Q: Can you overdose on supplements of vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A?
– Monika in Pittsburgh
A: Yes, you can overdose on almost any nutrient. For example, even moderate daily doses of 10,000IU of vitamin A are suspected to increase risk for birth defects in pregnant women, which is why this vitamin is limited to 5,000IU in prenatal supplements. Since one out of two pregnancies are unplanned, all women during the childbearing years should limit intake of vitamin A to this amount. Vitamins C and E are relatively non-toxic, but can have side effects if dosages are high enough. While 250mg to 1,000mg of vitamin typically is safe for adults, these amounts could be toxic for small children and larger doses of several grams can cause stomach upsets in adults. Vitamin E is safe in doses up to 400IU or more, although people taking anticoagulant medications should consult with their physicians before taking more than this, since this vitamin is a blood-thinner. -Elizabeth Somer