Do Side Effects of Vitamins for Hair and Nails Exist?

by Viviscal Hair Expert on March 31, 2016

Out of all the ways to promote healthy hair, strong nails and clear skin, vitamins are the most popular. The best hair and nail vitamins are relatively inexpensive and easy to add to your diet.

Even though the benefits are well-documented, there is still a concern about potential side effects. Many vitamin blends contain dosages that far exceed the daily recommended value.

Should you be worried? Let’s take a look at some of the potential side effects of hair, skin and nail vitamins, and how you can avoid them.

Skeletal Problems

Vitamin A can be found in many hair, skin and nail vitamin blends because it can help strengthen your skin and soft tissues. But according to Everyday Health, consuming large amounts can slow down bone rebuilding, increase bone loss, and even increase your risk for osteoporosis.

Vitamin A is found in lots of foods like potatoes, leafy greens, and fish, so beware how much you’re actually putting in your body, especially when adding supplements to your diet. If you’re feeling bone pain or joint stiffness, try lowering your dosage.

Birth Defects

One of Vitamin A’s scarier potential side effects applies to women who are expecting.

A study highlighted by the New York Times found that women who consume excessive amounts of vitamin A during the early months of pregnancy can cause serious birth defects in their unborn children.

And here’s the scariest part — the amount that places babies at risk can be found in a single pill in some vitamin blends if taken daily. Some of the birth defects include hydrocephalus and major heart malformations. The higher the dosage, the greater the risk.

Vitamin A is helpful during pregnancy as it’s essential for a baby’s development, but take great caution to avoid ingesting excessive amounts.


Iron is great for your hair, skin and nail health because it helps form red blood cells that bring oxygen to your skin. Pale skin and dark circles are common signs of anemia caused by an iron deficiency.

Stomach irritation is a common side effect of people taking iron supplements. This is usually from taking the pills on an empty stomach. If taking them with food doesn’t stop or slow down the irritation, talk to your doctor about starting with a half dosage. You can slowly build up to a full dosage once you’ve built up your tolerance.

Blurred Vision

Vitamin E is popular for healthy glowing skin as both a supplement and a topical oil. Even though the benefits can be great, prolonged treatment or excessive amounts can cause problems with your eyesight, specifically a loss of visual sharpness and the ability to see detail.

It’s ironic because along with vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc, Vitamin E is an important nutrient for retinal health. This causes a lot of people to get too aggressive with their dosage and they experience the exact opposite effect. If you’re taking vitamin E and you start to get blurred vision or if one of your eyes becomes red and painful, lower your dosage.

Lack of Energy

Another side effect of Vitamin E overdose is muscle fatigue and an overall lack of energy, especially if you have any existing digestive problems. It takes a lot of effort for your liver to process potent supplements, especially on an empty stomach.

To make sure you’re not taxing your body with your supplements, make sure to eat before taking any supplements.

So do side effects for hair, skin and nail vitamins exist?

Yes, but your risk can be greatly minimized by taking the recommended daily dosage. Remember that many of the supplements you take have vitamins that are already found in your body and in your diet. Take care to note any side effects and talk to your doctor if you’re not sure what’s causing them.