Man Dies of Hypercalcemia, a Condition Caused by Excessive Vitamin D Consumption

Experts are issuing warnings about the dangers of excessive vitamin D consumption after a UK man died of hypercalcemia, a rare condition caused by high levels of vitamin D.

David Mitchener, an 89-year-old retired businessman from the UK, died last year from hypercalcemia, a buildup of calcium in the body as a result of excessive levels of vitamin D. Michener was admitted to East Surrey Hospital on May 10, 2023, and was pronounced dead ten days later. According to a report from Jonathan Stevens, the assistant coroner at the hospital, the 89-year-old man’s vitamin D levels were at the maximum recordable level. Vitamin D toxicity was listed as one of the main factors in Michener’s death, along with Congestive heart disease, chronic kidney failure, and hypercalcemia.

Photo: Karyna Panchenko/Unsplash

Before his death, a test showed Mitchener’s vitamin D levels at 380 ng/mL, the maximum level recordable by the laboratory. For reference, a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2010 estimated that a vitamin D level of 20 ng/mL was adequate for good bone health.

Stevens’s report on David Mitchener’s death raised concerns that vitamin supplements can have “potentially very serious risks and side effects when taken in excess,” adding that current supplement labeling regulations do not require such risks to be mentioned on the label.

“There were no warnings on or in the packaging detailing the specific risks or side effects of taking vitamin D supplements,” Jonathan Stevens wrote. “In my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.”

Photo: Karyna Panchenko/Unsplash

Hypercalcemia is a rare but very serious medical condition that can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart, symptoms that were observed during Mitchener’s autopsy. It is associated with taking too much vitamin D, which is becoming a more prevalent problem post-Covid when its consumption was encouraged to boost the immune system. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand that too much of a good thing can actually be bad for you.

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