Danger of ingesting too many micronutrients?


That is true. Micronutrient malnutrition is far more prevalent than hypervitaminosis, especially among obese persons.


The only example I’m currently aware of is eating too much liver, which can kill people, but I’ve not done any reading on the topic in particular.


[quote=“nutrisludge, post:69, topic:22630”]
Gasoline consumption varies markedly among different makes and models but oil consumption is relatively constant among all? [/quote]

I get where you’re going with this, but it doesn’t really fit how you’d like. Oil consumption varies greatly with vehicle size, larger vehicles use quite a bit more (Geo Metro at 3.7 quarts vs Ford F150 at 7 quarts). Some are even known for burning oil and would need to be supplimented (Cadillac is notorious), maybe these are the athletes of the automotive world.

[quote=“nutrisludge, post:69, topic:22630”]
Is there a statistically significant high percentage of morbidly obese people who contract hypervitaminosis? [/quote]

Not that I know of offhand. You could also look at more than the obese, bodybuilders also have extraordinarily high intakes. Duane Johnsons diet was being talked about recently in another thread, he seems to get along just fine with the ridiculous levels he consumes.


Speak for yourself, pea brain.



They think it may of been hypervitaminosis A but they are just guessing. Yet apparently eating lots of liver, which is where vitamin A is stored in the body, could lead to hypervitaminosis.

The causes of Mertz’s death and Mawson’s related illness remain uncertain; a 1969 study suggested hypervitaminosis A, presumably caused by the men eating the livers of their Greenland Huskies, which are now known to be unusually high in vitamin A. While this is considered the most likely theory, dissenting opinions suggest prolonged cold exposure or psychological stresses.


@yoni_w, if you eat a diet of “normal” food which meets your micronutrient needs exactly, you have the same conundrum… if you eat 50% more food to get more calories, are you not 50% over on micros? Or, if you eat 50% less, are you not low on micros? Soylent is actually no different from normal food in this respect, except that Soylent has gotten a lot of people thinking about the question.

The truth of the matter is that our bodies are remarkably resilient within certain broad ranges. (The excellent chart @wezaleff copied above is a great example of that) This is why our species has survived so many tens of thousands of years, through times of plenty and times of deprivation. More times of deprivation, probably, but we’re also adapted to recover during times of plenty, as opposed to becoming acutely poisoned during times of plenty.

Actually, many of us are surprised when we first learn that’s not correct.

a study of 46 adults aged 22–49 years and of mainly European descent found an average brain volume of 1273.6 cm3 for men, ranging from 1052.9 to 1498.5 cm3, and 1131.1 cm3 for women, ranging from 974.9 to 1398.1 cm3.[2]

A good fraction of this comes from size… Early findings along these lines used to be used to substantiate the idea of men being smarter than women, but that doesn’t bear out… A lot of our brain matter is not about thinking, but handling the body. Takes more neurons to create a signal that makes my big heart beat and the large, distant muscles of my lower legs move, compared to a smaller person. (I’m 6’5", 225lb.) I likely have a substantially bigger brain than, say, a woman less than half my weight… but that does not mean I’m smarter than she is.

No time left to hunt down links, but just to offer you some leads - the folks in this thread noting that some micros are used by certain types of tissue are on the right track. As a result, for most micros, our needs scale with our size, and this is true for macros as well as micros. Some particular micros are less so, and others more so. If you read the IOM publications, a great many micros are listed in terms of grams per kg of body weight! … but the “general” recommendations are later made based on assumption of average bodyweight. The DVs are scaled to the 2000 calorie dietary standard because they have to be indexed to something… but it works out because those who are larger and need more micros also need more macros, and vice versa.

Moreover, we have clear evidence that certain activities do change needs… for example, people engaging in endurance activities have clearly increased needs for electrolytes, which they lose through increased sweating. The example may seem trivial, but it’s just the clearest and most easily-supported in the literature

Or consider a woman engaged in the activity of growing a fetus (pregnancy.) Her increased needs for particular micronutrients, above and beyond her increased macronutrient needs, are so well known that the standard of care is now to prescribe those micronutrients in the form of prenatal vitamins.

I don’t mean to muddy the waters by pointing this out… Although I do think what I’ve just said is correct, it does not change my opening statement: this is not an area where Soylent is different from “normal” food; rather, this is an area where Soylent behaves like every other food… and our bodies deal with it when on Soylent the same ways they’ve dealt with it from normal food for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

Vitamin Supplements if I Can't Finish Soylent Quota?
Three bottles a day okay?
Soylent v2.1 Wishlist and Future Developments

When you have the time I would like to see the links so I can read it my self. I believe you I just want to read it.


There have definitely been cases of hypervitaminosis A from consumption of the livers of certain animals, such as moose liver. Have you looked at that stuff?


An 8-ounce serving provides 215,000 IU of vitamin A!

Just did a quick check on wikipedia:

Diet - liver is high in vitamin A. The liver of certain animals — including the polar bear, bearded seal,[24][25] walrus,[26] moose,[27] and husky — are particularly toxic.




I meant moose liver, in particular…

Eating dog liver is unusual, to say they least… and you can get hypervitaminosis A from eating too much calf liver too often, because liver is high… but I was shocked at the levels you can get in moose liver - which, being larger, can also lead to a larger portion.


I’ll be anxiously waiting!


@yoni_w Did we answer your questions? I think we did.


That’s barely +/- 15% from average. When body size can range from under 100 pounds to many hundreds of pounds, the variation in brain size is miniscule.


I dunno… plus or minus 15% is a lot more than miniscule, to me - it’s a 30% spread. I just did the math, and it’s +17.7%/-17.3% for men… and the high end of 1498.5 is 42% bigger than the small end of 1052.9. (Actually, that’s adult white European men.)

Sure, people can weigh many hundreds of pounds… but if you count lean body weight (body weight minus the fat weight), we don’t actually vary nearly as much in weight. Plus or minus 15% or 20% may well cover most of the typical range. Fat isn’t innervated like muscles and organs are, so having an extra hundred pounds of fat may not correlate to any change in brain size. Actually, lemme see if I can find some numbers easily…

OK, looking at CDC figures from here, on Table 10, the average weight for non-Hispanic white males in the US aged 40-59 years is 203.8 pounds (wow!). The bottom 5th percentile is 147.5 pounds, and the top 95th percentile is 273.5 pounds. So the brackets around the average are -27% and + 34%. The brain size variation is more than half the body weight variation, even when body weight include fat - and given an average weight of 203.8 pounds, it includes a lot of fat. If this were based on lean body weights, it might be pretty close.


You should see someone about your anxiety.


I’ll take that to mean that you couldn’t find the “great many micros listed in terms of grams per kg of body weight” in IOM publications to which you referred.


I take it he meant he wasn’t going to take the time to look for them, and expected anyone interested to look the references up themselves. It sounds like they’re buried in a bunch of publications and would take a lot of time to track them all down.


OK, I’ve got a little time to spare (that’s a lie, I should be doing something else, but I’m obsessive). Can’t look them all up, because the information is spread out - how about choline, since it was already brought up in this thread as an example?

I’m sure everyone here is aware that the DRI for choline for adult males is 550 mg/day. You can find this - and other per day average requirement values - in easily available tables, such as this one:


But the figures in these tables come from other, more detailed reports and publications. You see this in the note below the tables, which starts: "NOTE: This table (taken from the DRI reports, see www.nap.edu)… The DRI reports refer to a continuous set of updates to the DRI publications, but most are just updates to the general knowledge about various nutrients, adjustments for particular populations, newly understood interactions, etc. To find the source of the DRI figures, themselves, you need to go to an older publication, which varies based on the nutrient in question.

To go to the source material for the choline requirement, you’ll be looking at Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline (1998), published by the IOM:

This, and their other full publications, are free and available online from National Academies Press.

This publication has thirty-two pages on choline, alone! On page 403, it says:

Thus the AI is set at approximately 7 mg/ kg/day or, for the reference man weighing 76 kg, at 550 mg after rounding.

So the average requirement for the typical male with the typical weight eating the typical calories is 550mg…

The choline requirement for women was set based on the lower average body weight of women - even though women are known to actually use choline a little more efficiently than men. For simplicity’s sake, they just scaled it on weight, because the main concern was getting adequate choline, within safety limites. So the women’s figure of 425 mg is set based on the reference weight for women. They say all this, explicitly:

It is not known whether women have the same requirement on a body weight basis as men, but this AI is likely to be adequate on the basis of the earlier discussion on gender…

Older people may need slightly more, but no adjustment was made to the recommendations for the elderly:

Although there is some evidence that transport across the blood-brain barrier is diminished in the elderly, which suggests the possibility of a higher requirement than for younger adults (Cohen et al., 1995), no adjustment has been made in the AI for the elderly.

The bases for the choline recommendations for children of various ages - although they are listed in tables as “per day” amounts based on age ranges - are just averages extrapolated from “per weight” amounts. For example, on page 402:

Importantly, we should note that the extrapolation method from adult to child is not linear, so it’s not the same “per weight” values as for male and female adults (this is from pages 31 and 32, in the chapter on Overview and Methodology):

Maintenance needs for the B vitamins and choline expressed with respect to body weight ( [kilogram of body weight] ^ 0.75) are the same for adults and children. Scaling requirements as the 0.75 power of body mass adjusts for metabolic differences demonstrated to be related to body weight, as described by Kleiber (1947) and explored further by West and colleagues (1997). By this scaling a child weighing 22 kg would require 42 percent of what an adult weighing 70 kg would require—a higher percentage than that represented by actual weight.

They also note that “On average, total needs do not differ substantially for males and females until age 14, when reference weights differ.” (Again, from page 32, in the chapter on Overview and Methodology, not from the chapter on choline, itself.)

My Conclusion: choline requirements scale with weight, and are based on a “per kilogram” weight requirement. Published “per day” figures for men and women are estimates based on standard reference weights for males and females. Children’s “per day” figures are extrapolations based on weight and a metabolic power factor.

If you do the same work I just did, but for some other micros, you’ll generally find a similar story for most of the micros that are well-studied. On those where the research is thinner, you’ll be less likely to find a per-kg figure used as a basis. (For example, when the primary source of the estimated requirement is population consumption studies, their starting point is probably already a “per person per day” figure.)

Aaaaaaand there goes my lunch hour…


Thank you for taking the time to respond. I sincerely appreciate that.


Luckily, you don’t require an entire hour to prepare, consume and clean up after yourself like muggles. :wink: