Vitamin D, often nicknamed the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is responsible for regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These are essential nutrients for keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D (vitamin D deficiency) can lead to bone deformities in children and bone pain caused by osteomalacia in adults.
- Vitamin D warning: Sign in your stools you’ve had too much
The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when being outdoors, but during the autumn and winter months, many people are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D.
To make sure the body’s getting enough vitamin D during these months, health officials recommend taking a daily supplement.
But taking too many vitamin D supplements can lead to problems. According to Mayo Clinic, one of the main consequences of vitamin D “toxicity” is frequent urination.
Vitamin D is fat soluble which means it can’t be excreted through urination. If you take too much, it can cause the blood to retain calcium, leading to a condition known as hypercalcemia (excessive levels of calcium in the blood).
This can lead to frequent urination. Other warning signs of hypercalcemia include nausea and vomiting, a loss of appetite, and confusion, disorientation or double thinking.
The NHS advises if you chose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.
It says: “Don’t take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.
“Children aged 1 to 10 years shouldn’t have more than 50 micrograms a day. Infants under 12 months shouldn’t have more than 25 micrograms a day.
“Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
“If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.
“You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.”
People at risk of vitamin D deficiency
The Department of Health recommends certain groups of people take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
- Vitamin D deficiency symptoms: The sign in a person’s head
- People are aren’t often outdoors – for example, if you’re frail or housebound
- People who are in an institution like a care home
- People who usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors
Other ways to get vitamin D
From late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.
Vitamin D is also fond in a small number of foods, including:
- Oily fish
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods
But it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone.
Vitamin D supplements are available at most pharmacies and supermarkets.
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