‘Hypervitaminosis D’ is on the rise and linked to a wide range of potentially serious health issues.
Doctors are warning that ‘Overdosing’ on vitamin D supplements is both possible and harmful after they treated a man who needed hospital admission for his excessive vitamin D intake. They reported their concerns in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
They point out that ‘hypervitaminosis D,’ as the condition is formally known, is on the rise and has been linked to a wide variety of potentially serious health conditions.
This particular case concerns a middle-aged man who was referred to the hospital by his family doctor after complaining of recurrent vomiting, nausea, leg cramps, abdominal pain, increased thirst, dry mouth, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), diarrhea, and weight loss (28 lbs or 12.7 kg).
Symptoms of hypervitaminosis D include drowsiness, depression, confusion, anorexia, apathy, psychosis, abdominal pain, stupor, coma, vomiting, peptic ulcers, constipation, pancreatitis, abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure, and kidney abnormalities, including renal failure.
These symptoms had been present for almost 3 months and had started around 1 month after he started an intensive vitamin supplement regimen on the advice of a nutritional therapist.
The man had had various underlying health issues, including tuberculosis, bacterial meningitis, an inner ear tumor (left vestibular schwannoma), which had resulted in deafness in that ear, a build-up of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), and chronic sinusitis.
He had been taking high doses of more than 20 over-the-counter supplements every day containing: vitamin D 150,000 IU —the daily requirement is 10 mcg or 400 IU; vitamin K2 mcg (daily requirement 100–300 mcg); vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folate) 1,000 mcg (daily requirement 400 mcg); vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, omega-3 2,000 mg twice daily (daily requirement 200–500 mg), plus several other vitamin, mineral, nutrient, and probiotic supplements.
Once his symptoms developed, he stopped taking his daily supplement cocktail, but his symptoms didn’t go away.
Blood tests ordered by his family doctor indicated that he had extremely high calcium levels and slightly elevated magnesium levels. And his vitamin D level was seven times higher than what was necessary for sufficiency.
The tests also revealed that his kidneys weren’t working properly (acute kidney injury). The results of various x-rays and scans to check for cancer were normal.
Vitamin D Recommended Daily Intake*
|Life Stage||Recommended Amount|
|Birth to 12 months||10 mcg (400 IU)|
|Children 1–13 years||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|Teens 14–18 years||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|Adults 19–70 years||15 mcg (600 IU)|
|Adults 71 years and older||20 mcg (800 IU)|
|Pregnant and breastfeeding teens and women||15 mcg (600 IU)|
The man stayed in the hospital for 8 days, during which time he was given intravenous fluids to flush out his system and treated with bisphosphonates—drugs that are normally used to strengthen bones or lower excessive levels of calcium in the blood.
Two months after discharge from the hospital, his calcium level had returned to normal, but his vitamin D level was still abnormally high.
“Globally, there is a growing trend of hypervitaminosis D, a clinical condition characterized by elevated serum vitamin D3 levels,” with women, children, and surgical patients most likely to be affected, write the authors.
Recommended vitamin D levels can be obtained from the diet (eating wild mushrooms and oily fish), skin exposure to sunlight, and supplements.
“Given its slow turnover (half-life of approximately 2 months), during which vitamin D toxicity develops, symptoms can last for several weeks,” warn the authors.
The symptoms of hypervitaminosis D are many and varied, they point out, and are mostly caused by excess calcium in the blood. They include confusion, drowsiness, apathy, psychosis, anorexia, depression, coma, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, peptic ulcers, stupor, pancreatitis, abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure, and kidney abnormalities, including renal failure.
Other associated features, such as keratopathy (inflammatory eye disease), joint stiffness (arthralgia), and hearing loss or deafness, have also been reported, they add.
This is just one case, and while hypervitaminosis D is on the rise, it is still relatively uncommon, caution the authors.
Nevertheless, complementary therapy, including the use of dietary supplements, is popular, and people may not realize that it’s possible to overdose on vitamin D, or the potential consequences of doing so, they say.
“This case report further highlights the potential toxicity of supplements that are largely considered safe until taken in unsafe amounts or in unsafe combinations,” they conclude.
Reference: “Vitamin D intoxication and severe hypercalcaemia complicating nutritional supplements misuse” by Alamin Alkundi, Rabiu Momoh, Abdelmajid Musa and Nkemjika Nwafor, 5 July 2022, BMJ Case Reports.
[Editor’s note: Several corrections were made to the doses of medication being taken as well as the recommended values.]
*These are the average daily recommended amounts according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
Reading the label on vitamin bottles is HIGHLY recommended
No surprise at all, considering that many touted Vitamin D as an aid to cure Covid symptoms, even suggesting that the vaccine is not required if you take enough of it. We are a long way from being done with covid. All the nuts that touted alternate protections and treatments are responsible for this, but they will run away and pretend that the vaccine is the cause. People really need to start listening to their doctors and stop internet led self diagnosing their issues. If they trust the internet over their doctors, then they get what they deserve.
“…he started an intensive vitamin supplement regimen on the advice of a nutritional therapist.” “Blood tests ordered by his family doctor indicated…his vitamin D level was seven times higher than what was necessary for sufficiency.”
The fault appears to lie with the “nutritional therapist” who did not adequately monitor the patient’s blood serum levels of Vitamin D, despite the relatively high dose being administered. As far as I can ascertain, the US recommended daily intake of 600mg/400IU is based on what is necessary to prevent bone abnormalities (i.e. rickets) in developing children, but the recommended intake varies from country to country. In fact, recommended blood serum levels also vary from one jurisdiction to another, which could reasonably be inferred to mean that there is quite a bit of grace in the upper limit. “Vitamin D” acts more like a hormone than a vitamin in humans, and has many other functions and effects beyond bone density, so 400IU daily may not suffice to maintain overall good health, depending on skin melanin levels, lifestyle, latitude and seasonality. A few thousand IUs of Vitamin D taken daily is generally harmless. Fauci himself admitted in a private email to Kari Hjelt of Chalmers Industriteknik in September of 2020 that he was taking 6000IUs of Vitamin D daily. More Vitamin K2 would likely have provided some additional margin against developing hypercalcemia in the patient in question.
One helpful reference regarding hypercalcemia and hypervitaminosis D, derived from clinical practice, can be found here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26995293/
The bottom line is that routine monitoring of the patient’s blood serum levels of Vitamin D could have prevented this, but was done neither by the nutritional therapist nor the family doctor (who was likely unaware of the supplementation regimen being followed until the patient presented with symptoms consistent with hypervitaminosis D).
It had taken me 14 years to get Vitamin D levels to reach 60 from 17. I was taking 6,000 units a day!!
The RDA for Vitamin D is 15 mcg, not 600 mg! It’s 400-600 International Units.
What a crazy mistake for this article to make! The article is literally about overdosing on vitamin D and they mis-quote the RDA by a factor of 24,000!!!
Is this irony?
Thanks for the note. This has been corrected in the article.
Is trolling on the internet fun for you?
Vit D is fat soluble vit and is primarily excreted thru the bile duct and into feces, water soluble vit. are excreted thru urine. The RDA is 800 iu daily, and virtually everyone living in the northwest is low. People with toxic levels are taking too much or have messed up liver enzymes. Crazy but true!
Is this article responsible?
The message that casual readers can get from this article is that Vitamin D supplementation is dangerous.
Is that true?
The numbers reported are WAY off. Vitamin D is in MICROgrams, and this reports Milligrams. The reported 50,000 mg of Vit D would be 2,000,000,000 (2 billion) IU. The covid therapeutic dose in research, delivered IV inpatient is 400,000 IU. Vitamin D typically comes in 2,000 mcg caplets, and he was probably taking 50,000 micrograms per day, or 25 caplets (way WAY high!). To 50,000 milligrams, he would have had to take 25,000 caplets a day. Didn’t happen that way, I’m confident. That’s 41.66 Costco bottles of Vitamin D each day. Nope.
Thanks for the note. This has been corrected in the article.
Oh wow. This is incorrect in the original BMJ article, and accurately re-reported here. My apologies to SciTechDaily. The authors actually say, “He had been taking high doses of more than 20 over the counter supplements every day containing: vitamin D 50000 mg—the daily requirement is 600 mg or 400 IU.” https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/957594 The National Institutes of Health say that Vit D range is: “Adults 19–70 years: 15 mcg (600 IU)”. So, 1 mg would be 15,000 mcg, or 600,000 IU. It’s not hard to find 125 microgram supplements (accurately listed as 5,000 IU). There simply are no 50,000 milligram supplements. That’s a level at which you could supplement a city water supply, not a single human.
Indeed. We have now corrected the mistakes here with correct numbers and units based on NIH recommendations, the values in the study itself, and confirmation with the authors of the study.
I was taking 5,000 units of D a day (originally for prostate protection, later for covid protection) my doctor said blood work showed it was too high and I should bring it down to 4,000 a day which I did. I was also happy to have confirmed that those D vitamin jels I’ve been taking were legit.
The numbers in this article seem wrong. This guy was taking over 50 GRAMS of vitamin D per day? WTF?
Some of the numbers and units were indeed very wrong. They have been corrected.
I think this report could have been better written. There are a lot of desperately overweight people in the world who are only going to read the part about extreme doses of Vitamin D causing weight loss and they’ll risk their health to try it. My doctor recommended I take a regular Vitamin D supplement after my blood work showed I wasn’t getting enough. That’s a common problem for older people. It’s just 1000 iu once a day, by no means a large dose. It’s to keep my immune system healthy. It never was touted by real doctors as a cure for covid. It is to help your immune system work better to resist the virus and other diseases. Younger people shouldn’t need it if they eat a balanced diet.
30 minutes of midday summer sun exposure provides 10,000–20,000 IU of vitamin D so at 50,000 IU the issue may not be the quantity of the supplement but the safety or toxicity of the supplement.
If thus dose was prescribed by a nutrition therapist he would have been told to use co factures Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, and most importantly K2-MK7 to keep the calcium in his bones and not his blood stream.He would have been advised to have a vitamin D3 blood test to check is D3 Metabolism after 1 month to make sure this would not happen.
It’s a pity you don’t report on the adverse effects of the vaccine injuries worldwide taken for the virus that still hasn’t been isolated under sterile laboratory conditions. The common cold and seasonal flu have been re branded as the invisible virus
Excellent reply on all counts.thanks Martin.gives hope some people think individually.though I do believe the first virus was real but attacked those with underlying health conditions and the weak.the following boughts have certainly been the common flu rebounded as you say.plus,vitamin d DOES help and is needed to fight virus.some of the calculations and evidence in the article are very misleading.
Can we stop pretending the libertarian utopia we’ve set up in the US for “supplement” companies is acceptable or in any way beneficial to public health? They don’t even need to be _vaguely_ accurate about the mg content for each pill, the regulatory standards are surface-level ridiculous even for people that need them.
I remember several years ago, when the flu vaccine did not work so well, and I had the flu. I went to local Walgreens to get some OTC meds for the flu. So I was on the allergy/cold/isle in the store, looking for some flu relief. Behind this isle, was the isle with all the vitamin and supplement stuff. On the isle I was on, there was maybe 1-2 people. On the vitamin & supplement isle, there was at least a dozen folks carefully studying these things, as if to somehow figure out that some miracle cure was available, possibly. I think that at that time, Black Elderberry was the miracle cure of the day. In my opinion, it is hopeless to dissuade people from the hope of these supplement cures working. This is why the “supplement” business is a billion dollar business. I mean no disrespect to those who truly believe that these supplements work. This is only my opinion, and I do not think that they do.
There is a lot of misinformation and biased information! This article has both! The numbers are way off as many have already noted. This patient had a number of health issues that were unrelated to his supplementation. That seems to have been completely ignored in this article. 50000 IU is pretty high to be taking daily, that much I agree. I do believe that a person can over supplement. The article seems to ant people to stop taking vitamin d altogether and that is stepping over the line. There are thousands of studies, most of which have not been conducted by the drug companies. It plays a major role in keeping our immune system strong. 400 to 600 IU is just enough to keep you from getting rickets. Your body needs far more and most don’t get enough of this vitamin from food and as far as Sun exposure, most people don’t get enough Sun to get even the minimum. Sunscreen and darker complexion limits absorbsion. I used to get the flu at least once a year. I got colds on average, 3 times a year. In the past 5 years I began taking vitamin d3 between 5000 to 10000 IU daily. I got a cold about 4 years ago and it’s duration was just over 2 days. That was it! I don’t need a team of experts to tell me whether it works or not. My experience is convincing enough.
Strongly Agree with every comment you made here!
Dosages for vitamin D in the article are incorrect. The daily recommended dosage for vitamin D is 600 mcg not 600 mg. The scaling is off for vitamin D dosages. Most likely off for all D dosages in the article.
Thank you for your note. This has been corrected.
Always check with your primary before taking any vitamin and especially if taking prescribed medications. Give a list of what medications and vitamins you take to all your doctors. Wishing you good health.
My guess is this ad is sponsored by Big Pharma. D3 is the most important vitamin (it’s actually a hormone) to humans. Most animals have the ability to create their own, and they produce massive quantities of it. That’s why animals are more robust than humans.
The gov RDA is massively low. Once your blood level gets to a certain ng/ml (from taking proper amounts) the majority of disease, including cancer, don’t stand a chance and most likely won’t develop in the body. Read Dr. Judson Somerville’s book on Vit D3, it’s life changing. Do your own research. Don’t listen to propaganda!
Strongly agree with every point!
I don’t think this article is very clear: it isn’t that vitamin D supplements are dangerous, it’s that overdosing on them can be. Most of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are hard to spot (IE: depression, fatigue, muscle pain), they can easily be attributed to other things, but if you live in a northern region or somewhere overcast (like the PNW) or always wear sun protection then there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough (unless you eat tons of oily fish skin I guess). (Fun fact: part of the success of the Vikings/Saxons in taking over much of Northern Europe was cod liver oil preventing rickets in children.) 400-800 IU supplements should be enough for most people, though if you get tested and are shown to be low then your doctor might recommend more. The message here should be do not exceed recommended vitamin amounts unless advised by a (real) doctor, and always let your doctor know what supplements you are taking! Generally they won’t be mad about you taking them, mine is usually like “good idea, you probably don’t get enough with being “.
I’d love to know how they got a hold of a 50,000mg dose of vitamin D. I’m on 5,000 a day prescribed by my doctor made at the compound chemist. Is have to take 10 a day to get that dose. Sounds completely unrealistic, but good click bait!!! I think anyone with that many underlying health conditions would have those generic symptoms and nothing to do with supplements. What crap!
Wow a lot of pompous know it alls.
Article seems to be a scare tactic.
So this is ridiculous. He consumed what is basically an entire bottle of vitamin D every day (100x over standard dose), and he still didn’t die, and it’s all over the news like vitamin D is super dangerous. So everyone freaks if you take 1/10th that, and only when you’re sick. Meanwhile over 200,000 die every year from taking only 5x the standard does for their pharmaceutical but you NEVER hear about it, let alone hear that it could be dangerous. PUHLEEEASE!
Idiots like this, are the reason Drs don’t want people taking supplements. They judge us all to be as stupid as this guy. Herbs/vitamins, etc should be treated like any other “drug”. Do your research from reliable sources. At the very least learn what the safe dose is, what side effects to watch for and how the supplement interacts with your existing health conditions, and other meds or supplements. More is not necessarily better and sometimes it can be dangerous!!
I didn’t see anything in this article that recommends against taking vitamin D, but maybe I missed it?
Reporting bad outcomes for one person with underlying conditions who is hyperdosing multiple supplements isn’t advocating for or against anything.
The comment “internet is no place for medical diagnosis”. The internet is a great place to do research but not if you are taking medical advice from Facebook.
Folks, it is really hard to overdose on vitamin d and most people need more than what we can get from food or the sun. Please take your vitamin d. The RDA is based on deficiency, not optimization, so the minimum amounts recommended will prevent rickets, but not optimize health. It’s also really rare that people overdose on vitamin d, good rule of thumb is to have your levels checked regularly. Problem is, Doctors don’t always do it, so you need to ask.
I always take vit k2 along with vit d3 so it is metabolized properly. So it goes where it is supposed to go and doesn’t cause problems
I take 10,000 ius near daily for several years, never had any issues. That’s what it takes to get me in a healthy range. Realize that’s not going to be most, but don’t make people afraid to get their basic reqs in. I have friends who are afraid to take vitamin d because of constant articles like this. Just regularly see your doctor to get your numbers checked, it’s not that hard.
@Joe Vitamin D is not a miracle covid cure but it has been found that deficient people are more likely to suffer severe illness.
This seems like an example of Selective Reproduction attempting to not promote the passing down of utter stupidity.
FFS, do people not read labels? Do they not research what they take before they decide to take it?
Every time I read one of these articles about stupid Americans, as a fellow American I get increasingly concerned about the future of this country when half of its citizens are obviously borderline re****ed
This article, like all other media reports referencing it, is totally incorrect. The guy was actually admitted with tuberculosis AND meningitis, -totally unrelated to his supplement intake. After D3 was found in his extensive supplement regimen the media jumped on it due to the coverage of vitamin D during the pandemic. There are medical studies that used his dosage for years and declared it safe, -fact.
I’m taking 50,000 milgrams once a week,now I’m wondering if it causing my skin problems?I’m waiting for a referral to see a dermatologist,now after reading all the comments,I’m not taking them no more,until I get answers.thanks for the info.
This picture is vitamin E. When taking any vitamins have doctor regularly check levels.
At least the article mentioned FOOD sourced vitamin D and sun, which will not OD a person. My bone density improved after switching to plant based products.
50,000IU Weekly is a common dose for critically low vitamin D levels. I took this same dose for 3 months and noticed improvement in my energy levels, joint pain/swelling, sleep, etc… As long as this dose was prescribed by your doctor and is being further monitored, periodically- you should continue to take your supplement without concern. This article has wildly inaccurate numbers and is very misleading!
My guess it was is other conditions causing the problems.
I have my levels tested every year. I took one 5,000 iu a day, most days, for 7 years and my D was still low, 45…even though I spent 30 minutes in the sun each day. Not as low as it was when I started, but not optimal.
I hadn’t taken it for a couple months because I was out. I had a cold for an entire month and wasn’t getting better. I decided to try liquid D.
I intended to squeeze several drops, but the top popped off and the entire bottle of D, 2 million iu, dumped down my throat. I spit some out, but have no idea how much I took.
My cold completely cleared up in 2 hours and I had amazing energy. My doctor retested my D 1 month later, and my levels were perfect. She wanted my levels above 50, I got it to 65.
Now I test annually and take it only if my levels drop. I honestly haven’t had a bad cold like that since, and that was 7 years ago. I use to get sick all the time, bronchitis 4 times a year and more. It’s been life changing for me.
Wow..so pleased to hear that.thanks for sharing!
I call BS. 15 years or so ago my daughter ate an entire bottle of d3 at the age of 3 or 4. I called poison control & they had no knowledge on the books whatsoever and couldn’t give me any assistance. So I called a beloved holistic family doctor and he assured me that she would be 100% fine, which she was. He said the only side effect would be that she may not get any illnesses for like a whole year or more. Which came true, she absolutely did not get sick for a very long time after that! If you live in a northern climate, take your D3 supplements people. Don’t let big pharma sponsored articles scare you away from the God given nourishment that TRUELY heals & restores for fake *ss garbage that kills & destroys
Beautifully put!and amazing info on how it stopped all illness.the lady before your comment also spoke of this.strongly agree with all you wrote.truly is God given nourishment and not big pharma cash ins.
According to the endocrine society up to 10000 IUs daily is recommended. The IOM recommends 4000 IUs per day. I am surprised a science writer would neglect such established information provided by highly trusted professionals. Do your own research. I have been taking 10000 IUs for the last year and 5000 IUs for years before that. That being said, this guys took way too much.
Agreed,I stated similar,before I got to your comment.vit d is desperately needed by most people and the daily recommended dose is way below what a person needs to keep vit d levels balanced and/or bring them up if they are low
The IU to μg ratio for vitamin D3 is 0.025 not 0.020.
In addition, there are effective high dose treatments for a number of conditions that far exceed the daily recommended supplement dose of 400 or 800 IU.
I have been taking a daily vitamin mix called Zeal for 6 years and since COVID I’ve been taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. I’ve had 4 Covid shots as per government recommendations for my age 71. I have not been sick once in 6 years except food related 24 hour intestinal episodes. I believe that a reasonable vitamin intake boosts your immune system and vitamin D3 reduces inflamations through out the body – your over aĺl health is maintained.
I was taking 10,000 iu daily. After several weeks I developed insomnia. Lucky to get 2 hrs. sleep a day. Read up on overdosing D and that was one symptom. It blocks melatonin both natural and supplemental. I stopped all supplements for a month before I was back to normal. Thank God I have no lingering affects. I’m in excellent health, no medications at 60 years plus. Infected twice with no affects. Rule #1 stay healthy and use supplements on the low scale. Avoid mega dosing anything. Rule #2 always follow rule #1.
I’ve had all these same symptoms for other reasons (while not oversupplementing on vitamin D). I’d say they really don’t know for a fact the reason for these symptoms, they can only have a good guess.
There is a website called “vitamin d wiki” that is devoted to collating the latest information on Vitamin D.
Joe my daughter ended up with really bad COVID and was hospitalized for 10 days. She was released with supplemental oxygen and they told her to take Vit C Vit D Zinc and a strong multivitamin so she won’t end up back in the hospital. She was no drugs while in the hospital just steroids and a mild anti anxiety med because they allowed no visitors.
Speak with a Dietitian. A “nutrition therapist” is just any random person who looks stuff up on online
Taking vit D3 without vit K2 is foolish Vit K2 mainly
Mk7 is crucial to the deposit of ca into the bones where it belongs
There’s a reason why you talk to your Pharmacist and Doctor! They already know the medication your taking (some of which may or may not deplete your vitamin D) and will help you make the most appropriate choice for YOU as a PATIENT on a CASE BY CASE basis. As of 2015 in Pharmacology Today, case studies indicated that the maximum safe dose for a full grown healthy adult is 7000IU. Again, each person’s situation will vary based on their current health status, current medications, current supplements, and diet they’re adhering to. Oy! When are we going to stop judging people and start loving and caring for each other folks. Some of these comments just blow my mind!
150000IU is an incredibly high dose of vitamin D3. It is also worth highlighting that the man had a granuloma disease which was the main reason why the extremely high dose of vitamin D3 caused hypercalcaemia.
Taking up to 10,000IU a day is generally safe, even if on the higher side, as long as you don’t have a contraindication like a granuloma disease.
This condition is rare at best and to steer people away from taking supplements is irresponsible when our immune systems need to be boosted. I hope people can see this article for what it is.
I’m pretty sure this was a functional medicine “doctor” because no real medical doctor would EVER prescribe that amount in the US. Dude had some serious health issues
Who on earth would tell him to take 150 000iu a day??that’s crazy,anyone would overdose.yet I do not agree with the recommended daily amount for vit d.it should be higher,considering a great deal of the western world is vitamin d deficient.it also protects cells from virus and illness.its extremely important.if you are deficient,it can take months,even years to bring it up.you can take 10,000 iu a day,safely,though check for underlying conditions with liver etc first.one lady even took 50 000 iu a day for months amd it didn’t make a dent in her deficiency levels.8-10,000 is good for most people,as most will be suffering a deficiency.i cannot believe a nutritionist advised 150 000 iu vit d a day!any qualified nutrionist/chemist/doctor,worldwide,would know that was a crazy amount and would harm a person quite quickly.i hope it’s not a scare story,generated from somewhere to put people off taking vitamin d,as they need it!if it’s true,I hope the poor guy is recovering.
This guy eating 20 pills a day was as dumb as this article, you can overdose on just about anything.
You can get D3 levels checked by blood test, which I do. Since taking 5,000 iu’s daily starting 2007, I no longer catch any colds or the flu.