You can overdose on Vitamins and Minerals

It’s very easy to take too many vitamins, because so many food products like cereal and milk are fortified with them, so when you have a vitamin pill, you could easily go over the Upper Tolerable Limit.  Since there’s no evidence vitamin pills and supplements do good, and there is evidence that they do harm or are ineffective, why take them?

Recommended Daily Allowance & Upper Limits for Vitamins and Minerals

The Institute of Medicine has determined upper limits for 24 nutrients. Here is a chart comparing the RDA and UL for all of them.  This table only applies to adults age 19 or older. It also does not apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. (Source: September 2012 ConsumerReports p 21 and Institute of Medicine).


or Mineral

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Adequate Intake (AI)

Nutrients with AIs are marked with an (*)

Upper Tolerable Limit (UL)

The highest amount you can take without risk

Not determined.
20 mg/day
  • Age 1-3: 700 mg/day
  • Age 4-8: 1,000 mg/day
  • Age 9-18: 1,300 mg/day
  • Age 19-50: 1,000 mg/day
  • Women age 51+: 1,200 mg/day
  • Men age 71+: 1,200 mg/day
  • Age19-50: 2,500 mg/day
  • Age 51 and up:2,000 mg/day
  • Age 19-50: 2,300 mg/day
  • Age 50-70: 2,000 mg/day
  • Age 70 and older: 1,800 mg/day
3,600 mg/day

(Vitamin B complex)

  • Age 70 and older: 1,800 mg/day
  • Women: 425 mg/day *
3,500 mg/day

900 micrograms/day

10,000 micrograms/day
  • Men: 4 mg/day *
  • Women: 3 mg/day *
10 mg/day
Folic Acid (Folate)

400 micrograms/day

1,000 micrograms/day


150 micrograms/day

1,100 micrograms/day
  • Men: 8 mg/day
  • Women age 19-50: 18 mg/day
  • Women age 51 and up: 8 mg/day
45 mg/day
  • Men age 19-30: 400 mg/day
  • Men age 31 and up: 420 mg/day
  • Women age 19-30: 310 mg/day
  • Women age 31 and up: 320 mg/day

350 mg/day

  • Men: 2.3 mg/day *
  • Women: 1.8 mg/day*
11 mg/day
45 micrograms/day
2,000 micrograms/day
Not determined
1.0 mg/day
700 mg/day
Up to age 70: 4,000 mg/day Over age 70: 3,000 mg/day

55 micrograms/day

400 micrograms/day
  • Age 19-50: 1,500 mg/day
  • Age 51-70: 1,300 mg/day
  • Age 71 and up: 1,200 mg/day
2,300 mg/day
Not determined
1.8 mg/day
Vitamin A
  • Men: 3,000 IU/day
  • Women: 2,310 IU/day
10,000 IU/day
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Men: 16 mg/day
  • Women: 14 mg/day

35 mg/day

Vitamin B6
  • Men age 19-50: 1.3 mg/day
  •  Men age 51 up:1.7 mg/day
  •  Women age 19-50: 1.3 mg/day
  •  Women age 51 up: 1.5 mg/day
100 mg/day
Vitamin C
  • Men: 90 mg/day
  • Women: 75 mg/day
2,000 mg/day
Vitamin D (Calciferol)
  • Age 1-70: 15 micrograms/day

    (600 IU, or 800 international units) *

  • Age 70 and older: 20 micrograms/day

100 micrograms/day

(4,000 IU)

Vitamin E


22.4 IU/day
1,500 IU/day

  • Men: 11 mg/day
  • Women: 8 mg/day
40 mg/day

About Alice

I've milled and baked with whole grains for many years, because whole grains are delicious, and white flour is missing the nutrition that protects you from cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases. Plus it's a good emergency food.
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2 Responses to You can overdose on Vitamins and Minerals

  1. We have worked long and hard on a database that makes it possible for people to avoid taking vitamin pills. Feel free to link or promote. We think it is a far healthier option to pills

    • Alice says:

      I chose Vitamin A and was shocked that the choices of food to replace this vitamin pill were Oscar Mayer, liver cheese, pork fat wrapped, fruit flavored drink — McDonalds products, candies — huh? Are you sponsors processed food companies? Eating sausages and luncheon meats, snacks, fast foods, etc., is far more harmful than taking a vitamin A pill!

      What you’re doing has already been done at where similar choices came up to your site, but I can then select from “vegetables and vegetable products” for a healthy choice (from If you behind-the-scenes make the vegetables and fruits choice to push vegetable options to the top of your list when they provide enough of a nutrient, that would help people make better choices, especially for vitamin A, which can be toxic in high amounts — which you also ought to mention! Nobody needs to eat braised Moose liver to get enough vitamin A, vegetables have plenty enough in them.

      Your site is also difficult to use — you ask people to convert g to mg, mg to IU, etc. In all cases, the user should be able to just click on the daily amount in the box that applies to them (i.e. female 19-50) and not have to enter the amount unless they want more or less than what their daily requirement.

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