Too much of a good thing? Make sure you’re not overdosing with vitamin D

Vitamin D

By pH health care professionals

There are new studies every week, it seems, linking low vitamin D levels with various illnesses and diseases. And with deficiency being so widespread, it’s no wonder vitamin D sales are booming.

But even with vitamin D, you can still have “too much of a good thing” and end up overdosing from taking too many supplements. Interestingly, you don’t have to worry about vitamin D overdose from sunshine exposure, because your skin stops making it from sunlight when there is enough.

So, how much is too much vitamin D?

If you are taking 1,000 to 2,000 units of vitamin D a day, it is highly unlikely that your levels are excessive. Dosing between 3,000-5,000 units per day should be safe for most, especially people who are vitamin D deficient.

Most toxicity studies for vitamin D start at 10,000-50,000+ units per day. There are preparations that contain 50,000 units per capsule and are supposed to be taken weekly. So if someone decides to ingest them daily for several weeks, that person may experience a spike in vitamin D in their blood and tissues, causing adverse reactions.

What are adverse reactions to too much vitamin D?

If your lab test results are below 100 nmol/L, there is usually nothing to worry about. Even at levels of 150 nmol/L, there will be patients who may have a lower likelihood of adverse effects. Research does, however, recommend monitoring vitamin D intake in order to avoid raising blood levels higher than the 125-150 nmol/L range.

Common side effects of excess doses include anorexia or weight loss, polyuria (excessive urine production) and heart arrhythmias. Excess vitamin D also can promote excess calcium levels in the blood, which can increase your risk for kidney stones.

There were no reports of death as a consequence of excess vitamin D, based on the material researched. Generally, vitamin D is very safe to take and adverse side effects tend to be observed predominantly with high levels.

How you can you be proactive?

  • Test, don’t guess. Talk to a health care professional about getting your vitamin D levels checked (your insurance may cover!). If the results show you have high levels, the easiest thing to do is stop supplementation for a few weeks, and repeat the test to see if the levels are still elevated. A health care professional can help you determine the appropriate dosage (if any) of vitamin D supplementation.
  • Review current supplements. If you are taking a multivitamin, a vitamin D supplement and an electrolyte drink, for example, you may be taking in more vitamin D than you realize. Tally up how many units of D you’re getting, and ask a doctor if it’s safe.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

 The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.