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Vitamin D Toxicity: Signs You're Taking Too Much Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. However, taking excess amounts of this vitamin can lead to severe side effects. Here’s what the doctor has to say.

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: May 19, 2023 10:21 IST
Vitamin D Toxicity: Signs You're Taking Too Much Of Vitamin D

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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in primarily animal food products and is also synthesised in the human body via exposure to the sun, says Dr Tushar Tayal, Consultant-Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram. It helps in preventing bone loss and osteoporosis, and is also necessary for maintaining overall immunity, he adds. A back ache, fatigue, bone pain or muscle weakness can often be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, which is when you must spend as much time under the sun as you can or have vitamin-D rich foods. Some people, under the guidance of a nutritionist or a doctor, can also resort to supplements. However, did you know taking too much vitamin D can become toxic and lead to side effects?

Speaking with Only My Health, Dr Tayal discusses the impact of excess vitamin D intake on the body. 

Also Read: Tingling In Your Hands And Feet Can Be A Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Other Neurological Symptoms To Watch

What Happens When You Take Too Much Vitamin D

Dr Tayal said,  “Indiscriminate and excess intake of synthetic vitamin D can lead to vitamin D toxicity.” However, the doctor notes that this is not possible with natural sources of vitamin D, such as sun exposure or foods, even if eaten in excess . 

According to Mayo Clinic, large doses of vitamin D supplements can lead to toxicity causing several problems in the body. This is mostly because excess consumption of vitamin D leads to a buildup of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), causing an imbalance in the regulation of bone metabolism. Severe cases of vitamin D toxicity can cause issues such as kidney failure and abnormal heart rhythm, Dr Tayal said. 

Symptoms To Watch Out For

The symptoms of vitamin D toxicity are mainly due to high calcium in blood. These include:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Increased thirst 
  • Frequent urination
  • Confusion, lethargy and fatigue
  • Muscle weakness and difficulty walking
  • Bone pain
  • Kidney stones

How Much Vitamin D Should You Have?

According to Dr Tayal, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults and for children above 4 years of age is 800 International Units (IU) per day. 

According to Britain's National Health Services (NHS), children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Also Read: From Itchy Skin Rashes To Swelling In The Mouth, Warning Signs Of Wheat Allergy

For Vitamin-Deficient People, Here Are Foods Rich In Sunshine Vitamin

If you’re not receiving enough vitamin D from sun-exposure, you can always have vitamin D-rich foods, such as:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Salmon and  Tuna
  • Dairy and plant milks
  • Sardines
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolk
  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Tofu
  • Curd and yoghurt

Takeaway

Vitamin D is an extremely essential nutrient for overall health and development. It not only helps build strong bones, but also keeps bone diseases at bay in both adults and children. However, you must ensure that you’re not having excess of it, especially if you’re on supplements or any other synthetic source. Speak with a healthcare professional before making any decisions. 

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