Experts Sound Alarm After 89-Year-Old UK Man Dies Of Vitamin D “Overdose”

An 89-year-old man in the United Kingdom died from an “overdose” of Vitamin D supplements that did not warn about the risks of excessive intake. According to the New York Post, David Mitchener, a retired businessman, had high levels of Vitamin D when he was brought to the hospital last year in May. He was suffering from hypercalcaemia – a build-up of calcium in the body associated with taking too much Vitamin D. He died 10 days later. 

Members of the local medical community are now taking the opportunity to warn the public of the risks of taking the common supplement. The incident has also prompted the Surrey assistant coroner to issue a report urging regulatory bodies to mandate clear warnings on supplement packaging about the dangers of overconsumption, the outlet reported. 

“There was no warning on or in the packaging detailing the specific risks or side effects of taking Vitamin D supplements,” coroner Jonathan Stevens wrote in his official report. “In my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken,” he added. 

Mr Stevens also wrote to the Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health and Social Care urging them to ask supplement manufacturers to print warnings on packaging. 

In his report, he warned that vitamin supplements “can have potentially very serious risks and side effects when taken in excess”. He added that the “current food labelling requirements do not require these risks and side effects to be written on the packaging”.

Notably, the 89-year-old is said to have shown the highest possible recorded levels of Vitamin D in his body, as per the Post. His post-mortem report revealed that his Vitamin D levels were 380, which is the “maximum level recorded by the laboratory”. 

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Medical experts recommend adults maintain a level of 30 to “guarantee sufficiency”. In terms of dosage, 600 international units (IUs) is the recommended amount for most adults. Taking more than the recommended amount can cause overdosage, as per Mayo Clinic. 

David Mitchener first presented at the hospital with hypercalcemia or high amounts of calcium in his body. This is typically induced by high levels of Vitamin D. However, the excess supplement wasn’t the only cause of death listed as the coroner also blamed congestive heart failure, chronic kidney failure, hypercalcemia, and Ischaemic Heart Disease. However, due to the high concentrations of vitamin D found, the coroner warned that “Vitamin supplements can have potentially very serious risks and side effects when taken in excess”. 

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