Vitamin D supplements send British man to hospital for a week


After visiting a private nutritionist, the man started taking more than 20 over-the-counter supplements daily, including 50,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D three times a day. This is a dose hundreds of times higher than standard nutritional recommendations.

Within a month, the man began experiencing nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and repeated vomiting, as well as leg cramps and ringing in his ears.

The report’s co-author, Dr Alamin Alkundi, an endocrinologist at William Harvey Hospital in East Kent, England, said the man, whose name has not been released, heard about the supplements on a radio talk show and contacted the agency. The program’s nutritionist. who treated that man.

“In the UK, nutritionists are not required to register with a regulatory body and their title is not protected, so anyone can work as a nutritionist,” Alkundi said. said in an email.

Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which the body can easily eliminate, vitamin D and its cousins ​​A, E, and K are stored in the body’s liver and fat cells until needed. Ingestion much higher than the recommended daily dose can reach toxic levels.

The men in the case study took 150,000 IU of vitamin D a day, or “375 times the recommended amount,” Alkundi said.This UK National Health Service A daily intake of 400 IU of vitamin D is generally recommended for children over one year of age and adults.

The man stopped taking the supplements when he developed symptoms, but his condition did not improve. When he was taken to the hospital two months later, he had lost 28 pounds (12.7 kg) and his kidneys were struggling. Tests showed he was taking too much vitamin D, a condition called hypervitamin D.

Recommended daily level

Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means it is stored in the body. High levels can be toxic.

The body needs vitamin D. The main role of vitamins is to help the body absorb calcium from the gut—in fact, without vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. Vitamins also play a role in immune health and brain cells. activity and muscle function.

In the United States, adults under the age of 69 are recommended to consume 15 micrograms or 600 IU of vitamin D per day. National Institutes of Health. For adults 70 years of age and older, the dose is increased to 20 mcg or 800 IU per day.Recommended intake for infants, children and adolescents recently doubled American Academy of Pediatrics 10 mcg or 400 IU per day.
One 2017 Research It was found that 3% of Americans ingested more than the adult tolerable upper limit of 4,000 IU per day, putting themselves at risk of poisoning. About 18% took more than 1,000 IU per day.

Too much vitamin D in the blood can cause hypercalcemia, which occurs when calcium levels in the blood are higher than normal. The man in the BMJ case study was diagnosed with hypercalcemia, which weakens your bones, creates kidney stones and interferes with the function of your heart and brain.

The man was hospitalized for eight days and received medication to lower calcium levels in his blood. A follow-up two months later showed her blood calcium levels had dropped to near normal levels. While the man’s vitamin D levels also increased significantly, they remained elevated, Alkundi said.

“A plan has been put in place to regularly monitor these two parameters in the clinic to track levels down to normal levels. We had contact with him and he reported (he felt) much better, But it’s still not back to normal,” Alkundi said.

“He was very eager to know his story to remind others,” Alkundi added.

Signs of a vitamin D overdose can include lethargy, confusion, lethargy, and depression, and in more severe cases, it can lead to coma and coma. The heart may be affected: Blood pressure may rise, and the heart may start beating erratically. In severe cases, the kidneys can fall into renal failure. Hearing and vision may be affected.

where to find vitamin D

The body produces enough vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. In fact, according to the AAP, walking outdoors in a swimsuit for 10 to 15 minutes in the summer “will produce 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 for adults with mild skin pigmentation.”

However, going out in direct sunlight at noon is not recommended due to the risk of skin cancer, so dermatologists and the AAP say it’s best to use sunscreen if you’re in the sun for extended periods of time. Sunscreen reduces the body’s ability to process vitamin D.

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The AAP says many children and teens may not need vitamin D supplementation because it is commonly found in many foods, including milk, eggs, cereals, and orange juice. Breastfed infants should receive 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Drink milk or infant formula rich in vitamin D from the first day of life until the baby is weaned, AAP recommendations.

If vitamin D supplementation is being considered, the daily level of vitamin D in food should be Experts warn that this is the deciding factor. In addition to fortified foods, eggs, cheese, shiitake mushrooms, salmon, swordfish, tuna, rainbow trout and beef liver, coconut oil and cod liver all contain vitamin D.

Anyone concerned about their vitamin D levels should have them evaluated by a doctor, experts say.

“Patients are encouraged to seek advice from their GP regarding any alternative or over-the-counter medicines they may be taking or wish to start,” Alkundi said.

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