Excess Intake of Vitamin D May Lead to Kidney Failure, Study Finds

A new study has found that unregulated use of vitamin D may lead to kidney failure.

A 54-year-old man was diagnosed with kidney damage after returning from a trip to Southeast Asia where he spent much of his holiday sunbathing. It was also discovered that he took high doses of vitamin D for years.

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After referral to a kidney specialist and further testing, it was found that the man had been prescribed high doses of vitamin D by a naturopath, who recommended a dose of 8 drops every day.

Over two-and-a-half-years, the patient, who did not have a history of bone loss or vitamin D deficiency, took 8-12 drops of vitamin D daily, adding up to 8,000-12,000 IU.

This resulted to high levels of calcium in the blood which left him with significant kidney damage.

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400-1000 IU, with 800-2000 IU recommended for adults at high-risk of osteoporosis and for older adults.

Bourne Auguste from the University of Toronto said vitamin D toxicity is rare owing to a large therapeutic range. However, its widespread availability in various over-the-counter formulations may pose a substantial risk to uninformed patients. Clinicians must be aware of the risks of vitamin D use to limit complications related to hypercalcemia.

Calcium levels may get worse before getting better in patients even after they end intake of supplements, as vitamin D is fat soluble.

The research team suggested that patients and clinicians should be better informed about the risks regarding the unrestrained use of vitamin D.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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