Overload

Vitamin supplements

Category: Food

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

Vitamins are organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism.  In other words, an organic chemical compound (or related set of compounds) is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the environment, usually from food and drink. Thus, the term is conditional both on the circumstances and on the particular organism. 

Until the mid-1930s, when the first commercial yeast-extract and semi-synthetic vitamin C supplement tablets were sold, vitamins were obtained solely through food intake. But vitamins are now produced as ‘commodity chemicals’ and made widely available as relatively inexpensive semisynthetic and synthetic-source multivitamin dietary supplements,  when they are known as vitamin supplements.

And vitamin supplements have a record for producing hallucinations. .... and near death experiences and death.  They also have a heady record for producing very serious illness.

Some figures

Vitamin supplements may produce more hallucinations than the number I have found on the eHealthme website, as few people report to doctors that they have taken vitamin supplements and even fewer assocate vitamins with negative reactions.  In the rather simplistic mindset that many people use on the issue of vitamins [not helped by the pharmaceutical industry that sell them], they tend to look on vitamins as ‘good’.  But as we shall see sometimes they are not so good.

This LINK takes you to the eHealthme website where up-to-date figures for the number of adverse drug reports can be found.  For example,

Vitamins: 54,955 reports from FDA and social media  - people who reported to have side effects when taking Vitamins 

In 2008, overdose exposure to all formulations of vitamins and multivitamin-mineral formulations was reported by 68,911 individuals to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.  Nearly 80% of these exposures were in children under the age of 6.  These overdoses led to 8 "major" life-threatening outcomes but no deaths.

In contrast we have the following from eHealthme

On Feb, 02, 2017 54,648 people reported to have side effects when taking Vitamins.
Among them, 780 people (1.43%) have Death.

A meta-analysis published in 2006 suggested that Vitamin A and E supplements not only provide no tangible health benefits for generally healthy individuals but may actually increase mortality, although two large studies included in the analysis involved smokers, for which it was already known that beta-carotene supplements can be harmful. Another study published in May 2009 found that antioxidants such as vitamins C and E may actually curb some benefits of exercise”.

The main problem with getting information on ‘adverse reactions’ of any kind, including hallucinations,  are that for reasons I do not understand, vitamins are classified by governments as ‘foods’ and not drugs.  This is why they are in this section on the website - that is where people expect to find them.

In the USA at least, the Food and Drug Administration uses the Adverse Event Reporting System to monitor adverse events that occur with supplements. In the European Union, the Food Supplements Directive requires that only those supplements that have been ‘proven safe’ can be sold without a prescription. But this of course is a meaningless statement.  Everything based on naturally occurring chemicals is safe in principle, it is the dosage that determines how safe it is.

Symptoms

 

Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C).

  • Water-soluble vitamins are readily excreted from the body and because they are not readily stored, consistent daily intake is important. Many types of water-soluble vitamins are synthesized by bacteria, thus we need the foods in which they are found with all their bacterial content to enable them to work. If you overdose on these vitamins then the body will excrete them through the urine.  If you wee too much it can lead to dehydration, thus in the cases where overdosing on these vitamins causes hallucinations [and illness] it is often a result of dehydration 
  • Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids (fats). And because they are more likely to accumulate in the body, they are more likely to lead to hypervitaminosis than are water-soluble vitamins.   Basically hypervitaminosis is poisoning

The table below shows the effects of overdose

Vitamin generic
descriptor name

Solubility

Recommended dietary allowances
(male, age 19–70)

Upper Intake Level
(UL/day)

Overdose disease

Vitamin A

Fat

900 µg

3,000 µg

See detail below

Vitamin B1

Water

1.2 mg

N/D

Drowsiness or muscle relaxation with large doses.

Vitamin B2

Water

1.3 mg

N/D

 

Vitamin B3

Water

16.0 mg

35.0 mg

See detail below

Vitamin B5

Water

5.0 mg

N/D

Mild intestinal, distress, nausea and diarrhea; might worsen panic attacks

Vitamin B6

Water

1.3–1.7 mg

100 mg

See detail

Vitamin B7

Water

30.0 µg

N/D

 

Vitamin B9

Water

400 µg

1,000 µg

See detail

Vitamin B12

Water

2.4 µg

N/D

See detail below

Vitamin C

Water

90.0 mg

2,000 mg

See detail below

Vitamin D

Fat

5.0 µg–10 µg

50 µg

See detail below

Vitamin E

Fat

15.0 mg

1,000 mg

See detail below

Vitamin K

Fat

120 µg

N/D

Increases coagulation in patients taking warfarin

If we look at these effects in just a little more detail to understand what is happening, we can see how overdose of vitamin supplements produces hallucinations.  In the lists of symptoms that follow any number of the conditions that overdoses produce can themselves lead to hallucinations in a very desperate series of chain reactions.  The findings here are based on numerous papers from PubMed, too many to list

Hypervitaminosis A

Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, disposing of any excesses taken in through diet takes much longer than with water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C. This allows for toxic levels of vitamin A to accumulate relatively easily. 
Children, alcoholics or those drinking a lot of alcohol, smokers, people with renal failure and the elderly are particularly at risk.
Immediate symptoms include nausea and vomiting, fever, insomnia, blurry vision, headaches, hair loss, diarrhoea, muscle weakness and drowsiness.   Overdosing on vitamin A can also cause

  • Altered mental status’ - hallucinations plus a whole host of other types of experiences including near death. 
  • Anaemia 
  • Liver failure - which has been found in studies on hepatic (liver) injury especially in those consuming alcohol.
  • Osteoporosis - and increased risk of bone fractures, particularly hip fractures and hip problems because it suppresses bone building while simultaneously stimulating bone breakdown.  “Indeed, a study by Forsmo et al. shows a correlation between low bone mineral density and too high intake of vitamin A”
  • Fetus abnormalities - Toxic effects of vitamin A have been shown to significantly affect developing fetuses.
  • Asthma - a 2003 study found water-soluble vitamin A was approximately 10 times as toxic as fat-soluble vitamin. A 2006 study found children given water-soluble vitamin A and D, which are typically fat-soluble, suffer from asthma twice as much as a control group supplemented with the fat-soluble vitamins.

Vitamin B3 overdose

High doses of niacin may have the following effects

  • Diabetes - elevate blood sugar, thereby worsening diabetes mellitus 
  • Gout - Hyperuricemia is another side effect of taking high-dose niacin, and may exacerbate gout.
  • Birth defects - Niacin in doses used to lower cholesterol levels has been associated with birth defects in laboratory animals, with possible consequences for infant development in pregnant women.
  • Blindness - Niacin, particularly the time-release variety, at extremely high doses can cause acute toxic reactions. Extremely high doses of niacin can cause niacin maculopathy, a thickening of the macula and retina, which leads to blurred vision and blindness.

Yet again we may not know we are overdosing, all the following contain vitamin B3

  • Monster Energy drink (40 mg per 16 ounces)
  • Rockstar Energy (100% in the Super Sours flavors)
  • Red Bull Energy Drink (28 mg per 12 ounces)
  • Five Hour Energy drink (30 mg per 1.93 ounces)
  • Ovaltine (18 mg)

Vitamin B6 overdose

 

Adverse health effects have only been documented from vitamin B6 supplements and never from food sources, but there is a clear link with vitamin B6 and dreaming.
At least one preliminary study has found this vitamin may increase dream vividness or the ability to recall dreams. This effect is possibly due to the role this vitamin plays in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.  “ Anecdotal evidence suggests supplemental vitamin B6 may be associated with lucid dreaming”.

But really overdose and you can do very serious harm.  Toxicologic animal studies identify specific destruction of the dorsal root ganglia.  Although it is a water-soluble vitamin and is excreted in the urine, doses of pyridoxine in excess of the RDI over long periods of time result in painful and ultimately irreversible neurological problems - and here lies the source of the hallucinations.

The primary symptoms are pain and numbness of the extremities. In severe cases there may also be motor neuropathy with "slowing of motor conduction velocities, prolonged F wave latencies, and prolonged sensory latencies in both lower extremities" causing difficulty in walking.

Vitamin B6 is yet another chemical that you may not realise you are taking.  It has been given many other names by pharmaceutical companies. 

  • Morning sickness preventer - It has been sold as a drug, “to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy” for decades, commonly in conjunction with other medications such as metoclopramide or doxylamine.
  • Heart disease ‘cure’ - Some health food stores sell pyridoxone as a heart disease preventer giving it various names but not pyridoxone Without enough pyridoxine, the compound homocysteine builds up in the body. Homocysteine damages blood vessel linings, setting the stage for plaque buildup when the body tries to heal the damage. So indeed, Vitamin B6 prevents this buildup, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack, but there appears to be no evidence that these supplements cure the damage done and a healthy diet prevents this anyway.
  • Autism - Nutritional supplementation with high dose vitamin B6 and magnesium is also one of the most popular alternative medicine choices for autism.
  • ADHD – Again some alternative medicine stores sell vitamin B6 supplements for attention deficit disorder
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome - If people are marginally deficient in vitamin B6, they may be more susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS is characterized by pain and tingling in the wrists after performing repetitive movements or otherwise straining the wrist on a regular basis. Vitamin B6 has been shown in at least two small-scale clinical studies to have a beneficial effect on the syndrome, particularly in cases where no trauma or overuse etiology is known.  Again, you may not know that the tablets you are taking are actually vitamin supplements
  • PMS - Vitamin B6 has long been publicized as a cure for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and again as the vitamin has a role in hormone and prostaglandin regulation, this may be true up to a point, regulation maybe, cure no.  As a consequence supplements are often sold for PMS which are simply vitamin B6 supplements – these generally claim to ‘reduce bloating, breast pain, and premenstrual acne flare’. 
  • Depression - Mental depression is another condition which researchers hypothesise may sometimes result from low vitamin B6 intake. Because of pyridoxine's role in serotonin and other neurotransmitter production, this may occasionally be true.  As a consequence there are vitamin B6 supplements on the market which claim to “help depressed people feel better, help their moods improve significantly and it may also help improve memory in older adults”. 

Vitamin B6 is also known to increase the metabolism of Parkinson's medications, such as levodopa.

Vitamin B9 [Folic acid] overdose

 

Pregnant mothers and those with bad heart conditions appear to have been encouraged to take supplements in the mistaken belief that overdosing somehow prevents problems ranging from cleft lip in children to stroke in heart patients.  But overdosing on folic acid does not reduce cardiovascular disease nor does it reduce the risk of having a stroke.  Eating green vegetables does because the amount consumed in a manageable portion of green vegetables would never produce an overdose and provides us with the folic acid we need.  Thus the advice of my Mum which was ‘no pudding unless you eat your vegetables’ was sound advice.  Excess folate appears to have the following side effects

  • Cancer - may promote tumor initiation - cancer. Folate has shown to play a dual role in cancer development; low [normal] folate intake protects against early carcinogenesis, but high folate intake promotes advanced carcinogenesis.  Why?  Folate is important for cells and tissues that rapidly divide. Thus in rather simplistic language too much folate encourages excessive dividing – cancer. “One broad cancer screening trial reported a potential harmful effect of large folate intake on breast cancer risk, suggesting routine folate supplementation should not be recommended as a breast cancer preventive 
  • Brain damage - There is also another very strange effect from overdosing if you are vitamin B12 deficient.  “The National Institutes of Health has found that large amounts of folic acid can mask the damaging effects of vitamin B12 deficiency by correcting the megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency without correcting the neurological damage that also occurs".  In effect, if you overdose on folic acid supplements, but are not eating properly - so not getting enough vitamin B12,  - you could get brain damage [not to mention  alzheimers and dementia] and here is a prime cause for spiritual experiences .  Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the problems experienced by vegetarians.  In the United States legislation has required enriched flour to contain folic acid in the rather simplistic belief that it reduces cases of fetal neural-tube defects.  But this means all consumers are getting this and as a consequence ingesting far more folic acid than they realize or need “one recent study has demonstrated high folic or folate levels, when combined with low B12 levels, are associated with significant cognitive impairment among the elderly
  •  Mortality from malaria - In children “Some studies have shown that  iron-folic acid supplementation in children under 5 may result in increased mortality due to malaria; this has prompted the World Health Organization to alter their iron-folic acid supplementation policies for children in malaria-prone areas, such as India

 Vitamin B12 overdose

 

Some people develop an acne-like rash when overdosed.  There are also cases of people being allergic to Vitamin B12 supplements.  Another problem I found was

“Elevated concentrations of vitamin B12 may be associated with an increased risk for advanced stage prostate cancer”

Vitamin B12 is a common ingredient in energy drinks and energy shots, usually at several times the minimum recommended daily allowance of B12. Vitamin B12 supplements are often marketed as weight loss supplements, so you may not even realise you are overdosing.  See also the description for Folic acid. 

Vitamin C overdose

Overdosing on Vitamin C [only possible via supplements and food additives] causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flushing of the face, headache, fatigue and disturbed sleep.  Other effects of overdose may include

  • Heavy metal poisoning - As vitamin C enhances iron absorption, iron poisoning can become an issue to people with rare iron overload disorders or people taking iron supplements. 
  • Kidney stones - There is a longstanding belief among the mainstream medical community that vitamin C overdose causes kidney stones, and indeed case reports exist for a link between patients with oxalate deposits and a history of high-dose vitamin C usage.
  • Miscarriage - In a study conducted on rats, during the first month of pregnancy, high doses of vitamin C may suppress the production of progesterone from the corpus luteum.   Progesterone, necessary for the maintenance of a pregnancy, is produced by the corpus luteum for the first few weeks, until the placenta is developed enough to produce its own source. By blocking this function of the corpus luteum, high doses of vitamin C are theorized to induce an early miscarriage.
  • Cancer - A cancer-causing mechanism of hexavalent chromium may be triggered by vitamin C

Hypervitaminosis D 

Vitamin D toxicity cannot be caused by sunlight exposure, but can be caused by supplements.  Those with thyroid problems are particularly at risk as are pregnant women, children and the elderly.  Overdose produces

  • Hypercalcemia [too much calcium in the body] - the main symptoms of hypercalcemia are anorexia, nausea, and vomiting,  weakness, insomnia, nervousness, pruritus, and  renal failure.  Kidney damage may be irreversible.   If hypercalcemia is not treated, it results in excess deposits of calcium in soft tissues and organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart, resulting in pain and organ failure
  • Fetal abnormalities - mental retardation and facial deformities.
  • Growth abnormalities in children - mental retardation, abnormal bone growth and formation, diarrhea, irritability, weight loss, and severe depression. 

Hypervitaminosis E

Hypervitaminosis E is a state of vitamin E toxicity. Because vitamin E can act as an anticoagulant and may increase the risk of bleeding problems, many agencies have set an upper tolerable intake level (UL) for vitamin E at 1,000 mg (1,500 IU) per day. This UL was established due to an increased incidence of haemorrhaging with higher doses of supplemental vitamin E. Doses of vitamin E above the UL can also potentiate the antiplatelet effects of certain drugs such as anti-coagulant medications and aspirin, which can cause life-threatening symptoms in ill patients. Hypervitaminosis E may also counteract vitamin K, leading to a vitamin K deficiency.  Thus the hallucinations stem from [put simply] thinned blood and ultimately hypoxia.

How it works

 

 

 

All hallucinations are caused by overdosing and ultimately the cause is poisoning.

Because, in some people’s simple minds vitamins=good, they then extend the logic and say more vitamins=very good. 

It doesn’t work like this. 

Too much of anything is overload and overload in this context results in poisoning. 

The poisoning works in different ways depending on the vitamin.

 

 

 

References and further reading

Mental disorders caused by hypervitaminosis D - Dolmierski R.; Neurol Neurochir Psychiatr Pol. 1965 Nov-Dec;15(6):859-62. Polish. PMID: 5864780.

Acute symptomatic psychosis in vitamin A intoxication (author's transl)]. - Haupt R.  Nervenarzt. 1977 Feb;48(2):91-5. German.; PMID: 840348

Observations

As we have seen from the description all these vitamins when sold in health food stores and as food supplements are not regulated.  They are there in energy drinks, foods as unknown additives, alternative medicines sold for PMS, heart problems, morning sickness , ADHD , Autism,  Depression,  plus numerous other  problems.

We could be overdosing without ever knowing it and the effects are principally on our health - and as we have seen the effects are serious, very serious.  The table below is thus the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this area.

The figures came from the eHealthme website and were correct as of 2010.

Drug

No of hallucinations

Centrum  is a brand of multivitamins

50

Folic acid

79

Vitamin E

55

Other vitamins [unspecified]

78

Cyanocobalamin [Vitamin B12]

2

Vitamin B6

4

Vitamin C

2

Vitamin D

4

Niacin

15

 

289

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