Vitamin D Side Effects
When it comes to vitamin D, its almost always easier to find someone with a deficiency than one with an overdose. However, there are rare cases of people with too much vitamin D in their systems. These present with various side effects, including:
This is the most common side effect of too much vitamin D. Its a condition where there is too much calcium in your bloodstream, which places stress on the digestive tract. This can manifest as nausea, vomiting, and a tummy ache. You will also feel thirsty and urinate frequently.
- Compromised bone structural integrity
Too much vitamin D in the body reduces the amount of vitamin K, which is responsible for keeping calcium bound in the bone structure. If vitamin K is lacking, it will cause the bones to lose calcium, making them weaker.
- Kidney failure
When you take too much vitamin D, your kidneys may not be able to work optimally and are at risk for ultimately failing. The elevated calcium levels brought about by the high vitamin D levels can harden the tubules in the kidney, causing kidney stones. Kidney stones are extremely uncomfortable and can interrupt your sleep with a strong pain in your lower back and abdomen.
How Is A Vitamin D Deficiency Diagnosed
Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your levels of vitamin D. There are two types of tests that might be ordered, but the most common is the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, known as 25D for short. For the blood test, a technician will use a needle to take blood from a vein. You do not need to fast or otherwise prepare for this type of test.
Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity
Vitamin D deficiency may occur from a lack in the diet, poor absorption, or having a metabolic need for higher amounts. If one is not eating enough vitamin D and does not receive enough ultraviolet sun exposure over an extended period , a deficiency may arise. People who cannot tolerate or do not eat milk, eggs, and fish, such as those with a lactose intolerance or who follow a vegan diet, are at higher risk for a deficiency. Other people at high risk of vitamin D deficiency include:
- People with inflammatory bowel disease or other conditions that disrupt the normal digestion of fat. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that depends on the guts ability to absorb dietary fat.
- People who are obese tend to have lower blood vitamin D levels. Vitamin D accumulates in excess fat tissues but is not easily available for use by the body when needed. Higher doses of vitamin D supplementation may be needed to achieve a desirable blood level. Conversely, blood levels of vitamin D rise when obese people lose weight.
- People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, which typically removes the upper part of the small intestine where vitamin D is absorbed.
Conditions resulting from prolonged vitamin D deficiency:
Symptoms of toxicity:
- Weight loss
- Irregular heart beat
- Hardening of blood vessels and tissues due to increased blood levels of calcium, potentially leading to damage of the heart and kidneys
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How To Treat Vitamin D Deficiency
The first step in treating vitamin D deficiency is to obtain a baseline 25D blood level and then decide on the target replacement level and how quickly that target must be reached . Each 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily in addition to what the patient is currently ingesting will raise the level of 25D by 10 ng/mL after a few weeks. Note that more may be required for individuals who are obese, because vitamin D is sequestered in adipose tissue.
Should Everyone Get Their Vitamin D Levels Checked Generally No
Karl Insogna, MD, director of Yale Medicines Bone Center
Most people should be fine. Testing is important only for certain populations: for people who are institutionalized for patients with a gastrointestinal disorder or osteoporosis those who have had weight loss surgery those on anti-convulsant medications and children who are immobilized and not outside and active. If youre over 70, I recommend getting your levels checked at least one time.
People whose cultural or religious beliefs require them to be fully clothed, especially if theyre living in northern climates, and whose dietary habits include little or no dairy , may also be vitamin D-deficient and should be tested.
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Vitamin D: Whole Foods Vs Fortified Foods
Fortified foods are meant to help boost vitamin and mineralintake. Theyre designed to add nutrients that dont naturally occur in theproduct. Sometimes iron, fiber, zinc or vitamin A is added. For instance, most milkis fortified with vitamin D and calcium is sometimes added to orange juice.
Since so few foods found in nature are good sources ofvitamin D, fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D found in the Americandiet, explains Taylor.
But she warns that some fortified foods can contain addedingredients that make the product less healthy, like sugar or hydrogenatedfats. Cows milk and most plant alternative milks are typically fortified withvitamin D, but its important to look for products with no added sugar.
Many types of yogurt and cereal are also fortified withvitamin D, but could contain excessive added sugar or saturated fat. Margarineis often fortified as well, but some products contain partially hydrogenatedoils, which should be avoided. Read labels to choose the best product for yourfamily.
Healthy Foods That Are High In Vitamin D
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Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight.
However, up to 50% of the worlds population may not get enough sun, and 40% of U.S. residents are deficient in vitamin D .
This is partly because people spend more time indoors, wear sunblock outside, and eat a Western diet low in good sources of this vitamin.
The recommended daily value is 800 IU of vitamin D per day from foods .
If you dont get enough sunlight, your intake should likely be closer to 1,000 IU per day (
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Individuals About To Initiate Treatment With Antihormonal Effects
We suggest obtaining a baseline 25D level in all individuals who are initiating therapy that could impact bone mineralization. This means that premenopausal women undergoing chemotherapy or medical or surgical ovarian ablation and postmenopausal women beginning aromatase-inhibitor therapy should be tested. Estrogen upregulates both the 1–hydroxylase enzyme that converts 25D to 1,252D and increases levels of vitamin D receptor protein., Thus, depletion of estrogen may unmask a subclinical vitamin D deficiency, which may increase the severity of muscle and joint symptoms experienced by women entering menopause or undergoing aromatase-inhibitor therapy. For cancer survivors, 25D levels drawn in late winter or early spring will provide an estimation of trough levels of vitamin D.
Definition Of Vitamin D Deficiency And Incidence In Us Population
Vitamin D adequacy is currently defined as a function of calcium homeostasis, with lower vitamin D levels resulting in reduced absorption of calcium from the gut and/or elevations of parathyroid hormone considered inadequate. Blood levels of the prohormone 25D, with a half-life of 2 to 3 weeks, are used to describe vitamin D sufficiency rather than levels of 1,252D, which has a half-life of only 3 to 4 hours., Furthermore, in early vitamin D depletion, blood levels of 1,252D can be misleading because they may rise initially in response to elevations in PTH, which is sensitive to reductions in 25D, before they begin to fall with prolonged precursor depletion.,
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Ways To Get Vitamin D
You can get vitamin D from sunlight exposure, dietary sources, and supplements.
Getting ample vitamin D through sun exposure can be straightforward, but you do need to make sure you donât get sunburned .
In food, vitamin D can be found in beef liver, egg yolks, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. There are also many fortified foods, like milk and dairy products, that provide your body with vitamin D.
What Does Your Diet Have To Do With Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D doesnt occur naturally in many foods. Thats why certain foods have added vitamin D. In fact, newer food nutrition labels show the amount of vitamin D contained in a particular food item.
It may be difficult, especially for vegans or people who are lactose-intolerant, to get enough vitamin D from their diets, which is why some people may choose to take supplements. It is always important to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups. The vitamin content of various foods is shown in the following table.
Vitamin D content of various foods
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6|
It is important to check product labels, as the amount of added vitamin D varies when it is artificially added to products such as orange juice, yogurt and margarine.
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Your Ultimate Guide To Vitamin D Part 3 Optimize Your Vitamin D Through Sunlight And Lifestyle
Vitamin D deficiency is a common underlying cause of many dental issues and yet its wildly overlooked by dentists and doctors alike.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to all kinds of health issues. Some of the first signs of vitamin D deficiency include tooth decay and bleeding gums but if this issue goes unaddressed for a prolonged period of time it can lead to digestive, immune system, and brain disorders.
Its critical to your overall health that you get sufficient vitamin D!
The good news is increasing your vitamin D is cheap and easy. You can get it for free from the sun or in supplement form. While supplementation is ok , sunshine is free and the best way for you to increase your vitamin D levels.
There are several ways to get more vitamin D from the sun including using reflectors, non-UV blocking clothing, and even waiting to shower after youve been exposed to the sun.
Most people are worried about getting too much sun due to skin cancer concerns, which are valid in the sunniest summer months. But as a society, we generally do not get enough sun rather than too much sun. One review comparing the dangers of sun exposure and cancer versus obtaining vitamin D concluded:
The important take home message for dermatologists and other clinicians is, that health campaigns promoting strict sun protection procedures to prevent skin cancer may induce the severe health risk of vitamin D-deficiency.
How Much Vitamin D Is Enough
Adults and children over the age of one need 10mcg of vitamin D per day. This is the same for everyone, including people at risk of vitamin D deficiency and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Babies up to one year old need 8.5-10mcg of vitamin D per day. Find out more about how you can reach this from the NHS.
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Advice For Adults And Children Over 4 Years Old
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
But since it’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can make all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.
You may choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
New Light On The Sunshine Vitamin
It used to be simple: just get a “healthy” tan and your body will make all the vitamin D it needs. Desk jobs and sunscreen have changed all that, just as research is underlining the importance of vitamin D and suggesting its possible role in preventing many health problems. That makes vitamin D a dilemma of modern life that has a modern solution: eating fish and drinking some low-fat fortified milk, along with judicious doses of vitamin D supplements.
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Add Mushrooms To Your Meals
Chanterelle, morel, shiitake, or portobello mushrooms are a delicious and low-cal ingredient that you can add to boost your vitamin D intake . Reach for sliced mushrooms at the salad bar, top your burger with sautéed slices, or experiment with new ways to work them into pasta dishes. If you’re buying mushrooms at the grocery store, keep in mind that stores now carry mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light, which increases their vitamin D levels.
Benefits Of Testing Your Vitamin D Levels
If youâre experiencing any of the symptoms of vitamin D insufficiency noted aboveâor are experiencing signs of too much vitamin Dâyour intake may be imbalanced in some way. Testing your vitamin D levels can help you determine if your levels are normal or if you may need to make adjustments and have a discussion with your healthcare provider.
Our at-home vitamin D test kit lets you check your levels easilyâit only requires a simple finger prick blood sample, and shipping is free both ways. Plus, youâll get to conveniently view your results on our secure, online platform just days after the lab receives your sample.
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Who Is At Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some people are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency:
- Breastfed infants, because human milk is a poor source of vitamin D. If you are breastfeeding, give your infant a supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D every day.
- Older adults, because your skin doesn’t make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently as when you were young, and your kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
- People with dark skin, which has less ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.
- People with disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease who don’t handle fat properly, because vitamin D needs fat to be absorbed.
- People who have obesity, because their body fat binds to some vitamin D and prevents it from getting into the blood.
- People with chronic kidney or liver disease.
- People with hyperparathyroidism
- People with sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, or other granulomatous disease
- People with some lymphomas, a type of cancer.
- People who take medicines that affect vitamin D metabolism, such as cholestyramine , anti-seizure drugs, glucocorticoids, antifungal drugs, and HIV/AIDS medicines.
Talk with your health care provider if you are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. There is a blood test which can measure how much vitamin D is in your body.
Vitamin D May Help Reduce The Risk Of Certain Cancers
Dr. Boyd points to various studiesmost of which are referenced on the National Cancer Institute’s websitethat provide some evidence that vitamin D may have cancer fighting powers. Evidence is increasing that vitamin D supplementation may improve cancer outcomes, he explains. The cancers for which the most human data are available are colorectal, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
The NCI specifically calls out a few reasons why researchers are interested in a link between vitamin D and a lowered risk of cancer. The organization points out that some research shows that incidence and death rates for certain cancers were lower among individuals living in southern latitudes, where levels of sunlight exposure are relatively high, than among those living at northern latitudes, though additional research needs to be done to find a specific causal or correlational link between more sunlight exposure and a lower risk of cancer. More experimental evidence, per the NCI, shows, that cancer cells and of tumors in mice, vitamin D has been found to have several activities that might slow or prevent the development of cancer cells and tumors in mice, including promoting cellular differentiation, decreasing cancer cell growth, stimulating cell death , and reducing tumor blood vessel formation .
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Is Vitamin D Deficiency An Epidemic No Its Not
Thomas Carpenter, MD, Yale Medicine pediatric endocrinologist and director of the Yale School of Medicines Center for X-Linked Hypophosphatemia
Based on the United States Dietary Association and National Health and Nutrition Surveys , the bulk of the population is not vitamin D-deficient. The population we tend to see vitamin D deficiency inand its typically in wintertimeare breastfed infants. Breast milk doesn’t have much vitamin D in it. That’s what spurred a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that every breastfed infant be given vitamin D . But if infants aren’t given multivitamin drops, they need to be given 200 IU a day of vitamin D for the first two months of life and 400 units a day afterwards until theyre drinking formula or milk, which are each fortified with vitamin D.
What Is Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency means that you do not have enough vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is unique because your skin actually produces it by using sunlight. Fair-skinned individuals and those who are younger convert sunshine into vitamin D far better than those who are darker-skinned and over age 50.
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Vitamin D Can Help Treat Hypertension
According to a 2019 review published in the journal Current Protein & Peptide Science suggests that vitamin D may play a role in treatment of high blood pressureone of the markers of cardiovascular diseasesays Newgent. According to authors of the review, even short-term vitamin D deficiency may directly raise BP and promote target organ damage. The researchers went on to add that, “due to the high correlation between vitamin D and hypertension, vitamin D supplementation therapy may be a new insight in the treatment of hypertension.”