Can Vitamins or Minerals Cause Acute Kidney Damage?

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Too much of some viitamins can cause kidney damage. (Image: AwaylGl/iStock/Getty Images)

Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs which are essentially the colander of the body. Their function is to filter waste products and excess water from your blood. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a person’s kidneys will filter through 200 quarts of blood and 2 quarts of waste and excess water. Acute kidney damage, or kidney failure, is the sudden inability of the kidneys to remove and filter waste. It can be caused by a variety of different conditions and diseases, as well as certain vitamin toxicities. There are three main vitamins that are, in many ways, connected to one another, and in high levels, can contribute to acute kidney damage.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential to maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal tissue, soft tissue and mucus membranes in your body. It is responsible for the pigmentation in your retina and aids in vision. The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends a daily intake of 700 micrograms for adult females and 900 micrograms for adult males. Too much vitamin A, a condition called "hypervitaminosis A," can result in a variety of medical complications including blurred vision, bone pain, liver damage, poor weight gain and vomiting. Excessive vitamin A also contributes to overly high levels of calcium, which then causes kidney damage.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for bone health and calcium regulation. Vitamin D is made through the exposure of your skin to the ultraviolet B rays of the sun. Vitamin D toxicity is rare and usually only occurs when high dose vitamin D is prescribed. The recommended daily allowance for adults less than 70 years old is 600 international units, and adults over 70 should receive 800 international units. Too much vitamin D, or "hypervitaminosis D," causes extremely elevated levels of calcium in the blood that can lead to kidney damage.

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that is essential to maintain strong bones and muscles. The recommended daily amount of calcium is 1,000 milligrams for adult males and 1,200 milligrams for adult females and can be found in milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli, grains, and fish. Too much calcium, also called "hypercalcemia," usually occurs due to too much calcium supplementation, according to the National Institutes of Health. Too much calcium in your blood can cause constipation, kidney flank pain, frequent thirst, frequent urination, weakness, bone pain and memory loss. Hypercalcemia can contribute to calcium deposits in the kidneys, kidney failure and kidney stones.

Sodium

Sodium is important to maintain a healthy blood volume, with just the right amount of fluids. Your kidneys filter the blood and work to help maintain the fluid balance in your blood. Too much salt can lead to too much fluid, and your kidneys have to work harder to maintain your fluid balance. This extra work can wear down your kidneys and affect their ability to function. Excess sodium intake also leads to high blood pressure, which can also cause your kidneys to work harder. If you continually eat too much sodium, your kidneys wear down over time, which leads to kidney disease according to BloodPressure.UK. Though the recommended intake of sodium for healthy adults is 2,300 milligrams per day, the American Heart Association suggests that you aim for no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Considerations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over half of all Americans take vitamin supplements of some kind. However, before you begin taking vitamin supplements, it is important to discuss them with your physician and have him determine the safest doses for you to take in order to avoid vitamin and mineral toxicity and potential medical complications.

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