Can you take too much of a vitamin or mineral?

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Lucette Talamas, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes, it is possible to take too much of any nutrient, including a vitamin or mineral. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) developed the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) which are nutrient reference values intended to serve as a guide for proper nutrition based on a person’s age and gender. Included under the DRIs is the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), which is the highest average daily amount of a nutrient that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all people. Consuming an amount above the UL can increase the potential risk of negative side effects.

The UL applies to the total intake of that nutrient consumed from foods and beverages, fortified foods, and supplements. People should not routinely exceed the UL, but this does not apply to those who are being treated with the nutrient under medical supervision. According to the IOM, some nutrients do not have a UL due to insufficient research. However, extra caution should still be taken to not exceed recommended levels.  

Walgreens pharmacist Stacia Woodcock explains that too much of some vitamins and minerals may be dangerous. Watch Woodcock's video for more information on how to avoid overdosing.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.