By: Kennedy Shelley
Vitamin D cures cancer, depression…the claims of a new disease that is cured by vitamin D is almost a daily occurrence.
But there is danger in getting too much of a good thing. We used to be very concerned about the toxic nature of vitamin D, but it is not as bad as we once thought, but it is still dangerous at very high levels.
Vitamin D actually behaves almost like a hormone in the body. It is stored in the fat in your body. This means it accumulates as opposed to the water-soluble vitamins which have to be constantly replaced because we are always excreting it.
We can produce this vitamin just by getting 15-30 minutes of exposure to sunlight.
There has been an explosion in interest in this vitamin. Here is what the Mayo Clinic recently reported regarding how many people want their vitamin D levels checked:
Why this interest? Because more and more we have found a link to vitamin D to protection from diabetes, depression and other chronic diseases.
But we often believe that if a little is good, more is better and that is most definitely not the case.
Again, because it is a fat soluble it builds up in the body and rarely it can build up to toxic levels. It usually takes a great deal of time for this happen. It almost always involves high doses of supplements.
Toxic levels of vitamin D is called hypervitaminosis D. While we know it can happen, scientists are not exactly sure how it happens.
Because vitamin D behaves like a steroid hormone, excessive amounts can start to shut down other important bodily functions. The most important is the absorption of calcium which will lead to excess amounts in the blood stream, which might cause plaque deposits in the arteries and the kidneys damaging your blood filtering system.
If you get 1-4000 IU of vitamin D daily that should be sufficient according to the government recommendations.
When does this become toxic? This is going to vary from person to person. We all utilize it differently. But exceeding the upper limit of the recommendation means you need to be monitoring it.
One of the quirks of federal law is that supplements are not regulated, so they are not tested. You can’t be certain that the dose listed on the package is accurate. There was a case where a manufacturing error resulted in vitamin D being sold where the amount was 10-100 times more than was listed on the package.
So how do you know when you are getting too much? This isn’t always clear. You may not experience any symptoms and it may grow to dangerous levels over several months.
The easiest way to avoid this problem is not to exceed 4000 IU without medical supervision.
The early symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, followed by constipation and general weakness in the body.
Then you might experience hallucinations, blurred vision and elevated blood pressure.
Because it is fat soluble it often takes time for excess amount to get out of the body, maybe a few months.
To make this more complicated, your ratio of vitamin K2 and A may affect the absorption of vitamin D as well as magnesium and calcium.
What this means is you can check your vitamin D level when you get your annual blood test. Try to get 15-30 minutes of sun exposure to get your minimums and avoid mega doses of more that 4000 IU unless your doctor gives it to you.