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What is vitamin D toxicity? Should I be worried about taking supplements?

Vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D, is a potentially serious condition that occurs when you have excessive amounts of vitamin D in your body.


Vitamin D toxicity is usually caused by large doses of vitamin D supplements — not by diet or sun exposure. That's because your body regulates the amount of vitamin D produced by sun exposure, and even fortified foods don't contain large amounts of vitamin D.


The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.


Treatment includes stopping vitamin D intake and restricting dietary calcium. Your doctor might also prescribe intravenous fluids and medications, such as corticosteroids or bisphosphonates.


Taking 60,000 international units (IU) a day of vitamin D for several months has been shown to cause toxicity. This level is many times higher than the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for most adults of 600 IU of vitamin D a day.


Doses higher than the RDA are sometimes used to treat medical problems such as vitamin D deficiency, but these are given only under the care of a doctor for a specified time frame. Blood levels should be monitored while someone is taking high doses of vitamin D.


How to reduce vitamin D deficiency?

Treatment includes stopping vitamin D intake and restricting dietary calcium. Your doctor might also prescribe intravenous fluids and medications, such as corticosteroids or bisphosphonates. Taking 60,000 international units (IU) a day of vitamin D for several months has been shown to cause toxicity.


How long does it take for vitamin D to reduce? There is no simple answer as to the amount of time it takes vitamin D to leave the body. However, with the knowledge that calcidiol provides the best indication of vitamin D levels, it can be asserted that in a time period of 15 days, your body will deplete half of its supply of serum vitamin D.



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