Research suggests that people with vitamin D deficiency (and even just insufficiency) are prone to the more severe symptoms of the Covid-19 virus. Sales of this supplement have gone up by 8% over the last year.
Before you rush off to swallow a mouthful of supplements, there’s an important question to consider: Can you take too much vitamin D?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about exercise, health supplements, alcohol, or chocolate, moderation is key! Let’s consider how much vitamin D is too much, so you can take the right amount without causing harm to yourself.
What Is Vitamin D?
Also known as ‘Calciferol’, this fat-soluble vitamin is found in fatty fish, cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolk. In some countries, bread, milk, and cheese are fortified with vitamin D and are often the primary food sources for people’s intake of this vitamin.
Sunlight is the most common source. The problem being that if you live too far north, are older, or have darker skin, then you’ll be unable to absorb as much of the vitamin via sun exposure.
Calciferol plays many roles within the human body. It promotes calcium absorption, bone health, reduces inflammation, and modulates cell growth and immune functionality. Hence why it’s so important to get your recommended intake, while also avoiding taking too much vitamin D.
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Vitamin D Deficiency and Insufficiency
If you eat the right foods and get enough sunlight, you’ll be able to naturally obtain your needed levels of vitamin D. However, 50% of the global population suffer from vitamin D insufficiency, meaning that they have moderately lower levels than is recommended.
People with Vitamin D deficiency have drastically lower levels. As many as 1 billion people worldwide suffer from this deficiency. It can increase the risk of rickets, certain cancers, high blood pressure and heart disease, infections, auto-immune diseases, and diabetes.
Symptoms for vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness and muscle cramps, bone loss (and bone and joint pain), and mood swings.
Don’t overcompensate by taking too much vitamin D!
How Much Vitamin D is Too Much?
If you’re between 1 and 70, it is recommended that you get 15mcg/600IU of vitamin D each day. For anyone over this age, the recommended intake is 20mcg/800IU. Between April and September, most people will get this level naturally through a combination of sunlight and diet.
During the winter months, you may need to supplement your daily recommended amount. Taking a vitamin D supplement with a strength of 10mcg/600IU would keep your intake at healthy levels.
The maximum amount you should take is 250mcg/4,000IU. But the safe option would be keeping your levels below half this amount. Otherwise, you may suffer the side effects of too much vitamin D.
Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin D
Taking too much vitamin D can lead to elevated blood calcium levels, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, irregular bowel movements, and even kidney failure. These only happen when the intake of the vitamin is so high that it leads to vitamin D toxicity.
Don’t Take Too Much Vitamin D
Hopefully, you now feel confident in understanding the role this vitamin plays in the body, and the symptoms and risks of vitamin D deficiency. Knowing that a 10mcg/600IU vitamin D supplement will meet your recommended daily intake can help keep your body healthy and functional.
But it is possible to take too much vitamin D, and you should avoid taking more than 250mcg/4,000IU. Many people will aim for half this value or less, just to be safe.
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