25,000 IU's of beta carotene is plenty, anything more than that is too much and your body doesn't need it. Please don't be one of those who think that 'if this much will help, even more is better' because your body will only use so much and then the rest will be excreted in your urine. Same with the 'B' vitamins. They're all water-soluble so you will simply pass out of your body what you don't use, so even though taking a high dose of them really won't hurt you (aside from maybe an upset stomach and a bad case of diarrhea), neither will it do you any good.
As far as which ones are risky, Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses (which is why we take beta-carotene) and vitamin D also should not be taken by supplement. And I know I will get some disagreement on that but vitamin D is not a vitamin we need to give ourselves as we normally get all we need from the sun. It isn't a vitamin whose excess is passed out of your body like the B vitamins, it will build up in high doses. So unless you never go outside in the sunshine, cover your entire body up with clothes when you do, and slather sunblock on every inch of your skin, the sun will do just fine is supplying all the vitamin D you need.
I might know the reason for the conflicting information.
Vitamin A (from retinol) is the actual fat-soluble vitamin. The max recommended daily dosage varies; I've seen 10,000 IU, but I've also seen 5,000 IU. Nevertheless, the fact that it is stored in fat makes caution prudent.
Beta carotene is actually a compound sometimes called Pro-vitamin A. It is converted into vitamin A in the body on an as-needed basis. Unlike vitamin A itself (unless you are a heavy smoker), there are no known mechanisms of beta carotene toxicity. In fact some people take so much that their palms and soles turn orangy-yellow, but show no ill effects.
Since you are taking only beta carotene, I do not think you have anything to worry about.
[This message has been edited by TiredMan (edited 05-25-2003).]
Thanks for your response. As for the Vit. D...I AM one of those people you describe...honestly! I live in a very northern area, and I do wear 48 sunblock whenever I am outside more than 15 minutes or so...but usually I just have long sleeved shirts and jeans on. I do go outside a lot...I live in a beautiful area, but cover up to avoid sunburn and wood ticks! Thanks for the comments though!
HI Tired Man,
Thanks for the info...that was pretty much what I was thinking, that if I stick to BetaCarotene I'd be ok. Thanks for the verification though.