COVID-19 and Vitamin D: How much is too much?

WASHINGTON TWP., Montgomery County — Several weeks ago a study from the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed COVID-19 patients who were vitamin D deficient recovered better after getting a prescription for the vitamin, but now a local doctor is warning of the dangers of too much vitamin D.

“The number of patients enrolled is just too small for us to make some hard conclusions that it is helpful or not really helpful, I just don’t think we know,” said Dr. Charles Opperman, who runs a private practice in Washington Twp.

>> Studies suggest link between Vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 infections

The study done by Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism sampled 216 COVID-19 patients. It showed that 82 percent of those patients were deficient in Vitamin D and when given a prescription they recovered better.

Opperman said one of his patients was recently hospitalized after taking too much vitamin D.

“A patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 and attempted to treat it himself and that did not go very well,” Opperman said.

The patient was hospitalized for about a week until his Vitamin D levels lowered. High levels of Vitamin D can lead to several medical issues.

“High calcium levels can lead to confusion, kidney stones, and ultimately hospitalization in this situation,” Opperman said.

Opperman recommends taking 600 to 1,000 international units daily, but no more than 4,000 international units a day without consulting a doctor first. For context, a 125mcg softgel of Vitamin D sold over the counter is 5,000 international units.

“Don’t treat complex medical issues yourself. There is a limit – just because something is over the counter does not mean it is safe. You can take too much Tylenol, ibuprofen, Vitamin D,” Opperman said.

Opperman said if you are unsure whether you should take vitamin D, you should consult your doctor.

Katy Andersen

Katy Andersen

I joined WHIO's team in September 2019. You can catch me on News Center 7 when I anchor Saturdays at 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and Noon, Sundays at 6 and 11 p.m., and while I am reporting during the week.