Vitamin D Toxicity – Too Much of a Good Thing?
Vitamin D is critical to our health, in fact, our immune system depends on it! Making sure we have enough vitamin D is a MUST, but what happens when we have too much?
As supplementing with vitamin D becomes more and more common, we need to be mindful of vitamin D toxicity and its effects on our body’s calcium levels. If you are supplementing with vitamin D, or using sunbeds, you need to monitor your levels. Toxicity often happens by accident, so it’s important to know the facts.
Understanding Vitamin D & What It Does
Vitamin D regulates our immune system and protects us from viral infections. Vitamin D also helps our body absorb calcium. Calcium helps maintain healthy bones and muscle function. It is found in many foods, such as: leafy greens, whey, molasses, fatty seafood, mushrooms, cod liver oil, eggs, liver and sea vegetables. Calcium is very important for our body, but if we have too much vitamin D, calcium levels can climb to dangerous levels.
Is Vitamin D Deficiency Still an Issue?
Yes! Despite our warm client and beach culture, 1 in 4 Australians are Vitamin D deficient. Unlike other nutrients, our body can make vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays. This makes safe sun exposure very important and can put those with office jobs at risk. Other people at risk of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Elderly people
- Those with a dark to Mediterranean complexion as their skin I more protective toward UV light.
- Dietary – restriction of seafood or allergy to seafood
- Those with gut problems
- Those who smoke, drink alcohol or take drug
What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Migraines and headaches
- Poor sleep quality
- Chronic pain or pain sensitivity
- Muscle weakness
- Low mood
- Excessive sweating
- Autoimmune conditions
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Bone pain
- Symptoms can be subtle, and some people can go years with a low Vitamin D.
Too Much of A Good Thing
Too much vitamin D can result in high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). Symptoms of hypercalcemia include frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, depression, thirst and irritability.
Often, vitamin D toxicity happens by accident. So, what are the risks?
Supplements: Vitamin D supplements can be an issue if someone is taking large doses without monitoring their levels. Natural vitamin D levels also change at different times of the year, depending on sun exposure. This means vitamin D supplementation should be changed as a result. As with any supplement, it is important to work with your health care practitioner and avoid self-prescribing.
Sunbeds: Who would have though! Sunbeds expose us to un-natural amounts of UV light. This is the same light which allows out body to create vitamin D from the sun. Artificial UV exposure from sunbeds can increase vitamin D to unhealthy levels when used often. If you do choose to use sun beds, it is important to regularly check your vitamin D and calcium levels.
Please note it’s almost impossible to get too much vitamin D through natural sun exposure.
How To Safely Increase Your Levels
The safest way to increase your vitamin D levels is by eating vitamin D rich foods and having healthy sun exposure. Even just 20-minutes a day can increase your vitamin D levels over time! If you are having any symptoms, which you may believe may be due to low vitamin D, it is important to get tested. Low vitamin D levels may require personalised supplementation and monitoring by your practitioner.
For those with autoimmune conditions, cancer and allergies, it is especially important to have adequate levels.
Getting Your Vitamin D Tested
Vitamin D can be tested by your General Practitioner through Medicare or commercially (out of pocket), depending on your health history. We can also test for vitamin D commercially in clinic while offering personalised recommendations around the safest way to optimise your vitamin D levels.
Are you concerned about your vitamin D levels? Make an appointment with one of our fantastic to receive the personalised support you need!
To make an appointment please contact us here or call us on (08) 8332 2271