Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vitamin D Toxicity: Lots of Sunshine Can Be a Problem

Many people getting alot of sunshine are highly sensitive to vitamin D. I've collected multiple reports of serious vitamin D side effects at doses of less than 1000 IU from people getting plenty of sunshine. This isn't 1000 IU/day. This is 1000 IU once. This is way way below the Food and Nutrition Board's toxicity threshold of 2000 IU/day.

These reports are reliable and make sense. Regular exposure to full body sunshine produces large daily doses of vitamin D in the skin. Even a small additional dose can be sufficient to instigate side effects when the body is already operating at a maximum dosage.

This isn't going to happen to everyone - everyone is different. But this effect isn't rare. If you get alot of sunshine, you have to expect side effects from vitamin D supplements even at low doses.

Reports of side effects from readers have been highly insightful. If you're reading this site because you've experienced vitamin D side effects - please tell your story even if it is exactly the same as previous comments. We need to know which stories are common and which ones are unusual.

Thanks to all.

Steve

12 Comments:

At 4:17 PM, Blogger tony60 said...

I took 1000 i.u. Vit D3 / day for 12 months and then 2000 iu / day for four months at which time I developed insomnia, irritability, extreme weakness and the worst fatigue I have ever known. Worst of all was the gnawing feeling at the very pit of my stomach.

I live in a sunny area and was also exposed to plenty of sunshine on weekends and sometimes once during week days.

As soon as I stoped the Vit D tablets, the gnawing feeling in my stomach (which had become almost unbearable) vanished. I am starting to sleep better and my mood has improved.

The conclusion I draw is that the only safe way to get Vit D is from sensible sun exposure. Tablets (and I tried dry and oil-based) made me very ill and I will never use them again.

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been without vitamin d supplements for about 3.5 -4 months.
I had been getting better slowly and I made a mistake and was out in the sun. Man all of my arm muscles and knee pain came back.
Is there any way to get this d out of my system.
I have increased fluid.

 
At 8:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks so much for leaving a comment. The comments are important as many health professionals remain skeptical about side effects from vitamin D tablets.

Highly sensitive individuals like you need to be aware of the vitamin D in the food supply. Milk is, by law, a low dose vitamin D supplement. Due to the importance of vitamin D, and the realization that there is widespread deficiency, vitamin D is now found in many foods and beverages. Read every label and avoid any product containing vitamin D.

Vitamin D controls the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and some other minerals. Experiment with calcium and magnesium supplements. They could make your symptoms worse which would teach you about other foods you need to avoid (those rich in calcium and/or magnesium of which there are many). They may make your symptoms better.

So - lots of fluids - lots of exercise - stay out of the sun - wear sunblock - avoid vitamin D in food - experiment with calcium and magnesium supplements. There's lots you can do. Good health is a choice.

Thanks again for your comments.

Steve

 
At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I was losing my mind, feeling of doom like a heart attack or stroke about to happen.
I had: severe palpations, short of breath, chest pain ,back of neck hurting, unrelenting headaches, sore throat, sinus drainage, stomach pain, acid indigestion, muscle pain,severe burning in muscles, bone pain, ears itching, ringing in the ears, left side numbness and pain, muscle pain , couldn't hardly walk, anxiety, panic, insomnia, confusion. hair fell out, nails brittle,fingers feeling funny.

I thought this was it and I had some kind of incurable disease. I went to the ER and he did a ekg and when I told him my symptoms he just looked at me like I was crazy.

Thinking I had a severe vitamin d deficiency, I took even more and got worse and worse. The only thing the doctor came me was Verapramil cause my blood pressure was way up.

Well I went to Google and thank God I found this site. I went to my doctor and although my calciumj was high normal,phosphorous was up and my kidney function was slightly off. I am praying that my kidney function is ok.

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks so much for leaving your comment.

To all healthcare providers - these stories are not unusual events. Vitamin D side effects are commonplace. Please please please be more careful.

Vitamin D should be obtained primarily from sunshine.

To this commenter. It would be very helpful if you would come on back and let us know what dose of vitamin D caused you such trouble.

Steve

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the one with the renal insufficiency. I took 5000u per day and I also took 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil.
Granted the doctors should warn you of such side effects.

 
At 12:10 AM, Blogger walt said...

I'm taking 8000 IU a day, get a very little sun and haven't had any trouble. I'm 79 and a supplement enthusiast. I'm sorry people are having troubles with it.
It would be useful if they had a blood test, and told Life Extension what level was giving them trouble.

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger walt said...

I'm taking 8000 IU a day, get a very little sun and haven't had any trouble. I'm 79 and a supplement enthusiast. I'm sorry people are having troubles with it.
It would be useful if they had a blood test, and told Life Extension what level was giving them trouble.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Walt,

Thanks so much for writing. How long have you been taking 8000 IU/day? The longer the better.

Tolerance to side effects can change with age and state of health - so be on the lookout. In the meantime it's great that the supplements are working for you. Keep it up!

Steve

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous jomo said...

Hi, First, thank you for your valuable info. Last December (2009) I started taking daily Fermented cod liver oil (CLO) at 4x the standard dosage. At this time I was also spending about 4-6 hours a day, 3-4x a week in my garden in Alabama. This lasted for about 6 months. I started noticing in the first month that my muscles were weak. I would walk up stairs and feel my muscles burning like I had just ran a marathon. Opening jars became difficult. I in know way thought this was Vitamin d overdose, so not only continued my CLO but in July added 1800 mg of vitamin d supplement daily. I was getting 4-6 hours of sunshine 3-4x a week in Al., 1800mg supplement, 4x cod liver oil, dessicated liver tablets and taking a multi with vit d in it. In addition to my general muscle weakness from before, within a week I started noticing fatigue, excessive thirst (I couldn't get enough to drink and mouth was always dry), frequent urination all the time, especially at night, also lower back pain, the bone on my pinky fingers started hurting and had a lump on them, muscle aches and joint pain and occasional headaches and had trouble sleeping at night. I still was not thinking it was D since I was on other supplements (iodine to name one) that could have been causing weird side affects. In August I stopped ALL supplements for 1 week and since I did not notice getting better (did not know about 1/2 life of D) I went back on everything. Also, a friend of mine said I could be vit d deficient so said to take 50,000 mg a week and 1000 a day. I did this two weeks in a row.On Sept. 23 it got so bad (my tail bone started hurting around this week) I googled and found your blog. I immediately stopped all supplements and took some charcoal to see if my symptoms would be relieved. Within the hour my pains were about 75% gone. That night I was able to sleep straight through without bathroom breaks or pain! So, I am assuming it was vit. D. I have been trying to stay out of the sun as well. For two weeks I have been off vit.d and I have had occasional aches and pains, my muscles though still feel weak when I exert them, my pinky fingers still hurt but not as much, and my tail bone still really hurts. Is this normal? A couple of days ago, I foolishly thought I would start back on some of my supplements, so I took some dessicated liver tablets (forgot it has d in it!). Later that day, my aches came back terrible and I have not been able to sleep well at night because my muscle and joint pain has started back. I have even taken a few doses of charcoal and it has not helped like it did the first time. Could you shed some light on this?! Is my body totally ruined now? :) Besides my stupidity, what are your thoughts? When will this nightmare end? I so appreciate your time and help.

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous jomo said...

ALmost a year ago, I started taking daily Fermented cod liver oil (CLO) at 4x the standard dsg and spending about 4-6 hours a day, 3-4x a week in my garden in Al.This lasted for about 6 months. I started noticing in the first month that my muscles were weak. In July added 1800 mg of vitamin d supplement daily. In addition to my general muscle weakness from before, within a week I started noticing fatigue, excessive thirst, frequent urination all the time, especially at night, also lower back pain, the knuckle on two fingers hurting and lumpy, muscle and joint pain and occasional headaches and had trouble sleeping at night. In August I stopped ALL supplements for 1 week and since I did not notice anything (did not know about 1/2 life of D) I went back on everything. On Sept. 23 it got so bad (my tail bone started hurting around this week) I googled and found your blog. I immediately stopped all supplements and took some charcoal to see if my symptoms would be relieved. Within the hour my pains were about 75% gone. That night I was able to sleep straight through without bathroom breaks or pain! So, I am assuming it was vit. D. I have been trying to stay out of the sun as well. For two weeks I have been off vit.d and I have had occasional aches and pains, my muscles though still feel weak when I exert them, my pinky fingers still hurt but not as much, and my tail bone still really hurts. Is this normal? A couple of days ago, I foolishly that I would start back on some of my supplements, so I took some dessicated liver tablets. Later that day, my aches came back terrible and I have not been able to sleep well at night because my muscle and joint pain has started back. I have even taken a few doses of charcoal and it has not helped like it did the first time. Could you shed some light on this?! Is my body totally ruined now? :) When will this nightmare end? I so appreciate your time and help.

 
At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jomo, can you please share how things turned out? How did you recover? Any advice? I am trying to recover from a vit D overdose also... How much charcoal do you suggest? Please give us an update!

Anyone else that went through a vit D overdose, can you give an update and treatment???

Thanks!
KT

 

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