For years we’ve been told too much sun was dangerous. And too much can be.
Unfortunately, the over-emphasis on the dangers of excessive sun have caused a swing in the opposite direction. Excessive use of sun blockers, people always wearing long sleeves and a hat, as well as staying indoors more are all common responses. As a result, more and more people are testing deficient in Vitamin D.
This is a shame since the right amount of sun exposure is the absolute best way to get Vitamin D in the body. But because of this ‘sun phobia’ concept, many people are being told to supplement with Vitamin D3 by their medical doctor.
Some doctors routinely recommend 4,000 to 5,000 IUs of D3 to patients testing low. Compare this to the previous RDA of 400 IUs a day. That’s at least 10 times higher!
Of course D3 is the very best form of supplemental Vitamin D, but in this case there is definitely the possibility of too much of a good thing.
Pros & Cons of Vitamin D
We’ll go over the dangers of too much Vitamin D in a moment, but first, here are the reasons people who test for low levels ought to consider taking Vitamin D supplements:
- Experiencing poor memory related to aging
- Dealing with blood sugar problems, including type II diabetes and Syndrome X
- Diagnosed with breast, prostate and several other types of cancer
- Experiencing chronic pain, particularly pain such as fibromyalgia
- Dealing with chronic depression, especially in the winter (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
- Diagnosed with osteoporosis, osteomalacia, or osteopenia
- Experiencing lowered immunity, frequent colds, etc.
All of these are valid reasons to consider increasing Vitamin D, assuming blood work shows low levels.
The problem comes when people take it indiscriminately. A case in point is a recent patient who, after hearing all the hoopla about deficiencies decided to take 4,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 every day.
He hadn’t done any blood work to determine his natural levels, nor did he consult me or his medical doctor about taking it. What he didn’t know was that too much Vitamin D can be as bad or worse than taking too little.
Unfortunately, it turns out that he didn’t need it. The way he found out was because of a severely painful, 3-day long attack of kidney stones.
In his case the kidney stones resulted from excessive Vitamin D causing calcium deposits in the soft tissue of his kidneys. Excessive amounts in the body can cause calcium to deposit in any type of soft tissue, including the heart and blood vessels (otherwise known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries).
In addition, this patient’s Metabolic Type® is Fast Oxidizer. Vitamin D shoves Fast Oxidizers further out of metabolic balance. That also contributed to the problem.
In other words, in this instance Vitamin D not only didn’t help anything, it actually contributed to a very distressing health crisis.
Fortunately, once the kidney stone episode was over, the solution to fix it was to simply stop taking the supplement along with drinking more water. After a while the body cleared the excess and returned to normal.
In addition to the hardening of soft tissues in the body, other possible negative effects of too much Vitamin D can include:
- Muscle Weakness
- Loss of Appetite
- Excessive Thirst
While we normally think of vitamins as more or less innocuous, this instance illustrates that it pays to know what you need and how much. I encourage my patients to take supplements, but only when we know which supplements will support their health and well being.
Obviously this short article can’t identify your specific needs, which is why it makes sense to consult with someone who is knowledgeable about nutritional supplements and who can test for blood levels of vitamins like Vitamin D as well as determine your Metabolic Type so that the supplements you take are fine-tuned to match your exact requirements.
Metabolic Typing® Advisors privately circulated document, “Nutrients As Per Systems,” 1987, 2000 Healthexcel, Inc.
Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.