Vitamin D Overload -- Is Too Much
Vitamin D Dangerous?
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July 24, 2011, Last Updated June 13, 2012
By  Michael Chang, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor









How much is too  much Vitamin D? It depends on who you
ask. The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily
intake of 400 IU of Vitamin D. However, at levels of twice
that amount, the NIH notes that Vitamin D lowers the risk of
colon cancer.  The head of the Vitamin D Council, Dr. John
Holick, goes even further in his championing of the health
effects of Vitamin D. Acording to Dr. Holick, we humans can
tolerate levels of Vitamin D up to
40,000 IUs per day.  On the
other hand, there have been several research studies that
over the years have discovered that excessive levels of
Vitamin D can cause serious health problems. In fact, in
some cases, taking excessive amounts of vitamins can cause
more health issues than they prevent. So, what are the
health dangers, if any, of taking too much Vitamin D?



Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that improves calcium
absorption, bone density and fewer fractures, as well as
reduces risk of break, colon, and prostate cancer. Vitamin D
is present in very few food items, such as liver eggs and a
few species of fish. According to the
Office of Dietary
Supplements in the National Institutes of Health, almost all of
the milk sold in the United States is fortified with 100 IUs of
Vitamin D per cup. In Canada, milk is fortified with 35 to 40
IU/ml.  In both the U.S. and Canada,  infant formula is
required by law to be fortified with Vitamin D --- 40 to 100
IU/ml of Vitamin D in the U.S. and 40 to 80 IU/ml in Canada.
Consequently, Vitamin D is added to other foods, such as
milk or cereals, and also available as a dietary supplement.
Vitamin D can also be attained through consistent exposure
to the sun.

There are 2 forms of Vitamin D -- Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3,
also known as cholecalciferol. The overwhelming number of
cases of Vitamin D toxicity that have occurred have involved
supplementation with Vitamin D2. There has been only one
known case of Vitamin D2 toxicity, and that involved a man
who accidentally took 2.6 million IUs of Vitamin D3 daily for
2 years, according to Dr. Holick of the Vitamin D Council.

With these health perks, Vitamin D supplements have been
flying off the shelves and while there are certain benefits to
taking supplements, especially if you are not getting enough
sunlight, taking excessive quantities can result in Vitamin D
toxicity, also known as hypervitaminosis D. There are many
associated dangers with the excessive intake of this vitamin.



Top 7 Dangers of Excessive Vitamin D




























1. Too Much Vitamin D Results in Hypercalcemia



Because vitamin D stimulates more absorption of calcium,
one of the main consequences of excessive vitamin D is that
it results in hypercalcemia, or the excessive calcium in the
bloodstream. If you have been taking quantities of vitamin D
supplements that exceed the recommended level, you might
suffer from a few of these symptoms: constipation, fatigue,
dehydration, or increased urination.



2.
Excess Vitamin D Can Cause Painful Kidney Stones



Vitamin D is needed for absorption of calcium, so excessive
intake of this vitamin can result excessive calcium. This might
lead to kidney stones, or a build-up of calcium in soft tissues
in the kidney. According to a 2006 National Institute of
Health-funded Women’s Health Initiative study, more than
36,000 women took a calcium and vitamin D supplement.
Findings concluded that those taking supplements say a 17
percent increase in kidney stones.



The prevalence of kidney stones is particularly high in those
individuals who already suffer from sarcoidosis,
histoplasmosis, or lymphoma. So, if you suffer from such pre-
existing conditions, take caution in how much calcium and
vitamin D you are consuming.



3.
Anorexia and Loss of Appetite Results from Too Much
Vitamin D



Excessive intake of vitamin D can actually do more harm than
good at dangerous levels. Rather than help you maintain
your health, it promotes loss of appetite and anorexia at
excessive quantities. According to a 2011 study on anorexia
published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, there is a link
between anorexia and vitamin D toxicity.



4.
Vitamin D Toxicity Can Worsen Hardening of Arteries



Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries, resulting
from the calcified plague that occurs in these blood vessels.
Taking excessive amounts of vitamin D can worsen this
situation, particularly those with kidney disease. Since the
compromised kidney is unable to regulate the amount of
vitamin D and calcium, excessive intake of vitamin D can
worsen your atherosclerosis. According to a 2010 Wake
Forest University study, there is a positive relationship
between calcified plague in arteries and the amount of
vitamin D circulating in the bloodstream.



Thus, you should take care to limit the amount of vitamin D
that you are taking to prevent from further hardening the
arteries, especially if you are already suffering from kidney
disease. (Read more about
foods that can help you prevent
hardening of your arteries. )



5.
Surplus Vitamin D Can Trigger Hair Loss



Vitamin D is typically an essential vitamin central to cell
growth and deficiency may actually cause hair diffusion. But
excess consumption of  vitamin D may also result in hair loss.

According to the June 2009 edition of Cleveland Clinic
Journal of Medicine, dietary factors contribute heavily to
losing your hair. Both iron and zinc are necessary in
maintaining your locks; however, over-consumption of
vitamin D will interfere with the necessary iron absorption,
thereby, causing hair loss.



6.
Vitamin D Toxicity Results in Nausea and Vomiting



As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D can be stored in your
body. Unlike other vitamins, which can be simply flushed out
if you take too much, vitamin D can cause serious health
issues if over-consumption occurs. In fact, ingesting too
many supplements can lead to toxicity. Nausea and vomiting
are some of the most common signs of excessive intake of
vitamin D. It is simply your body’s way of telling you that
there is too much vitamin D in your system.



7.
Overdose of Vitamin D Can Retard Physical Growth in
Children



Vitamins are supposed to be good for the health; however,
over-consumption of particular vitamins can result in issues
with growth. For instance, according to a 2008 Colorado
State University Extension study, an overdose of vitamin D
can cause not only weight loss, but can also stunt growth,
particularly among children.  







Prevention



Treatment of vitamin D toxicity is relatively simple. After
halting intake of vitamin D, and perhaps calcium, the
symptoms and dangers should also dissipate. To ensure that
these dangers don’t develop in the first place, be sure to
only take the recommended dosage of supplements.
According ot the Institute of Medicine, children and adults
should only take 600 IU of this vitamin daily.



Excessive exposure to the sun won’t cause any toxicity—
although it might give you skin cancer—because your body
needs to convert the sunlight into usable vitamin D for your
body. It will regulate the amount converted and thus, you
won’t need to worry about vitamin D toxicity from the sun’s
rays.


Update:

On June 12, 2012, a government panel, the
US Preventive
Services Task Force, issued draft recommendations that post-
menopausal women not take Vitamin D or calcium
supplements, saying that their benefit in preventing
osteoporosis is unproven.  Specifically, the Task Force stated
that "
The USPSTF recommends against daily
supplementation with ≤400 IU of vitamin D3 and 1,000 mg
of calcium carbonate for the primary prevention of fractures
in noninstitutionalized postmenopausal women.
"

We will continue to monitor this development as the Task
Panel finalizes its recommendations.



Related:
Vitamin D Deficiency-Symptoms and Foods That
Help / What to Eat to Keep Your Eyes Healthy / Does
Drinking Coffee Affect Diabetes? / Ideal Breakfast for
Diabetics /
Foods That Lower Cholesterol / Foods That Keep Blood
Sugar Lower / Ideal Diet to Reduce Fibroid Tumors / Pelvic
Cancer-Symptoms and Treatments /How to Lose Weight
After Menopause/Best Breakfast to Fight Arthritis/ Health
Dangers of Milk / Lose Weight by Lowering Thermostat /
Lose Belly Fat After the Baby/ Foods That Shrink Your
Waist/ Drinking Cold Water Burns Calories / Six Pack Abs-A
Guided Tour /Top 10 Foods That Fight Anemia / How Much
Is Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet
Sodas Bad for Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics /
Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods
That Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/
VLDL-
The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That Reduce Blood
Pressure

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