What Will Happen If You Take Too Much Melatonin – Gummy vitamins taste good, which could lead to overconsumption. Here’s what you should know if you or your child swallow too much.
By Brianna Bell | Updated October 6, 2022 Medically reviewed by Anis Rehman, MD & Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D.
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If you have kids who take vitamin gummies, you may be familiar with the following scene: It’s the end of the day and you’re exhausted, but your kids suddenly realize they didn’t take their tasty vitamin gummies. They remind you and you give them a gum (or two if it’s the right dosage) and watch them happily chew on the candy-like supplement. Once they’re done, they hold out their hands for more. You remind them again that it’s not candy. But what if your children manage to unscrew the fuse and help themselves to the next one?
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The whole point of gummy vitamins is that the product tastes good—and that can lead to overconsumption by children and adults alike. You may be wondering what happens when you eat too many gummy vitamins – can you overdose on vitamins? Here’s what you need to know about the negative effects of consuming more than the recommended serving size of commercial gummy vitamins.
There are gummy versions of individual vitamins and minerals. However, the most common form is a gummy multivitamin, a type of chewable vitamin that usually contains recommended amounts of three types of nutrients:
Tod Cooperman, MD, president of ConsumerLab — which independently tests and reviews vitamins and nutritional supplements — says, “It’s harder to make a quality gum than it is to make a quality pill. Unlike tablets, capsules and capsules, we’ve found that gums contain more ingredients than listed.” And because regular vitamins don’t come with the tasty appeal of added sugars, people aren’t as likely to take them in large doses.
Yes. While many people think you can’t have too much of a good thing, it is possible to consume too many different vitamins. For example, chewable multivitamins and vitamin C gummies contain toxic amounts of vitamins when taken in large amounts, even though they taste like gummy bears. In fact, more than 60,000 cases of vitamin toxicity are reported to US poison control centers each year. When it comes to recommended dosages for gum supplements, including chewable multivitamins and vitamin C gummies, it’s best to follow the directions on the product label.
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It’s important to note that gummy vitamins may contain different amounts of nutrients than listed on the label, and there may be additives such as sugars, food coloring, or sugar alcohols that could cause problems when consumed in large amounts.
The amount of gummy vitamins needed to overdose depends on various factors such as the composition of the vitamins and the overall health of the individual. For example, consuming 20 gummy vitamins may only increase the likelihood of side effects such as nausea and diarrhea. This is partly because most gummy vitamins contain sugar alcohols, which are known to cause some digestive problems.
In addition, people with kidney problems may be at a higher risk of accumulating certain vitamins, such as vitamins A, E, and K. The kidneys are important for filtering toxins and returning vitamins to the bloodstream. If a person has kidney disease, eating a handful of gummy vitamins or more could be enough to raise some vitamins and minerals to toxic levels.
“Even with minimally toxic vitamins, consuming large amounts can cause adverse gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, abdominal pain, and other digestive problems,” says Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, medical toxicologist and director of comedy at the National Capital Poison Center.
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While you’re probably worried (and with good reason) whether you or your child will eat too many gummy vitamins, the side effects are likely to be mild, says Ashanti Woods, MD, a pediatrician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. This is especially true if the child consumes a very small handful of vitamins at a time.
Eating hundreds of gummy vitamin supplements is considered a one-time overdose because they contain minerals like zinc, magnesium, and manganese that can become toxic to the body at very high levels, explains Gaby Udabor, NP, a holistic nurse at Gaby U Health. & Wellness Center. Also, fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K can quickly accumulate in the body, causing serious health risks such as damage to various organs and systems, including the brain. Alternatively, eating handfuls of gummies over time is also considered excessive intake and can cause long-term elevated levels of vitamins and minerals, which can lead to serious health complications.
“Symptoms of overdose are upset stomach, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, hot flashes, discoloration of urine or stool, severe headache, dizziness, muscle pain,” Udabor says, adding that some people can even experience liver failure and coma from the vitamin. overdose. Serious side effects may indicate an emergency that may require immediate medical attention.
An overdose of vitamins can cause a variety of complications, from mild to severe. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), excessive consumption of vitamins A, C, and D can include nausea, rash, headache, and more serious effects. In addition, excessive consumption of vitamin E could lead to bleeding, and vitamin D could lead to excess calcium in the blood, says Dr. Cooperman. High calcium levels (hypercalcemia) can then lead to weakness and vomiting.
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Vitamin K toxicity is rare but possible. Vitamin K3 (menadione) toxicity has been reported to cause yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes (jaundice), brain damage, and other problems in infants. For most people, consuming too much vitamin K is unlikely to cause negative side effects. However, vitamin K can interact with some medications, especially anticoagulant medications. Vitamin K can counteract the effects of anticoagulants such as warfarin, so caution is advised.
Iron overload is probably one of the biggest problems, but parents with young children who consume gummy multivitamins can rest easy. “Fortunately, to minimize the possibility of overdose, gums are usually free of iron – both because of the possibility of overdose in children and the fact that iron in gum doesn’t taste good,” explains Dr. Cooperman. However, multivitamins for adults can contain relatively high levels of iron, which could pose a danger if a child were to accidentally take them.
There are several steps you can take if you or your child have eaten too many gummy vitamins.
Contact Poison Control: To be safe, it is best to contact your health care provider or Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) immediately after you realize you or your child has eaten too many gummy vitamins. According to the National Poison Data System, more than 41,000 calls to poison control centers were made in 2018 related to the consumption of vitamins in children under 5 years of age. In the hospital, a health care provider may administer activated charcoal, intravenous (IV) fluids, medications to treat symptoms, and other supportive measures to treat vitamin toxicity.
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Drink more water: “Many multivitamins contain water-soluble vitamins that are excreted in the urine fairly quickly,” says Dr. Wood. “So keeping the baby hydrated after eating will allow them to get rid of the vitamins faster.”
Bring vitamins to your doctor: And if you seek medical treatment, bring a container of vitamins with you. A whole range of gummies with many different medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients are sold for children. It is important for doctors to know exactly what was in the specific vitamins your child was consuming.
Avoid overconsumption: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you talk to your doctor before giving your child any vitamins or supplements. Because of the high risk of overconsumption, the AAP does not recommend giving children vitamins that are already available through a food source, so try to optimize important nutrients with a balanced diet. Your child will thus receive the health benefits of a wide range of vitamins and minerals without added sugar. A white circle with a black border around an arrow pointing up. It indicates “click here to return to the top of the page”.
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This article has been medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, a nutritionist and wellness expert in private practice based in New York.
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