Too many vitamin D supplements? The digestive issues which are signs you’ve taken too many

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses vitamin D and Covid

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Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and this is necessary for keeping bones and teeth healthy. Having a deficiency can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and several conditions in adults. If you are spending a lot of time indoors, the NHS suggests you should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy. Over-supplementation of vitamin D, however, can be harmful and should be avoided.

The Mayo Clinic notes: “Vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D, is a rare but potentially serious condition that occurs when you have excessive amounts of vitamin D in your body.”

It says that vitamin D toxicity is usually caused by large doses of vitamin D supplements, rather than by diet or sun exposure.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says getting too much vitamin D can be “harmful”. It suggests that very high levels of vitamin D in your blood can cause excessive urination.

There are a number of indigestion signs which indicate you have taken too many vitamin D supplements. These include stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

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NIH notes that other signs include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, confusion, pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, excessive thirst, and kidney stones.

It adds: “Extremely high levels of vitamin D can cause kidney failure, irregular heartbeat, and even death.”

“Confusion, apathy, recurrent vomiting, abdominal pain, polyuria, polydipsia, and dehydration are the most often noted clinical symptoms of vitamin D toxicity”, notes a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.

In April 2020, the NHS issued a statement, based on recommendations from Public Health England (PHE), that we should all consider taking 10 mcg/day vitamin D as a supplement, to keep our bones and muscles healthy.

This was advice issued largely because of the restrictions imposed by quarantine and lockdown.

Nonetheless, the NHS says that in summer months, the majority of the population will get enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight and a healthy, balanced diet.

Between October and early March the health body says we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight, so you need to get vitamin D from your diet.

Around 20 percent of adults may have low vitamin D status, and there are several main risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, so the winter may be a time when vitamin D deficiency is more common.

The NHS says risk factors include a lack of sunlight exposure, darker skin, being housebound, malabsorption, and being pregnant or breastfeeding.

“There is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19,” the NHS says.

Nonetheless, research is ongoing into whether the ‘sunshine vitamin’ can boost immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory experiments.

Dietary vitamin D is available in foods such as oily fish, cod liver oil, red meat, fortified cereals, fortified margarine/spreads and egg yolks.

In the UK, milk is not fortified with vitamin D, so dairy products contain only small amounts of vitamin D.

The NHS says risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include a lack of sunlight exposure, darker skin, being housebound, malabsorption, and being pregnant or breastfeeding.

Around 20 percent of adults may have low vitamin D status, and there are several main risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, so the winter may be a time when vitamin D deficiency is more common.

The NHS says risk factors include a lack of sunlight exposure, darker skin, being housebound, malabsorption, and being pregnant or breastfeeding.

“There is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19,” the NHS says.

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