Because sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad thing, you should know if you’re taking too much Calcium Vitamin A or Vitamin D.
Generally, vitamins and supplements are good, and some people need more than others. However, too much of a good thing can negate any health benefits — and even pose health risks.
With Calcium Vitamin A or Vitamin D, more is not necessarily better.
Here’s why it matters:
Calcium plays a critical role in building and maintaining healthy bones. For decades, experts have recommended high-dose calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease responsible for fractures.
Poor Calcium intake causes many elderly men and women to lose their independence — and sometimes their lives, due to serious injuries from falls.
How much calcium you need depends on your age and sex. Note that the upper limit in the chart represents the safe boundary — it’s not how much you should aim to get.
Calcium: Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults
Men: Age 19-50 years old:Daily RDA 1,000 mg; Upper limits 2,500 mg
51-70 years: RDA 1,000 mg; Upper limits 2,000 mg
Older than 70: RDA 1,200 mg, Upper limits 2,000 mg
Women: Age 19-50 yrs: RDA 1,000 mg; Upper limits 2,500 mg
Age 51 and older: RDA 1,200 mg; Upper limits 2,000 mg
How too much can hurt:
If you exceed the upper limit, you may increase your risk of health problems related to excessive calcium.
- Excess calcium in your blood means your kidneys have to work harder to filter it. This can cause excessive thirst and frequent urination.
- In the digestive system, too much calcium can cause stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and constipation
Researchers believe that without adequate vitamin D to help absorb it, the extra calcium settles in the arteries instead of the bones.
- There, it helps form plaques that threaten the heart and brain.
Excess calcium can also cause muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain and kidney stones.
What to do about it:
As we’re learning, our diets have everything to do with everything else…
The best and safest way to get Calcium is from food. Your body absorbs and uses calcium better from food than from supplements.
- One of the best sources of dietary calcium is fat-free organic Greek yogurt.
It gives you 450 mm of calcium per serving, plus vitamin D and protein. Two servings meet your calcium needs for a full day.
Other sources of calcium include:
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale
- Legumes and beans
- Fortified foods, like soy and almond milk, orange juice
- Salmon with soft bones
- Sesame seeds
Vitamin D works together with calcium to strengthen your bones.
- Research has also shown that it improves depression and asthma
- Vitamin D also strengthens and helps regulate the immune system, making you less susceptible to infections
- Lowers blood pressure
- Protects against depression
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduces the risk of several kinds of cancer
Although your skin makes Vitamin D after exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, we’re mostly an indoor society. Unlike our ancestors, we wear clothing (and sunscreen) when we go outdoors. In addition, skin also has a harder time producing vitamin D with age.
Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D
New studies, however, question the benefits of vitamin D supplements for prevention and survival from diseases. And really, that’s what research is all about.
However, many people report significant pain relief, mood elevation and overall improved quality of life with Vitamin D supplementation.
- Vitamin D blood levels exceeding 100 mg/mL can be dangerous.
- The extra vitamin D triggers extra calcium absorption.
This can cause:
- Muscle pain
- Mood disorders
- Abdominal pain
- Kidney stones
- It may also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
After a recent re-measurement of vitamin D by improved technology, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D intake has changed to 400 International Units (IU) per day, (DOWN FROM 800 IU).
- If you’re concerned, start by asking your physician to order a simple blood test to determine your levels of vitamin D. If you’re prescribed this supplement, you should see your doctor every three months for repeat blood testing until you reach steady vitamin D blood levels.
It usually takes 6-12 months to stabilize, then annual check-ups or every other year are fine.
Some sources of Vitamin D are:
- Wild caught fish (Salmon, Mackerel)
- Beef or calf liver
- Egg yolks
- Canned fish (especially sardines)
Vitamin A is one of four essential fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K).
- Your body keeps a reserve of vitamin A stored in your liver and fatty tissue, then releases vitamin A into your bloodstream so it can be used by your body as needed.
While you technically don’t need to get vitamin A every day because your body can tap into your vitamin A stores to keep functioning, you should try to meet your recommended daily intake of the nutrient to avoid depleting your reserves.
- Most women need 2,333 International Units (or 700 micrograms of vitamin A each day), while men need 3,000 IU (or 900 micrograms daily).
A healthy and varied diet should provide adequate vitamin A to keep you in good health, usually, but vitamin supplements — taken under a doctor’s supervision — can help pick up any slack to prevent a deficiency.
- Vitamin A is important for visual health. It also contributes to healthy skin and hair and boosts your immunity.
- Vitamin A also supports cell growth and plays a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
Signs of deficiency include:
- Night blindness
- Dry, scaly skin around your eyes
- Coarse hair
- Chronic respiratory infections
How too much can hurt:
Fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A can lead to toxicity because the body stores any excess in your body fat and does not eliminate it
Signs of Vitamin A toxicity are:
- Blurry vision or other vision changes
- Bone pain
- Poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Dry, rough skin
Research also suggests that extra vitamin A may work against vitamin D and contribute to osteoporosis.
Chronic toxicity can lead to liver damage and increased pressure on your brain.
Because Vitamin A is found in so many supplements, it makes the situation worse. Most people who are taking a variety of supplements are getting much more Vitamin A than they should.
The safest way to get vitamin A is, again, from foods. The best concentration comes from:
- Fish and fish oils
- Egg yolk
- Dark fruits
- Leafy, green vegetables
- Orange and yellow vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, papaya)
- Tomato products
- Some vegetable oils
- Fortified foods (which have added vitamins) like cereal
➡ It’s important to get as many vitamins and nutrients as you can from your food. However, it can (and has been) shown that indiscriminate use of vitamins may cause serious damage to our body systems.
The research on taking too much Calcium Vitamin A or Vitamin D has certainly shown that.
➡ The safest way to assess your specific requirements is to have a simple blood test performed by order of your personal physician. Then, follow his/her recommendations.
But as always, YOU are the primary caregiver for your health and outcomes. So, do your homework, get your questions answered and make the safest choices as recommended by a qualified physician or nutritional consultant.
And again, your food choices have everything to do with everything else, where your overall health is concerned.