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Can Vitamins & Minerals Cause Headaches?

author image April Khan
April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.
Can Vitamins & Minerals Cause Headaches?
A man is experiencing a headache. Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

People take multivitamins to provide additional nutrition or to supplement for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Although multivitamins are sold over-the-counter and contain no medication, they aren't without their side effects. Even though the majority of people taking multivitamins have no issues, some people may experience headaches while taking them. A headache after taking too many, may be the symptom of a vitamin overdose.

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The Purpose

Vitamins and minerals are obtained through healthy eating or by taking supplements. Vitamins and minerals are needed to increase health and to prevent future health problems. Vitamins and minerals may be taken in supplement form if you suffer from malnutrition, malabsorption, if you are pregnant or just want to avoid a vitamin deficiency.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of taking multivitamins are nausea and headaches. Headaches associated with vitamin or mineral usage should not be severe, unless too many have been taken. Taking more than the manufacturer's directed dosage can result in a vitamin overdose, which may cause severe abdominal discomfort or a severe headache.


If you are taking multivitamins or multivitamin supplements that contain minerals, and you develop headaches, speak to your pharmacist about other brands you can take. If you continue to have headaches after taking your multivitamins, consult with your physician. You may find that switching the type of multivitamin you're taking can offer some relief. Multivitamins are sold in capsule, powder and liquid form.


If you've taken too many multivitamins or more than the upper limit of a specific vitamin and mineral and develop a severe headache, contact your physician immediately. Developing a severe headache after taking more than the recommended daily allowance of minerals such as iron or calcium or vitamins such as vitamins A or D, may result in toxicity. Vitamin toxicity or mineral poisoning may cause severe abdominal pain, muscle aches, bone aches, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting and a severe headache. Iron poisoning can induce a coma, cause organ damage and, in some cases, lead to death. Medline Plus states that people who get treated within the first 48 hours of an overdose generally recover; however, death has occurred, in some instances, up to a week after overdosing.

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