Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Are The Health Risks Of A Vitamin D Overdose?

By Victor Properties

Vitamin D is essential to your good health, but like everything else, it should not be overdone! It is possible to experience a vitamin D overdose, especially since we actually need fairly low levels of vitamin D in our bodies to function.

What causes a vitamin D overdose? Exposure to sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D, and as little as fifteen minutes of sunlight "therapy" three times a week is all you really need for your body to produce the vitamin D you need. You cannot overdose on vitamin D by getting too much sun, though, as your body only produces what you need.

You will probably also not experience a vitamin D overdose from food sources. Too many supplements are often to blame for excessive vitamin D intake, as your body cannot shut down the absorption of vitamins from supplements. This can cause the build up of vitamin D to toxic levels. Ironically, toxic levels of vitamin D are often the result of therapeutic prescription of the supplement due to an original deficiency - high levels may have been prescribed for patients with rickets, for instance.

A vitamin D overdose is never the result of a single high dose, rather the levels of toxicity in the body builds up in the body's fat cells over time. Most nutrients that we consume too much of, the body simply gets rid of; however, with vitamin D it has no such mechanism, but stores the excess in the fat cells. It is the stored vitamin D that eventually leads to toxic amounts in your body.

The upper intake levels for babies are 25 micrograms, while for older children and adults, 50 micrograms per day are sufficient. Children will suffer from toxicity more quickly than adults.

What are the health risks of a vitamin D overdose?

1. Because vitamin D has primarily the function of encouraging calcium absorption, high levels of calcium in the blood is possible. This could lead to excessive calcium in the intestinal tract.

2. High levels of phosphate and calcium in the lungs, heart and kidneys, which can damage your organs permanently.

3. Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and weight loss.

4. High levels in the kidneys can lead to kidney stones, renal failure and excessive production of urine.

5. If you are pregnant, a vitamin D overdose can cause deformities in your baby.

6. Other symptoms include bone pain, fatigue, excessive thirst and dehydration, itchy skin and deafness.

An overdose can be treated by simply stopping the intake of supplements, and lowering the amount of calcium you ingest until the symptoms stop.

Always consult your doctor before taking vitamin supplements, and in the case of vitamin D, when you get a lot of sun exposure, you will probably not need to take vitamin D supplements at all. Vitamin D in the correct amounts is essential to good health.

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