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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Apr;148:14-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2015.01.022. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

Iatrogenic vitamin D toxicity in an infant--a case report and review of literature.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, United States.
Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, United States.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, United States. Electronic address:


Public concern over vitamin D deficiency has led to widespread use of over the counter (OTC) vitamin D (-D3 or -D2) supplements, containing up to 10,000 IU/unit dose (400 IU=10μg). Overzealous use of such supplements can cause hypercalcemia due to vitamin D toxicity. Infants are particularly vulnerable to toxicity associated with vitamin D overdose. OTC supplements are not subject to stringent quality control regulations from FDA and high degree of variability in vitamin D content in OTC pills has been demonstrated. Other etiologies of vitamin D induced hypercalcemia include hyperparathyroidism, granulomatous malignancies like sarcoidosis and mutations in the CYP24A1 gene. The differential diagnosis of hypercalcemia should include iatrogenic and genetic etiologies. C24-hydroxylation and C3-epimerization are two important biochemical pathways via which 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) is converted to its metabolites, 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (24,25(OH)2D3) or its C3 epimer, 3-epi-25-OH-D3 respectively. Mutations in the CYP24A1 gene cause reduced serum 24,25(OH)2D3 to 25(OH)D3 ratio (<0.02), elevated serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D3), hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria and nephrolithiasis. Studies in infants have shown that 3-epi-25(OH)D3 can contribute 9-61.1% of the total 25(OH)D3. Therefore, measurements of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D3, 1,25(OH)2D3, 3-epi-25(OH)D3 and 24,25(OH)2D3 are useful to investigate whether the underlying cause of vitamin D toxicity is iatrogenic versus genetic. Here we report a case of vitamin D3 associated toxicity in a 4-month-old female who was exclusively breast-fed and received an oral liquid vitamin D3 supplement at a dose significantly higher than recommended on the label. The vitamin D3 content of the supplement was threefold higher (6000 IU of D/drop) than listed on the label (2000 IU). Due to overdosing and higher vitamin D3 content, the infant received ∼50,000 IU/day for two months resulting in severe hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis. We also review the relevant literature on vitamin D3 toxicity in this report.


Hypervitaminosis D; LC–MS/MS; Vitamin D; Vitamin D associated toxicity

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