The use and abuse of nutritional supplements (the correct way to do it)

The arbitrary use of nutritional supplements is not uncommon. Many people take multivitamins, vitamin B, K, D, B12, biotin, zinc, magnesium, iron supplements, believing that it will make up for whatever nutrient their bodies are deficient in and also solve their health problems. But is it possible to overdose on supplements? Let’s find out
Dr. Sanjay Raina, Head, Department of Internal Medicine, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad shares, “Uncontrolled nutritional intake of multivitamins can lead to overdose toxicity. For example, excess vitamin A is toxic to the skin, liver, and nervous system. Excess vitamin D is harmful to the kidneys due to excess calcium.Nutritionist Kavita Devgan further adds: “Any supplement taken arbitrarily will only cause harm. Only after testing with the advice of a dietician or doctor should supplements be taken. For example, too much zinc can lead to nausea, loss of appetite, and low levels of good HDL cholesterol. Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea or an irregular heartbeat. Excess iron could cause organ damage. These are the effects that we know of, there may be many more that have yet to be studied or investigated.”

Dr. Sandeep Sonawane, Internal Medicine Consultant at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Navi Mumbai, believes that a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables can easily meet daily nutritional requirements. “Besides, it is important to exercise caution when taking supplements that contain metals, as they can damage the kidneys and liver. Therefore, it is better to consume such supplements only after receiving proper medical advice.
“Excessive or uncontrolled consumption of nutritional supplements can result in nutritional toxicity, particularly heavy metal poisoning, which can damage essential organs such as the kidneys, liver, eyes, brain, and skin. Consuming an excess of vitamin C can cause heartburn and gastritis. Excessive consumption of zinc, selenium, and magnesium can also have detrimental effects on the kidneys. Also, excessive calcium intake can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, it is important to regulate the consumption of nutritional supplements to ensure that they are beneficial and not harmful to health.

The correct way to take vitamin D supplements

Many of us choose vitamin D packets at random, with the limited information that it should be taken weekly. But that’s not all, says Dr. Sandeep. “Vitamin D supplements come in two forms: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based supplements are best taken after large meals, as they are better absorbed when taken with food. Water-based supplements, on the other hand, can be taken regardless of meals. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, oily preparations are preferred over water-based supplements.

The dosage of vitamin D supplements is determined based on each individual’s deficiency and requirements, and it is recommended to consult a physician for the exact dosage and duration of treatment.”

The correct way to take iron supplements

Iron supplements are needed only if a person has low levels of iron in the body or during pregnancy. Dr. Sanjay suggests that the dose and duration of iron therapy depend on the degree of deficiency. “Iron should be taken on an empty stomach for best absorption, but may be taken with food if not tolerated on an empty stomach. Concurrent vitamin C increases iron absorption.

It’s crucial to regulate your iron intake, as excessive consumption can lead to an upset stomach and other related problems, adds Dr. Sandeep.

The pros and cons of random health tests

After reaching the age of 40, people can undergo annual health packages. “However, it is important to note that some health packages may include non-specific tests that are not necessary for routine check-ups. If a person has a disease, their health check should include disease-specific tests relevant to their condition. Consulting with a health professional is recommended to determine the appropriate health package that meets one’s specific needs, shares Dr. Sandeep.

Currently, a number of diagnostic status checks are available on the market. These offer a discounted price but contain many tests that are not really necessary for that person. Minor abnormalities that show up on tests lead to avoidable anxiety and unnecessary doctor visits later, adds Dr. Sanjay.

Random health tests can have an adverse psychological impact, lead to paranoia and increased stress that negatively affects the body. Plus a hole in the pocket. The tests that included the risk of radiation are especially worse, Kavita concludes.


Clearly, nutrient overdose can lead to serious side effects. This makes it important to plan your meals in such a way that it complements your body well. Consulting your doctor should help you learn the right tests for your body along with the correct diagnosis and dosage. Remember to take into account the amount of nutrients you get from your food sources. This awareness will go a long way…

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