Vitamin D, often referred to as the 'sunshine vitamin,' plays a crucial role in promoting bone health and facilitating various essential functions in the human body. Recent studies have even highlighted its connection with mood and mental health. According to consultant nutritionist Rupali Datta, "Recent research in psychology has unveiled a link between Vitamin D deficiency and mild to severe depression. Our brain relies on various neurosteroids for normal development and function, and vitamin D has emerged as one such neurosteroid found in the spinal fluid throughout the brain." Consequently, Datta recommends undergoing a vitamin D test at least once every six months to monitor its levels in the body.
However, it's important to note that an excess of vitamin D can also have adverse effects on your health. Yes, you read that correctly. Multiple reports indicate a condition known as vitamin D toxicity, or hypervitaminosis D, which occurs when there is excessive vitamin D in the body. Let's delve into this further.
Also Read: 7 Healthy Vitamin D Foods You Must Eat To Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency
Understanding Vitamin D Toxicity: A Rare Yet Potentially Serious Condition:
Vitamin D toxicity typically arises from excessive supplementation of this nutrient. Contrary to popular belief, natural sunlight or dietary sources are not the primary culprits behind vitamin D toxicity. It predominantly occurs when individuals consume excessive amounts of it in the form of food substitutes or supplements.
According to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the recommended daily dose of vitamin D for most people falls between 600 and 800 international units (IU). However, the study found that many individuals were exceeding these recommendations, with intake levels ranging from 1000 to 4000 IU, leading to various associated health risks.
Side-Effects of Vitamin D Toxicity: How an Overdose May Impact Your Health?
A report from researchers at Harvard Medical School explains that their recent study failed to demonstrate a reduction in heart attack, stroke, or cancer rates among those taking vitamin D supplements. In fact, excessive consumption of vitamin D through supplements can result in "hypercalcemia," a condition marked by an excessive buildup of calcium in the bloodstream, potentially leading to deposits in the arteries or soft tissues. Let's examine some of the significant side effects of vitamin D toxicity.
Studies have indicated that taking vitamin D in larger doses may result in stomach discomfort, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhoea, and various associated gastrointestinal issues.
2. Elevated Calcium Levels:
As the saying goes, "Too much of anything is bad for your health." An excessive intake of vitamin D can lead to an increased absorption of calcium in the body, raising the risk of kidney problems, digestive troubles, nausea, dehydration, and decreased appetite, among other issues.
3. Potential Impact On Mental Health:
Similar to a deficiency in vitamin D, an excess of it can also affect mental well-being, potentially leading to altered mental states such as confusion, agitation, and even depression. A study featured in Clinical Nephrology - Case Studies reported a patient who experienced agitation and confusion during their hospital stay. Still, these symptoms gradually improved as their calcium levels returned to normal.
The Bottom Line:
Harvard Medical University's report underscores the importance of monitoring vitamin D levels in the body. The most effective ways to do so include maintaining a regular check and prioritizing natural food sources over pills and supplements. Fortunately, foods rich in vitamin D are not difficult to find. We've compiled a list of some of the best options to help you meet your daily vitamin D requirements. Click here to learn more.
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.