For many of you in the Northern hemisphere you are thinking how to create a healthy balance in your body with vitamins, ones that in sunny summer months come naturally from the sun and fresh fruit/vegetables. Seeing it’s winter (when the sun doesn’t shine), your body may be showing signs of fatigue and/or bouts of depression. My husband gets mild forms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (otherwise known as SAD) mainly during this time of year when it’s hard to get outdoors to catch some beneficial sunbeams on the skin.
So the question that comes to mind during the winter tide is: Can I overdose on supplements that provide sunshine vitamins such as Vitamin D? It’s always something that I have wondered. I started my first multivitamin at around 19 years old; just to assure I was getting the right vitamins even though I was a vegetarian and lived in a northern state with harsh winters. At that time I purchased Centrum Complete Multivitamin and was so thrilled to start a healthy beginning to my adult life. Now my husband and I take and love Deva Tiny Vegan Multivitamins (the tiny pills are perfect for those who can’t take pills). Centrum Vitamins are not vegan so we made the switch over to the Deva brand. During the winter months it still worries me that we are not getting enough “sunshine vitamins”.
As I am not a medical professional, nor do I claim to be one, I had to search outside sources. Thankfully the answer was found easily in the Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition Textbook, my light reading selection of the year. It tossed the answer right out there without much effort on my part. Without going into too much detail, I learned that one should not overtake fat-soluble vitamins since it combines with fat during digestion (mostly in the small intestine). If any portion is unused (an excess), it is stored along with the fat in “adipocytes“. So basically if you take them in excess not only will you have some unpleasant side-effects, listed below, you will also experience an excess of fat just lounging around in your system waiting to be used. I don’t know about you but I don’t need any more fat being stored in my body.
Fundamentally, supplementation should come in the form of a daily multivitamin. Further supplementation should be discussed with your family doctor, unless you like playing Russian roulette with your health. Overdosing on any fat-soluble vitamin has its own precautions. For example, WedMD.com suggests Vitamin D overdose side-effects include: “nausea, constipation, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm, and even kidney stones.”
Hence, if you struggle throughout the winter months, it is best to not prescribe your own supplementation but seek advice from a professional. Non-soluble vitamins are more accepted by the body (most flush through your system) but again it is best to seek professional advice first before adding to your daily multivitamin. If you believe you have overdosed on any vitamin and live in America you can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for assistance. Or seek additional information at: http://www.poison.org/. If outside the USA, check to see if you have a poison control center available in your country.
Some popular Vitamins for the Winter Months:
Vitamin D: (otherwise known as the “sunshine vitamin”) Helps boost serotonin and lifts the crankiness. (Fat-Soluble Vitamin)
Vitamin C: boosts immune system to combat viruses (Water-Soluble Vitamin)
Vitamin K: Helps build bones and helps heal blood faster (basically helps us heal faster after injury) (Fat-Soluble Vitamin)
Vitamin E: moistures skin and hair through dry season (Fat-Soluble Vitamin)
Vitamins B6 & B12: Calms your nervous system and increases your mood/energy (Water-Soluble Vitamin)