According to a study from Canada, the prevalence rate of constipation in Canada is around 27.2%. Additionally, 5.2% of these individuals are adults.
Interestingly, the risk of experiencing constipation is associated with age and sex. In the same study, it was reported that women are most at risk of experiencing constipation condition.
The question is, can vitamin D intake cause chronic functional constipation?
This article will discuss the effects of vitamin D deficiency and what may happen if you take too many vitamin D supplements.
What Happens When You Take Too Much Vitamin D Supplements?
So, after knowing the benefits of having high vitamin D levels, it is extremely important to also learn when toxic levels enter the bloodstream.
In one case stated above, vitamin D toxicity was reported to be associated with stomach pain. This is the reason why some people wonder: does vitamin D cause constipation?
Generally, no. Vitamin D does not easily cause constipation when you take the proper recommended dose.
However, just like too much calcium, too much vitamin D causes side effects and one of these includes chronic constipation.
The typical symptom you can experience from constipation caused by too much vitamin D is abdominal pain. Other side effects of too much vitamin D include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Kidney problems
- Altered mental health conditions
Large doses of vitamin D can also cause a loss of appetite. Consistent with a case report from California, one patient complained of loss of appetite after taking vitamin D supplements.
Because of its loss of appetite effect, this means that vitamin D can also support weight loss.
Vitamin D Toxicity Effects
Besides constipation and the formation of calcium stones, vitamin D toxicity also has other consequences. Some of these include the following:
- Intestinal motility disorders
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Frequent urination
To avoid taking too much vitamin D, it is highly advised to seek consultation from a healthcare provider, especially if you have other medical conditions, like kidney problems.
Doing this will not only prevent excessive vitamin D in your blood but will also prevent possible drug interactions.
Sometimes, vitamin D toxicity is also caused by taking improperly labeled vitamin D. Remember, taking too much vitamin D can lead to kidney injury. Thus, for parents, it is highly advised to label your other supplements properly.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Constipation
Besides high vitamin D levels, vitamin D deficiency can cause acute and chronic constipation. In another study from Italy, this type of constipation is called chronic functional constipation.
To understand better, according to the World Journal of Gastroenterology, the main symptoms of this chronic constipation include pain when pooping and fecal incontinence.
Other symptoms include the following:
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Hard stools
- Stool retention
There are also psychological symptoms from chronic constipation caused by vitamin D insufficiency. These other symptoms include the following:
- Social dysfunction
As cited in a study from Iran, the prevalence rate of these psychological impairments caused by constipation due to vitamin D deficiency is 65%.
In a case study from Italy, a toddler had constipation, abdominal pain, and other symptoms resolved after taking supplements with vitamin D.
This means that vitamin D can be therapeutic aid for improving mental health status.
According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology, for adults who experience constipation after taking supplements, there are other solutions for you. You can consider stool softeners or natural laxatives such as castor oil to relieve constipation.
Consistent with a clinical trial from Turkey, it was reported that castor oil could relieve constipation.
In addition to castor oil, you can also use olive oil to treat constipation.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
To avoid constipation caused by vitamin D deficiency, it is essential to learn the causes of vitamin D deficiency. Some of these include the following:
- Malabsorption of vitamin D
- Not enough sunlight exposure
- The kidney cannot properly convert vitamin D
Increasing vitamin D levels is easy.
You can consider eating foods rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, salmon, or mackerel.
In children, taking multivitamins is highly recommended. Usually, these preparations contain amounts of vitamin D that are suitable for little bodies.
What is Vitamin D?
Generally, vitamin D is naturally produced by the body.
According to a study from the United Kingdom, your body can stimulate more of this vitamin through sun exposure. This is the reason why vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin.
You can also increase your vitamin D intake from sun exposure through whole foods and calcium supplements.
Furthermore, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Take note that a fat-soluble vitamin can only be absorbed along with fats and stored in the body’s fats.
Benefits of Vitamin D
The main uses of vitamin D supplementation are to regulate inflammation and immune function.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, vitamin D plays a significant role in retaining calcium absorption.
A study from Switzerland reported that taking calcium supplements with vitamin D supplements promoted better prevention of hip fractures compared to taking calcium alone.
This means that vitamin D supplementation can increase blood calcium levels.
However, you should constantly monitor your calcium levels in the blood because too much calcium can cause kidney problems.
According to a study from Brazil, excessive calcium levels can cause renal failure, and symptoms of this include frequent urination and excessive thirst.
So, if you have pre-existing medical conditions, especially related to your renal health, you should seek advice from a healthcare provider to know how many doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements are required for you.
a.) Strong bones
The main use of vitamin D supplements and calcium supports strong bones. Generally, when you have low vitamin D levels, calcium absorption will not be optimized. Eventually, this can increase the risk of abnormal medical conditions related to bone health
b.) Enhanced immune function
Moreover, there are also reports that low serum levels of vitamin D can affect immune health. A Belgium study stated that low vitamin D levels could increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
In another study from New York, it was explained that vitamin D can modulate immune responses. However, it does not mean that high vitamin D levels are good for the immune system.
Just like too much calcium, high vitamin D levels can cause side effects.
In a case report from the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, one boy developed stomach pain and elevated blood levels after vitamin D supplementation.
Moreover, this stomach pain is strongly linked with chronic constipation.
c.) Support cardiovascular health
Furthermore, just like calcium, having enough vitamin D levels is also essential for heart health.
A study from Italy reported that low vitamin D levels could increase the risk of hypertension and heart attack.
Check Your Vitamin D Status
As recommended by the National Institutes of Health, to avoid having lower vitamin D levels, it is essential to always check your serum levels. Remember, insufficient vitamin D can cause many effects, including digestive problems.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily dose required for adults is up to 800 IU per day.
For children, the recommended dose is up to 600 IU per day. Again, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional for safer use and to avoid intestinal motility disorders or constipation.
Indeed, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is not just important for the proper functioning of bones and muscles.
It is also essential in supporting overall health. However, those taking this vitamin should understand that it has some consequences when taken improperly.
High serum vitamin D levels are strongly linked to constipation, intestinal motility disorders, kidney injury, and poor appetite.
Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency can also cause constipation, changes in bowel movements, and other digestive problems.
This means balancing your vitamin D levels to avoid other complications is essential.