The right lineup of supplements can be a game changer. But as we were staring down our a.m. assortment of capsules this morning, about to choke down a fifth horse-sized pill, we started to wonder if it was possible to take too many of them. (Spoiler alert: it is.) So we tapped Dr. Taz Bhatia to answer our questions.
Vitamins and supplements are important because many of us can’t get all the nutrients we need just from our food. “Our soil and crops have been so tampered with that many of them have been depleted of vital minerals and vitamins. We also have to think about our environment and the toxins that we ingest and are exposed to in our everyday lives,” Dr. Taz says. That said, there can be too much of a good thing.
“Too many supplements and vitamins—just like too many medications—are hard on the gut and tough for the liver to clear through. For this reason my team, @centrespringmd, and I focus on trying to target any supplements to key issues and deficiencies,” Dr. Taz says. “With so many supplements on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you.”
She says that a few ways you can tell if you’re going too hard with your supplements routine are:
- An upset stomach after ingesting supplements
- Burping or belching
- Feeling nauseated
- Changes in skin color
It’s especially important to be careful with fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, Dr. Taz says. They can be stored in our body’s fat tissues, and accumulation can have negative effects. Water-soluble vitamins are broken down in the digestive system with water, and the excess is eliminated when we pee. So they are less likely than fat-soluble vitamins to cause issues, but can still do damage if used in excess.
Dr. Taz highly recommends getting bloodwork done instead of just guessing at what we need; she has many patients that come to her taking way too many supplements. She suggests starting with a baseline of vitamins A, D, and C, as well as magnesium, omega-3s, and B vitamins (namely: B12 and folate). “Once your nutrient needs have been met, then we would recommend branching out to other goals or working with an integrative medicine practitioner to determine what your body needs,” she adds.
“At my center, we use the lab results to recommend which supplements are right for patients, while streamlining and only suggesting what is necessary,” Dr. Taz says. “I have yet to recommend the same supplement regimen as it is a highly individualized process.”
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