Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in few foods, but more commonly synthesized through exposure to sunlight (NIH, 2016). The most common form of supplemental vitamin D is analogous D3, advised by nutritionists and doctors to be taken up to a tolerable level of 4,000 international units (IU) a day (MFMER, 2017). There are many benefits to supplementing vitamin D in a diet, but only for those who are suffering from deficiencies are critically in need. Now, meta-analysis data has revealed that trending within the past ten to fifteen years has seen an extremely significant upward trend in the use of vitamin D3 supplement, especially an extreme increase in the number of people taking over 4,000 IU a day (Rooney, 2017). 

The increased intake of Vitamin D3 supplements is for beneficial use of bone health through enhanced calcium and phosphorous absorption by the body (Rooney et. al., 2017; NIH, 2016; Hollick et. al., 2011). Although this may seem beneficial, most healthy people don’t require vitamin D supplements, especially when there is no indication of deficiency (Hollick et. al., 2011). Without proper advisement on vitamin D3 supplements, a long list of potentially deadly conditions may develop, such as buildup of calcium in the arteries, increased heart attacks and strokes, high blood pressure, and more (Mayo, 2017).

A meta-analysis comparing the consumption of Vitamin D3 supplements and their dosage between 1999 to 2014 has shed light on the dramatic increase of high dosage intake (Rooney et. al., 2017). The data revealed the trends of 1,000 IU and more, and 4,000 IU and more intake of Vitamin D3 over time. The intake in a relatively short period of time was extremely significant. From 2005-2006, intake of tolerable upper limit and beyond, 4,000 IU and more, was only less than 0.1 percent of the population of nearly 40,000 participants. Fast forward to 2013-2014, the number has increased to nearly 6.6 percent in elderly, and highest among women at 4.2 percent (Rooney et. al., 2017).

Increasing trends as drastic as this in less than a decade raises extremely dangerous clinical implications. With the continuous rise of high dosage Vitamin D3, there raises concerns for an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, as well as more. Drastic awareness and consideration for dosage should be advised when consuming vitamin D supplements.


COPYRIGHT: This article is property of We Speak Science, a nonprofit institution co-founded by Dr. DetinaZalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Antonio Del Vecchio (Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences).