How multivitamins can mess up your brain

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I want to tell my story of taking Centrum Aquaburst.

Day 1. In hopes of improving my skin, I went to a pharmacy to buy multivitamins. I usually take Centrum pills, but this time I found this soluble powder, which I decided to try. I also had a terrible headache that day, and several pills of 500 mg Tylenol didn't help. This meant that my upper blood pressure was likely above 120 and all I could do is finish my day, go home and try to relax. Now, just a few minutes after I took 1 pack of centrum, I felt a relief. Wow, I thought, so my headaches have been due to lack of some chemicals in my body! I am totally taking more tomorrow!

Day 2. Minor headache in the morning, as usual, eliminated by the magic Centrum. "Clarity" of perception and calmness. Damn, I was stressed all these years.

Day 3. I noticed that in addition to clarity and calmness I was somewhat slow. At that point, I recalled Celexa and Symbalta, ad-s I was prescribed a few years ago for headaches. I was feeling similar now. OK, I have to be cautious and watch for side effects and withdrawal.

My guess is that it's some of the minerals. Zinc, for example, is used to treat depression and schizophrenia. It improves mood and focus. And, i already got focused enough to work patiently for 2 hours without looking at the clock or youtube.

Day 4. My boyfriend got sick with cold. I gave him a pack, and 10 mins after, he stopped coughing, got up the coach and went shopping. He also asked me if had more.

Day 5. After drinking afternoon tea, I felt really sleepy and relaxed. My eyes were just shutting down. However, I could not fall asleep. I had minor hallucinations with my eyes closed, as if I had fever. Hm, that must've been because I took another headache pill.

Day 6. Another pack in the morning. I am calm and focused. Towards afternoon, I got sleepy, a little sick, and started feeling something weird in my chest. Also, confused and dizzy, off balance, but I was still calm. My speech became a bit slurry. On the subway in the evening, I started to lose control. I felt like I was about to stop understanding what's going on, who I am and what I am doing here. I reminded myself in my head, 'I am on the subway, this is X station, my name is Z, my parents live at Y, I am going to see my boyfriend whose name is N."

This wasn't improving, so we went to emergency. On my way there, I had muscle spasms in my arms, legs and face, and I thought that I was going into overall paralysis and dying. I couldn't walk or move my arms when we arrived. At the hospital, they checked my blood pressure and heart rate - 132/93 and 111 resp. However, I calmed down and we left.

Terrible sleep again, but I was stable now.

Today. No intake. Still dizzy and out of it. Calm happiness is followed by a very unpleasant hostile feeling and back. In euphoria, I listen to music and cry, and enjoy it. 'Lithium' by Evanescence is the song of the day. I am stable, hoping that my condition improves tomorrow.

My boyfriend us totally fine, even though he overdosed.

Take Centrum with caution. I will update on my state if ppl find this interesting.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Sorry, there's something wrong with this story.

    I'm a former nurse. I looked up Centrum Aquaburst (which I'd never heard of) to see what's in it. And there's nothing at all that would cause either the minor "high" you're describing or the bad side effects. In fact, all the vitamin and mineral doses in it are quite low - mostly below the RDA here in Europe. Even if you OD'd seriously on this stuff, it wouldn't cause any of these effects. Not that I'd recommend OD-ing, btw, as it contains vitamin A, which can cause liver damage in very high doses. In any case, dosages indicated on any meds or supplements are there for a reason.

    What you're describing is a classic case of hyperventilation, brought on by anxiety. This is when we (quite unconsciously) start breathing too deeply and too quickly. It's a common condition in young women - and I should know, it used to happen to me when I was young! The excessive breathing rinses out too much carbon dioxide from the lungs. This makes the blood slightly too alkaline, which has a knock-on effect on your electrolyte balance. This causes dizziness, a feeling of being light-headed, tingling in the extremities and, if it continues for long enough, muscle spasms - particularly of the hands, where the fingers become stiff and bend in towards the palms. It can eventually cause generalised twitching, which may be mistaken for a convulsion. This is the group of symptoms people suffering from panic attacks most commonly describe.

    The old-fashioned remedy was to get the sufferer to breathe in and out of a paper bag, to encourage re-breathing of the lost carbon dioxide, but I don't think it was ever that effective. You can try carefully sipping half a teaspoon of vinegar, mixed with sugar, to restore your acidity (also works a treat for hiccups!) The best cure is to simply bring your over-breathing down by an act of will. I still very occasionally hyperventilate these days if I get anxious, and I find the best way is to consciously breathe just a bit less than I feel I need to, allowing myself an extra-deep breath only about once a minute. This always works.

    However, since you've already received treatment for anxiety and/or depression (Cymbalta and Celexa) perhaps it would be a good idea to return to the same doctor and describe these new symptoms.

    Just one more thing: please go easy on the Tylenol (called Panadol in the UK, Dafalgan in most continental European countries). I know it's readily available OTC but it's not harmless. The active ingredient - acetaminophen, confusingly called paracetamol over here - is a potential liver toxin. It's OK when taken at the recommended dose but the margin of safety is relatively narrow so you should never be tempted to exceed the dose. It wouldn't have been the tylenol that caused all those symptoms, btw, just the hyperventilation.

    Hope this helps.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. Indeed, the night I went to the emergency, I could have an anxiety attack and hyperventilation. But here is what I think of the rest of effects. I am doing a PhD in Medical Biophysics, so I have a habit of thinking a lotsmile

      The amounts of medical ingredients are below daily dose from FDA (I live in Canada). However, this drug is in the liquid form, so most of its contents reach blood from stomach much quicker compared to a pill. Their concentration in blood raises rapidly. While it may be ok for other organs, brain probably receives a bit too much within short time and so it may start acting funny. I have to add that I am small frame and a bit underweight, and I also overdosed on a standard amount of cough medicine recently.

      I used to think it's a German product, but it's from US, Pfizer.

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    • Posted

      Maybe get your vitamins via food sources in future?

      The only vitamin supplements I take are D and K (in conjunction with calcium and magnesium) for osteopenia, which is the early stage of osteoporosis, as you probably know. People my age - especially women - usually need to supplement these vitamins as we need a high concentration in our blood if we're to absorb and metabolise sufficient calcium. And - as I'm sure you also know - it's recently been found that everyone living in northerly latitudes, especially in northern Europe where we don't get much sunshine even in summer, would benefit from supplementing with vitamin D.

      I prefer to get all the rest from food - plenty of fresh vegetables, a little fruit, some grains, fish, eggs, a bit of dairy etc. I don't think you can isolate vitamins - especially vitamin C - from all the complementary anti-oxidants that occur alongside them in various foods.

      A few years back, when I was still working and going through a really busy period in the middle of a flu epidemic, I asked my pharmacist if he could suggest a good vitamin C product. He quizzed me about my diet, then advised me not to bother as I'd just be producing expensive urine!

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    • Posted

      We don't get that much sun here in Toronto either, because of many cloudy days. I used to live in Russia at the same latitude, but it was much sunnier and warmer there. So, I now get all sleepy and unmotivated as the winter comessmile

      I am trying to have a balanced diet. I cook home relatively often and consume fruits and vegetables. Maybe I don't have any vitamin deficiency. However, my headaches really bother me. What these Centrum packs do to them is incredible. No amounts of Tylenol, or Ibuprofen, or even codein based drugs ever eliminated my headaches so fast. So, the question now is what is the ingedient and how much I should take each time not to get high againsmile I am thinking either magnesium or zinc...

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    • Posted

      I live in toronto as well No city that has a winter gets much sunlight through the winter

      The sun is a biggest sorce of vitamin d the best way to balance it out is to stop bye a gardening store or even home depot buy the florescent bulbs but make sure they are a bright white with a 6500 Kelvin rating it is really close to natural sunlight witch is why gardeners use them to start there seeds. Also they are energy savers so u will lower your hydro bill

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    • Posted

      I also use centrum aquaburst i find no problems with them i only drink one ever 24 hours as directed remember if u take one late in day like say 6pm because u forgot during day then u have one next moring at breakfast thats not every 24 hours and you would be taking more then one some vitamins are bad in high doses especially if you had food that day high in certin vitamins people could unknowingly have way to much
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  • Posted

    I was researching the Aquaburst as it is in essentially liquid form. I nearly died from an invassive fungal condition, and had long term heavy excposure to a particular fungal toxin (mycotoxin) used in Agent Orange, which coincidentally was manufactired here where I live in British Columbia, Canada.

     The tricothecene mycotoxin destroys the vila in the intestines, which is where we absorb our nutrients. I need liquid vitamin therapy for the rapid absorption in order to derive any benefit at all, but due to a cover up, I can neither get medical truth or care in Canada. I was helped in the US by friends of a BC university professor. So, I thought this Centrum Aquaburst might work, if there are no potential precautions, given the fact that it is produced by a "drug" company. Can anyone shed light on this for me? I also put this here to pass on a bit of knowledge relevant to Canadian residents. smile

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