Vitamin D is Toxic?

Toxic – Having a chemical substance that is harmful to health or lethal if consumed.   – Wiktionary

I went for my lab test this past Monday in preparation for my physical this coming Monday.  On late Tuesday afternoon there was a message from my doctor’s office that I should call and ask for ‘Buffy’.   (believe me the real name was even better but we most protect the innocent).

Buffy said, “Mr. Pegram your serum vitamin D level is over 100 ng/ml and you most stop taking vitamin D immediately!”  “Okay, I will to talk to the doctor when I come in Monday,”  I said.  “Does that you mean that you are not going to stop taking vitamin D?” inquired Buffy.  “I will talk the doctor when I come in on Monday”, I repeated.  “You most stop taking vitamin D NOW,”  Buffy demanded.  “What is this,” I asked, “has the doctor insisted that you have to get me to say that I am going to stop taking vitamin D”  “Yes”, curt and to the point.  “What was the actual reading and do you use Quest or Labcorp to do your testing,”  I inquired.  “I do not know the exact reading but it is over 100 and we do our own testing in house,” Buffy replied.  I then asked, “what was my serum calcium”.  “They did not run a calcium”, Buffy responded and I knew this was not so because they drew three vials of blood for my annual physical exam.

At this point I realized the conversation was going no where so I again repeated, “Okay, I will just talk to the doctor on Monday”.  Buffy, “Vitamin D is toxic and you most stop now.  It is TOXIC!”

Now from the definition from the start of this post you know and your normal response to toxic is that you have taken something that is about to kill you immediately.  I decided not to have fun with Buffy because my wife, director of a clinical lab of a major hospital, was yelling at me to stop.  “Don’t yell at her she is just the messenger,” my wife scowled.  I guess she could see the ‘evil’ gleam in my eye.  I was indeed angered.

The thoughts that were running through mind was if I stop could you tell me when to start taking vitamin D again.  How long before my hypertension, back pain from degenerative disc disease, sleep apnea, and heart issues come back to kill me?  I knew that she nor the doctor would know how to respond.  This medical practice in particular has benefited financially from vitamin D because they have their own testing equipment.  The patients in this practice have benefited because everyone that walks through the door gets a vitamin D test which is the desire of Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.  I feel significantly responsible for this as I am vitamin D patient zero at this practice.

However, testing without knowledge of what vitamin D does to the human body is not acceptable clinical practice that leads to successful outcomes of patient health.  A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The thought of an emergency call to a patient telling them that they are taking a toxic substance is outrageous when it involves vitamin D.  It could certainly wait until the doctor was face to face with the patient.  I would bet that there are no emergency calls to patients when they find their serum triglycerides over 1000 to tell them to stop eating sugar and all high starchy foods until it comes down that they are a walking heart attack.

I usually like to think of something that is toxic as having about a 50 percent chance of killing you.  From the Vitamin D Council’s page on toxicity, we find a loading dose that has a 50 percent chance of killing you as 88 mg/kg.  That would mean to have a 50 percent chance of death that I would have to take 7,520 of the 50,000 IU capsules to achieve this level of toxicity at 235 lbs of body weight.  I most likely would gag to death before I consumed that much vitamin D.

I new that my serum vitamin D was not high as I had gotten my test results back from just a couple of weeks before and it was 87 ng/ml or just at the top end of what you would find in a sunny country.  I also know of the issues when testing vitamin D and the necessary processes for quality control to get accurate values.  It will be interesting to find out if that office uses mass spec or Diasorin’s Liaison to do their testing.  Mass spec is so operator dependent according to my wife that accuracy is always a question.

Imagine the average person hearing that they are taking a toxic substance.  Monday’s visit should be interesting.

Meanwhile it is to be 85 here today so you will know where I will be with no clothes on just after noon.  No pain and no health issues and forgiveness will be on my mind as I bask in the sublime sun.  –  Pandemic Survivor


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