Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

Risks of Too Much Vitamin D3

author image Jeffrey Traister
Jeffrey Traister is a writer and filmmaker. For more than 25 years, he has covered nutrition and medicine for health-care companies and publishers, also producing digital video for websites, DVDs and commercials. Trained in digital filmmaking at The New School, Traister also holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Risks of Too Much Vitamin D3
woman shading herself from sun to lower Vitamin D intake Photo Credit: Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that builds and maintains your bones, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC. Vitamin D-3, also called cholecalciferol, is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight, and becomes biologically active after undergoing chemical reactions in the liver to make calcidiol, followed in the kidneys to make calcitriol, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Too much vitamin D-3 has health risks.

Video of the Day


granddaughter kissing grandmother in hospital
granddaughter kissing grandmother in hospital Photo Credit: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

The recommended intake of vitamin D is 200 international units, or IU, per day for adults 50 years and younger, and 400 to 600 IU for adults over 50 years of age. Vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D, can result when you take too much vitamin D-3 in supplemental form. Vitamin D toxicity can cause serious health problems, particularly if you suffer from heart, liver or kidney conditions. Excessive amounts of vitamin D-3 may increase blood levels of calcium, also called hypercalcemia, which in turn can cause symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, weakness, poor appetite, weight loss, constipation, confusion and heart rhythm abnormalities. Research by U. Querfeld published in "Pediatric Nephrology" in 2010 reports that vitamin D toxicity among children and adolescents is associated with cardiovascular complications and chronic kidney disease.

Kidney Stones

male patient in hospital bed
male patient in hospital bed Photo Credit: Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images

Excessive vitamin D-3 in postmenopausal women may increase the risk of kidney stones. Research by Rebecca Jackson published in the "New England Journal of Medicine" in 2006 studied the effects of vitamin D-3 supplementation and calcium on the risk of hip fractures in postmenopausal women over 7 years and found that supplementation of 400 IU of vitamin D-3 and 1000 milligrams of calcium carbonate did not significantly reduce hip fractures, but did increase the risk of kidney stones by 17 percent.

Pancreatic Cancer

doctor speaking with patient
doctor speaking with patient Photo Credit: AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic states that many people do not get sufficient sun exposure and require vitamin D supplementation in amounts ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D-3 per day. Furthermore, they note that you may need even higher dosages of vitamin D-3 if you suffer from celiac disease or are undergoing bariatric surgery. Yet, excess vitamin D-3 may increase the risk of cancer. Research by Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon published in "Cancer Research" in 2006 discovered unexpectedly that higher blood concentrations of vitamin D is associated with a 300 percent increased risk for pancreatic cancer, despite the fact that the pancreas utilizes vitamin D-3.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media