Doctors' Circle warns of possible overdosage with vitamin D supplements

Doctors' Circle warns of possible overdosage with vitamin D supplements

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Calcium levels too high due to vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D is important for the body because it takes on many tasks in our organism, such as building and maintaining bones. But if too much of the so-called sun hormone is ingested, it can even be harmful. This is currently pointed out by the Medicines Commission of the German Medical Association (AkdÄ). The specialist committee of the German Medical Association reports on two cases in which taking supposedly harmless vitamin D-containing preparations led to acute kidney failure with pronounced hypercalcemia.

Vitamin D important for healthy bones

The fat-soluble vitamin D takes on many important tasks in our organism, for example by strengthening the bones and positively influencing muscle strength. Vitamin D deficiency in adults can lead to osteoporosis and painful bone softening. It is therefore important to avoid a deficiency.

Avoid overdosing

However, if you take vitamin D-containing supplements or preparations on your own for this purpose, you should be very careful. Because, as the drug commission reports to the German medical profession, an overdose of the so-called sun hormone can lead to serious health problems.

Two patients develop kidney failure

In a current “Drug Safety Mail”, the specialist committee of the German Medical Association provides information on two cases that show that taking supposedly harmless vitamin D-containing preparations can be harmful. A 78-year-old patient (A) and a 60-year-old patient (B) had independently obtained such preparations and had taken high doses daily (A: Vitamin D3 10,000 IU / d; B: "Vitamin D" 50,000 IU / d) . As a result, both developed acute renal failure with pronounced hypercalcaemia (A: 3.42 mmol / l; reference range: 2.15–2.58 mmol / l; exact value is not available for B).

Metabolic processes are disrupted

In hypercalcaemia, there is too much calcium in the blood, which can disrupt various metabolic processes. In most cases, an illness is the reason for the increased calcium level in the blood. Due to the increased calcium concentration in the blood, diarrhea or constipation, nausea and vomiting occur.

In addition, there is listlessness, muscle weakness, increased urine output (polyuria), excessive thirst and psychological changes up to confusion, psychosis and coma. In an emergency, too much calcium in the blood can lead to kidney failure and heart failure.

Severe complications in one patient

As reported by the specialist committee of the German Medical Association, the two patients had no evidence of alternative causes such as primary hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis or a tumor disease. The condition of patient A therefore improved with forced diuretic therapy and the use of cortisone. Patient B, on the other hand, developed severe complications and had kidney failure requiring dialysis.

Higher doses only under medical supervision

Due to the risks mentioned, the drug commission advises the German medical profession against taking high-dose vitamin D supplements on your own. According to the communication, the experts have set a tolerable - i.e. safe - upper limit of 100 µg / d (4000 IU / d) for adolescents and adults for daily intake.

If higher doses are required, this should only be done under medical supervision and regular monitoring of the vitamin D status, the recommendation. In general, patients should contact their doctor or pharmacist if they have any questions. (No)

Author and source information

Video: Symptoms and Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency Explained by (July 2022).


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