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A subscriber submitted the following question in response to a tip about vitamin D and rickets: "Thank you for the information about vitamin D. I have a question about dosage: If I take 400 IU with calcium, but also am exposed to sunlight, am I running the risk of taking too much?"

Thanks for the question. You are right to be concerned about overdosing with vitamin D. There is a rather nasty list of reactions in the case of overdose, including nausea, diarrhea, skin rash,
headaches, calcium deposits, and kidney stones. However, these symptoms don't usually occur unless you are ingesting over 1000 IU per day. Also, your ability to process sunlight into vitamin D depends a lot on your age. The older you are, the less efficient your body is at converting sunlight into vitamin D. Furthermore, when your levels are adequate, the body limits how much sunlight it converts and absorbs.

The RDA recommends 200 IU per day and up to 400 IU per day for children and pregnant women. With that in mind, your supplementation is probably at the upper end of what you need, but you probably don't need to worry about getting too much from sunlight. Worry more about
your exposure to sunlight in terms of increasing your risk for skin cancer (and start using sun block!).

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