Vitamin D Side Effects

by on January 7, 2012


Vitamin D is a healthy, natural vitamin that all people need to stay healthy. Many people can get enough vitamin D from their diet and through regular exposure to sunlight. Those who take supplements, however, may experience side effects. If you take too much, some of the side effects you may experience include nausea, fatigue and headaches. Individuals with certain preexisting conditions must be especially careful with vitamin D as this supplement increases calcium levels and can make conditions such as kidney disease worse.

Common Vitamin D Side Effects

Though vitamin D has numerous benefits and is safe when consumed naturally in foods, taking too much vitamin D in supplemental form can be dangerous.

Taking vitamin D in doses of more than 4000 units each day can be particularly unsafe. Common vitamin D side effects that may be experienced with too much of this supplement include the following:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sleepiness
  • Sore eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Bone pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle problems
  • Itchy skin

Serious Vitamin D Side Effects

vitamin d Side effects can be serious for individuals who take excessively large doses of the vitamin over a long period of time. It is nearly impossible to get too much vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight or food. Serious side effects associated with high levels of this supplement include the following:

  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney damage
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Calcium deposits in the lungs, heart and other soft tissues
  • Skin Rashes

Side effects should not occur in pregnant or breastfeeding women who consume fewer than 4000 units daily. Higher doses of vitamin D can be dangerous to the infant. Consult your doctor for recommendations on the safety of all supplements during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Kidney Disease

Vitamin D can be especially dangerous for individuals with kidney disease. Vitamin D naturally increases the levels of calcium in the body. While this is ordinarily safe and even beneficial, it can be dangerous to individuals who have kidney disease. In these patients, the excess calcium can cause hardening of the arteries. Some calcium is essential to prevent renal osteodystrophy with kidney disease, but the levels will need to be monitored carefully.

If you have kidney disease, you should only take vitamin D supplements under the careful supervision of a doctor.

Other Preexisting Conditions

Vitamin D can worsen several preexisting conditions if this supplement is taken in large doses. Patients with atherosclerosis and high levels of calcium in the blood may experience a worsening of their condition as one of the side effects.

For patients with histoplasmosis, lymphoma or sarcoidosis, vitamin D side effects may include kidney stones, increased calcium levels and other problems. Increased calcium levels are one of the side effects that may be especially troublesome for patients with hyperparathyroidism as well.

Vitamin D is an important vitamin for all individuals to consume on a daily basis. However, if you already get significant doses of vitamin D through your diet and sun exposure, you may not need to supplement with additional vitamins. Since nearly all vitamin D side effects are associated with an excess of this vitamin, use supplements with care and consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.