Story at a glance
- Doctors said a man overdoses on vitamin D, with his symptoms — vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, leg cramps, ringing in the ear and diarrhea — lasting three months.
- The man stopped taking the vitamins once the symptoms began, but they did not go away.
- The patient’s vitamin D level was still unusually high two months after he was discharged from the hospital.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct dosages.
Doctors are warning consumers overdosing on vitamin D supplements is possible and can lead to an array of health issues, after treating a man who was hospitalized for eight days.
A man who had a variety of health problems, including tuberculosis, an inner ear tumor, meningitis and chronic sinusitis began experiencing symptoms around a month after beginning a vitamin regimen advised by a nutritional therapist.
The man was taking high doses of more than 20 over the counter supplements, which included 50,000 micrograms of vitamin D; the recommended daily dosage is 600 micrograms. His regimen also included higher than recommended doses of vitamin B6, Omega 3 and vitamin B9.
Doctors said the man’s symptoms — vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, leg cramps, ringing in the ear and diarrhea — lasted three months. The man stopped taking the vitamins once the symptoms began, but they did not go away.
The patient’s vitamin D level was still unusually high two months after he was discharged from the hospital, although calcium level was normal.
The authors of the report published in BMJ Case Reports said although cases are increasing, hypervitaminosis D is still relatively rare.
Some common symptoms of hypervitaminosis, caused by excess calcium in the blood, are drowsiness, confusion, apathy, depression, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm and kidney abnormalities, including renal failure.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D, which is vital for maintaining healthy bones, is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70, and 800 IU for people over 70.
Vitamin D can be found in fortified milk, fortified cereal and fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel and sardines.
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