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Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D gets produced naturally in your body when you are exposed to the sun. You can also consume it through certain foods and supplements. As a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D includes vitamins D1, D2, and D3.
The sunshine vitamin plays a crucial role in your body’s well-being and your overall health. Some of its functions are as follows.
- Maintaining the health of your bones and teeth
- Boosting your immune system
- Aiding brain and nerve function
- Regulating insulin levels
- Supporting your lung function and cardiovascular health.
Additionally, it’s also helpful in influencing the expression of genes responsible for cancer development. For this reason, it’s highly important that you get the right amount of vitamin D to ensure normal growth and development of your body.[ref]Raloff, Janet. “Understanding vitamin D deficiency.” Science News Online (April 30). Available at [Go to] (2005).[/ref]
Vitamin D Deficiency: Risk Factors And Symptoms
Now that you know why vitamin D is vital for your overall health, it’s equally important that you also know what can possibly happen if you have a sunshine vitamin deficiency. For starters, you’re prone to developing a vitamin D deficiency if you’re dark-skinned, obese, or aged 65 years and older. More importantly, avoiding vitamin D-rich foods and not exposing yourself to the sun can lead to a host of serious health complications. A simple blood test is the way to go if you need to check whether you’re deficient in vitamin D.
In adults, a severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, a medical condition where your bones become brittle and weak. On the other hand, a vitamin D deficiency in children can lead to rickets, a medical condition that makes your bones to become soft and weak. This deficiency may also be linked to other medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, Alzheimer’s, depression, and certain autoimmune diseases.[ref]The Role of Vitamin D in Your Health. Cleveland Clinic.[/ref]
Understanding Vitamin D Toxicity
To counter this deficiency, a number of people resort to taking vitamin D supplements. When the vitamin D levels in your body reach excessive amounts, you can have major problems. Although this situation is uncommon, you can never quite rule out the possibility of suffering from vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin D toxicity can lead to hypercalcemia – a condition where you have high levels of calcium in your blood. Consequently, you may end up with a number of serious health issues like kidney failure, abnormal heart rhythms, and coma. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll develop vitamin D toxicity because of too much exposure to sunlight or from the amount present in your diet.[ref]Koul, Parvaiz A., Sheikh Hilal Ahmad, Feroze Ahmad, Rafi A. Jan, S. U. Shah, and Umar H. Khan. “Vitamin d toxicity in adults: a case series from an area with endemic hypovitaminosis d.” Oman medical journal 26, no. 3 (2011): 201.[/ref] It’s usually the result of an overdose of the vitamin D supplement.
Effects of Vitamin D Overdose
With an increasing amount of people now taking vitamin D supplements to counter a deficiency, it’s important that you’re aware of all the risks associated with an overdose. Here’s a list of the main side effects of too much vitamin D in your system:[ref][ref]The Role of Vitamin D in Your Health. Cleveland Clinic.[/ref]
High Blood Toxicity Levels
Vitamin D boosts your immunity and protects your body from diseases. However, too much vitamin D can mean your blood toxicity levels end up being way too high. These toxicity levels can spread to your organs and prevent them from working effectively.
Nausea And Vomiting
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and is, therefore, beneficial for your bones and teeth. However, there’s a very good chance that you encourage your body to absorb every element of calcium it takes in by taking too much vitamin D. As a result, you may experience digestive issues, stomach cramps, excessive thirst, dizzy spells, nausea, vomiting, and even frequent urination.
Loss of Bone Density
Too much vitamin D in your system can mean that there isn’t enough vitamin K which can prove detrimental for your bones. Consequently, your bones weaken and you’re at a higher risk of having bone-related diseases like rickets, osteoporosis, and bone cancer.
Weak and Fatigued Muscles
It’s common for you to feel tired when you have too much vitamin D in your body. When you have vitamin D toxicity, you have excessive amounts of calcium in your bloodstream instead of your bones. As a result, your muscles don’t get other important nutrients like iron and protein that they need. At first, you may feel like you’re sick or have the flu. But, later on, you’ll begin to see that your muscles feel heavy and are making you lethargic.
You tend to urinate frequently because of your high blood toxicity levels. As a result, your kidneys have to work twice as hard to remove all the toxins in your body. This can lead to overworking of your kidney and its eventual failure. Calcium stones can also form within your kidneys because of too much calcium in your body.
Vitamin D is important for the body. However, ensure that you don’t overdose on the supplements, as they can cause serious medical conditions. Also, consult your doctor before consuming vitamin D supplements.