What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency
Severe lack of vitamin D causes rickets, which shows up in children as incorrect growth patterns, weakness in muscles, pain in bones and deformities in joints. This is very rare. However, children who are deficient in vitamin D can also have muscle weakness or sore and painful muscles.
Lack of vitamin D is not quite as obvious in adults. Signs and symptoms might include:
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.
What Happens If I Take Too Much Vitamin D
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body . 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.
Do not 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 the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.
Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 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.
You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
Page last reviewed: 03 August 2020 Next review due: 03 August 2023
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What Are Vitamin Ds Main Drawbacks
Vitamin D supplementation may also have risks independent of vitamin D toxicity. A few trials on older adults have found that vitamin D increased the risk of falls, and one study observed a decrease in bone mineral density among women taking high doses of vitamin D.
Excess Vitamin D And Calcium
Some of the side effects of vitamin D toxicity are due to and/or exacerbated by the fact too much vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia, or when blood levels of calcium are too high. That’s because vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium.
If you experience any side effects of vitamin D toxicity, McNeely recommends stopping your supplement and avoiding calcium-rich foods like dairy, which can contribute to hypercalcemia. In most cases, that’s all the treatment that is needed. Yet, some with hypercalcemia might also need IV hydration.
Once treatment is initiated, most people should start to feel better, but it may take awhile. For example, a 2011 case report of two people who took 1,000 times the recommended daily dose of vitamin D found that they had elevated calcium levels for a year, even after stopping supplementation and were experiencing symptoms. Though, after a year, their symptoms resolved and they had no long-term health consequences.
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Sunlight: The Natural Source Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin for a reason. When exposed to sunlight, your skin can produce vitamin D with the help of the cholesterol in the body. Morning between 9:30 am 10:30 am and evening between 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm is the best time to get sunlight as the sun is at its highest point. Therefore, the body can efficiently synthesise vitamin D during midday.
Melanin determines your skin colour. Dark-skinned people usually have more melanin than light-skinned ones. Your skin colour also affects your vitamin D production. For example, dark skin produces less vitamin D than light skin. It is because the excess melanin in dark skin blocks vitamin D absorption from the sunlight. Therefore, dark-skinned people need to spend more time in the sunlight than light-skinned people to get the same vitamin D.
People with dark skin and those who live in cold areas do not get enough exposure to the sun. Thus they rely on vitamin D foods and supplements to fulfil their vitamin D needs.
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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How Can I Help Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency
The goals of treating and preventing the lack of vitamin D of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach and keep an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you need to take or keep taking vitamin D supplements. If so, they will also let you know how much you should take. You might also want to consider:
Eating more foods that contain vitamin D: See the vitamin D food sources table included in this article. Keep in mind that foods alone usually don’t meet the daily recommended levels of vitamin D.
Getting some exposure to sunshinebut not too much: Exactly how much sun exposure is needed isnt clear. 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week to the face, arms, legs or back may be all that is needed to absorb a suitable amount of vitamin D. You might need more sun exposure if:
- You are older.
- You have a darker skin color.
- You live in northern climates.
The use of sunscreen, and standing behind a window, prevents vitamin D from being produced in the skin. However, you should remember that too much sunshine increases the risk of skin cancer and ages the skin. That is why taking an appropriately dosed D supplement is far safer than intentionally getting routine sun exposure.
Vitamin D Toxicity And Side Effects
Vitamin D toxicity is rare but can lead to a host of symptoms and complications.
How much is too much? The amount of vitamin D you need is dependent on the factors described previously. For adults, the maximum amount of vitamin D you should take according to the National Institutes of Health is 4,000 IU. For children, the amount is less, depending on their age.
Signs of vitamin D toxicity are:
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How To Prevent Negative Vitamin D Side Effects
Sufficient blood levels of vitamin D may help defend against many symptoms and chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, bone fractures and depression, just to name a new of the positive vitamin D side effects. Its no surprise then that so many people now supplement with vitamin D, especially considering that vitamin D deficiency is so common, affecting between 50 percent to 90 percent of adults worldwide.
But can too much vitamin D hurt you? How much vitamin D is too much? While youre much more likely to be negatively impacted by vitamin D deficiency than a vitamin D overdose, its still possible to develop negative vitamin D side effects if you supplement with high doses consistently. Some examples of potential vitamin D side effects include developing high blood calcium levels, exhaustion, abdominal pain and other digestive issues.
Side Effects Of Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D toxicity which includes symptoms like confusion and abdominal pain occurs when vitamin D reaches a concentration of at least 150 ng/ml in a person’s blood.
Potential side effects of vitamin D toxicity include:
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Side Effects Of Too Much Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means its stored in body fat and can remain in your body for a long time.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, be sure to stick to a dosage that is within the recommended range. Do not take more unless youre monitored by a health care provider and instructed to take more, perhaps because a blood test has revealed youre deficient. Vitamin D toxicity can potentially develop if someone takes more than 300,000 IU in a 24-hour period or more than 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day for months.
In order to prevent side effects of vitamin D you should avoid taking very high doses of vitamin D in supplement form, such as 10,000 IU per day for more than several weeks in a row. While supplements are necessary and beneficial in many cases, its ideal to get the vitamin D you need directly from sunlight, particularly from exposing your bare skin to the sun for 1020 minutes most days of the week.
You can also safely increase your vitamin D level by eating vitamin D-rich foods, such as fish, eggs and raw milk.
High Levels Of Calcium In Your Body
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. This is beneficial for your bones and teeth, but it is possible to get too much. High levels of calcium are visible to your naked eye if you know where to look.
Digestive problems are among the most common problems linked to too much calcium in the system. You can feel stomach cramps on a regular basis and may experience some nausea and vomiting.
There are also some symptoms that mimic diabetes. You can suffer from dizzy spells and excessive thirst or frequent urination. Your body is working against itself to keep it safe and healthy.
Unfortunately, you can end up being misdiagnosedor your doctor will spend a lot of time looking at other causes for the dizziness or urination. Youll go through glucose tests to make sure this isnt an issue before looking at other causes.
You may be able to tell if you have high levels of calcium by looking at your nails. Sometimes there will be white spots that appear within the pink.
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How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
In healthy people, the amount of vitamin D needed per day varies by age. The chart below shows the often-cited recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, now the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It is important to know that these are general recommendations. If your doctor is checking your blood levels, he or she might recommend higher or lower doses based on your individual needs.
If you have osteoporosis, your doctor might suggest a blood test of your vitamin D levels. The amount of vitamin D supplement can be customized for each person, based on the results. For many older patients, a vitamin D supplement containing anywhere between 800 to 2000 IUs daily, which can be obtained without a prescription, can be both safe and beneficial. It is important to speak with your doctor about your individual needs.
|People by age|
*refers to adequate intake vs recommended dietary allowance of the other age groups.
Negative Side Effects Of Taking Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is a naturally occurring nutrient most frequently obtained through sunlight exposure. Health professionals with the University of Maryland Medical Center recommend that adults under the age of 50 receive 5 micrograms of vitamin D daily, while adults between the ages of 51 and 70 should receive 10 micrograms daily. This vitamin is used by the body to strengthen bones, regulate blood pressure and support the immune system. If you take vitamin D supplements, you should be aware of the potentially negative side effects of this nutrient.
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How Much Vitamin D Do I Need
From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.
Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram . The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol followed by the letter g .
Sometimes the amount of vitamin D is expressed as International Units . 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So 10 micrograms of vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.
What Is The Most Important Information I Should Know About Vitamin D3
You should not use cholecalciferol if you have had an allergic reaction to vitamin D, or if you have:
- high levels of vitamin D in your body
- high levels of calcium in your blood or
- any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food .
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart disease
- kidney disease or
- an electrolyte imbalance.
Certain forms of cholecalciferol may contain ingredients you should know about, such as peanut or soybean oil, sugar, aspartame , or certain food dyes. Ask a doctor before using cholecalciferol if you have allergies, diabetes, or phenylketonuria .
Too much vitamin D could harm an unborn baby or a nursing baby. Ask a doctor before using cholecalciferol if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are nursing.
Do not give cholecalciferol to a child without medical advice. Your child’s dose will depend on age, weight, diet, and other factors.
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May Lead To Digestive Issues
Increased levels of vitamin D and calcium in the body can contribute to several digestive issues like stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. These can be the signs of other health issues as well, therefore it is important to inform your doctor if you are taking any supplements.
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Negative Vitamin D Side Effects
Vitamin D causes your liver to produce a chemical called 25D. When 25D levels become elevated, calcium can accumulate in your bloodstream. In order to prevent this from happening, most health authorities recommend taking no more than 4,000 international units daily for an extended period of time, even though some research has indicated that 10,000 IU per day of vitamin D typically causes no adverse reactions.
If youre getting too much vitamin D from supplements, since sunlight is very unlikely to cause a problem, negative vitamin D side effects might develop that include:
- High blood calcium levels and possibly kidney stones
- Abdominal pain and digestive issues like nausea, constipation, diarrhea or loss of appetite
- Increased thirst, dry mouth and possibly kidney stones
Can You Ever Have Too Much Vitamin D
Yes. You can get too much vitamin D if you overdo the supplements. Interestingly, you cannot get too much vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D toxicity is, thankfully, quite rare but can lead to hypercalcemia and together the symptoms can include:
- Ataxia .
Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor. However, your doctor might recommend higher doses of vitamin D if he or she is checking your blood levels and adjusting your dose accordingly. Also, be cautious about getting large doses of vitamin A along with the D in some fish oils. Vitamin A can also reach toxic levels and can cause serious problems.
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Your Blood Toxicity Levels Are Too High
One of the first side effects will usually be noted by your doctor first. Vitamin D helps to boost immunity and protects the body from disease, which means that some of the effects are of the blood.
Can you have too much Vitamin D? Its no lie that getting too much of something is poisonous. Even too much of something good becomes poisonous within the bloodstream. Toxicity levels end up way too high. These toxicity levels will spread to the organs, preventing the whole body from working effectively. In fact, there can be issues like fatigue and forgetfulness linked to the toxicity problems.
Your doctor will be able to check for this by testing your blood levels. There will be signs of poisonous effects right away.