According to a paper published in BMJ Case Reports Tuesday, a British man who took too much vitamin D is a warning sign for anyone considering supplementing their lives with this substance.
After consulting with a private nutritionist, the man started taking over 20 supplements daily, including 50,000 international units of vitamin D (IU) three times per day. This dose is hundreds of times more than the recommended nutritional guidelines.
Within one month, the man started experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, and repeated bouts of vomiting. He also experienced cramping in his legs and ringing in his ears.
The man, whose identity was not revealed, heard about the supplements on a radio talk and reached out to the nutritionist. Dr Alamin Alkundi is a coauthor of this report and an endocrinologist at William Harvey Hospital in East Kent, UK. He treated the man.
Alkundi stated in an email that “Nutritionists in the UK are not required to register by regulators, and their title isn’t protected. So anyone can practice as a nutritionist.”
Vitamin D and its cousins A and E are not easily water-soluble vitamins that the body can eliminate. Instead, they have stored in the liver and fat cells and are available until needed. Toxic levels can be created by consuming more than the recommended daily intake.
Alkundi stated that the man in the case study had taken 150,000 IU of vitamin-D daily, which was “375x the recommended amount”. For children aged over 1 and for adults, the UK National Health Service recommends 400 IU per day.
Although he stopped taking the supplements as soon as his symptoms started, his condition did not improve. He had lost 28 pounds (12.7kg) by the time he was admitted to the hospital. His kidneys were also in serious condition, and he had hypervitaminosis D after he overdosed on vitamin D.
Recommended daily levels
Vitamin D is essential for the body, and vitamin D is also important for immune health, brain activity, and the function of muscles.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults over 69 consume 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day (600 IU) and then increase to 20 micrograms (800 IU per day). The recommended amount for infants, children and adolescents was recently doubled
A 2017 study found that 3% of Americans consumed more than the acceptable upper limit of 4,000 IU per day for adults, which puts them at risk of toxaemia. Around 18% consumed more than 1,000 IU per day.
Hypercalcaemia is a condition with too much vitamin D in the blood. This refers to a high level of calcium in your blood. Hypercalcaemia was identified in the BMJ case study. This can lead to weak bones, kidney stones and interference with brain and heart function.
The man was admitted to the hospital for eight days and given drugs to lower his calcium levels. Two months later, a follow-up revealed that his blood calcium levels had fallen to nearly normal. Alkundi stated that although the man’s vitamin A level had significantly decreased, it was still very high.
To track the decline to normal levels, a plan was created to monitor both parameters in the clinic. Alkundi stated that he has spoken to him and reported feeling much better but not his normal self.
Alkundi said, “He is keen for his story to become known to alert others.”
Vitamin D excess can cause confusion, drowsiness and depression. In more severe cases, it can even lead to stupor or coma. Heart disease can affect the heart: High blood pressure can increase blood pressure, which can cause the heart to beat irregularly. In extreme cases, renal failure can occur. It is possible to lose your vision and hearing.
Where can I get vitamin D?
Vitamin D is made by the body when it is exposed to sunlight. According to the AAP, bathing in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes in a bathing suit during summer will “generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU vitamin D3 in adults who have light skin pigmentation,”
Due to the danger of skin cancer, it is not advised to go into the sun during the day. Dermatologists and the AAP recommend sunblock whenever you are going to be outside for any time, and Sunscreens can decrease vitamin D metabolism.
According to the AAP, vitamin D supplementation is not necessary for many children and teens.
Experts warn that vitamin D supplements should be considered when deciding whether to take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is also found in fortified foods such as eggs, dairy, shiitake mushrooms and salmon. Cod liver oil also contains vitamin D.
Experts recommend that anyone concerned about their vitamin-D levels consult a doctor.
Alkundi stated that patients are encouraged to consult their general practitioners about alternative therapies or over-the-counter medications they might use or want to start.