Is there such a thing as too much vitamin D?

Well according to a new study on the effects of vitamin D and not the kind you get from being out in the sun, shows that too much may lead to slower reaction times and increase the risk of falling among older adults.

I was surprised to learn this as Vitamin D, which we all know is an essential vitamin that helps our bodies build and maintain healthy bones and teeth.  Without Vitamin D, our bodies cannot absorb calcium, which is the main component of bone.

Our bodies synthesize vitamin D when sunlight reaches the skin.  We also get vitamin D from many food sources like salmon, sardines, canned tuna, oysters, and shrimp.

Those that are vegetarian can obtain this vitamin by consuming egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified food products such as soy milk, cereal, and oatmeal when the sun is in short supply, like over the winter months.

For older adults, it is crucial to ensure that our bodies get the right amount of vitamin D because the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia may increase.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended daily amount of vitamin D is:

  • infants 0–12 months: 400 international units (IU)
  • children 1–18 years: 600 IU
  • adults to age 70: 600 IU
  • adults over 70: 800 IU
  • pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU

While it is crucial to take vitamin D, excessive exposure can also pose risks.

A study led by Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, conducted a study looking at risk factors for falls. They published their results in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.

They analyzed the effects of vitamin D on three groups of women aged 50–70 in a randomized controlled trial:

  • The first group took the recommended daily dose of 600 IU.
  • The second group took 2,000 IU.
  • The third took 4,000 IU.

The results showed an improvement in memory and learning in the groups that took more than the recommended daily dose. However, the same groups also experienced a slowdown in reaction times, which could lead to an increase in the risk of falling for older adults, but further research will be needed to confirm.

By Jamie Barrie