It is often said that too much of nothing is good. It appears supplementary vitamin D also follows this premise. A Canadian man over the course of two years had taken significantly high doses of Vitamin D which has led to the damaging of his kidneys.
This was reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, about a 54-year-old Canadian who visited a family physician after he came back from a trip to Southeast Asia who discovered elevated creatinine levels after an Electrolyte, Urea and Creatinine test. This elevated level is in keeping with a renal problem because the kidney is meant to excrete excess creatinine. He was thus referred to a specialist for proper management.
It was then discovered by doctors that the man got a prescription of ridiculously high doses of vitamin D from a naturopath (someone who deals in natural remedies), despite not having symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and bone loss. Even more bothering, the man decided to double the dose of vitamin D the naturopath prescribed, despite being high from the onset. The man took eight to twelve drops of vitamin D daily for about two and a half years. This amounts to 8,000 to 12,000 International Units (IU). To put this in perspective, the study reports that the daily optimal prescribed amount of vitamin D is between 400 and 1,000 IU. But, the recommended quantity for an adult who is at risk of osteoporosis increases to 800 to 2,000 IU.
Excess Vitamin D can lead to Renal Disease
Vitamin D is important for calcium regulation. The UV rays of sunlight are also a source of vitamin D as it ensures its metabolism. Alongside the dangerously high amount of vitamin D he was taking, the prolonged exposure to the sun during the holiday caused the man’s kidneys to fail. The calcium accumulation in the blood affected the kidneys and made them fail. He currently has chronic kidney disease and might be needing dialysis.
Taking a Vitamin Supplement Might Not Be a Good Idea
“Vitamin supplements are meant to fill a gap or provide an optimal amount that can’t be reached by food alone,” says Cynthia Sass, RD, Health contributing nutrition editor. Hence, taking Vitamin D supplements when you are fine is unnecessary and could be potentially dangerous.
In fact, every vitamin is a potential threat when taken in excess although different vitamins pose different threats to the body. For instance, excess vitamin c could cause diarrhea and excess vitamin B6 could lead to peripheral neuropathy. “The surplus can build up in the body and damage various organs or systems, throw the body out of balance, or stress organs that are involved with trying to purge the excess,” says Sass.
Before Taking Vitamin Supplements, Seek a Professional’s Advice
Consulting a nutritionist or physician is thus important when considering a vitamin supplement. Sass says they will “assess your diet and possibly [do] blood work to determine if a supplement is needed, identify an ideal dose, and determine the length of time the supplement should be taken.”
It is important to bear in mind that your diet significantly provides the vitamins you need. Hence, taking vegetables and fruits are enough to provide healthy levels of vitamins.