A Man’s Vitamin D Overdose Lands Him In Hospital; Here’s How Much Vitamin D You Really Need
Risks of Vitamin D overdose
A new case report has shown the hazardous effect of taking too much vitamin D. A man was taking a cocktail of vitamin supplements, including vitamin D at a quantity of 150,000 IU, which is 375 times the recommended amount. The National Institutes of Health, UK recommends taking no more than 15 mcg (microgram) per day in supplements, which is 600 IU.
The case report, published in BMJ Case Reports, shared that even after the man discontinued the supplements, his symptoms persisted which suggests permanent damage to the body.
A common misconception about vitamin D is “the more the better”. However, this is not true as mega-dosing can be harmful for your health.
Signs of vitamin D toxicity
The patient lost 12.7 kgs in three months and was referred to the hospital by a general practitioner after experiencing vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, leg cramps, tinnitus, dry mouth, increased thirst and diarrhea.
He had been taking more than 20 over-the-counter prescriptions for three months before he came to the hospital for treatment. An initial blood test revealed that he presented serum vitamin D levels of over 400nmol/L, which means he had 8 times the recommended amount of vitamin D in his blood.
How to ensure proper vitamin D levels
Researchers suggest getting about 30 minutes of direct sunlight absorbed in the skin, at least twice a week. There are also some great dietary sources of vitamin D. Still, the sun tends to be a powerful and widely accessible source for vitamin D. For taking vitamin D supplements, it is recommended to find out your vitamin D levels first and then working with your doctor on an appropriate dose of supplementation if necessary.
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Do I need vitamin D supplements?
Vitamin D is important for your bone health, absorbing calcium, and supporting the parathyroid glands. Researchers have found that moderate daily doses of vitamin D supplementation can decrease advanced cancer and cancer death.
Your skin produces vitamin D from sunlight and the amount of vitamin D produced depends on the local climate, your degree of sun exposure and your skin pigmentation. It is important to know your level of vitamin D before popping supplements. High doses of vitamin D have been shown to increase risk of fractures and falls.
Signs of vitamin D deficiency
Lack of vitamin D levels in your body can be reflected by some very generic symptoms which makes it difficult to identify them as a cause of vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor if you experience any such symptoms, especially if they happen for a long time period.
Some of these signs include fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, muscle aches, muscle cramps, mood changes and depression. In children, severe lack of vitamin D causes rickets, which leads to incorrect growth patterns, weakness in muscles, pain in bones and deformities in joints.
Vitamin D-rich foods
It can be beneficial to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet as due to desk jobs and increased sunscreen, many of us do not get enough sun exposure for adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Fatty fish – like salmon, cod, and tuna – is one of the best food sources of vitamin D. Eggs are also a source of vitamin D, especially the yolk. Still, you should eat the whole egg because you get many other important nutrients from a full egg.
Just one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains about 1,300 IU of vitamin D. It is also a rich source of omega-3s and vitamin A. Mushrooms are the only plant-based food with vitamin D, apart from fortified foods like milk, cereal, and orange juice with added vitamin D.
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