Are You Getting Too Much of a Good Thing?

For many people, supplements are an integral part of their daily routine.  Supporting their metabolic processes with vitamins, minerals, green powders, probiotics, and other supplements can certainly improve our health and often speed our recovery from illnesses.  But sometimes, too much of a good thing is no longer good. Many common supplements that are often helpful can harm us when there is an excess in the body. When there is an excess of a nutrient, the body must store or deposit it in places where it would not normally do so.

 

Vitamin D affects the functioning of many body systems.  It is a component of fighting against cancer, improving physical stamina, preventing loss of bone density, maintaining strong teeth, assisting in brain function, and reducing depression.  It is also important for kidney health, immunity, weight management, and sleep. In some studies, optimal levels of vitamin D were associated with reduced symptoms for those with multiple sclerosis.  An excess of vitamin D can result in digestive complaints such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, mental fog, thirst, frequent urination, urinary tract stones, or kidney damage/failure.

 

Iron is a key nutrient for fighting infections, building the blood, preventing anemia, increasing brain function, reducing restless leg syndrome, regulating body temperature, and improving sleep by regulating circadian rhythms.  Too much iron is toxic to the heart and the liver and can lead to heart attacks or diabetes. Excess iron has been linked to various forms of cancer. Even though iron has infection-fighting properties, too much iron can actually lead to susceptibility to infections.

 

Iodine is especially important for proper thyroid function.  In the right amount, the thyroid gland uses iodine to convert stored thyroid hormones into active hormones.  In excess, iodine can burn out the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism (low-functioning thyroid). Iodine from kelp sources can be too strong for the thyroid gland when taken on a regular basis.  Initially you might feel better, but in the long run, the thyroid can “burn out.”

 

Magnesium plays a key role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure, balancing water in our body reducing constipation, regulating blood sugar, lessening asthma symptoms, aiding restful sleep, and balancing minerals (calcium, copper, zinc, vitamin D).  In excess, magnesium can cause loose stools, irregular heart rhythms, calcium imbalance, kidney damage, fatigue, and depression

 

Calcium is important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, building and keeping strong bones, improving muscle tone (strength AND relaxation), lessening hormone abnormalities, protecting the skin from damage, and perhaps playing a role in weight loss.  Too much calcium in your body can cause stones in the urinary tract, constipation, persistent headache, jittery reflexes, thirstiness, irritability or moodiness, loss of appetite, depression, fatigue, or a metallic taste in the mouth.  Excess calcium has also been associated with prostate cancer and heart attacks.

 

While many supplements can provide benefits, they also can interact with other medications or supplements you are taking.  Choose your supplements wisely and always tell your doctor what supplements you are taking.

 

©April2018 – Genevie Kocourek, M.D. is Board Certified in Family Medicine and practices at The Ommani Center. She is the founder of Trinity Integrative Family Medicine and focuses her practice on integrative care and prevention of disease for the entire family.  Schedule an appointment by calling 262.695.5311