What is Vitamin D toxicity?
Are you at risk of vitamin d3 overdose, as millions of people around the world take vitamin D/D3 supplements every day? However some people take too much vitamin D and this is known as vitamin D toxicity or hypervitaminosis D.Vitamin D toxicity is not caused by the sun or from fortified foods but by taking excessive amounts of vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D3 Overdose Symptoms.
When you take large quantities of vitamin d3, which the body finds difficult to get rid of because vitamin d3 is stored in the liver and around fatty tissues. As a result of taking too much vitamin d your liver works harder and produces a substance called 25(OH)D
When this substance 25(OH)D is high, calcium levels may be high in your blood stream and this is known as hypercalcemia.The main symptoms of hypercalcemia are shown below:
- Loss of appetite and feeling thirsty more frequently
- Feeling more sick and tired
- Symptoms of constipation, diarrhea frequent urination and abdominal pains
- Muscle cramps and pains
- Feeling of confusion
- Kidney stones and kidney failure
The best treatment for vitamin d3 overdose is to stop the intake of vitamin d3.Your doctor will advise you to follow a diet of low calcium and phosphorus foods. They may also prescribe other medications and intravenous fluids.
How Much Is Too Much Vitamin D?
People taking vitamin d 50 000 units per day for 2-3 months have been shown to cause a vitamin d3 overdose and may suffer the symptoms mentioned earlier. Alternatively if you take more than 300,000 IU in a day you may experience vitamin d overdose symptoms.
These levels are way to excessive compared to the (RDA) recommended dietary allowance for adults of 600-800 IU (international units) per day. Doses such as vitamin d 50 000 units per day are sometimes given to people who have severe vitamin d deficiency or to treat other medical problems. These are given under the strict medical supervision of your doctor and for a short period only.
How to Check If You Have Vitamin D3 Overdose?
The most effective way is to have a blood test to measure your 25(OH)D levels. This will show whether you are taking too much vitamin d. If your readings after the blood test are showing above 150ng/ml this indicates toxic levels and are damaging to your health.
If your calcium levels plus your 25(OH)D levels are both found to be high you have vitamin d toxicity. Seek medical advice from your doctor, on the best course of action to treat this vitamin d3 overdsose.
Your Vitamin D Levels and What They Mean.
After you receive your blood test 25(OH)D results, it’s important to know what these readings mean. This will show if you need to increase/decrease your dosage of vitamin D supplementation or expose yourself more to the sun.
The results are in units of ng/ml that are used in the USA and in certain other parts of the world it’s given as nmol/L
To convert your results from ng/ml to nmol/L multiply the ng/ml number by 2.5 for example 50ng/ml is the equivalent of 125nmol/L (50×2.5) To convert from nmol/L to ng/ml you simply divide by 2.5
Below we give approx levels and what they mean.
My level is between 0-10 ng/ml
This is dangerously low and at the opposite end of vitamin d3 overdose. Your muscles will be weak, lack energy moving around and have a greater risk of fracturing your bones.
My level is between 10-20 ng/ml
Certain groups fall under this level eg. African American and Hispanic Americans. These levels are still very low for your health and can cause weaker bones and other complications.
My level is between 20-30 ng/ml
This range some organisations seem to think its adequate whilst many feel this is still too low .In this range your body may be making a parathyroid hormone which does not fully absorb calcium which in turn affects bone strength.
My level is between 30-40 ng/ml
This band allows calcium to be absorbed well by the parathyroid hormone but according to the Vitamin D Council your still not quite there with acceptable vitamin D levels.
My level is between 40-50 ng/ml
According to all organisations they agree this is the best level to receive optimum vitamin D. Certain studies have shown that these levels reduce the risk of health problems like cancer and make your immune system stronger.
My level is between 50-100 ng/ml
These levels are still considered as normal with many institutions but The Institute of Medicine says that there is not enough evidence to justify doses higher than 50ng/ml as having any real benefits.
My level is between 100-150 ng/ml
This range is approaching the vitamin d3 overdose threshold although still not considered to be harmful to your health. A recent study however, found that vitamin D levels over 100 ng/ml were more likely to increase the risk of irregular heartbeats.
My level is higher than 150 ng/ml
You may be experiencing one or more of vitamin d3 overdose symptoms and are definitely vitamin d toxic and harming your health. Stop taking vitamin d3 supplements and seek advice from your doctor.
Although vitamin d3 overdose is rare, many people take way too much vitamin d which can seriously damage their health. If you think you have vitamin d3 overdose symptoms then stop taking the supplements immediately and consult your doctor. Too much vitamin d can be bad for your health, like most things in life, but if you supplement sensibly you will reap the many benefits of vitamin d.
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To your health