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Tremors After Vitamin A & D Overdose/Metabolic Disaster?

2020 was horrible for me. I didn't get coronavirus, but it was the first year in over a decade that I had to see a doctor for something other than routine checkups.

I will try to keep this short because the last few months have been a horror show for me.

Basically, I was taking the following supplements/vitamins from late 2019 to September 2020: Very high doses of Vitamin D, recommended dose of glucosamine chondroitin, cod liver oil, and Vitamin C.

From March 2020 to September 2020 I added the following to the stuff I was taking above: I increased Vitamin D to 30,000 IU/day, started taking Vitamin A (40,000 IU), Vitamin B-100 complex (B1, B2, Niacin, B6, B12, Biotin, Folate), Vitamin E 1,000 IU/day, DIM, Chelated Zinc 50mg/day, and Magnesium 250mg/day.

Why was I taking all of this? I am an idiot and was trying to be "healthy" after being very unhealthy (was overweight, eating poorly, and not very active). Combined with all those supplements, I was on a very strict ketogenic diet - lots of vegetables, eggs, and bacon was basically my meal every day. I also included nutritional yeast and apple cider vinegar/lemon juice drink (2 tbsp of apple cider and 2 lemons squeezed in plenty water).

Now everything was going amazingly well until the lockdowns happened in March. Before March, I lost a ton of weight, was exercising all the time, had tons of energy, my mind was clear, no signs of illness at all. I wasn't overdosing on Vitamin D (it was still a high amount) and I wasn't overloading my body with supplements/vitamins. Once lockdowns happened, I guess I got freaked out and decided that I needed to increase dosage (no doctor guided me on this stuff, I did research online and admittedly I think I took it too far).

So here's the synopsis of what happened:
I'm feeling fine until July 2020, where I get a MASSIVE depression attack. I was taking Vitamin D to help with my depression (especially being stuck inside so often), but I had never felt depressed like that before. It lasted for a month, then went away. The depression attack actually prompted me to take more Vitamin D tablets and try to go out in the sun to get more naturally.

After that subsided in July (I believe that could have been a reaction to all the pills I was taking or due to lockdown stress), August I continued doing home workouts and taking the same excessive amount of pills, then noticed my urine was dark when I would pee in the morning only (I drink a lot of water, so that was very concerning to me as it didn't even look like the normal shade of yellow, it was very dark). That prompted me to decrease the pills (like one or two less tablets, not much), it didn't seem as bad when I urinated, so I just kept going on.

A few weeks after on September 10 - I was in complete agony: I was lethargic, fatigued, light-headed, dizzy, headaches, weakness (in arms and legs), itchy (under my feet), ears ringing, and stuffy head (like on a plane). I assumed that this was due to transitioning into ketosis because I had come off of keto for one month (August). However, I never felt the "keto flu" like this before ever. I had never felt that helpless and weak in my life before. After a few days of merely existing in pain and useless, I decided to just stop taking all the vitamins/supplements. This helped me feel better and it was a gradual improvement.

I wanted to make sure I didn't ruin my organs, so I went to a GP for tests and explained my situation - I believed that I had a Vitamin A/Vitamin D overdose. The GP said there was no such thing and sort of laughed at me self-medicating because I was scared of corona. Anyway, I didn't really care what he thought of my admittedly stupid situation, I just wanted test results to make sure my organs were fine. He called me back in to go over the results, even though they were available online and everything (except cholesterol) was fine. I was really nervous because if everything was fine, why call me back? I go in and he says everything is fine, except for cholesterol and he insisted I take a statin. The cholesterol thing is a side issue because I knew it would be high due to being on keto - which he didn't believe and spent 20 minutes peddling a statin on me. Eventually, I had to cut that conversation short and demand for some insight on the actual reason I went in - the fatigue/lethargy/weakness etc. because I wanted an explanation of what happened because I was scared. He brushed it off as the vitamins/supplements and said that I should stay off of them. I was charged for this visit and was told my insurance didn't cover it - so I had to pay for the completely useless visit.

Anyway, so after that I believed things would get better if I just avoided the tablets - which I did. Every now and then, I would feel weak or fatigued, but I felt good enough to go back exercising. Things were getting a little better. But then I noticed in mid-October: muscle spasms and eye/finger twitching, which didn't really scare me I thought it had something to do with sleep, as I wasn't sleeping very well. Then the day after I went to the gym, I woke up with a stiff neck, tingling/prickling/burning in hands/forearm/feet, headaches, weakness, muscle spasm/finger twitching, and feeling very warm/intolerant to heat. Again, I never felt anything like this before and googled and of course saw the frightening diagnosis of MS. I thought I would give it a few days to see if it gets better on its own. The stiff neck went away on its own, but the prickling/burning/tingling stayed and I would wake up with my arm numb or "sleeping". I also noticed my hands shaking more and I felt "internal tremors" in my legs. That's what started to scare me. I booked an appointment with a neurologist. He said that it sounded like a neck injury from being in the gym and recommended physical therapy or to wait a few weeks because it may heal on its own. I wanted to rule out MS, so he said I could do a MRI of the brain. The brain MRI was clear except for a pineal cyst which he said was benign and nothing to worry about. I started physical therapy for my neck and in a few weeks, the burning/tingling was gone.

All that remained now was the tremors and the heat intolerance. When I went back to the neurologist to follow up, he said that I had a benign essential tremor. It doesn't affect my regular life at all and is barely noticeable (visually), so he just recommended keeping an eye on it and if it gets bothersome to come back. The heat intolerance thing, I'm not sure if it's just because I regained all the weight I lost or something metabolic, but I'm not sure if it's an actual symptom or not because it's currently winter, so I can't determine whether I'm just in rooms with the heat turned on high or something.

Anyway, so I thought about it and the only thing that I haven't changed since all hell broke loose in September was keto, so I came off of keto for December. The internal tremors in my legs are basically gone now, but I still have a weird feeling from time to time, but it's much less noticeable than before - so I assume it's getting better. My arms/hands still have the tremor when I examine them closely and I kind of feel less coordinated with my hands, but I don't know if that's just in my head (I play piano and somehow that's fine, yet I feel like I'm struggling putting contacts on my eyes).

I know it was a lot to read and I really appreciate anyone's insight on this. I never hard tremors before in my hands. Does anyone think that the tremors could have been caused by all the vitamins/supplements I was taking? Can the tremors go away by staying off of them? It's only been about 4 months since I came off the vitamins/supplements and I feel much better than when the first symptoms hit me in September. I'm just wondering how long it would take to recover from basically overdosing on high volumes of vitamins for about 10 months?

Thank you all for reading.
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Avatar universal
First, I hate to say this, but your doctor is an idiot.  A lot of them are, so don't be surprised.  Vitamin A, if that's what you were taking, is liver toxic (so are statins, by the way) if you take too much.  Any amount can be too much for certain people.  Others won't have any problems at all (same with statins, by the way, they don't harm everyone's liver.  They can also destroy the joints, by the way, but obviously don't do this to most people.  Docs have been encouraged by current recommendations to give statins to pretty much all human life forms, but keep in mind the guys who create these recommendations are all paid in part by the pharmaceutical industry.  But it's not an unusual recommendation anymore.  There is evidence that shows that even very minor elevations in cholesterol, meaning LDL and triglycerides, should be treated by statins.  Others disagree, since the connection between cholesterol and heart disease isn't necessarily proven to a consensus yet, since only oxidized cholesterol is toxic to us and we need cholesterol to make our hormones.)  Everyone recommends you get your Vitamin A by taking beta carotene, which is water soluble and any excess is evacuated quickly.  the body will convert beta carotene to Vitamin A as you need unless you have some condition that prevents your body from doing this.  Whereas both Vitamin A and D are fat soluble, which means some excess will be stored in the liver, hence the potential, more for Vitamin A than D, to produce liver toxicity.  Now, if your doc did a very thorough blood test, he would have tested your liver enzymes and any liver problems would probably have been noted, but since they idiot doesn't seem to know Vitamin A is toxic in high dosages maybe he didn't check well enough.  On the other hand, this doesn't mean you sustained any liver damage, it just means it's possible.  Zinc is also toxic in high dosages.  What you took probably isn't that high and probably wasn't absorbed all that well anyway, so you didn't absorb all 50mg, but it's also one to be careful with.  It's best used when you need it in a sublingual form, and the amount in a basic multivitamin is probably okay.  Magnesium is also a problem if you take too much, and here you do have some symptoms of that.  It's wonderful in the right amount or a bit more to deal with a problem, but if you take too much you will leach the other electrolytes, especially calcium, out of your body.  Electrolytes are in electrical balance in the body, and calcium and magnesium are carefully balanced in bones.  On the other hand, too much D will potentiate calcium but not the other electrolytes and so can create a problem, again usually in the bones, by leaching out magnesium.  Too much dairy can do this as well, as dairy is high in calcium but deficient in magnesium and often D is supplemented in dairy which just makes the calcium that much better absorbed but not the magnesium.  When electrolytes, especially your potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium (the other is that zinc you were taking), are out of balance, you can get things like nerve problems, muscle cramps, etc.  So yeah, of course you're feeling better.  You've also stopped that ridiculous diet you were on -- I mean, seriously, you thought bacon was food?  It's just fat.  So you are also recovering from being undernourished.  Those fad diets are okay for short periods of time but can be lethal long-term.  And if you are going to do them, you still have to eat healthful foods.  The best diet is still one balanced with veggies including legumes, some sweet fruit and other fruits like nuts and seeds, whole grains, and moderate amounts of animal food, focusing on what comes from the ocean.  Other things in moderation.  Don't have to be perfect.  Now, this doesn't mean something else entirely caused this problem, but usually it's pretty smart to look at the most recent thing that happened that wasn't normal and it's probably what did it.  Now, I'll go on.  Too much B6 can cause a neuropathy, and if you took that much and you're one of the unlucky people who get this, that can also cause what you're describing.  And that's much harder to fix.  Most of us don't get it, and you don't say how much you were taking.  If it was a balanced B complex, no problem.  Niacin is another you can take too much of, and it can cause the skin to feel quite warm.  Like you're describing.  So another possibility.  Look, bottom line, if you don't know what you're doing with natural medicine, do some homework first and see a professional.  Don't go overboard -- more isn't necessarily better.  Doctors know virtually nothing about nutrition.  Your doc knows less than nothing, as I'm just a guy on the internet here who used to manage health food stores and I know more than your doctor, which a pathetic commentary on modern medicine.  You would have been better off talking to a veterinarian, as they actually use supplements a lot in treating animals, something doctors no longer are taught how to do.  Will you recover?  Probably.  You seem to be recovering.  But yeah, you could have done this to yourself.  It's possible.  It's also possible you didn't and it's a coincidence and something else is going on.  Let's hope time and a good diet help.  I'd recommend you see a holistic doc of some sort and do some help to your liver.  I'd recommend things, but since you are like a drug addict, I won't.  You might take too much for too long.  You need the help of others.  Peace.
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Thank you for the response.

I'm definitely not a drug addict (probably something an addict would say lol), but seriously I'm not. Honestly, I went overboard during the whole corona lockdown because I was basically alone and scared of what could happen to me. I was locked off from everyone I knew (I had just moved to a new area, so I knew no one when the lockdowns happened), so I was worried about getting COVID and being alone. It was stupid to increase all those vitamins/supplements, I know that, but I'm not an addict.

If you have any advice on what to treat the tremors with, please let me know. At this point, it's the only remaining symptom after everything else. If you subtract the burning/tingling/prickling - which was probably due to something I did to myself at the gym - then things were gradually getting better for me.

I haven't taken any vitamins or supplements since September 2020. I've been off keto since the end of November.

Also, I know that doctor is an absolute imbecile. I wanted to punch him in the face when he went on demanding I take the statin (and subsequently charged me for the visit that he called me back for, essentially charging me for the statin prescription which I told him upfront I was NOT going to take, then he proceeded to talk to me like a child and say "don't be afraid of taking your medicine, it's good for you.") The liver damage, I can say that when I went to the neurologist, after I explained how moronic the first doctor was, he actually listened and redid blood tests and checked and said everything was good (and, as I expected, my "bad" cholesterol went down).

Anyway, if you have any recommendations for the tremors or if you can think of any reason why they started and how to end them, please let me know. Thanks again for your input.
Sorry, but I don't have much to offer about that.  Ironically, one thing is to take magnesium, but we're not going down that road again.  And it might not work.  Or potassium.  But I'm not sure exactly what you mean by tremors.  You mentioned depression.  I don't know D to be useful for that, but I'm also not sure a temporary bad time is depression.  Could be, our could just be having one of those rotten times life throws at folks.  What exactly do you mean, then, by tremors?  If it's shaking, especially if it's accompanied by feeling cold, that's often a symptoms of anxiety and stress, and it sounds like you've been going through some stuff.  But no, I don't really know what you have, I just wanted to let you know it definitely could have been those supplements but it also definitely could have not been.  I think you're handled it really well, as you did something, you got sick, and you looked at the thing you did.  Doctors can be pretty dense sometimes.  By the way, it is common for docs to contact us after a physical to discuss the results of blood work and if we have any questions.  Usually, in a group practice, this is done online, and there's no extra charge for it.  I once had a doc discuss a test with me and I said I'd look into it, and the next day the test appeared on my doorstep.  I called the company that made the test and told them I didn't ever agree to it, it was just a subject of discussion, and they removed the charge for it.  But yeah, that doc was an imbecile.  I'm still having a hard time with him not knowing Vitamin A was liver toxic.  I mean, it's not that hard a thing to know.  I'm glad you're working your way through it, and if I had a guess to make, I'd guess the tremors will dissipate as well.  Peace.
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