Vitamin D can be toxic if taken in high doses. Here's how much you should be having

7 July 2022

Dr Geraldine Moses from UQ's School of Pharmacy spoke with ABC News about vitamin D toxicity.

In February this year, a middle-aged man in the UK was admitted to hospital with symptoms of vitamin D toxicity — hypervitaminosis D — a rare but serious condition resulting from "overdosing" on the vitamin.

The man had been taking a cocktail of more than 20 over-the-counter supplements every day, including a whopping 150,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D — almost 400 times higher than the recommended daily doseaccording to the report published today in BMJ Case Reports.

"A major problem with vitamins and supplements is they are not regulated in the same way as over-the-counter and prescription medications," Dr Moses said.

"This means that manufacturers are not obligated to warn consumers about the potential risks of a given supplement, such as exceeding the recommended dose and their potential interactions with medications.

"That's what troubles me, people can't make informed and balanced decisions weighing up the risks versus the benefits.

"People underestimate the potential toxicity of vitamins. They just think the word 'vitamin' equals benign substance and you can take as much as you want.

"So, it's really vital that the lessons from this case are widely publicised so that people respect that vitamins can cause toxicity."

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