Vitamin D Side Effects

We examine the Vitamin D side effects and answer the question: "Can there be too much of a good thing?"  ...

Vitamin DVitamin D is needed by the body to maintain a healthy flow of calcium into the bloodstream. There are two common forms of vitamin D, which are D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is consumed in fortified foods, supplements and liquid milk. D3 is synthesized by the body when sun comes in contact with skin. Most people are unable to consume enough vitamin D to maintain health, thus sun contact is needed or deficiency may occur.

no cases of vitamin D3 toxicity are known

There are no known cases of vitamin D3 toxicity. The body is unable to produce too much vitamin D3 from direct sunlight exposure. The vitamin D side effects from sun exposure include healthy, stronger bones. In infants and children, vitamin D3 helps the skeleton continue to grow and the skull fontanels to close. Adults require vitamin D to maintain bone strength.

Vitamin D supplementation can lead to negative side effects if large amounts are consumed on a regular basis. In order to suffer from vitamin D toxicity, a human would have to consume doses of vitamin D in excess of 50 times the RDA (recommended daily allowance). The RDA will vary based on age and gender, but the average amount of recommended vitamin D is 400 IUs. Thus, toxicity would occur if amounts in excess of 20,000 IU per day were consumed for long periods of time.

Vitamin D side effects related to toxicity include loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea. This is the first round of side effects. With continued exposure to extreme amounts of vitamin D excessive thirst, weakness, hypertension and feelings of nervousness may occur. Calcium levels will also increase as vitamin D increases. Excessive amounts of calcium can lead to deposits of calcium in various internal organs. Kidney stones and kidney failure are not uncommon.

... gastric bypass patients have to watch vitamin D levels ...

Patients who have undergone weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass, have to pay close attention to the vitamin D levels in the blood. Food consumption will not allow enough vitamin D to be absorbed into the body and sunlight exposure cannot produce enough long lasting vitamin D to prevent deficiency vitamin D side effects.

Supplements are often prescribed to counteract the lack of natural food sources. However, as a fat soluble vitamin, doctors may prescribe large amounts of vitamin D in order to assure enough is available to the body. If the patient were to return to a high fat diet, toxicity could occur if supplementation is continued.

Vitamin D and Aging

As the body ages, exposure to sunlight and vitamin D fortified foods may decrease. The need for vitamin D, however, increases with age. Aging can lead to mild deficiency or "lack of vitamin D" side effects. Some common aches and pains often written off as signs of aging may be linked to a deficiency of this fat soluble vitamin. Increasing the amount of vitamin D in the diet may reduce daily pain leading the adult to a more active lifestyle and a healthier body.

So, in conclusion, unless you've been a gastric bypass patient recently, it's pretty safe to say that the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, is one which you're more likely to need more of, rather than get too much through normal eating.

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