Can Vitamin D Cause Constipation?

Author: Gabrielle Marks

Vitamin D ingested in excessive amounts can cause constipation.

Excessive Vitamin D

Excessive amounts of Vitamin D can cause nausea, weakness, fatigue, poor appetite, and weight loss as well as constipation.  In higher amounts, excess intake of vitamin D has the potential to cause heart rhythm abnormalities, confusion, and can increase the body's blood calcium level, which can lead to kidney stones. 

Vitamin D a Fat-Soluble Vitamin

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which by definition means the body will store the vitamin until it is needed by the body.  Generally, a fat-soluble vitamin carries more of overdose than a water-soluble vitamin because it compounds over time.  Vitamin D can be obtained through food and exposure to sunlight.

Excessive Vitamin D Intake from Food

It is highly unlikely that the body can get too much vitamin D from food alone.  Because very few food sources contain vitamin D naturally, many foods such as milk and cereal are fortified with vitamin D.  Even with the addition of vitamin D, only 29% of adult American men and 17% of adult American women get the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D through food sources. 

Excessive Vitamin D Intake from Sun Exposure

Most people receive an adequate intake of vitamin D through sun exposure. Excessive intake of vitamin D from sun exposure is thought to be unlikely as the constant heat on the skin photodegrades the vitamin.

Excessive Vitamin D Intake from Supplements

The most likely way to ingest excessive amounts of vitamin D is through supplementation.  The recommended daily intake for both adult men and women, ages 19-50 is 5mg/200IU.  But according to recent studies, the body can handle ingesting far more vitamin D safely, the upper limits of which have been tested safely at 10,000 IU for healthy adults.


Works Cited

Office of Dietary Supplements
"Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D"

.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006: Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food and Water Compared to 1997 Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D, Calcium, Phosphorus, and Magnesium

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Analyzing vitamin D in foods and supplements: methodologic challenges

Expert Opinion 

Quote: "When asked about the side effects of high doses of vitamin D, Vieth said that severe cases-that is, consuming more than 40,000IU/day for many months-cause circulation calcium levels to increase.  This amount produces constipation, excessive urination, reduced reflexes, and higher calcium in the urine."

Source:  Frank Murray Sunshine and Vitamin D eBook(April 21, 2007)


purple arrowCite this Article

"Can Vitamin D Cause Constipation?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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