Vitamin D: what happens when you take too much?


Hypervitaminosis D is a rare but potentially serious condition. It occurs when you take in too much vitamin D. It is usually caused by taking high-dose vitamin D supplements. Too much vitamin D can lead to abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood. It can affect bones, tissues and other organs. If left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, bone loss and kidney damage.

Causes of Hypervitaminosis D

You probably don’t get too much vitamin D from the foods you eat or exposure to the sun. However, cases have been reported due to the use of tanning beds. There has been an increase in cases of hypervitaminosis D in general in recent years. It is usually due to vitamin D intake above the recommended daily value. If you take a multivitamin, check how much vitamin D it contains. You may not need to take extra calcium and vitamin D if your multivitamin gives you enough vitamin D.

Certain prescription drugs used to treat high blood pressure ( thiazide diuretics) and heart disease can cause an increase in vitamin D in the blood.

Estrogen therapy, prolonged use of antacids or anti-tuberculosis medication may also cause elevated levels high in vitamin D.

The recommended dietary intake of vitamin D for most adults is 600 international units per day (IU). Doctors may prescribe higher doses to treat medical conditions such as vitamin D deficiency, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, for a short time. Using high-dose vitamin D supplements daily for several months is toxic.

You are more likely to develop hypervitaminosis D if you take vitamin D supplements and have any other existing health problems, such as:

– kidney disease

– liver disease

– tuberculosis

– hyperparathyroidism

– sarcoidosis

– histoplasmosis

Symptoms of hypervitaminosis D

Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can lead to an increase in the level of calcium in the blood. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood). Symptoms include:

– fatigue

– loss of appetite

– weight loss

– excessive thirst

– excessive urination

– dehydration

– constipation

– irritability, nervousness

– ringing in the ear (tinnitus)

– muscle weakness

– nausea, vomiting

– dizziness

– confusion, disorientation

– high blood pressure

– cardiac arrhythmias

The long-term complications of untreated hypervitaminosis D are as follows:

– kidney stones

– kidney damage

– kidney failure

– loss excessive bone

– calcification (hardening) of arteries and soft tissues.

In addition, increased blood calcium may cause anomalies heart rhythm.


Your doctor will review your medical history and may ask about prescription or over-the-counter medications and any supplements you are taking.

They may also perform a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have hypervitaminosis D, they may order tests including:

– blood tests to check vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus levels (for determine if the kidneys are damaged)

– urine tests to check for excessive amounts of calcium in the urine

– X-rays of the bones to determine if there is significant bone loss.


Your doctor will likely advise you to immediately stop taking vitamin D supplements. They may also recommend that you temporarily reduce the amount of calcium in your diet. In some cases, corticosteroids or bisphosphonates can suppress the release of calcium from your bones. Your doctor will frequently monitor your vitamin D levels until they return to normal.


Stopping or decreasing of taking high-dose vitamin D supplements can prevent hypervitaminosis D. The tolerable upper limit, or maximum daily intake of vitamin D that is not likely to cause health risks, has been set at 4 IU per day. Side effects have been seen in people taking less than 10 IU per day for an extended period.

Your doctor may also recommend that you reduce the amount of calcium in your diet. Careful monitoring is necessary until your vitamin D levels return to normal.

To ingest vitamin D naturally, you can eat foods that are rich in it, including:

– cod liver oil

– fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna

– beef liver

– cheese

– egg yolk

– certain mushrooms

Moderate exposure to sunlight is another source natural vitamin D. Fifteen minutes or less with your extremities exposed to direct sunlight, before putting on sunscreen, is a great way to boost your vitamin D levels naturally.


Laurent, MR, Gielen, E., Pauwels, S., Vandershueren, D., Bouillon, R. (2017, January ). Hypervitaminosis D associated with tanning bed use: A case report. Annals of Internal Medicine, 166(2), 155-29

Vitamin D. (2014, November )

Vitamin D. (166, June 24)

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