Why do most modern humans not get enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is best obtained by being in sunlight for about 30 minutes per day (arms and legs uncovered). However, showering with soap within 24 hours will wash that Vitamin D off of the skin before it can be absorbed! Since most of us prefer to shower most days, it is easier to just take a supplement that has close to zero risk of overdose, is very cheap, and has immense possible benefits. It is nearly impossible to get enough Vitamin D through diet only.
What kind should I buy?
Be sure to get Vitamin D3 (animal source), which is more than twice as “potent” as Vitamin D2 (plant source). Large bottles with high quantities of either the 2,000 or 5,000 IU pills are available from big box stores for less than $15.
What is this medicine?
Cholecalciferol is a man-made form of vitamin D3. It helps your body keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones and teeth.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- other chronic disease
- parathyroid disease
- stomach disease
- an unusual or allergic reaction to vitamin D, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. However, since Vitamin D is stored in the body, if you miss a dose, you can just take two the next time. In fact, you could also take an entire week’s-worth of Vitamin D pills once a week, but it is probably better and easier to just take it as a daily habit.
Talk to your physician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: It is extremely difficult to overdose on Vitamin D3, however, if you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
What may interact with this medicine?
- Medicines for cholesterol like colestipol or cholestyramine
- Medicines to treat seizures or nerve pain
- Mineral oil
- Some over-the-counter supplements
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress.
Do not take any non-prescription medicines that have vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, or calcium including antacids while taking this medicine, unless your doctor or health care professional says you can. The extra supplements can cause side effects.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible (some of these are signs of a Calcium level that is too high, which can be caused by too much Vit D):
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- bone pain
- increased thirst
- increased urination (especially at night)
- irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure
- unexpected weight loss
- unusually weak or tired
- Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- dry mouth
- loss of appetite
- metallic taste
- stomach upset
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.