What Happens If You Take Too Much
It is a myth that it is easy to overdose on vitamin D.
Vitamin D toxicity is very rare and only happens if you take very high doses for extended periods .
The main symptoms of toxicity include confusion, lack of concentration, drowsiness, depression, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, and high blood pressure .
Vitamin D toxicity is very rare. The symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, depression, constipation, and high blood pressure.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin important for bone health.
For those low in this nutrient, increasing intake may also reduce depression and improve strength.
Your skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Foods like fatty fish, fish oil, and liver also contain vitamin D as well as certain fortified foods and supplements.
Deficiency is fairly common due to limited sunlight exposure and a small selection of rich dietary sources.
If you dont spend much time in the sun and rarely eat fatty fish, consider supplementing.
Getting enough vitamin D can go a long way to boosting your health.
Do I Need A Vitamin D Supplement
In order to determine if a person has adequate levels of vitamin D or not, we would need to measure their blood circulating level of 25D.
Most experts agree that a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level below 20 ng/ml is considered to be a deficiency whereas a level between 21-29 ng/ml is considered to be insufficient .
If you find yourself below the recommended levels you will likely need a vitamin D supplement and your doctor will be able to assist you in finding the most appropriate dosing in order to meet the requirements.
Many people do not need a supplement if they are spending time in the sun on a daily basis but supplementation will often be required during the colder and darker months of the years or for individuals who may be at an increased risk of deficiency.
These may include:
- dark skin
Common symptoms of too low vitamin D may include lack of energy, low mood, frequent infections, hair loss, chronic muscle pain, slow wound healing, poor bone health conditions such as rickets or risk of osteoporosis.
If you think you might be at risk of vitamin D deficiency we suggest consulting with your doctor to verify your level of vitamin D and assess if a daily vitamin would benefit you.
Vitamin D by itself may become problematic when taking higher doses .
Where Does Vitamin D Come From
Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun. It’s hard to get enough vitamin D from the sun, though. Most kids and adults spend lots of time indoors at school and work. When outdoors, it’s important to protect skin to prevent skin cancer and skin damage from too much sun exposure.
Very few foods have vitamin D naturally. The foods with the most are fatty fish , liver, eggs and fish oils. Kids don’t eat these foods a lot. That’s why food companies add vitamin D to milk, yogurt, baby formula, juice, cereal, and other foods.
Adding vitamin D to foods is called “fortifying.” It’s helpful, but it still may not be enough.
To get enough vitamin D, children often need to take a multivitamin with vitamin D or a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is sometimes labeled as vitamin D3.
You can buy vitamin D pills, gummies, chewables, liquids, and sprays in stores without a prescription. Ask your child’s health care provider for advice on choosing the right one.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Take your child to see your GP if they have any of the signs and symptoms of rickets.
Your GP will carry out a physical examination to check for any obvious problems. They may also discuss your child’s medical history, diet, family history, and any medication they’re taking.
A blood test can usually confirm a diagnosis of rickets, although your child may also have some X-rays or possibly a bone density scan . This is a type of X-ray that measures the calcium content in bones.
If you’re an adult and youre experiencing bone pain or muscle weakness you should also see your GP to get it checked out.
Page last reviewed: 05 August 2021 Next review due: 05 August 2024
Q: Do Some People Naturally Have Lower Vitamin D Levels Than Others
A: People with darker skin pigmentation tend to have lower levels, as do people who use sunscreen, dont spend much time outdoors, or are overweight or obese. This is because vitamin D is fat soluble, so it gets trapped in fatty tissue and cant be used by the body as it should be. Gastrointestinal surgery, like gastric bypass, makes it difficult to absorb vitamin D. And as we age, we dont absorb vitamin D well, and we produce less.
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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.
Why Shouldnt Everyone Just Take Vitamin D Supplements
Too much vitamin D can be harmful, including increasing fractures, falls, and kidney stones, and can be toxic by causing excessive levels of calcium. Although not proven, high vitamin D levels have been associated with prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, and mortality. A recent study found that use of high-dose vitamin D supplements increased over a 15-year period.
So how much is too much? For adults, toxic effects increase above 4,000 IU per day. The recommended dietary dose of vitamin D is 600 IU each day for adults 70 and younger and 800 IU each day for adults over 70. To put this into perspective, 4 ounces of cooked salmon contains approximately 600 IU of vitamin D.
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What Problems Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause
Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend. African American infants and children are at higher risk of getting rickets. In adults, severe vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia. Osteomalacia causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.
Researchers are studying vitamin D for its possible connections to several medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. They need to do more research before they can understand the effects of vitamin D on these conditions.
How Does Sunlight Give Us Vitamin D
When we get sunlight on our skin, our body produces a substance called cholecalciferol.
This is then turned into calcidiol and then calcitriol by the liver and kidneys.
Calcitriol is what your Doctor would measure to assess your Vitamin D levels.
There are three ways to get enough Vitamin D:
During sunny months, your body might make excess calcidiol. But it will not go to waste. Any extra will be stored in your body fat as a kind of back up for those grey winter days.
Experts think that just 10 minutes of sunlight on your skin is enough to avoid Vitamin D deficiency. So get outside when you can!
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What Foods Have Vitamin D
Though you can obtain vitamin D from certain foods such as wild fatty fish, dairy milk and cheese products, egg yolks, beef liver, and mushrooms, the best way to maintain a sufficient vitamin D status is from sunlight exposure or supplementation .
The richest food sources of vitamin D will be found in fatty fish such as halibut, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and trout. Many foods may also be fortified in vitamin D such as almond milk, soy milk, orange juice, milk, yogurt and cereals.
It is not always possible to meet the daily requirements through food alone.
What Is The Difference Between Vitamin D2 And D3
Vitamin D2 and D3 are the two most important forms for your health.
There are 2 main forms of vitamin D:
- Vitamin D2 made by plants, with wild mushrooms and those grown under a UV light being the best source
- Vitamin D3 made by our skin when we are exposed to enough sunlight. Animal products like fish, meat, eggs and dairy as well as a vegan-friendly fungus called lichen also naturally contain this type of vitamin D
Fortified foods can contain either form.
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Vitamin D Drops For Kids
No swallowing necessary vitamin D drops are perhaps the sneakiest and most effective way to get your children and babies to take their vitamin D supplement.
Our Holland & Barrett Vitamin D3 Drops provide a perfect dose of vitamin D3 for children from 6 months to five years.
They are odour- and taste-free too, so you can mix them into your little ones drinks and food a completely incognito way of giving them their daily dose of vitamin D! Alternatively, just drop it onto their tongue easy.
If You’ve Been Staying Out Of Sun You May Not Be Getting Enough Of This Key Bone Builder
by Barbara Stepko, AARP, June 26, 2020
En español | You know vitamin D can help you fend off osteoporosis and falls. But if recent headlines have you thinking you might want to pop some more of it to avoid a severe case of COVID-19, know that researchers are still sorting out how, exactly, a deficiency in the vitamin may make you more vulnerable to the disease’s more serious symptoms.
For now, experts such as those publishing in a recent BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health report don’t recommend you boost your intake to avoid COVID-19 complications. As they wrote, There is no strong scientific evidence to show that very high intakes of vitamin D will be beneficial in preventing or treating COVID-19. What’s more, there are risks involved with downing excessive doses of the vitamin particularly for those with health conditions such as kidney disease.
While researchers continue to research a possible link between COVID-19 and vitamin D levels, here’s what we do know about this bone-building nutrient and how to know if you need a supplement to get the recommended daily allowance.
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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.
Drug Interactions Of Vitamin D2 Vs D3
Vitamin D2 and D3 each are metabolized by the liver to 25D, and therefore the potential drug interactions are similar for both forms. Vitamin D may increase the serum levels of aluminum when taken with aluminum hydroxide, a common antacid, and therefore the combination should be avoided. Thiazide diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide, may increase the chance of vitamin D raising calcium levels in the blood to a dangerously high level. Patients on both thiazide diuretics and vitamin D supplementation should be monitored for this effect by their healthcare provider. Some drugs may decrease the absorption and effectiveness of your vitamin D supplement. Bile-acid sequestrants, such as cholestyramine, are an example of a drug which will impair vitamin D absorption. Vitamin D and cholestyramine should not be administered at the same time.
The following table may not be a complete list of drug interactions. Please consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider for more information and a complete list of interactions.
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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.
When Should You Call The Doctor About Osteoporosis
If you have risk factors and are concerned about osteoporosis, ask your healthcare provider about being screened, even if you are not as old as 65 or 70 . Osteoporosis can be serious. Fractures can alter or threaten your life. A significant number of people have osteoporosis and have hip fractures die within one year of the fracture. Always call your healthcare provider if you fall, if you are worried about bone breaks, or if you have back pain that is severe that comes on suddenly.
Remember that you are able to lead an active and fulfilling life even if you do have osteoporosis. You and your healthcare provider can work together to make this happen.
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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.
It’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone. So you can take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during autumn and winter.
Between late March to the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.
You do not have to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
You can get Vitamin D supplements from pharmacies. They are available as a tablet, including a chewable tablet and a tablet that dissolves in your mouth.
You should take vitamin D supplements with a large meal to help your body absorb the vitamin D.
Vitamin D And Safe Sun Exposure
UV levels vary depending on the time of year, and the amount of sun exposure you need varies accordingly.
The ‘daily sun protection times’ indicate when the UV level is forecast to be three or above. During these times, people are recommended to use a combination of sun protection measures .Check the free SunSmart app or the Bureau of Meteorology website for daily sun protection times for your location.
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself If I Have Cystic Fibrosis
An adult with cystic fibrosis has different needs than a child with CF. If youre a parent of a child with CF or if you’re an adult with CF, you can do a lot to promote a healthy life. This includes developing and following recommendations from a treatment plan developed with your healthcare team.
Follow suggestions from your providers about eating enough, eating well and exercising wisely. Ask your provider if pulmonary rehabilitation would be a good idea for you.
Take care to prevent infections by distancing yourself from people who are ill. Practice good hand washing techniques. Get the vaccines that your providers say are needed.
Follow any recommended schedule of appointments with your provider and other members of your healthcare team. If you need help with social or emotional issues, reach out to your team and examine your options.
What Is Osteomalacia
Osteomalacia means “soft bones.” Osteomalacia is a disease that weakens bones and can cause them to break more easily. It is a disorder of decreased mineralization, which results in bone breaking down faster than it can re-form. It is a condition that occurs in adults. In children, inadequate concentrations of vitamin D may cause rickets.
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How Vitamin D Works
Calcium is essential for bone health. Phosphate is needed for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and basic bodily functions.
Vitamin D comes in two forms:
- Vitamin D2 is naturally found in some plants.
- Vitamin D3 is naturally found in animals and is produced by the skin when its exposed to sunlight.
You can meet your vitamin D needs with either form. But healthcare providers generally suggest D3 supplements. That’s because it:
- Raises your overall vitamin D level more than D2
- Lasts longer in the body than D2