Too much vitamin D?

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I suffer from psoriasis and there is some evidence that high doses of vitamin D can help ease the symptoms. I had my levels tested which came back at 69ng/ml which I believe is in the upper normal level (its summer here in Australia). under my doctors instructions I have started taking 10000iu of vitamin D every other day along with 100mcg of Vitamin K2.

However, yesterday I was out in the sun most of of the day (with a hat but no sunscreen) and I got quite burned on my arms and legs. Could this significantly raise my vitamin D levels? Do you think I should get my levels retested before continuing my current dose or is it safe to continue? What would be the symptoms if I had too much vitamin D? 



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  • Posted

    Sunburn is no indicator of making too much vit D - there is a cut-off mechanism in the body that stops you making more than a certain amount. It can be made in about 20min of sun exposure (in summer, usually not in winter) providing you use no sunscreen on the exposed skin, face arms and shoulders should be enough, A light suntan is the equivalent of Factor 12 - and even Factor 8 sunscreen reduces the amount of vit D made by over 90%.Do you usually use sunscreen/cover up? 

    A small pilot study found that a 6-month course of vit D to bring the subjects levels up to IRO 100 ng/ml resulted in their psoriasis and vitiligo improving, dramatically in some cases. Patients with psoriasis lose vit D in the flaking skin - and that is possibly why many have low levels and topical vit D, which has been used for years, brings about an improvement.

    This is an interesting - if rather heavy - read

    but basically they say supplements of up to 10,000IU per day (double what you are taking) pose no problems as that is about the same as the maximum you can make in the sun. I assume you don't spend a lot of time out in the sun every day? It is only levels above 150 ng/ml that are dangerous and you are nowhere near that at present. I would hope your doctor is going to check your vit D every few months while he has you on the vit D? 

    Your vit D level is at its maximum at the end of the summer, September in the northern hemisphere and, I would have thought, about now in the southern hemisphere. Theoretically, the whole of Australia is far enough north for you to be able to make vit D from sun right through your winter - but I also live at a latitide where that is theoretically possible and 80% of the population is deficient: because we don't sit out in the sun between 11am and 3pm at any time of the year so in fact we don't produce vast amounts of vit D!


    • Posted

      Thank you so much for the detailed reply Eileen. 

      I usually use a moisturiser with SPF 30 on my face each day, but do not spend a lot of time outdoors.The day I got burned was unusual as I was playing sport with kids.

      I actually wanted to take 10000iu a day as that is what I read can help psoriasis. My doctor says 5000iu (or 10000iu every other day) is safer, but I worry that that may won't enough to see any benefit. Not sure what to do.

    • Posted

      I'd try what your doctor says and see how you get on. If it doesn't work you can up the approach a bit. I'm not a doctor but personally I think your desire to try 10,000 IU/day would be fine if you did it for up to 8-10 weeks and had the vit D level checked at the end of that time. That would give you an idea how much your blood level increases at that dose and you could work out an appropriate dose for longer term. The study I mentioned found 100 ng/ml was enough to induce considerable improvements.You just really need to be sure you aren't sending your blood level up to 150-200 longterm - checking it would mean you can see where it is. I don't know what the test costs in Aus but in the UK a hospital lab offers it for less than £30 so even if a doctor won't order it is possible to get it done without breaking the bank for most people.

    • Posted

      Thanks Eileen. I have actually started take 10000iu a day the last 5 days. I am taking a number of other supplements as well to try and improve my psoriasis and just feel 5000iu isn't enough from what you've told me and what I have read. My doctor didn't seem overly concerned about taking 10000iu a day... he just said 5000iu would be safer.. I will go and see him in 8 weeks anyway as you suggested. So if I am currently 69ng/ml and I took 10000iu for 8 weeks do you think I could get to around 100ng/ml? Do you think it's at all possible I could approach toxic levels doing this?


    • Posted

      It is absolutely impossible to say - under most circumstances it will be fine, but you can't see what is going on which is why it is important to get your blood level checked to see how YOU absorb the vit D. 

      Careful with using loads of supplements - more is not always better! Vit D is known to improve psoriasis, not so sure about other things. Taking loads together you won't know what is helping.


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