is not common because the body eliminates excess of these vitamins through sweat or urine. However, this is not the case with the fat-soluble vitamins that accumulate in the body and lead to the aforementioned ailments.