Beware of Vitamin D Overdose

November 12, 2012

Beware of Vitamin D Overdose

Vitamin D is important for strong bones and teeth. This vitamin helps absorb calcium from dietary sources. Vitamin D is also important for muscle, nerve, and immune function. Essentially vitamin D is found in every cell of the body. Vitamin D can be brought into the body by food we eat, supplementation, and made by sun interacting with out skin. When sun strikes our skin it splits a ring in the cholesterol molecule and turns it into vitamin D. Most of our vitamin D is made by the action of sun on our skin. Most of us are probably familiar with vitamin D deficiencies in that it causes rickets which is a softening of bone. However, are you familiar with a vitamin d overdose?

A vitamin d overdose can be life threatening. The foods we eat and the sun we are exposed to produce all the vitamin D we need. So, a vitamin d overdose comes from over supplementation. Excessive intake of cod liver oil could create a vitamin d overdose. Generally, an overdose of vitamin D comes from prescriptions forms for individuals who have illnesses due to a vitamin d deficiency. The recommended daily dose if 5mcg (200 IU) at any age. The upper intake limit varies by age and is 25mcg (1,000 IU) for birth to 12 months and 50mcg (2,000 IU) for 1 year or older. Beyond these levels vitamin D can become toxic. It is recommended that you not supplement yourself with vitamin D. You need to discuss this with your healthcare provider before anything is done.

Care should be taken if you are on vitamin D supplements. A vitamin D overdose has a number of severe side effects which call for immediate medical attention. Please see the side effects below.

  • High levels of calcium in the blood due to greater absorption in the gut because you have more vitamin D coming into your system.

  • Excessive deposits of calcium and phosphate in lungs, heart and kidneys. These organs begin to malfunction. There is no cure for this.

  • Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite with possible weight loss.

  • Production of kidney stones (excess calcium and phosphate)

  • Eventual kidney failure

  • Excessive urination

  • Muscle weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Nervousness

  • Dehydration causing excessive thirst

  • Bone loss/pain

  • Arrhythmias

  • Mental and physical damage to developing fetus

Other than taking a multivitamin that contains vitamin D, you should not be supplementing yourself. If you feel you want to do this, you should consult with your healthcare provider before you do. Your doctor can tell how much you need and in what form. A vitamin d overdose can be serious to the point of being life threatening. The best way to get more vitamin D is to get some sun. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes of direct sun to produce all the vitamin D you need.

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