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What happens when you get too much Vitamin D?

04 November, 2016
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Vitamin D is very important in assisting us to maintain optimum health. Simply put, Vitamin D is generated by the body through exposing the skin to sunlight or through eating certain foods, then it is transformed by the liver into a chemical, 25(OH) D that is ready to perform its duties by: 

  • Aiding Calcium absorption for healthy bones and teeth
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Supports healthy skin and muscle strength.
  • Supports heart health and helps lower blood pressure.

The easiest way to get a daily dose of Vitamin D is to get outside and get some sun. Sunlight reacts with the skin for the body to naturally produce Vitamin D. Regular incidental sun exposure, like walking outside is usually enough, however it is very important to remain sun safe and use sunscreen, and consult a doctor if you have concerns or may be at risk of Vitamin D Deficiency.

Certain foods like fatty, omega rich fish like mackerel and salmon are a good source of Vitamin D. As are eggs, liver, some margarines and fortified milks. Vitamin D does not come from diet alone and it is important to maintain overall good health and exercise.

Lastly, Vitamin D supplements can be used, however you must consult a doctor first and only use as directed. 

But how much Vitamin D is too much?

Let’s start by saying that too much of any good thing can be a bad thing. Bearing this in mind, paying attention to your Vitamin D intake is very important. It is more common to have a Vitamin D deficiency, if you do not have enough sun exposure. Vitamin D can be taken in tablet form, and of course taking too many can cause issues. 

Vitamin D Toxicity usually comes from taking more than the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D – around 5.0 µg /day for adults (The RDA depends on age and other factors, so be certain to consult your doctor for the correct dosage you require) for a period of months, or even longer. One very large, one-time dose can also cause Vitamin D toxicity, which has symptoms of: 

  • Nausea, Poor appetite or loss of appetite;
  • Thirst;
  • Frequent urination;
  • Constipation or diarrhoea;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Muscle weakness or pain;
  • Bone pain;
  • Feelings of confusion;
  • Fatigue. 

If you feel you have these symptoms it is important to consult a medical professional as a blood test is needed to determine blood levels of Vitamin D.

What does this mean for Vitamin D?

The reality is there’s much more chance of someone being Vitamin D deficient than there is of them absorbing too much. According to Dr. Bischoff-Ferrari, more than 50% of the world’s population is Vitamin D deficient, and most individuals would benefit from increasing their levels of Vitamin D. 

When speaking to the ABC about Australia’s relationship with Vitamin D, she spoke of data reflecting an increased risk of hip fractures in winter time in elderly patients and suggested this is directly linked to lower Vitamin D levels caused by decreased sunlight. Seasonal, diet and personal choices to stay out of the sun contributes to a reduced level of Vitamin D. 

With the advice of your doctor, a diet of good vitamin rich foods and safe exposure to sunlight will help to maintain the right amount of Vitamin D needed to stay healthy. 

Disclaimer

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.

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