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What Vitamins & Minerals Can Upset Your Stomach?

author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
What Vitamins & Minerals Can Upset Your Stomach?
Large doses of some vitamins and minerals can cause digestive distress. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images


Vitamins and minerals are essential micronutrients and an important part of a balanced and healthy diet. Both vitamins and minerals interact with a number of cells and tissues within your body, allowing for proper cellular function to keep your body strong and healthy. While vitamin and mineral supplementation can prove beneficial, especially in individuals suffering from nutrient deficiencies, consuming large doses of some vitamins and minerals can lead to unpleasant digestive upset.

Vitamin C

One vitamin that can upset your stomach when taken in large doses is vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid. Vitamin C plays an essential role in tissue maintenance by promoting the production of collagen -- a protein that makes up a portion of your bones, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments. Although moderate doses of vitamin C prove beneficial to the body, consuming large doses of the vitamin can lead to nausea, or other forms of digestive upset such as diarrhea. To prevent adverse side effects of taking vitamin C supplements, limit your vitamin C intake to between 75 and 125 milligrams per day -- the recommended daily intake recommended by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

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Magnesium, an essential mineral, also may cause digestive upset following overconsumption. Magnesium plays a role in several processes within the body, with adequate magnesium thought to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, irregular heart rhythms, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, large doses of magnesium can prove harmful, leading to nausea and vomiting or even more severe symptoms such as low blood pressure, decreased heart rate or even death in some cases. Avoiding consuming large doses of magnesium through dietary supplements, and consult with a physician before taking magnesium supplements, to help avoid an upset stomach and other symptoms of magnesium overdose.


Another mineral that may cause stomach or digestive upset is iron. This essential mineral plays a central role in the oxygenation of your cells and tissues. Iron makes up a portion of hemoglobin, a protein found on red blood cells. Hemoglobin binds oxygen from the air you inhale anf then carries that oxygen in your bloodstream, releasing it into your tissues. While deficiencies in iron can lead to health problems, including anemia, overdosing on iron can have negative side effects. The Linus Pauling Institute explains that iron overdose can cause nausea and vomiting and may even lead to kidney, liver and nervous system. Always consult with a physician before taking dietary supplements, including iron, to avoid negative side effects such as an upset stomach.

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