What Are The Major Vitamin D3 Side Effects?

Most Vitamin D3 side effects result for a deficiency rather than an overdose, but we'll look into both cases in this article. There are two forms of vitamin D which are important to us. One is Vitamin D2, ergocalciferol, the other is Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol. Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the human body when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight. Vitamin D2 is ingested when we eat plants. Both vitamins are essential to our health and well being.

The term "vitamin" is somewhat of a misnomer as Vitamin D is actually a type of hormone, or at least acts in the same manner as a hormone does in our body. Acting as a hormone, a deficiency of either of these Vitamin D types can lead to a large number of disorders, and contribute to a wide variety of serious illnesses. Many of the processed foods that we consume are fortified with Vitamin D2 and D3, primarily due to the fact that some of the population does not get sufficient sunlight. Instances of vitamin toxicity due to an overdose are generally rare, though do occur on occasion.

Side Effects From A Deficiency - A deficiency of Vitamin D3 plays a major role in a number of disorders and diseases. Part of this lies in the link between Vitamin D3 and the amount of calcium stored in the body. The two go hand in hand in many instances, with a Vitamin D3 deficiency being accompanied by a calcium deficiency. This can lead to muscle weakness and wasting, and chronic muscle pain. It can also affect the bones and teeth, contributing to osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and periodontal disease. Vitamin D3 deficiencies are linked to several varieties of cancer, and to heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well.

The best way to avoid a deficiency and possible Vitamin D3 side effects is to get sufficient exposure to the sun. Fortified foods and beverages will help of course, as will as taking a multiple vitamin daily. Whether any additional supplements are needed is an open question.

Side Effects From An Overdose - An overdose of Vitamin D3, resulting in possible toxicity, is usually possible only if the vitamin is taken as an oral supplement. The exact dosages considered to be safe have as yet not been totally decided upon. An overdose of Vitamin D3 could lead to a condition known as hypercalcemia, which is the term used for an elevated calcium level. This condition is rare enough so that diagnosis can be difficult, but the symptoms can vary from mild to quite serious. The milder Vitamin D3 side effects usually consist of nausea or vomiting, constipation and abdominal cramps, dry mouth, and a metallic taste in the mouth. Muscle fatigue and pain in the muscles and bones is also experienced at times. If a high level of toxicity is prolonged, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, seizures, and even coma can result. High levels of toxicity and corresponding hypercalcemia do not occur all at once but in almost all cases develop over an extended period of time.

Summary - In summary, Vitamin D3 side effects are mostly experienced when there is a deficiency of this important element. In our society, such a deficiency is the exception rather than the rule, and prevention of the condition is usually not difficult.  An overdose of the vitamin is much less apt to occur, and usually would occur only if an excessive amount of a Vitamin D supplement were consumed over time. Again, it should be noted that any symptoms experienced can be difficult to trace back to a Vitamin D deficiency or overdose, as similar symptoms occur with so many other diseases and disorders.