Vitamin D supplements continue to be on the rise. The health benefits from taking vitamin D are no longer in question and, if some people still have second thoughts about taking D supplements, a new study shows that there is little risk of vitamin D toxicity.
Published in a recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers have concluded that the risk for developing vitamin D toxicity is rare. The idea of this particular study was to check the odds of developing dangerously high blood calcium levels, a common concern about excessive vitamin D supplementation. High blood calcium levels can lead to weakness, kidney stones, and a general worsening of both heart and brain health.
“We found that even in those with high levels of vitamin D over 50 ng/mL, there was not an increased risk of hypercalcemia, or elevated serum calcium, with increasing levels of vitamin D,” study co-author Dr. Thomas Thacher, a family medicine expert at the Mayo Clinic, said in a journal news release.
Study authors analyzed vitamin D level information that had been collected by the Rochester Epidemiology Project to gauge whether widespread supplementation might be boosting the risk for such toxicity. The data included more than 20,000 vitamin D blood level measurements taken between 2002 and 2011 from residents of a single community. The conclusion shows that only eight percent of the measurements indicated levels exceeding 50 ng/mL, often involving women over age 65, and less than one percent had levels over 100.
Vitamin D is often recommended to improve or protect bone health, and there are indications it may also help prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The upper limit of vitamin D supplementation recommended by the Institute of Medicine for people with low or deficient levels is 4,000 International Units a day.
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