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9 Side Effects Of Having High Doses Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important nutrient required for the proper functioning of the muscle, heart, lung and brain. This vitamin helps your body absorb minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, needed for the formation of bones.

The intake of vitamin D through foods or supplements benefit your health in many ways, such as losing weight, supporting bone health, lowering depression, protecting against heart disease and so on.

But, excessive intake of vitamin D can be harmful to your body as well. Read on to know the side effects of taking too much of vitamin D.


1. Hypercalcemia

Vitamin D toxicity leads to hypercalcemia, a condition that occurs when the calcium levels in your blood are above normal. High levels of vitamin D leads to an increase in calcium that your body absorbs and this can cause a range of complications, such as loss of appetite, confusion and high blood pressure [1].
The symptoms are chest pain, high blood pressure, irritability and anxiety.


2. Kidney damage

Having high amounts of vitamin D can lead to kidney damage. It is because an excessive amount of vitamin D increases calcium levels in the blood, which leads to kidney damage. A study showed that vitamin D toxicity can lead to acute kidney injury [2].
The symptoms are fever, nausea and vomiting or severe stomach pain.


3. Weak bones

Vitamin D in excess amounts causes bone loss and brittle bones. It is because high levels of vitamin D lead to low levels of vitamin K2 in the blood. The primary function of vitamin K2 is to preserve calcium in the bones and taking excess of vitamin D can reduce the activity of vitamin K2 [3].
The symptoms of brittle bones are painful bones, severe back or joint pain, increased risk of fractures and instability.


4. Irregular heartbeat

Excessive intake of Vitamin D causes hypercalcemia and this, in turn, can alter the proper functioning of the heart's cells, which leads to irregular heartbeat. High levels of calcium cause calcium deposits to develop in the arteries of the heart, which can increase the risk of heart attack [4].
The symptoms are chest pain, exhaustion and dizziness.


5. Lung damage

High levels of vitamin D increase the levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood that combine together to form crystals. These crystals are more likely to accumulate in the lungs, which can impair its function, thus causing lung damage.
The symptoms are coughing, difficulty in breathing and chest pain.


6. Dehydration

As vitamin D toxicity increases the calcium levels in the blood, it can pose a risk to the kidneys' ability to concentrate urine. This results in uncontrollably passing large quantities of urine, which in turn causes dehydration.


7. Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are other side effects of taking excessive amounts of vitamin D, which occurs when there are increased levels of calcium in the blood [5].


8. Stomach pain

Vitamin D toxicity leads to an increase in calcium levels, which in turn causes severe stomach pain. It also causes other digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhoea [6].


9. Pancreatitis

High intake of vitamin D elevates calcium levels and this can cause acute pancreatitis-it is an inflammation of the pancreas. The symptoms of acute pancreatitis include losing weight, pain in the upper part of the stomach and fever.

Other risks of taking high doses of vitamin D are dry mouth, loss of appetite, exhaustion, continuous headaches, muscle weakness, changes in gait, high blood pressure, tinnitus, hearing loss, coma and gastric ulcers.

To Conclude...

Taking high doses of vitamin D supplements for an extended period of time pose a harmful risk and each person may respond differently depending on the symptoms. Consult your doctor, before you take vitamin D supplements.

Common FAQs

What happens when your vitamin D is low?

When your vitamin D levels are low, you will notice symptoms like bone loss, hair loss, muscle pain, depression, fatigue and getting sick often.

Do vitamin D pills work?

People who don't get enough amounts of vitamin D from food get it from supplements. It prevents vitamin D deficiency, reduces osteoporosis risk, improves depression and lowers diabetes risk.

How much vitamin D should I take daily?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 600 IU of vitamin D per day.

What is the best time to take vitamin D?

The best time to take vitamin D supplements is in the morning, have it with meals for better absorption of the vitamin.

What is the proper way to take vitamin D?

Take vitamin D supplements on an empty stomach in the morning before having breakfast.

Story first published: Saturday, March 7, 2020, 17:30 [IST]
Read more about: vitamin d side effects risk wellness