This Morning: Dr Michael Mosley discusses vitamin D dosage
Vitamin D is a hot topic at the moment, with most Brits low on the vitamin due to the third national lockdown. Your body can’t naturally make Vitamin D, but you can get it from the sunlight, some foods and supplements. If you have the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency, you may be tempted to guzzle down one too many Vitamin D supplements a day. But can you overdose on Vitamin D?
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Nutritionist to the stars and even some of the royals, Gabriela Peacock said: “It is important to maintain healthy vitamin D levels as it is needed in the body for both our physical and mental health.
“Normal or healthy vitamin D levels contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system.
“A vitamin D deficiency may mean our immune system doesn’t function optimally to protect us.
“Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our body, these are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy and strong.”
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Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
According to the NHS, Vitamin D deficiency is very common but most people have no symptoms.
You might have some vague symptoms such as tiredness or aches, but lots of other things could cause this.
Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones, known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
As a result of these conditions, you could have bone pains, weak muscles and children could have bowing of the leg bones.
When Vitamin D deficiency is severe and a person also lacks calcium, symptoms of muscle spasms, cramps and seizures can happen.
Long term vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of developing weak bones (osteoporosis).
More recently, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several health problems such as diabetes and heart disease
How much Vitamin D should you take?
If you aren’t getting outside in the sunshine every day, you’re probably going to need to take Vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D is in some foods such as oily fish and egg yolks, but it’s tricky to be consistent enough in your diet to
Gabriela said: “Adults should be taking at least 10 micrograms (400IU) of vitamin D per day.
“But if deficiency is present, then on an individual basis I would look at increasing the dose, especially during winter here in the UK.”
Gabriela recommends those at high risk of Vitamin D deficiency take a supplement all year round, and that includes those of us who are not often outdoors during lockdown.
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Can you overdose on Vitamin D?
You can overdose on Vitamin D – this is called Vitamin D toxicity or hypervitaminosis D.
It is nearly impossible to get too much Vitamin D from sunlight or your diet, but it’s easy to take too many Vitamin D supplements.
Gabriela said: “Consuming too much vitamin D over a long period of time results in calcium build up in soft tissues like arteries.
“This is known as hypercalcemia and can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
“If you are worried about your vitamin D levels, you can always request a blood test from your GP.”
The latest Government guidelines from Public Health England recommend10 micrograms (400 iu) of Vitamin D for adults and children aged 12 plus months.
Which supplements should I take?
You can get Vitamin D supplements in many different forms, from capsules to sprays.
Gabriela said: “Opt for something you are comfortable taking, for example, if you do not like to take capsules or pills, chose an effervescent, spray or liquid dropper way to supplement Vitamin D.
“The effervescent form from Holland & Barrett and Holland & Barrett Vitamin D spray are fab and so easy to use!
“Choose something that you can easily introduce as a habit into your day.
“For example, a capsule is great if you normally take other multivitamins in the morning at home.
“Perhaps a spray or effervescent would suit you better if you start early and tend to eat breakfast at work.”
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