A 65-year-old man was referred to the nephrology department of a top hospital after he reported symptoms of renal failure. Although he did not have any underlying health conditions, he was disoriented and disoriented with very high calcium levels.

“We found during investigations that he was saturating himself with vitamin D supplements,” Dr. Suman Lata, director of nephrology at Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, told News18.com.

It took several days for the toxic burden to be cleared from this patient’s system after he was given intravenous fluids and medication.

The detailed history of the patient revealed that at some point, he was suffering from intervertebral disc prolapse for which he was prescribed vitamin D and calcium tablets.

“He did not follow up with his previous doctor, but continued to take daily vitamin D tablets (which would otherwise have been a weekly dose) for more than six months. This led to a diagnosis of vitamin D3 toxicity.”

It is not only Lata but many other doctors who are increasingly noticing that people are taking Vitamin D3 tablets without consulting medical experts and then getting themselves into bigger health problems.

While there is a growing awareness among the general public about the importance of vitamin D, this has led to taking large amounts of the vitamin without medical indication and monitoring its current levels in the body.

Experts warn that an overdose of vitamin D3 leads to high levels of calcium in the blood, which can be dangerous and can lead to kidney damage and abnormal heart rhythms.

Doctors highlight ‘worrying trend’

Dr Brij Vallabh, Consultant Internal Medicine at Narayana Multi Specialty Hospital, Jaipur, called this trend “extremely worrying”.

“The increasing incidence of self-described people taking vitamin D3 overdoses is very worrying,” he said.

Similarly, Dr. Sakshi Singh, a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, said she has seen certain cases where patients develop hypercalcemia and hypervitaminosis – both due to an excess of vitamin D3.

Hypercalcemia is defined as a high concentration of calcium while hypervitaminosis occurs when levels of storage vitamins are abnormally high in the human body.

“People are already becoming more aware of shortages, getting screened with easy access to laboratories and testing services,” Singh said, adding that a point of concern is that many people are just having “a bunch of tests done and starting medication themselves, with the recommendation of medical stores and friends.” And relatives and online knowledge without understanding the appropriate way to replace.

Often, after starting supplementation, experts said, people continue to take the medication without examining whether or not they need it more.

“Not everyone has the same level of deficiency, so the treatment regimen can never be exactly the same. Also, and most importantly, as much as deficiency hurts, even excess vitamin D can do damage, ranging from mild to severe.” Singh pointed out.

According to Dr. Manjeeta Nath Das of Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram, “It is not uncommon for individuals to self-medicate with over-the-counter supplements such as vitamin D when they are experiencing symptoms such as joint pain, body aches, and fatigue. We have seen many patients.”

Highlighting an important point, Dr. Dilip Nandamuri, Diabetologist at Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, added, “Vitamin D toxicity is more likely to occur in individuals who take very high doses of vitamin D supplements for a long time, rather than from ingestion from dietary or moderate sources. Supplementation.”

Also, the risk of overdose is influenced by factors such as age, weight, and individual differences in how the body metabolizes vitamin D. For example, Nandamuri witnessed a patient who had to seek dialysis due to an overdose.

Signs to watch out for

Excessive intake of vitamin D leads to an increase in the level of calcium in the body and causes harm. Extremely high levels of vitamin D in the blood (more than 150 ng/ml) can cause significant symptoms.

Some of the signs that could ring the bell are confusion, apathy, fatigue, frequent vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive urination, loss of appetite and dehydration – due to an imbalance of calcium in the blood.

Initial, mild symptoms can be reversed but doctors said advanced toxicity can lead to impaired kidney function and calcium deposits in the arteries which will never be completely reversed.

Vitamin D3 is a hormonal supplement

Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, former president of the Kochi ward of the Indian Medical Association, explained that vitamin D is not the same as vitamin B or C and is in fact a hormonal supplement that needs to be used like other hormone supplements – based on medical evaluation.

Sample this: We know that someone who is otherwise healthy should not suddenly start taking thyroid hormone without a doctor’s recommendation because it could kill them. “The same principle applies to vitamin D,” he said.

By the way, there is a lot of misinformation on social media as well as poor quality medical studies claiming vitamin D benefits.

“Vitamin D is beneficial for people with a clinical deficiency of this hormone, and this must be demonstrated clinically and not by laboratory value or test report alone. It is also used in other select medical conditions.

Benefits and dosage

According to experts, vitamin D3 is one of the most important pro-hormones that is fat-soluble in nature and is extremely important for the development, growth, and maintenance of a healthy skeletal structure.

“We need to treat vitamin D deficiency but not over-treat,” said Singh of Amrita Hospitals. “Vitamin D is an important vitamin for health and physical fitness. Its deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in patients visiting medical facilities daily,” she added.

Common causes include lack of proper and adequate dietary habits, insufficient exposure to natural sunlight, sedentary lifestyle, and unhealthy gut due to unhealthy eating habits.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is around 600-800 international units (IU), with a maximum of 4,000 IU per day.

While a recent study conducted by Tata Group’s 1mg online pharmacy found that around 3 out of 4 Indians are vitamin D deficient, medical advice is a must before starting any medication.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *