Overdose of nutrition

Lately I’ve been on a hell of a health kick. My old diet consisted mainly of fast food, when I did eat, and that didnt happen as often as it should have. I had too much sugar, fat, etc. I’ve decided to change all that. Only, one thing is bugging me.

A list of changes:

I take a multivitamin twice daily now. I’ve gone from no breakfast to a breakfast consisting of either Kellogg’s Vector or Crispix, usually Vector. That stuff’s LOADED with all kinds of healthy crap; protein, vitamins, etc. Secondly, instead of drinking so much iced tea and coke, I’ve been drinking milk and juices, and a lot of Snapple’s ‘Element’ series, which is fruity juice with stuff like ginko biloba, ginseng and other herbs mixed in. I’ve been drinking 500ml - 1L of this stuff a day. And when I do drink my iced tea now, I add unpasturized honey to it (I read in Maxim that this is good for you). I used to be mainly a carnivore (for various reasons I wont go into here), but now I’m trying very hard to branch into veggies, mainly on the urgings of my SO (who is Eastern Indian and so eats quite a few things I need to get used to. The tomatoes are a start). I’m trying to exercise more, when I can find the time to. I eat three meals a day now, at least, and when I do it’s stuff like pasta, cold cuts, fruits, sometimes veggies, etc, instead of pizza pockets all the time. When I do eat out, I try to go to Mr Sub or something instead of McDonalds. I’m eating less chocolate, candy, caffiene, and empty sugar calories. Also I’m trying to be more… err… ‘regular’ which is something I’ve… had problems with in the past. I’m sure there’s other stuff that’s slipping my mind, but I cant recall just now.
So. Going from my former all-saturatedfat-all-the-time diet to this, I’m beginning to wonder. Can I OD on nutrients?
I know, everything in moderation is good, and too much of anything is bad. If everything I’m eating now has a lot of, say, Vitamin A, and I’m taking in way more Vitamin A than I can handle, will it harm me? Or will I just excrete the stuff? Should I worry? Watch more carefully how much of each thing I intake, for fear that too much of it could do bad things to me instead of the goodness it’s been thusfar inspiring? (Zits are GONE, folks! I mean, GONE! In like, two days!)

Inquiring minds want to know.

It’s absolutely amazing what the human body can handle. It can usually handle too much nutrition. Unless you eat lots of whale liver which is chock full of vitamin A, or take lots of supplements, or eat three pounds of carrots a day, or drink twenty litres of water a day, you are worrying for nothing. You usually have too work pretty hard at eating more nutrients than your body can piss away.

I’d have to recommend caution on the vitamin A, the one vitamin that can be quite toxic. Generally you can only OD on it if you eat a lot of raw polar bear liver, but with the availability of VitA in supplement form, and the good old american tradition of thinking that if some is good, more must be better, several cases of vitamin A toxicity have been noted and have led to blindness. A healthy person eating a well balanced diet probably doesn’t need any supplementation anyway, or at least not much more than a multivitamin supplement. Now I know that certain segments of the health food lobby will agree with that, but there is still no decent scientific evidence that megadoses of any of that stuff benefit anyone other than the people that make it and sell it to you.

Otherwise it sounds like you’ve done yourself a favor in changing your lifestyle, keep up the good work! And add fiber! WE NEED MORE FIBER! Sorry, couldn’t help ranting a little.

Qadgop, MD

So, raw polar bear liver and whale liver, eh? I find the most amazing things one learns around here are the things one never expected to be told!

And my fiber intake is going WAY up. Hence the newfound regularity. I’m also attributing my newly clear skin to this (at least in part), a factoid I gleamed in my physiology class.

I feel pretty damn good about myself these days :slight_smile:

Sorry, meant to type “disagree”

There are also some concerns about calcium overdoses - and not entirely by PETA wackos. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it, but most research suggests we don’t need calcium supplements - we get enough in the average diet.

Honey is only marginally better than table sugar. It’s been hyped as a health food, but it’s not. (BTW, what kind of honey do you ingest: clover, alfafa, etc.?)

If polar bear liver contains so much vitamin A, and it apparently does, why haven’t the eskimos who have eaten it suffer any consequences?

Smeghead states you can OD on calcium. Hmmm. Most people don’t get enough of that mineral. The RDA has been increased to at least a gram for males and more than that (I forget, maybe 1500 mg) for females. I don’t think you can OD on calcium, unless you really do some foolish stuff, like gulping a whole bottle of calcium supplements.

As far as OD in general, vitamins are of two kinds (well, more than 2 kinds, but 2 kinds for my purpose): fat soluble and water soluble. The water soluble vitamins will just be excreted if you take too much, but not the fat soluble. The fat soluble ones are A and D, so those are the two you should be wary. Nonetheless, if you don’t take any supplements, other than a one-a-day type, you can’t OD on those. The literature shows many people have OD’d on A and D, but they were taking megadoses for a long time.

How do you think we found out that polar bear liver causes vitamin A poisoning? Because the Eskimos were kind enough to demonstrate. You can still enjoy the liver in smaller quantities.

Too much calcium can lead to hypercalcemia (generally associated with “bones, stones, moans and groans” that is bone pain, mental disturbances, kidney stones, kidney failure, nausea, vomiting, muscle problems and arryhtmias). That said, diet is a rare cause for too much calcium in the blood but it is a medical emergency.

Although a good diet should contain 1000-1500mg of calcium, the average Canadian eats only about 500mg. Taking calcium and vitamin D together is beneficial in women at high risk for osteoporosis and secondary fractures (White or Asian, early menopause, family history, smoker, drinker of coffee and cognac, idle) although this can certainly be taken from milk and yogurt instead of supplements.

Should add that, paradoxically, too much Vitamin A or D cause the same symptoms as too little. Perhaps one of the medical doctors on board can explain that.