Vitamin D is Beneficial, But Don’t Take Too Much


vitaminsTaking vitamin D is helpful for improving your body’s ability to absorb calcium and enabling normal mineralization of bone. Adequate amounts of vitamin D, along with getting enough calcium in the diet, and regular exercise, helps prevent osteoporosis, whereas too many vitamin D supplements are harmful.

Mega doses at 50,000 international units (IU) a day for many months can cause toxicity. The excess D causeshypercalcemia, an overabundance of calcium in the blood, which can then be deposited in soft tissue causing it to harden.  Vessels, including heart vessels, harden, which then can lead to damage to the heart and kidneys.

Toxicity occurs because D is fat-soluble, so your body isn’t able to get rid of it if you take too much.  With an overabundance of D, your liver produces too much of a chemical called 25(OH)D, which causes the hypercalcemia. Though not as common, vitamin D toxicity can cause non-specific symptoms such as anorexia, weight loss, polyuria (large amounts of urine), and heart arrhythmias. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include weakness, kidney problems, frequent urination, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, muscle weakness, confusion, fatigue, thirst, and decreased appetite. If you think you have hypercalcemia, see your doctor.  You may be at greater risk if you have liver or kidney conditions.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for women 19 to 50 years old is 600 IU per day.  You can get D from foods such as salmon, cod liver oil, egg yolks, and beef liver.  Also, choose foods fortified with D such as milk, yogurt, cereal, and orange juice.  Check the package for nutrition information.  

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