Vitamin D is critical for health. It is needed to help your body absorb calcium and necessary for your bones to be strong. Inadequate vitamin D levels can contribute to many health problems including cancers, autoimmune disease, low immunity, and depression.
While the ideal would be to get your vitamin D from your foods and from sunshine (your body uses sunlight to make vitamin D), this is not always possible. In this case, a vitamin D supplement is often taken, and generally with good results.
However, because vitamin D supplements are fat soluble, your body stores up what it is not using. Over time your vitamin D levels can become too high, which can be as serious as levels that are too low.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Toxicity
Hypercalcemia is a build up of calcium in your blood. This is the most common problem with vitamin D toxicity. Hypercalcemia symptoms include the following:
- poor appetite
- frequent urination
- kidney problems
Treatment of Vitamin D Toxicity
In addition to stopping the supplementation of vitamin D, sometimes IV fluids are needed as well as medications.
How to Prevent Vitamin D Toxicity
If your sources of vitamin D are sunshine and food sources, vitamin D toxicity would be quite unlikely. The body regulates the amount of vitamin D it makes and fortified foods and vitamin D rich foods do not contain very high amounts of vitamin D.
If you take vitamin D regularly for weeks or months, or take a very high amount all at once, you are at higher risk for vitamin D toxicity.
If you do take vitamin D on a regular basis, it is wise to have your vitamin D levels tested. Inform your doctor if you take vitamin D supplements.
Children and Vitamin D Toxicity
Sometimes parents assume that vitamins and other supplements have no side effects because they are "natural." But most supplements do have side effects, depending upon the dose.
Children who regularly take a vitamin D supplement for health issues should have their blood monitored to make sure that their vitamin D levels are within the desired range.
As with any supplement, if a child should accidentally take a large or unknown amount of vitamin D or any supplement (especially iron) you should call your doctor or poison control center.