Asked by Jerri Koch
Are 50,000 International Units (IU) Of vitamin D Once A Week Harmful?
My doctor prescribed 50,000 IU of vitamin D, to be taken once a week due to vitamin D deficiency. Is this safe to take? Is there any way it would be toxic?
The dose that your physician prescribed is likely safe if used on a short-term basis. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults 18-70 years of age, and 800 IU for adults over 70. Vitamin D supplementation appears to be safe for adults when taken by mouth in doses of 4,000 IU daily (for a total of 28,000 IU per week).
When vitamin D deficiency is present, experts recommend a range of 40-2,000 IU of vitamin D each day depending on the severity of the deficiency. While the upper limit of this recommendation is 2,000 IU per day, research shows that high doses of vitamin D (10,000 to 50,000 IU daily) may be necessary for patients who have a history of malabsorption.
While vitamin D toxicity (also called hypervitaminosis D) is rare, it can have serious side effects. These include allergic skin reactions, a build-up of calcium in the arteries, headaches, muscle pain, kidney or urinary stones, and gastrointestinal problems (such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea).
Your vitamin D levels should be monitored closely during this time of high-dose supplementation. Report any adverse reactions to your doctor immediately.
You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.