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If I have COPD, should I get all the vitamin D I can?

ANSWER

No. With vitamin D, more is not always better. The highest daily dose that's safe for adults is 4,000 international units (IU). Most people need much less. In fact, too much can cause serious problems.

High doses of vitamin D can trigger a rare, serious condition called vitamin D toxicity. It causes too much calcium to build up in your blood. That can bring:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Weakness
  • A need to pee often

In more serious cases, vitamin D toxicity can lead to:

  • Anorexia
  • Heart and kidney problems
  • An irregular heartbeat (your doctor may call it arrhythmia).

Make sure to talk with your doctor to find out if you need to get more vitamin D.

SOURCES:

Thorax: “Vitamin D to prevent exacerbations of COPD: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised controlled trials.”

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Vitamin D.”

National Emphysema Foundation: “Vitamin D Deficiency Prevalent in Chronic Lung Patients.”

MedlinePlus: “Vitamin D Deficiency,” “Vitamin D Test.”  

International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: “Vitamin D status is associated with muscle strength and quality of life in patients with COPD: a seasonal prospective observation study.”

American Thoracic Society: “Exacerbation of COPD.”

International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: “Exacerbations of COPD.”

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: “Vitamin D.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Vitamin D Deficiency: Management and Treatment,” “Vitamin D Deficiency.”  

Yale Medicine: “Vitamin D Myths ‘D’-bunked.”

Mayo Clinic: “What is vitamin D toxicity? Should I be worried about taking supplements?”

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on July 27, 2020

SOURCES:

Thorax: “Vitamin D to prevent exacerbations of COPD: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised controlled trials.”

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Vitamin D.”

National Emphysema Foundation: “Vitamin D Deficiency Prevalent in Chronic Lung Patients.”

MedlinePlus: “Vitamin D Deficiency,” “Vitamin D Test.”  

International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: “Vitamin D status is associated with muscle strength and quality of life in patients with COPD: a seasonal prospective observation study.”

American Thoracic Society: “Exacerbation of COPD.”

International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: “Exacerbations of COPD.”

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: “Vitamin D.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Vitamin D Deficiency: Management and Treatment,” “Vitamin D Deficiency.”  

Yale Medicine: “Vitamin D Myths ‘D’-bunked.”

Mayo Clinic: “What is vitamin D toxicity? Should I be worried about taking supplements?”

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on July 27, 2020

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