Caymans Post

A world within. A state apart.
Friday, Sep 22, 2023

How an increasingly popular supplement landed a man in the hospital

How an increasingly popular supplement landed a man in the hospital

A British man's overdose on vitamin D is a cautionary tale for people who are considering adding supplements to their lives, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

After a visit with a private nutritionist, the man began taking more than 20 over-the-counter supplements every day, including 50,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D three times a day. That's a dose hundreds of times higher than standard nutritional recommendations.

Within a month, the man began suffering from nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and repeated bouts of vomiting, along with cramping in the legs and ringing in the ears.

The man, whose name was not disclosed, heard about the supplements from a radio talk show and contacted the nutritionist on the show afterward, said Dr. Alamin Alkundi, a coauthor of the report and an endocrinologist at William Harvey hospital in East Kent in the UK, who treated the man.

"Registration by regulator is not compulsory for nutritionists in the UK and their title is not protected, so anybody can practice as a nutritionist," Alkundi said in an email.

Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which the body can easily eliminate, vitamin D and its cousins A, E and K are stored in the liver and fat cells of the body until they are needed. Consuming well over the daily recommended dose can build up to toxic levels.

The man in the case study was taking a daily dose of 150,000 IU of vitamin D, which was "375 times the recommended amount," Alkundi said. The UK National Health Service typically recommends 400 IU of vitamin D a day for children over age 1 and adults.

The man stopped taking the supplements when his symptoms began, but his condition didn't improve. By the time he was referred to the hospital two months later, he had lost 28 pounds (12.7 kg) and his kidneys were in trouble. Tests showed he had overdosed on vitamin D, a condition called hypervitaminosis D.


Daily recommended levels


The body needs vitamin D. The vitamin's main job is to help the body absorb calcium from the intestines -- in fact, the body cannot absorb calcium unless vitamin D is present. The vitamin also plays a role in immune health, brain cell activity and how muscles function.

In the United States, 15 micrograms, or 600 IU of vitamin D a day, is recommended for adults up to 69 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health. For adults age 70 and up, the dose rises to 20 micrograms or 800 IU each day. The recommended amount for infants, children and adolescents was recently doubled by the American Academy of Pediatrics to 10 micrograms or 400 IU per day.

A 2017 study found 3% of Americans took more than the tolerable upper limit of 4,000 IU daily for adults, thus putting themselves at risk for toxicity. About 18% took more than 1,000 IU daily.

Too much vitamin D in the blood leads to hypercalcaemia, which occurs when the calcium level in your blood is above normal. The man in the BMJ case study was diagnosed with hypercalcaemia, which can weaken your bones, create kidney stones, and interfere with how your heart and brain work.

The man was hospitalized for eight days and treated with drugs to lower the levels of calcium in his blood. A followup two months later found his blood calcium levels had dropped to almost normal. While the man's vitamin D level had also significantly improved, it was still high, Alkundi said.

"A plan to periodically monitor both parameters in clinic was established to track the declining levels to normal levels. We have had contact with him and he reported (he feels) much better, but still not back to his normal self," Alkundi said.

"He is very eager for his story to be known to alert others," Alkundi added.

Signs of a vitamin D overdoes can include drowsiness, confusion, lethargy and depression, and in more severe cases it can lead to stupor and coma. The heart can be affected: Blood pressure can rise and the heart can begin to beat erratically. In severe cases, the kidneys can go into renal failure. Hearing and vision can be affected.

Where to get vitamin D


The body makes adequate vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunshine. In fact, going outside in a bathing suit for 10 to 15 minutes during the summer "will generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 in adults with light skin pigmentation," according to the AAP.

However, going into strong midday sunlight isn't advised due to the risk of skin cancer, so dermatologists and the AAP say it's best to use sunblock if you will be exposed for any prolonged length of time. Sunscreens can reduce the body's ability to process vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplementation may not be needed for many children and teens, the AAP said, since many foods such as milk, eggs, cereals and orange juice are often fortified with vitamin D. Breastfed infants should be given 400 IU of supplemental vitamin D daily, starting in the first few days of life and continuing until the baby is weaned to milk or formula fortified with vitamin D, the AAP advised.

If vitamin D supplements are being considered, daily levels of vitamin D obtained from food should be factored into the decision, experts caution. In addition to fortified foods, eggs, cheese, shiitake mushrooms, salmon, swordfish, tuna, rainbow trout and beef liver contain vitamin D, as does cod liver oil.

Anyone concerned about their vitamin D levels should have them evaluated by a doctor, experts say.

"Patients are encouraged to seek the opinion of their general practitioners regarding any alternative therapy or over-the-counter medications they may be taking or desire to initiate," Alkundi said.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Caymans Post
Close
0:00
0:00
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×