Those who eat a healthful diet and supplement with vitamins have good intentions, but they sometimes go too far.
Combining a well-rounded diet with appropriate supplementation can mean the difference between feeling “so-so” and thriving. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, though, you can get too much of a good thing through a combination of natural foods, enhanced or fortified foods and supplementation.
Surprisingly, “It is more common for the general population to get too much of a vitamin than it is to have a deficiency, especially for those who make an effort to eat healthfully and take supplements,” says Cindy Moore, director of nutrition therapy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Getting too much of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), or exceeding the “upper limit,” or UL – the highest amount of a specific vitamin or mineral you can ingest – can cause negative side effects due to toxicity, she says.
To see how easy it is to cross that UL line, we analyzed a typical breakfast topped off with a multivitamin, a one-two punch of nutrition many of us get daily. The good news is that you can get the recommended daily allowance of most vitamins and minerals with some carefully chosen foods and supplements. The bad news is how easy it is for good intentions to go too far.
Moore suggests analyzing your day’s intake of vitamins and minerals occasionally. Keep in mind, she says, that nutrients are listed on labels and in reference guides by servings but most of us eat more than a one serving of food.