Vitamin D Overdose: Is It Possible?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin the body utilizes to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is essential for overall health since it supports the bones, muscles, nerves, and immune system. Excess amounts of even healthy things can become problematic, and vitamin D is no exception. Taking vitamin D in excessive amounts can lead to vitamin D toxicity.
Keep reading to find out more about vitamin D overdose and how to know if you have taken too much.
What is vitamin D overdose?
Ingesting large amounts of vitamin D beyond recommended dosages can result in a vitamin D overdose (also called vitamin D toxicity). You can get vitamin D from taking it as a supplement, through foods you eat, or from sun exposure.
It is unlikely that vitamin D from food or sunlight would cause an overdose, so typically, it would be caused by taking too much vitamin D supplement.
The dose at which vitamin D becomes dangerous needs to be clarified and likely varies from person to person. According to Mayo Clinic, taking 60,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily for months on end can lead to toxicity. For this reason, people should be wary of taking megadoses of vitamin D, sometimes featured in trendy fad diets.
Doctors prescribe vitamin D supplements at high doses for conditions like malabsorption, renal osteodystrophy, osteoporosis, and psoriasis. If your doctor has prescribed a vitamin D supplement, always adhere to the dosage recommendations at the correct frequency. Vitamin D overdose can occur when patients accidentally ingest too much or more often than prescribed.
Vitamin D overdose symptoms
Ingesting too much vitamin D can cause excess calcium buildup within your body, resulting in symptoms that range in severity depending on how much vitamin D you have taken and how much calcium has built up in the body.1
Common symptoms of vitamin D overdose include:
- Decreased appetite
- Kidney stones
When vitamin D levels get abnormally high, severe side effects can occur, such as:
- Kidney failure
- Heartbeat irregularities
Vitamin D overdose symptoms can vary by age group. For example, infants and young children will show different symptoms than adults. Infants who are experiencing a vitamin D overdose may show any of the following signs:
- Lack of appetite
- Inconsolable crying
- Lethargy or drowsiness
Toddlers experiencing vitamin D overdose may show the following signs:
Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose vitamin D deficiency, your doctor begins with a physical exam and will ask what symptoms you may have experienced. They determine any potential vitamin D prescriptions and the amount you take daily. You may have to have your blood drawn to look at your blood’s vitamin D, phosphate, and calcium levels, and your doctor may order an x-ray to examine your bones.
Treating vitamin D overdose usually involves discontinuing any vitamin D supplements and limiting calcium intake from food. You may also require IV fluids or medications such as steroids and bisphosphonates. Most people with vitamin D deficiency recover without experiencing severe complications. Still, it can become dangerous if left untreated, so it is essential to seek immediate treatment if you are experiencing vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin D overdose prevention
You should only take vitamin D supplements as your doctor prescribes to prevent vitamin D overdose. The recommended daily vitamin D requirement for adults ages 1 to 70 is 600 international units (IU).
If your doctor has prescribed a higher vitamin D dosage, you should ensure that your vitamin D levels are monitored through blood work regularly. Additionally, purchasing vitamin D supplements from a reliable source is crucial.
The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements like vitamin D; therefore, they are not always reliably tested for the concentrations they contain. For this reason, someone may be under the impression they are taking a specific dose of vitamin D but are taking more or less than they believe if these supplements have not been quality tested.
Vitamin D offers the body a variety of health benefits, but too much can prove problematic. Vitamin D overdose is certainly possible, so you should always pay attention to the amount you are taking and ensure that you have regular blood level testing if you are supplementing vitamin D. Purchase vitamin D from a reputable source and always check to see how much you are taking and ensure that you dose it correctly to prevent an overdose.
Get an In-Home Vitamin D Shot
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, which are essential for proper bone structure and overall immune function.
A vitamin D injection is a one-time treatment that offers superior absorption than traditional oral supplements. This treatment replenishes low vitamin D levels, which can help improve health targets such as:
- Supports healthy bones
- Supports immune system function
- Boosts energy levels
- Reduces symptoms of depression
- Supports tissue and muscle function
Vitamin D shots are a fast and easy way to boost vitamin D levels. Our registered nurse comes to your location to administer treatment. To schedule your appointment or learn more, contact us today!
Vitamin D Shots - Frequently Asked Questions
Can you take too much vitamin D?
Yes, it is possible to take too much vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it can build up in the body and potentially lead to toxic levels if it is consumed in large amounts. Vitamin D toxicity can cause hypercalcemia, a buildup of calcium in your blood. This condition can cause symptoms such as weakness, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination, kidney problems, and more.
How often do you need vitamin D shots?
Frequency of treatment depends on individual circumstances such as the severity of vitamin D deficiency, medical history, and other factors. However, most people may receive 1 – 3 shots over the course of a year.
Are vitamin D shots better than oral supplements?
Yes. Because vitamin D shots are given intramuscularly, the ingredients bypass your digestive system so that the full dose is available to your body for maximum benefits. Vitamin D shots are rapidly available for your cells to use.
What happens if you don’t treat vitamin D deficiency?
Not treating vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a rare but treatable condition that causes fatigue, frequent illnesses, depression, and impacts bone and muscle health. In children, vitamin D deficiency can impact normal growth and development.
Who Should Take Vitamin D Shots?
Vitamin D injections may be recommended for people who have a deficiency of vitamin D, which can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, rickets, and other bone disorders. Injections may also be recommended for people who have difficulty absorbing vitamin D from the gastrointestinal tract, such as those with inflammatory bowel disease or other conditions that affect nutrient absorption. In addition, vitamin D injections may be recommended for people who are at risk of deficiency due to factors such as a lack of sun exposure, a poor diet, or certain medications.
How do I know if I am vitamin D deficient?
The only way to know for sure if you are vitamin D deficient is to get your blood tested. Your doctor can order a blood test to measure your levels of vitamin D and determine if you have a deficiency.
What are the Side Effects of Taking Too Much Vitamin D?
Taking too much vitamin D can lead to toxicity, which can cause a range of symptoms. These can include nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. In severe cases, vitamin D toxicity can lead to damage to the kidneys and the heart. To avoid toxicity, it is important to not exceed the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, which varies depending on your age and other factors.
So how much Vitamin D do I actually need to take?
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D varies depending on a person's age, sex, and other factors. In general, the recommended daily allowance for adults is 600-800 IU per day. However, older adults, people with dark skin, and those who have limited sun exposure may need higher doses.
What foods are rich in vitamin D?
There are a few dietary sources of vitamin D, including fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, and egg yolks. Some foods, such as milk, orange juice, and cereals, are also fortified with vitamin D. However, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from dietary sources alone, especially if you do not eat fatty fish or fortified foods regularly.
How does calcium interact with Vitamin D?
Calcium is an essential mineral that is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium. When your body doesn't get enough calcium, it can take calcium from your bones, which can lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the food you eat, so getting enough of both is important for maintaining healthy bones.
How much vitamin D should I take daily?
The daily recommended dosage of vitamin D for children under the age of 12 months is 400 international units (IU), 600 IU for individuals aged 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for those over 70 years.