How To Prevent Vitamin Deficiency and Toxicity


Nutritional health starts with a balance between vitamin deficiency and excess. With aisles full of supplements and vitamin-enriched food, it seems easy to get your daily requirement. However, it is also important to know what happens if you consume too much. Therefore, learning about the causes of vitamin malnutrition and toxicity can help you avoid severe health issues.

  • Vitamin A:

The maximum recommended amount of vitamin A for an adult is 10,000 IU/day. If you’re pregnant or have liver disease, exceeding this limit can result in nausea and improper fetal development, respectively. Also, the chronic ingestion of antibiotics and laxatives will hinder your body’s absorption of vitamin A. 

  • Thiamine (vitamin B1):

Before you pour that fourth cup of coffee or purchase another round of drinks, know that excessive caffeine or alcohol have shown to reduce vitamin B absorption along with other nutrients. Antibiotics, phenytoin (a seizure reducing drug), and oral contraceptives are other culprits of reduced vitamin B absorption. 

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2):

Supplements for this vitamin are sensitive to light and will lose its potency if improperly stored. Consuming alcohol and antibiotics inhibits riboflavin absorption whereas taking over 50 mg/day promote cataract development.

  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6):

You may need to increase your intake of pyridoxine if you’re taking antidepressants, oral contraceptives, or undergoing estrogen therapy. Use of diuretics and cortisone drugs escalate the issue by blocking its absorption in the small intestine. However, beware because too much vitamin B6 results in nerve damage.

  • Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12):

Anticoagulant drugs work in the opposite of vitamin K under necessary conditions. Dependence on and the utilization of blood thinners will interfere will B12 absorption leading to an increased likelihood of anemia.

  • Biotin:

Avidin in raw eggs robs biotin from your GI tract and consequently prevents your body from accessing it. Antibiotics like sulfa drugs will lower your level of available biotin as well and thus limit its ability to promote cell growth.

  • Vitamin C:

Alcohol, antidepressants, anticoagulants, oral contraceptives, and steroids limit vitamin C absorption. The good news is that vitamin C is easily accessible and compensated for by fruits and vegetables.

  • Vitamin D:

Too much vitamin D leads to calcium loss in bones, but a daily dose of sunlight should be enough to provide its benefits. Cholesterol-lowering drugs, antacids, mineral oil, and cortisone (a steroid hormone).

  • Vitamin K:

Have a cut? Vitamin K will take care of it by upregulating prothrombin to assist in blood clotting. Under the use of antibiotics, however, synthesis and absorption of vitamin K are unable to occur because these drugs kill the bacteria required for its production.

  • Folate:

Pregnancy and oral contraceptives increase deplete folate levels. Alcohol suppresses its absorption and ability to regulate homocysteine levels, which will increase your chance of atherosclerosis.

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