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Vitamin D is essential for aiding in dietary calcium absorption, making it vital to producing healthy bones. Vitamin D can be consumed as part of your regular diet, through the use of supplements or by exposure to sunlight, as your body can synthesize it on its own. As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D is stored in your body fat and your liver, which means having excess amounts of vitamin D in your system can be as bad as not having enough. Itchy skin is a sign of having too much vitamin D in your system.
Vitamin D Toxicity
As extra amounts of vitamin D are stored in your system, having too much vitamin D can lead to certain side effects and complications. Too much vitamin D can lead to calcium deposits in soft tissue, as well as kidney damage and kidney stones. Itchy skin is a symptom of excess vitamin D in your body. Other symptoms include fatigue, vomiting, nausea, weakness and weight loss. (Ref 1, 2)
- As extra amounts of vitamin D are stored in your system, having too much vitamin D can lead to certain side effects and complications.
- Too much vitamin D can lead to calcium deposits in soft tissue, as well as kidney damage and kidney stones.
Upper Limit and Recommended Dietary Amount
The Toxicity of Plug-In Air Fresheners
The recommended upper limit for all adults and children is 4,000 international units per day. For infants, the upper limit is 1,500 international units per day. Taking in more than this per day can lead to vitamin D toxicity. The recommended dietary amounts are much lower than the upper limits. For infants, the RDA is 400 international units, while it is 600 international units for all children and adults under the age of 70. For those over 70 years of age, the RDA is 800 international units. In some cases, people over 50 require more vitamin D per day, but the specific amount should be determined by a doctor. (Ref 2)
- The recommended upper limit for all adults and children is 4,000 international units per day.
- For infants, the upper limit is 1,500 international units per day.
Complications With Medicine
Certain medications can affect the amount of vitamin D in your system, causing your vitamin D levels to rise. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, estrogen — as part of a hormone replacement program — can cause vitamin D levels to rise in the bloodstream 1. Similarly, vitamin D levels can rise because:
- of thiazide
- a water pill,
- which is used to treat tuberculosis
Causes of Vitami D Toxicity
Symptoms of Vitamin C Toxicity
In most cases of vitamin D toxicity, the cause of excess vitamin D is due to taking too many supplements. (Ref 1) This is because vitamin D is found in highly limited quantities in foods, and because your body will stop synthesizing vitamin D through sun exposure if you have adequate amounts in your system. (Ref 1, 4) Taking too many vitamin supplements will lead to vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D supplements contain between 50 and 1,000 international units per capsule. (Ref 1) In the case of multi-vitamins, vitamin D levels are around 400 international units per dose. (Ref 3)
- In most cases of vitamin D toxicity, the cause of excess vitamin D is due to taking too many supplements.
- ( Ref 1) In the case of multi-vitamins, vitamin D levels are around 400 international units per dose.
The Toxicity of Plug-In Air Fresheners
Symptoms of Vitamin C Toxicity
Severe Vitamin B12 Symptoms and Involuntary Movements
Does Vitamin A Cause Hair Loss?
Vitamin B5 for Weight Loss
Vitamin K and an Allergy or Rash
Skin Disorder & Vitamin D Allergy
Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Heart Palpitations?
Will Birth Control Pills Lose Their Effectiveness if I Take Vitamin B-6?
Side Effects of 5000 IU of Vitamin D
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin D
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin D
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin D
- Harvard Health Publications: Vitamin D
- Holick MF, Gordon CM. Patient Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2011;96(7):1-2. doi:10.1210/jcem.96.7.zeg33a
- Sunyecz JA. The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(4):827-836. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s3552
- Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Hollis BW, Rimm EB. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of myocardial infarction in men: a prospective study. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(11):1174-1180. doi:10.1001/archinte.168.11.1174
- Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, et al. Optimal vitamin D status for colorectal cancer prevention: a quantitative meta analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2007;32(3):210-216. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2006.11.004
- Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85(6):1586-1591. doi:10.1093/ajcn/85.6.1586
- Prentice RL, Pettinger MB, Jackson RD, et al. Health risks and benefits from calcium and vitamin D supplementation: Women’s Health Initiative clinical trial and cohort study. Osteoporos Int. 2013;24(2):567-580. doi:10.1007/s00198-012-2224-2
- Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(5):1255-1260. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094
- Salehpour A, Hosseinpanah F, Shidfar F, et al. A 12-week double-blind randomized clinical trial of vitamin D₃ supplementation on body fat mass in healthy overweight and obese women. Nutr J. 2012;11:78. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-78
- Carrillo AE, Flynn MG, Pinkston C, et al. Impact of vitamin D supplementation during a resistance training intervention on body composition, muscle function, and glucose tolerance in overweight and obese adults. Clin Nutr. 2013;32(3):375-381. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.014
- Marcinowska-Suchowierska E, Kupisz-Urbańska M, Łukaszkiewicz J, Płudowski P, Jones G. Vitamin D Toxicity-A Clinical Perspective. Front Endocrinol. 2018;9:550. doi:10.3389/fendo.2018.00550
- Ross AC, Manson JE, Abrams SA, et al. The 2011 report on dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: what clinicians need to know. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(1):53-58. doi:10.1210/jc.2010-2704
- Bouillon R, Van Schoor NM, Gielen E, et al. Optimal vitamin D status: a critical analysis on the basis of evidence-based medicine. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98(8):E1283-E1304. doi:10.1210/jc.2013-1195
- American Academy of Dermatology. Position Statement of Vitamin D. 2010.
- Taksler GB, Cutler DM, Giovannucci E, Keating NL. Vitamin D deficiency in minority populations. Public Health Nutr. 2015;18(3):379-391. doi:10.1017/S1368980014000457
- Holick MF, Binkley NC, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, et al. Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011;96(7):1911-1930. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-0385
- Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, et al. Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006; 134:1129-40.
- Carrillo AE1, Flynn MG, Pinkston C, Markofski MM, Jiang Y, Donkin SS, Teegarden D. Impact of Vitamin D Supplementation During a Resistance Training Intervention on Body Composition, Muscle Function, and Glucose Tolerance in Overweight and Obese Adults. Clin Nutr. 2013 Jun;32(3):375-81. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.014. Epub 2012 Aug 31.
- Ginde AA, Mansbach JM, Camargo CA, Jr. Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169:384-90.
- Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Hollis BW, Rimm EB. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Men: a Prospective Study. Arch Intern Med. 2008; 168:1174-80.
- Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, Grant WB, Mohr SB, Lipkin M, Newmark HL, Giovannucci E, Wei M, Holick MF. Optimal Vitamin D Status for Colorectal Cancer Prevention: a Quantitative Meta-analysis. Am J Prev Med. 2007 Mar;32(3):210-6.
- Heaney, Robert P. “The Vitamin D Requirement in Health and Disease.” The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 97 (2005):13-9.
- Holick MF. Vitamin D. In: Shils M, Olson J, Shike M, Ross AC, ed. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin D: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center. Effectiveness and Safety of Vitamin D in Relation to Bone Health. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Aug 2007: 07-E013.
- Salehpour A1, Hosseinpanah F, Shidfar F, Vafa M, Razaghi M, Dehghani S, Hoshiarrad A, Gohari M. A 12-week Double-blind Randomized Clinical Trial of Vitamin D₃ Supplementation on Body Fat Mass in Healthy Overweight and Obese Women. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 22;11:78. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-78.
- Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized Trial of Vitamin D Supplementation to Prevent Seasonal Influenza A in Schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 91:1255-60. Epub 2010 Mar 10.
- Wilkins, Consuelo H. and Yvette I. Sheline, et al. “Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with Low Mood and Worse Cognitive Performance in Older Adults.” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 14 (2006): 1032-40.
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.