Step 1. Stop Supplementing With Vitamin D
Depending on what supplements you are taking, this step may include more than just avoiding taking your vitamin D capsules.
To give you an example, multivitamins often contain vitamin D. The same is true for other supplement formulations.
Therefore, be sure to check the labels of any of the supplements you might be taking.
Step 2. Stop Getting Out Into The Sun Around Noon
When your skin absorbs UVB radiation from the Sun, it uses it to convert 7-dehydrocholesterol into vitamin D.
For this reason, if you are doing the best you can to get vitamin D out of your system, be sure to avoid the midday Sun, as that’s the time when you’re most likely to be exposed to UVB rays.
Step 3. Avoid As Many Of The Foods Known To Contain Vitamin D As You Can
Following this step includes avoiding both foods naturally rich in vitamin D and foods that have been fortified with it.
Identifying fortified foods is easy: just look at the labels.
After all, if a manufacturer has invested money and resources in the fortification of his products, he’ll let that clear on their labels.
Recognizing the natural sources of vitamin D can be harder, though.
A tablespoon of cod liver oil contains about 1,360 IU of vitamin D3, making it one of the best natural sources available.
Therefore, be sure to avoid cod liver oil, while you’re trying to lower your levels.
Other excellent sources of vitamin D are mushrooms (in the form of vitamin D2, D3, and D4), fatty fishes and eggs (in the form of the more bioavailable vitamin D3).
Vitamin D has a half-life of around 15 days.
This means that in about two weeks your circulating levels of vitamin D should drop significantly. Then, over the course of the following 2 weeks, you’ll see them continue to drop. (1)
You don’t need them to reach zero, though.
In fact, you absolutely don’t want to reach zero as doing so would be terrible for your health.
You can compare this with what happens in the case of sugar.
Even if you suffer from diabetes, and are always worrying about the sugar content of food items, you still can’t allow your glucose levels to drop below a certain threshold.
Similarly, vitamin D is vital for your body.
It helps regulate your skeleton health, keeps your immune system under control, and lowers your risk of developing a host of different diseases, including cancer.
This means you’d only want to flush it out of your system as a last resort.
As you’ll soon see, once you understand what makes a vitamin D overdose dangerous, you’ll realize that there’s a much better way to protect yourself from vitamin D toxicity other than forcibly lowering your levels.
Why Would Anyone Want To Lower His Vitamin D Levels?
Vitamin D, in itself, is mostly harmless.
You may think of it as water.
You drink it every day because it is vital for your health.
However, in rare circumstances, the water you drink can harm you.
For example, people have been known to die after drinking (really) large amounts of water in a short time.
As reported in Scientific America, in early 2007 a woman drank “some 6 liters of water in 3 hours,” to win a Nintendo Wii. This led to a severe water intoxication which resulted in her death. (2)
The same is true for vitamin D. Even though it is vital for your well-being, too much of it can harm you too.
For example, in 2006, a little Indian boy died after being prescribed an enormous amount of daily vitamin D.
Can you guess how much it took to kill this young man?
This 10-year-old was given 600,000 IU of vitamin D for 21 days, ingesting a total of 12,6 million international units of vitamin D!
You can learn more about this tragic, and preventable, death here.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to get anywhere near those doses, but if you took a large amount of vitamin D for a long period of time you could be feeling the symptoms of overdose.
In such a circumstance, you’d be hard-pressed to continue supplementing with vitamin D.
How Much Is Too Much Vitamin D?
In a paper published in 2014, a team of Brazilian researchers declared that “the estimated toxic dose of vitamin D should be greater than 100,000 IU per day for, at least, one month.” (3)
How much have you been taking?
If you have been supplementing with 10,000 IU per day, chances are that your symptoms are most likely not be the result of a vitamin D overdose.
But, even then, you might be one of those rare individuals highly sensitive to vitamin D. This could be the case if, for example, you happen to suffer from sarcoidosis. (4)
In any case:
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin D Toxicity?
In a study involving the administration of an isolated dose of 70,000 IU of vitamin D, researchers were watchful about the following symptoms of vitamin D toxicity: (5)
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Fever or chills
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Muscle weakness
- Back, arm, or leg pain
Why Were These Scientists So Interested In This Group Of Symptoms?
As you probably know, vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium in your intestine.
For this reason, vitamin D toxicity manifests itself in the form of hypercalcemia – high blood calcium levels – and hypercalciuria – high urine calcium levels.
All the symptoms in our list are, in fact, the early signs of hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria.
Therefore, if you have been feeling any of these symptoms, err of the side of caution, stop supplementing and get an appointment with a knowledgeable Doctor.
Even if your symptoms are not being caused by vitamin D, a trip to the ER won’t hurt you either, as the source for any of these symptoms should be understood and treated.
Confusion, for example, is a extremely serious symptom and should never be ignored – even if you haven’t been supplementing with vitamin D.
What Other Steps Can You Take To Reduce Your Symptoms?
What if it turns out that you were indeed experiencing the early signs of a vitamin D overdose?
Since the main problem isn’t the vitamin D, but the calcium build-up it promoted, the steps you should take involve a low-calcium diet and the ingestion of plenty of water to help your kidneys to flush any excessive calcium out of your system.
In fact, even if you are not following a high-dose protocol, the steps you’ll need to follow are the same protective measures Dr. Coimbra wants all his patients to follow.
If you need help understanding these vital safety guidelines, there are two articles that I’ll recommend you to read:
- The 13 Rules of the Coimbra Protocol Diet, which includes detailed information on how to keep vitamin D toxicity at bay by maintaining a low calcium diet, even while you supplement with high doses of vitamin D.
- Top 114 Calcium-Rich Foods That Can Mess Up Your Protocol, which helps you identify unexpected sources of calcium.
On top of these dietary guidelines, if your calcium levels were extremely high, your Doctor may have decided to administer you intravenous fluids, calcium-lowering medications, and even vitamin-D-blocking drugs, like cortisone.
That’s because hypercalcemia is a very serious condition.
I’d also like to call your attention to a potential consequence of taking too much vitamin D, for too long, without following the safety guideline: kidney damage.
Kidney damage would be a very tragic consequence of hypercalcemia as it would hinder your ability to safely supplement with vitamin D in the future, thus preventing you from fully enjoying the benefits of a full course of high-dose vitamin D therapy, were you to need it.
Therefore, whatever drugs your Doctor has prescribed you to try and bring your calcium back to a safe level again, be sure to take them.
How To Flush Vitamin D Out Of Your System?
As you can see, protecting yourself from a vitamin D overdose involves more than simply stopping supplementing.
Depending on how much vitamin D you have taken, and how sensitive you were to those doses, you may need specialized medical intervention.
If you have been taking large doses for a long time, without also following the safety guidelines, you should get your blood and urine tested for any signs of a calcium build-up.
When in doubt, talk to a Doctor and get his, or her, expert opinion.
If you have two perfectly functioning kidneys, drinking plenty of water and reducing your calcium intake should be sufficient to recover from a vitamin D overdose.
Even if you do end up having to take calcium lowering drugs, the chances are high that you’ll make a full recovery.