Health Scares in the News Part 7

First, sunlight was good for your health. Now, it’s bad for you. At one time, vitamin D was good for you. Now, you guessed it! It can kill you. Apparently, there’s a new study making the rounds that connects high blood levels of vitamin D with a 3 fold increase in atrial fibrillation (irregular, too fast heart rhythm). The only patients who had these inordinately high blood levels of vitamin D were those taking supplements. Of course, the reason people take extra vitamin D is because they have been told that:

  • They aren’t getting enough of the vitamin from sun exposure (and that they should reduce sun exposure to limit their risk of skin cancer)
  • They aren’t getting enough from the few foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D

In fact, according to analysis released by the National Center for Health Statistics, 2 out of 3 Americans are getting plenty of vitamin D (based on blood testing). Only 1% of the population tested as having levels that were too high. So, while the risks posed by excessive vitamin D intake are real, they affect only a very small number of people overall. Not everyone who takes extra vitamin D is necessarily going to “overdose” and end up with heart problems. At the same time, if you do have atrial fibrillation, you might want to have your doctor assess your vitamin D intake to see if you’re getting too much.

If you are unsure about whether you need vitamin D supplements, it makes sense to speak with a nutritionist and your physician. The answer will vary based on factors such as your age, whether you are pregnant, the latitude where you live, and your diet.

Tags: Health and Beauty