News about Vitamin D toxicity have increased in the last two years. Let’s explore if having too much vitamin D is a real issue.
We had a patient’s labs come in with a Vitamin D level of 175. Although unusual, Vitamin D toxicity is happening more often. It’s been making the news that Vitamin D helps in many areas, ranging from mental health to energy level, to bone health, arterial health, & even prevention of diabetes.
The patient’s high level was due to repeated Vitamin D injections by a healthcare provider. Unfortunately, many care providers see this as an opportunity to diagnose a problem & give an injection, thereby underlining their value to the patient.
I haven’t seen any Vitamin D toxicity reports or examples outside of those created by the provider or patient supplementation. Please be careful- 5,000 and even 10,000 IU per day are safe in multiple studies. But injections of 25,000 & even 50.000 can create risk, especially when given multiple times. Unless targeted using blood levels, I do not recommend taking over 5,000 regularly.
We can debate whether safe levels are under 150, 125, or 100. A viewer of my Youtube channel commented recently that 125 is a safe target level. I don’t see it this way. To get so close to 150 without a clear and proven advantage is taking risks without benefit. 175, even a higher level worth monitoring closely. Why are so many people getting these huge levels? People are becoming aware of vitamin D and its role in everything from preventing depression, to preventing diabetes, to bone health and even arterial health.
In the late 19th century – early 20th century, we discovered rickets was a bigger problem. It was a lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D severe deficiency resulted in malformation of bones.
What’s happening now? The pendulum has swung. We called the patient and made her aware of her vitamin D levels. It turned out this was not caused by the sun – it rarely is. I’ve never heard of or seen vitamin D toxicity caused by the sun or foods.
Every time I’ve seen it, it has to do with injections. Because of the current popularity of vitamin D, alternative care providers, functional medicine providers, and other people give injections of 25,000 units – 50,000 international units of vitamin D. That’s dangerous.
I don’t have a complete literature review. I remember doing one in the past. I also remember some comments from one of our viewers saying, “Well, levels of 125 are fine.” I get nervous when a level is that high. I don’t think anybody would argue with levels over a 150. I’ve seen science reports of vitamin D toxicity at levels as low as 103.
I think you need to ask the question: do you want to go to 125 and start getting close to 150 and above? Or are you getting enough benefits once you go over a 100?
I made my own mistake once. Do you know how you fill those daily pill boxes? If you take pills twice a day, I got mine up one time to a vitamin D level of 90. I stopped taking it for several weeks and went back down to 60. I think 60-80 are good levels.
We could argue whether the correct number is 20-40, which they used to say 20 years ago. Now the standard is 60-80. A lot of other people and I are settling on it right now. If you want to be a cowboy, try to get it and keep it 90-125-150. I don’t think there’s any significant scientific evidence indicating many benefits above the 90 levels, but you have risks.
What does vitamin D toxicity look like? Vitamin D is an interesting chemical. As you talk with doctors and others, you’ll find that it acts as a hormone. It impacts our body’s absorption of calcium.
Many of us are focused on the D3-K2 interaction. Many feel that D3 and K2 together help get calcium out of arteries and bones. The science is not clear about that. Here is a warning: be careful when these providers want to give you injections of vitamin D.
Below this paragraph, you can see this article: “How much Vitamin D is Too Much? The Surprising Truth” in Healthline. It’s straightforward to understand and very layperson-level friendly. The only thing that I disagree with was their statements of sufficient levels- safe upper levels.
Here’s some of the information from the science that tells us about what’s going on. Here is the number of patients tested for vitamin D by 1996. It just wasn’t happening in 2000. People started testing their levels in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 – they just continued to ratchet right up. That shows there’s an increase in interest in it.
Where’s my interest? My interest is more in terms of diabetes prevention, as well as mental health-related issues. Some information came out recently indicating that having an inadequate or a low vitamin D level can increase your risk for diabetes. I’ll leave a link also to the Vitamin D Council. They have good resources to can learn more about Vitamin D3.
A couple of components in the literature: This one is arguing about participating in debate. The debate: is it 90, 100, 125, or 150 where you get into dangerous levels of vitamin D toxicity?
Please be careful if somebody wants to give you a vitamin D shot. Be very careful if they want to provide you with more than one.