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Safe Limits of Vitamin D May Be Higher Than Previously Thought

Some previous studies have suggested that high amounts of vitamin D in the blood may lead to calcium build up (hypercalcemia) in your blood. As a result, the Institute of Medicine recommends an upper limit of 50 ng/mL in people’s blood. However, a recent study suggests that the upper limit of vitamin D intake may be higher than previously thought.

Participants in the study included people who came to visit the Rochester Epidemiology Project in Olmsted County (home of the Mayo Clinic) between 2002 and 2011. The researchers examined medical records and lab data of those patients with vitamin D levels higher than 50 ng/mL and hypercalcemia within three months of the high vitamin D levels being noted. They sought to determine if the hypercalcemia was due to the high vitamin D levels or another cause.

During the ten-year study period, 20,308 vitamin D tests were performed. Of those, 1,714 (8%) had vitamin D levels higher than 50 ng/mL. Of the 1,714 with high levels, only four had the concentrations of vitamin D that are temporally associated with hypercalcemia and only one of those participants actually had clinical vitamin D toxicity.

That participant with clinical vitamin D toxicity was a 51-year-old woman who had vitamin D levels of 364 ng/mL and serum total calcium of 17.5 mg/dL. She was taking 50,000 IU of vitamin D daily and 3,000 mg calcium at least once a day for three months.

In addition, the researchers found that women who were older than 65 had the highest risk of vitamin D levels over 50 ng/mL. Also, vitamin D levels greater than 50 ng/mL increased from nine per 100,000 people at the beginning of the study to 233 per 1000,000 at the conclusion.

The researchers concluded that vitamin D is unlikely to be harmful up to 100 ng/mL.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic conducted the study. It was published on May 1, 2015, in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosiscombating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.
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