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Man Killed by Vitamin D: "Supplements Can Have Very Serious Risks," Coroner Says

A 89-year-old from the UK has died after taking vitamin D supplements for months.

We're often told how dangerous vitamin deficiencies are for our health, which is why so many of us try to make up for what we're lacking by taking supplements. But what you assume is boosting your wellbeing could be doing the exact opposite if you're not careful. A new report out of the UK is highlighting the dangers of overdoing it with vitamins, after a man was killed by the vitamin D supplements he'd been taking for months. Read on to learn more about the case, and the urgent warning made by the coroner.

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A man in the UK died from vitamin D toxicity.


A Feb. 22 report from a coroner in Surrey, England, details the death of 89-year-old David Mitchener. According to the report, Mitchener was admitted to East Surrey Hospital on May 10, 2023, with hypercalcemia. This is a "condition in which the calcium level in your blood is above normal," per the Mayo Clinic.

Despite undergoing treatment, the 89-year-old died in the hospital 10 days later on May 20. An autopsy found that his primary cause of death was vitamin D toxicity and hypercalcemia, along with heart and kidney failure.

RELATED: 12 Supplements You Should Never Take Together, Medical Experts Say.

He had been taking vitamin D supplements for months.

Fish oil capsules with omega 3 and vitamin D in a glass bottle on wooden texture, healthy diet concept,close up shot.

Prior to his death, medical tests revealed that Mitchener's vitamin D levels were at the maximum level recordable by the lab. The 89-year-old had been taking vitamin D supplements purchased from NaturePlusUK for at least nine months before he died, according to the coroner's report.

"There were no warnings on or in the packaging detailing the specific risks or side effects of taking vitamin D supplements," the report stated.

RELATED: Never Buy Vitamins With These 3 Ingredients, Doctor Says.

The coroner warns "supplements can have very serious risks."


Coroner Jonathan Stevens said his investigation into Mitchener's death revealed major areas of concern. First and foremost, he noted that "vitamin supplements can have potentially very serious risks and side effects when taken in excess."

The coroner expressed his belief that current food labeling requirements "do not require these risks and side effects to be written" on the packaging of supplements, and that there is an "absence of appropriate warnings and guidance about dosage" of these over-the-counter (OTC) products.

In his report, Stevens urged supplement manufacturers and regulatory bodies to do more to make consumers aware of the potentially fatal risks that can occur from taking excessive amounts of vitamins.

"In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken," he stated.

You should be aware of the signs of vitamin D toxicity.

A young woman lying on the couch while holding her stomach with food poisoning symptoms or a stomach ache
iStock / Drazen Zigic

Your body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium, so you can build and maintain healthy bones.

"Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity," the Mayo Clinic explains.

But too much of a good thing can be a serious problem. Vitamin D toxicity, also known as hypervitaminosis D, can occur when you have excess amount of vitamin D in your body—which is usually caused by overdosing on supplements.

"The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination," the Mayo Clinic says. "Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones."

The recommended dose of vitamin D for most adults is 600 international units (IU) a day. Taking 60,000 IU a day of vitamin D for several months has been shown to cause toxicity, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Other signs of vitamin D toxicity may include a decrease in appetite, constipation, dehydration, increased thirst, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, muscle weakness, difficulty walking, and bone pain, per the Cleveland Clinic. If you are taking vitamin D supplements and develop any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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