Vitamin D can be found in small amounts in certain types of food, but it is called the “sunshine vitamin” for a reason – the vast majority of the vitamin D in our body comes from sun rays.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
This vitamin can help us to have healthy bones, as it helps them absorb calcium, and it is particularly helpful with conditions such as weak bones, bone loss, bone pain. Its benefits extend to certain skin conditions, such as:
- vitiligo, characterized by white patches of skin
- scleroderma, characterized by hardening of the skin and connective tissues
- psoriasis, characterized by the quick growth of skin cells which results in white, silvery or red patches of skin.
It can also be used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and others, such as diabetes.
Moderation is the key
Given all the positive effects vitamin D has on our bodies, the urge would be to take it in as much as possible. However, you shouldn’t exaggerate with the intake of vitamin D, but rather follow the recommended dosages. According to National Institutes of Health, recommended daily intakes of vitamin D are:
- 15mg or 600 IU for children from ages 1-13, teenagers from ages 14-18, adults from ages 19-70, and pregnant and breastfeeding women
- 20mg or 800 IU for adults aged 71 or above
6 Symptoms of Vitamin D Toxicity
When it comes to the intake of vitamin D through various supplements, the rule “the more – the better” does not apply here, it can rather have quite the opposite effect and lead to vitamin D toxicity. If you take more vitamin D than necessary, it raises the level of calcium in your blood abnormally and causes serious health problems.
1. Feeling nauseated? Lost the appetite?
Vitamin D toxicity can influence different parts of our organism thus causing different symptoms. Among one of the first side effects of taking too much vitamin D are feeling nauseated and the loss of appetite. Studies suggest that in the case of persistent vomiting, the most probable diagnosis is vitamin D overdose. These are the symptoms that are the first warning signs, and if ignored, more serious damage can be done.
2. You can never get enough water
Another common symptom of vitamin D toxicity you shouldn’t ignore if you are using vitamin D supplements is excessive thirst. If you keep drinking one glass of water after the other, check your vitamin dosage.
3. Increased risk of urinary tract infection
Overdosing with vitamin D increases the risk of urinary tract infections, so if you feel the urge to run to the bathroom more often, you probably need to check how much vitamin D you are taking.
4. Kidney stones are one of the far-reaching side effects of taking too much vitamin D
If you are taking vitamin D supplements, it is very important to monitor the level of calcium in your urine as well, since it increases the risk of kidney stones.
5. Vitamin D overdose can damage your heart
As it has been proved, the excess of vitamin D causes the levels of calcium in our blood to rise, which can lead to serious consequences if not treated on time. When there is more than necessary calcium in our blood, over time, it can lead to heart damage. People with excess levels of vitamin D have 2.5 times greater chances for arrhythmia which can further lead to blood clots and heart failure.
6. Your blood vessels suffer as well
Excessive intake of vitamin D per day means that the calcium is piling up in your blood vessels, causing your tissues to calcify, that is, to harden.
In order to avoid feeling the side effects of taking too much vitamin D, follow the recommended dosages carefully. The highest safe dosage per day is:
- 25-37.5mg (or 1,000-1,500 UI) for infants
- 5-75mg (or 2,500-3,000 UI) for children aged 1-8
- and 100mg (or 4,000 UI) for children above 9 years old and adults.
Luckily, vitamin D toxicity happens rather rarely, and the vast majority of cases result from taking too much vitamin D supplements. According to the American Association of Poison Control Center statistics for 2012, there were only 137 minor outcomes and 19 moderate outcomes of vitamin D toxicity. If you suspect you have been taking too much vitamin D, you should visit your doctor and do a blood test called 25(OH)D test, and measure the levels of vitamin D in your blood.