Although overdosing on vitamin D is almost totally unheard of in the medical world, it does happen on occasion.
The Mayo Clinic describes vitamin D overdose as vitamin D toxicity and credits it to excessive supplement usage.
Taking a large amount of vitamin D supplements can cause vitamin D toxicity.
However, this condition is largely found in patients that have issues with processing vitamin D due to kidney or liver damage.
Dr. Weil suggests consuming about 1,000 IU each day of vitamin D for adults.
The FDA states that babies should intake a maximum of 400 IU daily of vitamin D.
Taking more than the recommended dosage will not immediately lead to vitamin D toxicity. This is because excess amounts can be stored in fat.
This means that any extra vitamin D that is consumed or absorbed will stay in your body until you need it. If you continually take in more vitamin D than you need each day, eventually you can develop vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin D toxicity can be reversed, but not before it begins to cause adverse, and sometimes permanent effects on the human body.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D overdose?
Taking too much vitamin D and developing vitamin D deficiency can cause painful side effects to occur. WebMD says that an overload of vitamin D in the body leads to calcium build-up.
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse states that most kidney stones primarily consist of calcium. Kidney stones have been reported in many cases of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D toxicity also causes calcium to be found in the blood in excessive levels. This can be dangerous for anyone, but especially for those that have heart related issues. Common side effects of vitamin D overdose include digestive issues.
Why do you need vitamin D?
Vitamin D is needed from birth to build healthy bones. As you get older, your vitamin D needs may increase. Older patients with osteoporosis use both vitamin D and calcium to prevent fractions and bone deterioration from occurring.
Children who do not get the required amount of vitamin D can develop bone deformities and have issues with mobility. A lack of vitamin D usually causes issues with the hips, legs and joints to occur.
The bones are made up of calcium, but vitamin D also helps nutrients to be absorbed by the skeletal system more readily. The tiny blood vessels that are found in the bones are supported by vitamin D.
What is the best way to get vitamin D?
Doctors recommend that babies and small children get vitamin D from supplements. Breastfed babies are more likely to get the amount of vitamin D that they need, however, their mothers are encouraged to take vitamin D supplements.
After infancy, vitamin D consumption mainly comes from regular food sources. Milk and other dairy products are rich in vitamin D, while the sun still helps many people to maintain proper vitamin D blood levels.
If you are an adult and you want to increase your vitamin D intake, you should consult with your physician. Only your doctor will be able to determine if taking a vitamin D supplement is needed, but you can still take supplements that contain vitamin D without cause for worry.
Should you take vitamin D supplements?
Taking a multivitamin or other dietary supplement that contains vitamin D is perfectly safely. However, drastically increasing your daily vitamin D consumption when you are already getting a healthy amount can lead to vitamin D toxicity.
This is why it is imperative that you have a vitamin D blood test conducted before you think about supplementing. Most health supplements that list vitamin D as an ingredient only contain around 400 IU.
Recent changes in vitamin D daily recommended dosages put this around 40% of what you should consume each day. If you have a diet that includes a lot of dairy products, you should be getting all of the vitamin D that you need.
Vitamin D supplements can be taken by those that are deficient or even people that are more prone to being deficient. This primarily includes people with dark skin tones and skin types that make it more difficult for them to absorb vitamin D from the sun.
Vitamin D supplements can be taken as a preventative measure as long as you are certain that you are not going over the daily recommended allotment.