Vitamin D supplements have been advised by the Scottish government for those not getting enough exposure to the sunshine. But what’s a sign you’ve had too much?
Researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw confirm the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin D toxicity (also known as hypervitaminosis D) occurs when a person has too many vitamin D supplements.
Although vitamin D can be sourced from the sunshine and foods, both of these can not lead to an overdose in the body.
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This is because “sustained heat on the skin is thought to photodegrade previtamin D3 and vitamin D3 as it is formed”, states the National Institutes of Health.
It continued: “In addition, thermal activation of previtamin D3 in the skin gives rise to various non-vitamin D forms that limit formation of vitamin D3 itself.”
And “some vitamin D3 is also converted to non-active forms”.
The same organisation states that vitamin D toxicity from food is “very unlikely”.
The researchers from Warsaw University note that polyuria – the excessive passage of urine – is one symptom of vitamin D toxicity.
Other clinical symptoms of hypervitaminosis D are abdominal pain, recurrent vomiting, apathy and confusion.
The National Institutes of Health recommends adults to have no more than 600 IU (15mcg) of vitamin D per day.
This increases to 800 IU (20MCG) for those aged 70 and older.
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According to the National Institutes of Health, the threshold for vitamin D toxicity is between 10,000 to 40,000 IU per day.
The first thing a person can do if they’re experiencing symptoms of a vitamin D toxicity is to stop taking the daily supplements.
The Vitamin D Council states 15 minutes in the sunshine – for those with light skin – is all that is needed to get the recommended dosage of vitamin D.
Those with darker skin tones are advised to spend a couple of hours in the sunshine to have the same effect.
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With the risk of an overdose, why do you need vitamin D at all?
Holland and Barrett states vitamin D supports strong and healthy bones, and helps to maintain the body’s immune system.
Specifically, vitamin D helps your bones absorb and store calcium.
Additionally, the vitamin helps your kidneys recycle calcium – otherwise it’d be lost in urine.
Vitamin D toxicity is hard to reach, but it can happen.
In this instance, do stay away from the supplements and – if advised to take at home at all times – do consider opening a window to receive some sunlight.
As said previously, vitamin D from the sunshine can not result in vitamin D toxicity.
After 15 minutes to a couple of hours – depending on skin type – it’s advisable to protect your skin with sunscreen.
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