Vitamin D helps keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy by regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, but this means between October and early March, with colder weather and shorter daylight hours, people can risk not getting enough. During these months, the Department of Health recommends taking a daily supplement of vitamin D throughout the year. But what happens if you get too much vitamin D, and what symptoms can indicate this?
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, but if vitamin D is taken excessively, blood calcium can reach levels that can cause unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, but if vitamin D is taken excessively, blood calcium can reach levels that can cause unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms.
These symptoms include nausea, vomiting and poor appetite.
One study followed 10 people who had developed excessive calcium levels after they had taken high-dose vitamin D to correct deficiency.
Four people experienced nausea and vomiting, and three had loss of appetite. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22043417/)
Similar responses to taken too much vitamin D have been reported in other studies.
One woman experienced nausea and weight loss after taking a supplement that was found to contain 78 times more vitamin D than stated on the label.
If too much calcium builds up in the body, bones can weaken and damage can be caused to the kidneys and the heart.
The NHS advises: “Taking too much vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
“If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.
“Don’t take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.
“Children aged one to 10 years shouldn’t have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months shouldn’t have more than 15 micrograms a day.
“Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
“If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.”
It’s important to note you cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D can also be found in a small number of foods, including oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.
If a person is lacking vitamin D they may experience a certain sign in their head.
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