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The Toxicity of 50,000 IU of Vitamin D

by
author image M. Gideon Hoyle
M. Gideon Hoyle is a writer living outside of Houston. Previously, he produced brochures and a wide variety of other materials for a nonprofit educational foundation. He now specializes in topics related to health, exercise and nutrition, publishing for various websites.
The Toxicity of 50,000 IU of Vitamin D
Vitamin D capsules coming out of a bottle. Photo Credit Kitty Ellis/iStock/Getty Images

Overconsumption of vitamin D can lead to a toxic reaction that harms your health and requires medical care. Recommended maximum daily intake for adults is 4,000 IU. If you take 50,000 IU of D daily, you will easily exceed these recommendations and seriously increase your risk of developing toxicity-related problems.

Maximum Vitamin D Intake

If you consume less than 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily, you should be at practically no risk of developing a toxic reaction, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. But for safety reasons, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, which sets recommendations for nutrient intake, has established 4,000 IU as a maximum. The main risks begin when you take 10,000 to 40,000 IU per day for an extended amount of time. Still, these risks usually apply only to vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D gotten from food or through exposure to sunlight does not normally trigger a toxic reaction.

Hypervitaminosis D Risks

Hypervitaminosis D occurs when excessive vitamin D consumption triggers unusual increases in the calcium content of your blood. Over time, this increased calcium in your bloodstream can cause highly damaging alterations in the health of your kidneys, bones and soft tissues. Symptoms of the disorder include dehydration, constipation, vomiting, muscle weakness, fatigue, diminished appetite and irritability. In many cases, symptoms will disappear when you stop taking supplemental calcium. But you may need further treatment to deal with the effects of the disorder.

Hypercalcemia Risks

Daily consumption of 50,000 IU of vitamin D places you at risk of developing a blood calcium disorder called hypercalcemia, according to Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute. Hypercalcemia can cause symptoms including kidney-related pain in your side, abnormal thirst, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, bone pain abnormal curvature of the spine, muscle weakness, memory loss, depression, irritability and dementia. As with hypervitaminosis D, your symptoms will diminish when you stop using vitamin D supplements. But you may also require further care.

Considerations

People with the medical conditions tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, lymphoma and hyperparathyroidism have an increased risk of developing hypercalcemia, the Linus Pauling Institute notes. If you have any of these diseases, you can develop hypercalcemia from any source of vitamin D, not just vitamin D supplements.
Whether you have a special condition or not, talk with your doctor before you take supplemental vitamin D. If you have a deficiency, your doctor can help you meet your needs in a way that does not expose you to any risk of overdose.

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