Public health has long focused on the importance of having enough vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is common in individuals that live in Northern cities such as Chicago, New York, London and Copenhagen. This phenomenon occurs because sun exposure stimulates vitamin D production, and without at least 15 minutes of sun exposure, vitamin D levels are generally not met. Vitamin D is integral in the mineralization of bones and calcium absorption, with adequate intakes set at 5 micrograms per day.
The great importance of vitamin D has been supported by a large volume of recent scientific literature; correlations between vitamin D levels and immune function, athletic performance and fall risk reduction in the elderly are prevalent. However, as with most vitamins and minerals, there is such thing as overdosing.
It has long been known that vitamin D overdosing may cause nausea, elevated blood pressure and may negatively impact the kidneys, but new findings from the University of Copenhagen certainly add another dimension to the debate on vitamin D supplementation.
“If your vitamin D level is below 50 or over 100 nanomol per litre, there is a greater connection to deaths. We have looked at what caused the death of patients, and when numbers are above 100, it appears that there is an increased risk of dying from a stroke or a coronary. In other words, levels of vitamin D should not be too low, but neither should they be too high. Levels should be somewhere in between 50 and 100 nanomol per litre, and our study indicates that 70 is the most preferable level,” explains Peter Schwartz, Professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Copenhagen.
This immediately should send up red flags when it comes to vitamin D supplementation. While many individuals might need a slight supplemental boost in vitamin D levels, over consuming the products in a hope to obtain optimal health or athletic performance is apparently dangerous.
“These are very important results, because there is such great focus on eating vitamin D. We should use this information to ask ourselves whether or not we should continue to eat vitamins and nutritional supplements as if they were sweets. You shouldn’t simply up the dose to feel better. We should only consume such vitamins in close coordination with our GP,” Peter Schwartz concludes.