What Happens If... You Take Too Much Vitamin D?


It feels like there’s rarely any sunshine in the UK, so it’s no wonder plenty of us gobble down the Vitamin D supplements.

After all, with the unpredictable attitude of British weather, it’s hard to know when we might next be able to get our next natural fix.

Vitamin D is essential to regulate the calcium in our body, along with the phosphate, meaning our bones, teeth and muscles stay strong and healthy.

Without it, we could develop conditions like rickets or osteomalacia.

Adults and children over the age of 4 are advised to take a supplement to keep their vitamin D levels up, particularly during the autumn and the winter because of the weak levels of sun breaking through the clouds.

Although some foods like oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and some fat spreads, contain the vitamin, food alone does not offer you enough.

So the NHS wants everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, at least during the colder months – between the end of September and early April, apparently.

This quantity is enough for most people.

The rest of the year your body is probably making the right amount through sunshine and a balanced diet, but it is OK to continue taking the supplement.

But, what if we take too much?

The NHS seriously advises against it.

But if you take too much vitamin D – and we’re talking *far* too much – this can lead to a calcium build up in the body (hypercalcaemia), weakening your bones, damaging your kidneys and the heart.

So, for adults, and children between 11 and 17, taking more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) a day could damage your body. That’s 10 times the recommended dose.

And although children aged between one and 10 are obviously growing, they should not have more than 50 micrograms a day.

Meanwhile, infants under a year old should not have more than 25 micrograms a day.

If you have a medical condition which may affect how much Vitamin D you can take, it’s also worth speaking to your doctor beforehand.

But don’t worry – all of this doesn’t mean you have to hide away this summer, at the risk of overdoing your Vitamin D dosage.

As the NHS notes, you can’t overdose on vitamin D just by spending more time in the sun (although you can, of course, get sunburn).

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