Vitamin D toxicity
Hypervitaminosis D is a condition that occurs after taking very high doses of vitamin D.
The cause is excess intake of vitamin D. The doses need to be very high, far above what most health care providers normally prescribe.
There has been a lot of confusion about vitamin D supplementation. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is between 400 and 800 IU/day, according to age and pregnancy status. Higher doses may be needed for some people, such as those with vitamin D deficiency, hypoparathyroidism, and other conditions. However, most people do not need more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
For most people, vitamin D toxicity only occurs with vitamin D doses above 10,000 IU per day.
An excess of vitamin D can cause an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). This can severely damage the kidneys, soft tissues, and bones over time.
The symptoms include:
Your provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms.
Tests that may be ordered include:
Your provider will likely tell you to stop taking vitamin D. In severe cases, other treatment may be needed.
Recovery is expected, but permanent kidney damage can occur.
Health problems that can result from taking too much vitamin D over a long time include:
Contact your provider if:
To prevent this condition, pay careful attention to the correct vitamin D dose. Use vitamin D supplements from reliable licensed sources.
Many combination vitamin supplements contain vitamin D, so check the labels of all the supplements you are taking for vitamin D content.
Bringhurst FR, Demay MB, Kronenberg HM. Hormones and disorders of mineral metabolism. In: Melmed S, Auchus, RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.
Greenbaum LA. Vitamin D deficiency (rickets) and excess. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 64.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements website. Vitamin D fact sheet for health professionals. ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/. Updated September 18, 2023. Accessed January 19, 2024.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 10/29/2023
Reviewed By: Sandeep K. Dhaliwal, MD, board-certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, Springfield, VA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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