Will I ‘Overdose’ on Supplements?
The answer is both yes and no. Depending on the type of vitamin ingested, some can
be harder to absorb causing deficiencies, while others prove toxic at higher levels. So which vitamins should you
be aware of? It all comes down to two groups of vitamins – fat soluble and water soluble.
Vitamins are classified as either fat soluble or water soluble, and the body
requires enough of both to function optimally. The differing factor between the two groups is how each vitamin acts
within the body.
Water soluble vitamins are vitamins that our bodies do not store. There are nine
water-soluble vitamins – vitamin
C and the B-complex vitamins: thiamine
(vitamin B1), riboflavin
(vitamin B2), vitamin
acid, biotin, niacin and pantothenic
acid. These vitamins dissolve in water when ingested, then enter the
blood stream. The body keeps what it needs at the time, and excess amounts are excreted in the urine. Since
they can’t be stored, everybody needs a continuous supply of water soluble vitamins in order to stay
This is why someone is able to take on great quantities of vitamin C for example,
when they are sick. The body takes on what it needs – more if the immune system is weakened, and excretes the rest.
This is also why some of us notice bright yellow urine after taking a supplement. This is actually quite normal
when taking multivitamins or B-complex vitamins. Your urine can sometimes turn a bright yellow or orange colour due
to the presence of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin. The vitamin’s name gives you a hint: Flavin comes from the
word flavus, which means yellow. It is perfectly harmless, but if the colour bothers you, simply drink more water
to dilute your urine.
Fat Soluble vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are usually absorbed in fat globules (called
chylomicrons) that travel through the lymphatic system of the small intestines and into the circulatory
system within the body. These vitamins, especially vitamins A and E are then stored in the body within the
liver and fatty tissues for future use. Because of this, there is a possibility to have too much fat soluble
vitamins as the body is not able to excrete what it no longer needs.
Not absorbing enough?
While it is possible to have too much, you could also be having too little. In
order for your body to properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, you need to eat them with some
Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for
mineral absorption, and for many other biological processes. A simple way to boost absorption of these vitamins is
to drizzle some olive oil over your salad, or eat your veggies with some avocado. Avoid processed vegetable oils
such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, and canola. Corn and soy is typically genetically engineered and tend to
be contaminated with glyphosate, which has recently been classified as a probable carcinogen. They also have a
skewed ratio of omega fatty acids, being high in damaged omega-6s and low in healthy omega-3s. Another way is to
take your Omega 3 Fish Oil with or after
Vitamins in supplements
The difference between these two types of vitamins should be reflected in the
multivitamin you choose. Water soluble vitamins often have a DV% of more than 100% as the body may need more than
normal on varying days, and can easily excrete the rest. On the other hand, the levels of fat soluble vitamins in
your supplement, should not be over 100% DV as if you do require more, your body should have enough stored to
compensate. The one exception of a fat soluble vitamin being safe over 100% DV is if the fat-soluble vitamin is of
a natural form, as the body responds differently to the natural forms compared to those of
Why do vitamin forms matter?