Lorraine: Dr Amir says spine could shrink if deficient in vitamin D
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Many Brits are concerned about getting enough vitamin D during the winter, and therefore choose to take supplements to keep their vitamin D levels healthy. However, there are dangerous consequences of taking too much vitamin D. This is what happens if you overdose on vitamin D.
The NHS advises every Briton over the age of four to take a vitamin D supplement throughout the winter months, as the sunlight is no longer strong enough to give you all the vitamin D you need.
Humans absorb vitamin D from sunlight. You can get some from your diet too, but sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D.
This is why vitamin D is often nicknamed the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
Foods containing high levels of vitamin D include oily fish, eggs, cereals with added vitamin D, and red meat.
We need vitamin D to help keep our bones, teeth and muscles strong. Vitamin D also helps you to absorb calcium and get the maximum benefit from this mineral.
In severe cases of vitamin D deficiency, children can develop rickets, which causes bone deformities.
Adults who are vitamin D deficient can develop a condition called osteomalacia, which softens your bones.
So while there are many dangers associated with vitamin D deficiency, what are the dangers of taking too much vitamin D?
Vitamin D toxicity is rare, but it is possible to overdose on vitamin D.
‘Hypervitaminosis D’ is the name given to vitamin D toxicity.
It’s incredibly unlikely you would manage to consume toxic levels of vitamin D from food, or from sunlight.
Most often, vitamin D overdoses are the result of taking too many vitamin supplements.
Too much vitamin D can cause a condition called hypercalcemia, where there is too much calcium in your blood.
This build-up of calcium can cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue and frequent urination.
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In the most severe cases, too much vitamin D can lead to bone pain, as well as issues with your kidneys and heart.
If you start feeling unwell, and suspect you might have taken too much vitamin D, stop taking your supplements and book an appointment with your doctor to get checked out.
How much vitamin D should you take?
The NHS recommended taking a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day from October to March if you live in Britain.
Read the label on your supplements, and follow the instructions for use, including how many to take and how often.
The NHS said taking over 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day “could be harmful”.
While you cannot ‘overdose’ on vitamin D from sunlight, there are other dangers associated with too much sun exposure, such as melanoma.
So, you should follow tips for sun safety, including staying out of the sun at the hottest times of day, and wearing plenty of suncream.
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