Toxic exposures due to vitamins accounted for 59,761 toxic exposures in the United States in 2017. Of those, 42,553 were children under five. Fortunately, the chances of developing serious medical consequences are relatively low. But recognizing the warning signs and understanding the causes of vitamin toxicity can help you minimize your risk. Water-soluble vitamins do not pose the same danger as fat-soluble vitamins, due to the fact that they do not remain in the body’s tissues for long.
Functions of vitamins
Vitamins are organic compounds found in natural foods in small amounts. They play an important role in the body’s growth, maintenance, repair, and reproduction. Although some vitamins are synthesized in the body, many of the others cannot. As a result, we need to obtain these essential nutrients from food. Vitamin A, D, E, and K are essential nutrients, and are essential for healthy body functioning. Listed below are some of their key functions.
Fat-soluble vitamins enter the bloodstream via lymph vessels in the intestinal wall. Many fat-soluble vitamins travel through the body under the escort of proteins that act as carriers. When we eat a food that is rich in fat-soluble vitamins, the stomach acid breaks down the food into smaller pieces and passes them to the small intestine for further digestion. This process requires the help of bile, a substance produced by the liver, which travels to the small intestine where it breaks down fats and absorbs nutrients.
Among the vitamins, vitamin E is the most important. Aside from preventing damage from free radicals, vitamin E also protects the body’s stores of vitamin A. It strengthens capillary walls, regulates menstrual rhythm, and reduces cholesterol, fatty acids, and blood pressure. It also regulates calcium and protein metabolism. Natural sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables.
Listed below are 14 sources of vitamin A, as well as their recommended daily intake. A serving of grilled or pan-fried Atlantic herring has 216 IU of vitamin D, or about 27% of the daily value. Canned sardines have about the same amount of vitamin D, at 177 IU per 3.8-ounce can. Both varieties are high in dietary fiber. The antioxidants found in both types of fish can protect against several diseases.
Preformed vitamin A is also known as retinol. Retinol is converted by the body into usable form in the retina. It is found naturally in foods, including carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and green leafy vegetables. However, the human body requires fat to absorb vitamin A, which can cause malabsorption of vitamin A. Certain diseases, such as celiac disease, alcoholism, and cirrhosis, prevent proper absorption of vitamin A.
The functions of vitamin C are multifaceted. Its antioxidant activity has multiple benefits, including helping the body build bones, cartilage, and mucous membranes. It also helps the body absorb iron and improves blood vessel function, and is crucial for healthy bones. Vitamin C also has other applications, including enhancing nerve function and supporting the circulatory system. In addition to the above-mentioned uses, vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system and normal reproductive system.
In the body, vitamin A plays numerous essential functions. It promotes healthy teeth and bones, protects the cellular membranes, and helps promote good eyesight. Beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, acts as a powerful antioxidant and may even lower the risk of cancer. Vitamin A is also needed for proper muscle tone. Lastly, it has several roles in the immune system. Vitamin A plays a role in protecting cells from free radicals.
It is possible to get toxic doses of vitamin D, but fortunately, this is rare. Toxic doses of vitamin D are rare, and medically supervised therapy is not associated with any risk of overdose or adverse effects. Toxic doses of vitamin D can result in diarrhea or vomiting. The non-absorbed nutrients are excreted through the urine, and this can cause a dehydration-related problem.
The most effective treatment for vitamin D toxicity is to stop taking any vitamin supplements and to treat the underlying cause. Treatment for vitamin D toxicity involves lowering the calcium concentration in the bloodstream. Patients with vitamin D toxicity are likely to have an abnormally high blood calcium level, called hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia is a medical emergency. Treatment involves drinking a 0.9% sodium chloride solution, or two to three liters of salt water for at least a day.
Overdoses of vitamin D cause various symptoms, including joint pain, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Overdose of vitamin D is accompanied by irreversible calcium crystal deposits in the lungs and heart, which can lead to permanent damage. Vitamin A overdose can lead to an accumulation of water in the brain, a loss of appetite, and muscle weakness. Aside from these symptoms, it can also cause abnormal blood sugar levels and increased or decreased appetite.
Effects on blood pressure
In this review, we reviewed the available evidence on vitamin effects on blood pressure in the general population. The inclusion criteria included randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cohort studies, and observational studies. All studies evaluated the association between vitamin D and hypertension in the general population and in patients with specific diseases. They also reported blood pressure and continuous risk estimates for dose-response analysis. The findings indicate that vitamin D supplements may not reduce blood pressure in the general population.
While the picture is still unclear, it appears that vitamin D and calcium may have some beneficial effects on blood pressure. Both vitamins have blood pressure-lowering effects, but when combined, they are most likely to lower systolic blood pressure. Calcium increases the blood pressure-lowering action of vitamin D. However, calcium alone may not be effective on its own. This study suggests that vitamin D and calcium may be effective in lowering blood pressure in people with high calcium levels.
High levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by 30%. Those with high levels of vitamin D should consider supplementation. Some studies have also shown that certain B vitamins may lower blood pressure. Vitamin B2 supplements, in particular, have been shown to reduce blood pressure levels in adults with the MTHFR gene mutation. Therefore, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure, consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement.
Hypercalcemia is one of the most common side effects of Vitamin D. High levels of the vitamin cause hypercalcemia and its symptoms may vary from person to person. People with Vitamin D toxicity experience gastro-intestinal symptoms. This condition may lead to heart valve damage and kidney failure. High Vitamin D levels also cause kidney damage. The kidneys become damaged and lose function, and the excess calcium can cause a variety of other problems. The effects of Vitamin D toxicity may also affect the mind.
Vitamin C may also have adverse effects if consumed in excess. High levels of the vitamin may lead to nausea and vomiting. It may also cause weight loss or unusual weakness. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your medical provider for further care. Vitamin D is known to interact with 25 different drugs, so it is important to contact your doctor before changing your dose. Vitamin D does have moderate interactions with several other medications. While this is not a common occurrence, it is always safe to follow the directions of your health care provider.
High amounts of Vitamin C may interfere with some medical tests. Vitamin C supplements may interfere with certain tests, such as glucose screening and occult blood stool tests. Vitamin C also increases absorption of aluminum from medicines, which can be harmful for people with kidney disease. Taking Vitamin C may also increase your risk of kidney stones. It may also cause tingling or burning in the eyes. However, the most common side effects of Vitamin C are not life-threatening.