How much Vitamin D is enough?

Is it possible to get too much of Vitamin D? And if so, what adverse effect does it have on an individual? Too much of anything good is bad. It’s difficult to get surplus Vitamin D from sunlight or from foods (unless there is too much consumption of cod liver oil). Nearly all Vitamin D overdoses come from supplements.

As our bodies can adjust Vitamin D levels from the sun, excess of the vitamin will generally only come from an overdose of supplements. An excess amount of Vitamin D in our body is referred to as Hypervitaminosis D.

Excess Vitamin D can cause nausea, constipation, confusion, an abnormally high blood calcium level, abnormal heart rhythm, and even kidney stones.

Why is Vitamin D necessary?

Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium and promotes bone mineralisation, which may prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis. It also helps to strengthen the immune system and protect against a number of serious diseases, including rickets and bone tenderness, cancerous diseases. Research suggests Vitamin D may also provide protection from hypertension, psoriasis, several autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce the incidence of fractured bones. In addition, growing evidence has demonstrated its important role in fighting against cancer where a study shows lack of Vitamin D can lead to as many as 18 different kinds of cancers.

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Why extra is not a good idea?

According to the Vitamin D Council UK, there are only two ways to get adequate Vitamin D into your body, by direct sun exposure or by supplements; Vitamin D levels in our food are not adequate. Vitamin D toxicity is extremely rare, but does occur with very high doses. It usually develops over time, since extra Vitamin D can build up in the body. Nearly all Vitamin D overdoses result from taking high amounts of Vitamin D supplements.

Dietary habits aren’t the best wat to get enough Vitamin D, though they do make up a percentage of the sufficiency. While fortified Vitamin D foods such as milk and cereals are available, most provide Vitamin D2, a form which is much less well utilized by the body than D3. Good dietary sources include fortified foods, eggs, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, cod liver oil and mushroom. Since sunlight causes our bodies to make Vitamin D, daily exposure is helpful. Deficiency of this vitamin influences up to 3,000 of our genes and also our mental health.

The best way to build Vitamin D is sunshine. You only need to expose your skin for approximately half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn (which could differ person to person depending on their skin type and complexion). Your body can produce between 10,000-25,000 IU of Vitamin D in this time before your skin turns pink. How much Vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the colour of your skin.

According to Dr Michael Holick of Boston University Medical Center below are the optimal ranges of Vitamin D to maintain

  • Deficiency ranges- <50 ng/ml or 125 nmol/l
  • Optimal – 50-70 ng/ml or 125-175 nmol/l
  • Excess – >100ng/ml or 250nmol/l

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How excess Vitamin D affect our body?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. In contrast to water-soluble vitamins, the body has no simple way of getting rid of fat-soluble vitamins. Due to this excessive amounts may accumulate inside the body. The exact mechanism behind Vitamin D toxicity is complicated and isn’t fully understood at this point. However, we know that the active form of Vitamin D functions in a similar way as a steroid hormone. It travels inside cells, telling them to turn the genetic factor on or off. Usually, most of the body’s Vitamin D is in storage, bound to either Vitamin D receptors or carrier proteins. Very little allowed levels of Vitamin D are available. However, when Vitamin D consumption is extreme, the levels can become so high that there isn’t any room left on the receptors or carrier proteins. This may lead to elevated levels of free Vitamin D in the body, which may travel inside cells and overwhelm the signaling processes affected by Vitamin D.

One of the main signaling processes has to do with increasing the absorption of calcium from the digestive system. As a result, the main symptom of Vitamin D toxicity is hypercalcemia – elevated levels of calcium in the blood. High calcium levels can cause various indicators, and the calcium can also bind to other tissues and damage them which include the kidneys.

How much Vitamin D should children take?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), daily Adequate Intake (AI) for children from birth until 5 years of age should take 5 mcg per day (200 IU).

How much Vitamin D should grown-ups take?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the daily Adequate Intake (AI) for adults is 5 mcg (200 IU) daily for males, female, and pregnant/lactating women below the age of 50. People 50 to 70 years old should get 10 mcg daily (400 IU) daily, and those older than 70 should get 15 mcg daily (600 IU). Supplements that provide D3 (cholecalciferol) rather than D2 (Ergocalciferol) are preferable. Anyone with Vitamin D deficiencies should discuss intake levels with his or her physician.


Hence, only after knowing how much of Vitamin D is required, in what amounts suited to your blood levels, you should take specific amounts of Vitamin D only after seeking medical supervision. Stay bright, stay healthy!

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