Your Prescription Vitamin D is Not What You Should be Taking

By on October 8, 2009
prescription vitamin d, not what you want the doctor to order

When you think of ‘Prescription Strength’, most of us will think, somehow, that it is automatically better or stronger than a similar ‘Over the Counter’ variety. But with prescription vitamin D supplements, this is far from the case. In fact, these prescription vitamin D supplements are Completely inferior to the vitamin D3 supplements that you can buy in any health food store in many ways. They are less potent, have more potential for toxicity, don’t have the ‘active’ component that regular vitamin d does and they have a shorter shelf life. Do you STILL want prescription strength vitamin D?

Vitamin D has become somewhat famous lately, with tons of studies showing that millions of otherwise ‘healthy’ people are vitamin D deficient, in many cases SEVERELY so, and that the consequences are diseases like cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis. As clinicians become more aware of the problems associated with vitamin D deficiency, more are testing for and treating it. And while awareness of vitamin D is GREATl, it will also bring more prescription vitamin D supplements- which may NOT be so great.

The most common form of prescription vitamin D is in the form of Vitamin D2, also called Ergocalciferol. This is also the same type of vitamin D that is used for the ‘fortification’ of most milk and cereal products. But the ‘over the counter’ formulation of vitamin D in the form of Vitamin D3, also called Cholecalciferol, is far superior to the prescription formula that is routinely prescribed. First of all, prescription vitamin D is at least one-half as effective as vitamin D3 and possibly even up to one-tenth as effective. In ‘The case against ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement’, the authors state, “50 000 IU vitamin D2 should be considered equivalent to 15000 IU vitamin D3, and likely closer to 5000 IU vitamin D3”. That’s One-Tenth as effective as vitamin d that you can buy in stores. When these differences were discovered in the 1950’s, Germany reformulated their prescription vitamin D to vitamin D3, but almost 60 years later, the United States is still using prescription vitamin D that doesn’t work.

And it really doesn’t work. One consequence of vitamin D deficiency is an increase in parathyroid hormone levels which alters calcium metabolism and preventing calcium from building bones. Studies measure the effectiveness of vitamin D treatment by measuring vitamin D levels increasing AND parathyroid hormone levels decreasing. In studies that compare the two different types of supplements, vitamin D3 supplements decreased parathyroid hormone while vitamin D2 didn’t. Another extremely important function of vitamin D, one that can’t be understated, is vitamin D’s ability to bind to ‘Vitamin D Receptors’ in the body. These receptors, also called VDR, are present in almost every tissue in the body and are one possible explanation for the extremely diverse health effects of the vitamin. When VDR’s are bound with an active form of vitamin D, it can help to prevent the expression of a mind boggling array of disease causing genes. Yet, vitamin D2 produces an active hormone that has 40% less binding ability to VDR’s than does the hormone produced from vitamin D3. This makes vitamin D2 much less ‘Biologically Active’ than a Vitamin D3 Supplement and leads to the possibility that prescription vitamin D doesn’t even prevent the diseases and problems that treatment of vitamin D deficiency is supposed to alleviate!

Another disadvantage of prescription vitamin D , is that it has a shorter half life in the body. Water soluble vitamins need to be replenished continually; for instance B vitamins and vitamin C are best metabolized in small doses throughout the day. But fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D do NOT need to be taken every day. In fact the half life of vitamin D3 supplements is 3 weeks. This means that 3 weeks after you take one dose, one half of that dose is still left in your body. This is true whether you get it from the sun, food or supplements. But prescription vitamin d has a much shorter half life, which means that you not only need more of the vitamin to prevent or treat deficiency, but you also need to take that higher dose more OFTEN.

“…the vitamin D of irradiated ergosterol [vitamin D2],
exerts greater toxic effects at lower levels than do the vitamins D
of fish liver oil [vitamin D3].
‘A Comparison of the Hypervitamoses Induced by
Irradiated Erogsterol and Fish Liver Oil Concentrates’

But these higher doses could cause more problems. Researchers since the 1930’s have found higher potential for toxicity, more impurities and less consistent formulations in vitamin D2 preparations than in Vitamin D3 Supplements . In fact, researchers interpreting studies on vitamin D find that the studies done using vitamin D2 have less consistent results and recommend that all vitamin d research be done using vitamin D3 supplements for its more consistent results, better method of action in the body, lower toxicity levels and its improved shelf stability.

So while progress is being made in the awareness of the widespread problem of vitamin d deficiency, doctors who actually test for and treat vitamin D deficiency most often choose to ignore the advice of vitamin D researchers Dr’s Houghton and Vieth who state, “… vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation…”. It seems that patients would be better served if their doctors, instead, recommend their patients go to the local health food store to treat their vitamin D deficiency.

About Kerri Knox, RN

The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.
Comments' TINA says:

I am concerned about taking vit d tablets my levels are 12 and my doctor took the bloods on my insistence and made me feel I was wasting his time.I felt very unwell and suffer from fibromyalgia.He discussed anti depressants with me and I insisted that my symptoms were not psychological.I was given a 3 months supply of fultium d3 800u daily.I questioned him about checking my parathyroid he said we checked it a year ago so not necessary to repeat.I have tried on two occasions to take these tablets over a fhree week period but they make me ill.I feel nauseous and unable to work so i have stopped them altogether.I have read that vit d is a major component in rat poison and of course it is not a naturally occurring vit so it is entirely lab based manufactured.I would appreciate your advice on this matter

KerriKnoxRN says:

Vitamin D is not in rat poison. And if you have difficultly taking vitamin d, it is most often due to being low in three other nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin A and magnesium. Taking these nutrients, being sure to use NATURAL VITAMIN A and not synthetic vitamin A or beta carotene, most often relieves unwellness from vitamin d. I discuss this in MANY MANY threads on the main site. Also, being low all of these nutrients possibly can explain your fibromyalgia symptoms as well. And Vitamin D2 (emphasis on the 2) is synthetic, Vitamin D3 is not. Which is why I insist on Vitamin D3. If you've taken D2 in the past, and taken it at the 'prescription dose' of 50,000 IU's per week (one 50,000 IU capsule per week) this is another likely reason why you feel terrible. Taking D3 and taking it in smaller doses is a way to prevent vitamin D side effects.' brigitte says:

How long am I suppose to be taking 50,000 units of vitamin D?

KerriKnoxRN says:

Until you have 'optimal' levels as outlined on the Normal Vitamin D Levels page.' Azania says:

I was diagnosed with a vitamin d level of 11 and my doctor prescribed vitamin d cap 50000iu for 12 weeks once a week. I have used 3 for three weeks and noticed pains in my ankles knees hips back headaches dizziness and a blazing in my body. I went back to the doctor and he took me off and said is a sign of diabetic which turned out not to be so. I also had diarrhea ,, never like that in my life. Please some one advice me on this. Also, i would very much appreciate if kerri would too. I am very frustrated and value my health very much. I need some help, i have to go back to the doctor and i do not want to because i have loose confidence.'

KerriKnoxRN says:

Please see my pages on… Worsening pain of any kind can be expected after starting vitamin d therapy. Sometime even after levels have been normal for up to six months. It has NOTHING to do with diabetes and your doctor was just making that up as there is no scientific basis for his belief. In any case, if it WERE a sign of diabetes, there would be no need to stop the vitamin d because of that.' Holly says:

I get a severe rash when my vitamin D level drops. It took moving to Texas from MN to discover that it was a vitamin D deficiency. I didn't have it in Texas. Moved back to MN and it came back. My doctor doesn't believe that vitamin D is important and even with low D, does not take it seriously. I had gastric bypass so nothing absorbs well. I'm changing doctors!' Christy says:

An endocrinologist prescribed me "50,000 UI a DAY as directed." I have been taking this dosage daily for 8 months. When I went to get my rx refilled last week, the pharmacist caught the mistake. He pulled the originial prescription & the doctor ordered the dosage daily. I could tell that my pharmacist seemed really upset; but tried not to alarm me. He said, "It is a fat soluble vitamin. You should have never been taking that dosage for that period of time! Do NOT take any more of the vitamins for a month & then you need to go get your levels checked immediately!" Well — I'm a divorced mother of 2 small children who lost everything that I have due the crash of the economy. I don't have the money for lab work. Is there any test that I could buy OTC to check my levels? — & why would he tell me to wait 30 days to go have my levels checked, instead of going immediately?

KerriKnoxRN says:

I don't know why he would tell you to wait a month. Maybe so it will be lower and he won't be in as much trouble? I don't know. In any case, you can get an over the counter vitamin d test HERE. Vitamin D Test

But fortunately, if you are not experiencing symptoms and were not taking calcium, you may be just fine. There are several doctors who have ALL of their patients on 50,000 IU's per day and they simply never seem to get toxic as long as they don't take calcium. So, get the test and find out what your level is, but don't panic just yet, you may be absolutely fine.' christy says:

Ms. Knox, Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, I have been taking calcium supplements for the past 3 yrs @ the advise of my doctor. For 3 weeks last month, everything that I took in came back up. Over the past 2 months, I’ve lost 18 lbs & nothing in my lifestyle has changed. Today I went & had lab work done to check my levels just as a precaution in case permanent damage has been done to any organs. I went to the doctor originally b/c I was having olfactory hallucinations (smelling exhaust fumes) for almost a year. After lab work, the doctor put me on the 50,000 ui/day for 3 months without any warnings whatsoever. I felt much better after the 3 months & the smelling issue had resolved completely. When I went to my family practioner for a kidney infection, I asked for refills. After looking @ my rx on my bottle, refills were called in for 6 months. I was totally in shock when my pharmacist notified me after me taking this dosage for 9 months that he had just realized that the dosage & the length of time that I had taken Vit D could be toxic & for me to stop taking them immediately. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the results of my lab work. Thanks again for your input!

Patsy says:

Kerri -Very informative site. My daughter –22years– clearly has sthing going on. Vitamin D3 levels have dropped to below 13 twice in the last 3 years. (she was treated with 50,000 units of D2!!) She also has an enlarged thyroid (neck area) although all Thyroid function tests (for several years) have come back in the normal range (TSH levels have been dropping though). I personally suspect a parathyroid issue but doctors have never tested her parathyroid hormone level. Her calcium levels have been minimally elevated 10.4/10.8 a couple of times and dropped back to normal. Is there a risk if she significantly steps up her vit d3 and calcium intake while we try and get the test done for the parathyroid? I am worried about her bone health. She has some aching bones (in the leg) and recently the dentist noticed multiple tiny cavities although she is excellent at dental hygiene. Thanks for your advice.

KerriKnoxRN says:

Hi Patsy,

It sounds like your daughter might have a GOITER, which in all cases is due to an Iodine deficiency. You may want to do research on this yourself since doctors will say that they just want to 'watch' a goiter and not do anything about it, when it can be quickly and easily resolved with iodine. Also, if your doctors have not checked her parathyroid hormone when she has had transient elevated calcium levels, then they should be sued for MALPRACTICE when she ends up with osteoporosis down the line. You should INSIST on seeing an endocrinologist and preferably a parathyroid specialist. That's ridiculous that they haven't checked her PTH level when she's had elevated calcium levels.' Whitney says:

Vit.D and calcium supplimentation can be VERY DANGEROUS with hyperparathyroidism and can exaserbate concurrant hypercalcemia. The body is suppressing vit. D in an attempt to lower blood calcium levels. High calcium (even transient) is EXTREMELY likely a case of hyperparathyriodism. Unfortunately, most GPs have never seen hyperparathyroid and don’t test for it, even in the presence of an obvious symptom (I would bet her alkaline phosphatase either is high or has been high). Almost all cases of hyperthyroidism are caused by an adenoma (benign tumor) on the parathyroid which must be removed to cure it; this could be the reason for the enlarged thyroid area as the parathyroids sit on the thyroids.

I am not a doctor, but unknowingly suffered with hyperparathyroidism for years because my doctor never thought to test for it. Being cured has made a world of difference in my life. Diseases (such as arthritis, fibro, migraines, ulcers, anxiety, depression, hairloss, weight gain, mental fugue…) were all a direct result of longstanding hyperparathyroidism and were cured LITERALLY within weeks (some within days) of parathyroid surgery…it wrecked that much havoc on my body; I am only 44 and felt so old. I am now dealing with the long term ramifications including very low D which my body is having difficulty maintaining, and hungry bone syndrome.

I’m sorry this is so long but it is something that is close to my heart as I firmly believe that many conditions from which people SUFFER are a result of undiagnosed hyperparathyroid.

I wish your daughter the best and hope she finds answers.

Kerri, thanks for this great site.' Raquel says:

Is there any danger with Vitamin D3 being fat soluble instead of water soluble? I had a deficiency a year ago and started taking Vit D3 5000 ius/day. But I was wondering since it is stored in the fat, can I be taking too much to where it causes toxicity since it dosen’t get flushed out?

KerriKnoxRN says:

Please read my pages on… and… . An overdose doesn't happen simply because you take vitamin d and it doesn't get 'flushed' out. You get an overdose because your Vitamin D LEVELS are too high. If you've not had a vitamin d level done, then GET ONE.' Marilyn says:

My grandson has DiGeorge syndrome and is hypocalcemic. He is on Calcitrol, Vitamin D3 from the health food store, and Calcium Carbonate.

His last blood test showed calcium at 7.5
Ionized calcium at 4.2
Vitamin D, 25-OH, Total 32 ng/ml
Vitamin D, 25-OH, D3 32 ng/ml
Vitamin D, 25-OH, D2 <4 ng/ml

He is complaining of leg pain and is constipated most of the time without taking mirolax. I am very concerned. He has to have the D2 as his parathyroid is not making the hormone for his body to make it. Do you have any suggestions?

KerriKnoxRN says:

Sounds like he's severely MAGNESIUM deficient. Low calcium, leg pain, constipation, low vitamin d levels despite supplementation. These are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency. HOWEVER, I am NOT familiar with DiGeorge syndrome and I would have NO IDEA if it's appropriate to give him magnesium with his condition. You may want to discuss the possibility of magnesium supplementation with his doctor. By the way, he does NOT need the D2. D2 is in no way needed in the body. The reason that his D2 level is less than 4 is because he's appropriately taking D3. Ignore the D2 level, which it sounds like you are concerned about, it is meaningless and only measured in case someone is taking supplemental D2.' Nancy says:

D2 worked great for me. I can't tolerate enough D3 to significantly raise my levels (severe nausea/dizziness over 4000/day). While trying to take D3 at 10,000/day and feeling awful, it took 2 years to raise my level from "less than 7" to 24. Then, after 6 months of 50,000, my level was 45. Not only NO negative effects from the 50,000 of D2–but a major sense of well-being and happiness within minutes of taking the capsule each week! This surprised me because I had read so much–like the above info–about how bad D2 is.' Steph says:

I have not felt well for a long time. I suffer from anxiety, panic attacks! Over the years I have gained lots of weight and I have no energy, patients. My eyes mess with me all of the time. It's hard to explain it. I feel like I can't focus right, lighting also bothers my eyes. So I would go to the doctors and explain this and it seems like nobody ever wants to listen to me because I have anxiety. Finally the doctor took blood and tested for some things and it showed that my vitamin d was 22 and something was wrong with my thyroid. So he wanted me to take vitamin d and come back in a couple of months and test my thyroid again and vitamin d level. Well, thyroid test turned out to be ok and vitamin d is lower which is 19.. So I have to continue taking vitamin d which is 50,000IU. Nothing has changed except i have been having alot of headaches. So I decided to Google vitamin d and I came across your site. I also forgot that i have a concentration problem, no patience, and constipation. I thought this pill was going to be my miracle pill. I don't know what to do! I just want to feel better! I guess I should tell the doctor that I'm not taking prescription vitamin D anymore and I should start taking vitamin D3 with magnesium. Is this correct. Could all these symptoms be related? I

KerriKnoxRN says:

Your big problem was thinking that ANYTHING was going to 'be your miracle'. While YES, it's extremely likely that you have a magnesium deficiency as well as your vitamin d deficiency (you MUST be sufficient in magnesium in order to absorb magnesium), it's ALSO likely that you are eating terrible, are probably gluten intolerant and hence aren't absorbing, are eating toxins in your foods, aren't getting omega 3 fatty acids, are still eating 'vegetable oils' that will ruin your health and cause pain, aren't eating enough 'real' food and are still eating processed foods, aren't filtering your water to get all of the chlorine and fluoride out- but you want ONE pill per week for a couple of weeks to fix you! You need to be realistic and take a good hard look at your diet and lifestyle, read my sites and make some SERIOUS SERIOUS changes. No time like the present.

Elisabeth says:

Well, I guess I will opt for my docs advice over what I read on the internet this time. I saw my labs, and my level is low. All of the possible symptoms of a deficiency are exactly how I feel … even the clutziness and tripping, dizziness, inability to control my heart rate/pulse (I go from resting to 155 in about 45 seconds on a treadmill and get winded easily despite being in decent physical condition) … on and on and on … I went into the doctor thinking I was crazy because I have had this for YEARS and no one seemed to care, and sent me away with an inhaler. I haven't begun taking them yet, but I hope the Rx form works, my normal multi is not helping.

KerriKnoxRN says:

Ummmm, Elisabeth, what part of 'Take Vitamin D3 instead of Prescription Vitamin D' did you somehow hear 'Don't take vitamin d at all??" Your comment makes no sense. I tell people every day to take vitamin d and to get their levels to between 50 to 80 ng/ml. I have NEVER EVER EVER EVER said 'Don't take vitamin d'. The REASON that your multi 'isn't working' (I'm not sure what you are expecting it to 'work' for?) is because it has 400 to 800 IU's of vitamin d. You need to take between 7000 to 10,000 IU's of vitamin D3 per day to bring up your levels. Remember that is Vitamin D3 and NOT prescription vitamin d. However, many of your symptoms are likely due to magnesium deficiency as well, and you are going to feel HORRIBLE if you don't start taking magnesium like I outline OVER AND OVER again on my site.' Deb T. says:


Along with my 5000iu D3 with co-factors I take 500mg magnesium Am and Pm and this has helped greatly with all the whole body pain!

I also am anemic so I found Hema-plex to work wonders for me without constipation!

Taking these 3 things with a milti-vit I no longer am short of breath or feel like I'm in a panic or full of anxiety. My msucles stopped cramping as well!

Now if this would help with the neuropathy I would be a new woman!

I read your whole site and I am in the best health place I have been in for 25 years. Thank you!' missy says:

I was achy and tired and really thought I was dying for years and the Dr.s just weren't catching it. I'm only 43. I finally found out I was low on D. (28)
Everything I read says D3 is better for me then D2. I was put on both. When my levels went up to normal..(about 85-90 I think) I was feeling better then I have in 15 years. I was golfing…helping my hubby mowing the lawn…(never did that before) and just happy!!! Then they took me off D2. I take 4000 units of D3 daily. Then…. I started getting the foot and hand cramps again. (when off of the D2) and my level rechecked was at 70. Because I asked…and my aches were coming back…she put me back on D2. Got up to 95….FEELING GREAT again!!! They took me off again…..NOW three weeks later……my aches and pains are coming back. WHAT AND WHY is D3 not working for me like D2.
I havent called my Dr. yet. They'll probably think I'm crazy because all the info says the opposite. Maybe it's just MY body that needs something different or doesn't aborb D3? Maybe my body need to be on the high end to feel normal.

What do I do from here? Any suggestions?

KerriKnoxRN says:

It\’s not that the d3 isn\’t \’working\’ for you, it\’s that you are not taking enough. When they take you \’off the d2\’ as you say, then you are taking less total vitamin d. Just take a higher total amount of d3, It\’s probably bouncing around so much because vitamin d2 has a shorter \’half life\’. It wears off quicker. Take the proper amount of d3 and it\’ll last longer in your system and won\’t bounce around all over the place so quickly.' Kathryn says:

Missy, the same thing happened to me. Mt D level was 8 and my Dr put me on 50,000 units a week for 8 weeks and within hours I found myself smiling and feeling happier than I've felt in a long time. My leg muscles felt much stronger – I was actually able to go grocery shopping all by myself and not be in severe pain!. After the 8 weeks my pain started coming back. My symptoms were the same as before. I asked dr to go back on the 50,000 units but she said it could be other things. Then she tested me and my level was only 16. So I started the 50,000 units again 2 days ago and feel energized, with much less leg pain and happier again! I knew it wasn't depression and had seen a rheumatologist who said I had osteo and not rheumatoid arthritis. Kerri stopped short of suggesting to you the level of D3 you should be taking and I'm wondering how to proceed after this prescription dose is finished.
Good luck to you, Missy, I also thought people would think I was crazy because I was able to smile so easily again… 🙂

KerriKnoxRN says:

Hi Kathryn,

I have the proper maintenance dose mentioned probably over 1000 times on my site. Just go look on a few vitamin d pages and you'll find links to the right vitamin d dosage or the Vitamin d therapy page or you'll find some of the over 1000 times that I've already answered that same question if you browse around a bit.' Cathy says:

My grandson is almost 12 and has headaches every day he is very little for his age has a learning disability adhd just have finally got on the charts with his weight and height have always been below his age group x rays of bones in his hands are like thoes of a 9 year old was told he would be a slow grower and he should be around 5'7 he sees a pediatric endoc. but never have been told of anything to do with parathyroid gland he had a fragil x test done and came back from lab as gray area which doctor said it meant he didnot have enough to affect him I have however taken him to a genetics and have not heard back on blood work yet about his learning problems he function in school in a special classroom with other children with learning problems and has a IQ of 58-62 has had several test to confirm this through school and private I just want to do everything I can to make him have as good of life as possible can any of these symptoms be related to the parthyrod gland PLEASE HELP

KerriKnoxRN says:

Cathy, This sounds like an EXTREMELY complex problem and it's HIGHLY unlikely that ONE SPECIFIC thing is going to be his only problem. You are looking for the magic bullet and you are not going to find it. If you really want him to have as good of life as possible and do EVERYTHING to help him, then I suggest that you do a search for the Defeat Autism Now website and find a doctor in your area that follows the DAN protocols. Whether or not he has autism is irrelevant. He has symptoms that are long-standing and complex and will require many changes that include EXTREME dietary changes, intensive nutrition therapy, intensive lifestyle changes and a new way of thinking on your part. A DAN doctor is likely the best person that you'll need to be able to coordinate these extreme changes that you'll need to help get your grandson healthy. You can CERTAINLY talk to your doctor about parathyroid issues and that may be a PART of his problems, but I highly doubt that is his only problem and you'll need to take a VERY active role in a LOT of dietary and lifestyle changes if you really are as committed to his health as you say that you are.' Bonnie says:

I have RA, and for two months I have been taking vitamin d 1oooi.u. because my blood levels were low.I saw my doctor yesterday and she said that my levels were still dropping, the level was 15.9. She has now put me on Rx Vitamin D 50,000IU to be taken once a week for two months, will this help in raising my vitamin d levels or is there something else I need to be doing. I am extremely concerned about the health risks if my levels remain low. Where and why the levels are dropping, one could only guess. It's pass my knowledge so could you please give me some advise. Thank you so much.

KerriKnoxRN says:

Your levels are still dropping because 1000 IU's is a ridiculously low dose that is not adequate to meet your needs. Here's an analogy for this. If you were severely dehydrated and you randomly drank a shot glass full of water everyday and called that 'dehydration treatment' you would become even MORE dehydrated, right? That's because your 'treatment' is not meeting your daily needs let alone filling up your tank and treating your current dehydration. When you are low in vitamin d and your doctor gave you 1000 IU's of vitamin d, he essentially gave you a shot glass of water to treat dehydration.

Please read my page on Vitamin D Therapy here:

to see the proper dosages and forms for treating vitamin d deficicency- and it's NOT using prescription vitamin D.

shannon says:

Are you seeing a rheumatoligist??? I have been diagnosed by FIVE different "regular" doctors with RA in the past 10 years…… I finally got a new doctor who was willing to admit he didn't know enough about RA and sent me to a Rheumatologist. After a battery of tests, my ONLY problem was sevre Vit D deficiency!!! (level was 9!!) After 50,000 IU VitD, 3x's a week for four weeks, then regular OTC supplement of 5,000IU daily, I feel like a BRAND NEW person!!!!! I have suffered for 10 years with sever pain and fatigue, and all I needed was Vitamin D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Linda says:

Shannon~ me too! I was told about 10yr ago I had Fibromyalgia! Then after just by chance having my Vit D level checked for the first time at a Health Fair, found it to be 11!!!! I took OTC d3 for 2 months, and tested again at 20, so she put me on the 50,000 for 8 weeks…. within 2 days of the first pill, i felt a surge of tingling in my legs, and other areas that felt like my nerve endings were 'connecting' … i felt like running a marathon after years of feeling like I was dying! I NEVER had Fibromyalgia! If they had just done a simple blood test on my Vit D level, I could have prevented a decade of health issues!!!! GRRRRR' Deb T. says:

This is me too! I have had RA since mid 80's. Was only checked for vitamind D, 2 years a go. I was at 20. I took the dr's script of 50,000iu and then read this site and began 5000iu D3 with co-factors. My last levle was 70. then my dr. asked me to back off, I did and it got down to 56 so I began the 5000iu daily again. I want to get it to 80's and hold it there. I feel so much better, but the crippling may never change.' tichoices says:

MY doctor has prescribed me the Vit D 50,000 IU once a week. I would rather take the vitamin supplement. Can you tell me how much vit D2 and D3 i am to take instead of this RX? And should I also be taking magnesium? Thanks for your help..

KerriKnoxRN says:

Please read my page on Vitamin D Therapy here:' Caro says:

I have been diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency,blood test came back as my level being 16,have been put on Vitamin D3,which doctor recommended I get from health store which I have done….bottle says one a day with food.
25pu (1,000 I.U) she is going to test blood again in eight weeks time for Vitamin C. Is this enough.

KerriKnoxRN says:

There is no blood test for vitamin C (or at least its almost never ever used unless they think that you might have scurvy- HIGHLY unlikely), so I think that you might have misunderstood about that test. Please return to my site and look around at the over 1000 pages that I have on my site telling you that 1000 IU's of vitamin d is so ridiculously low that your level might actually go DOWN taking that amount.' Marva says:

I was just prescribed vitamin D (50,000 IU) at 1 capsule by mouth every week for 8 weeks. My level is a 17. How do I know if this is a D2 RX or not? The capsule bottle does not indicate and neither does the insert that comes with it that gives you the possible side effects information. I don't like taking prescriptions of any kind and am always leery before doing so. Please advise soon.Thanks in advance!

KerriKnoxRN says:

It IS Vitamin D 2. It was prescribed to you and supplied to you by a pharmacist. The ONLY form of prescription vitamin d is vitamin d2.' Jennifer says:

KerriKnoxRN, That is incorrect! You yourself said that Ergocalciferol (D2) and Cholecalciferol (D3) are two forms of Vitamin D available in prescription form. I have both prescribed for me by my Endocrinologist. At first my Vitamin D1,25 levels continued to be low. We found that we needed to have D2 added in order to maintain the D3 levels in my system. I now take one ergocalciferol daily and cholecalciferol 50,000 IU every other day. I just came online today to read more about calcium blood levels. Mine are one point above the normal high with a normal PTH level. I am seeing my Endocrinologist this week, so I wanted to learn more about it. Endocrinology is a HUGE and complex area. You are over-simplifying things and contradicting physicians whose area of expertise is Endocrinology.

KerriKnoxRN says:

No, I never said that D2 and D3 can both be prescribed by a doctor. They can't. Only D2 can be (at least in the US- if you are in another country, that may not be the case). I confirmed this with a pharmacist. Injectable Vitamin D3 USED to be available in the US, but not any more. And Vitamin D 1, 25 levels are NOT 'Vitamin D levels', these are entirely different levels that have little relation to 25 OH D levels that measure the Vitamin.

And no, your D3 levels did not rise with D2. That is impossible. What almost certainly happened is that your doctor saw you were deficient and gave you a ridiculously inadequate dose of Vitamin D3, such as 1000 or 2000 IU's. Then he retook your Vitamin D level (25OHD) and said, "Oh, no, that Vitamin D3 didn't work. I'm going to have to give you a prescription". So he then gave you 50,000 IU's per week, which is about 7000 IU's a day, and that brought your TOTAL 25OHD level up and he then declared that you 'needed' the prescription in order to raise your levels, when all you needed was the proper dose of the Vitamin, not a different form. But I guarantee that if you look closely at your levels, your Vitamin D2 level was raised after you took the Vitamin D2, as was your TOTAL vitamin D. But your Vitamin D3 level was not raised by taking Vitamin D2. And it was raised by the higher DOSE, not because of the different FORM. If you had taken the same dose of D3, it would have also raised your total level.

And no, I've not contradicted myself. More complexity in an issue is not a contradiction. But yes, of course I've oversimplified. I couldn't possibly go into the ENTIRE subject of Vitamin D3 vs D2 in a single blog post. However, what I say is true, although there are exceptions as to who should TAKE vitamin d and who will respond at what dosages and why they don't. Also, if you have a high to high normal PTH level, then you might have parathyroid disease, and the issue of vitamin D becomes more complex because the body purposely tries to keep Vitamin D levels low in order to not have excess calcium deposition from the higher calcium levels, it's a protective mechanism. If you have high normal to high PTH levels, you should make sure you read <a href="” target=”_blank”> as they go into great detail about vitamin d in relation to parathyroid disease.

Michele says:

I am in Washington and 6 years ago got an RX for D3. I did have to go to a compounding pharmacy to get it though. So it is possible to get an RX for it.

KerriKnoxRN says:

A compounding pharmacy can compound just about any nutrient. While the doctor WROTE a 'prescription', that is not really 'prescription vitamin d'. A doctor can write a prescription for just about anything, such as Tylenol. But that does not make Tylenol a prescription drug. Writing a prescription for things that are non-prescription is often just a way to get your insurance to pay for it. And going through a compounding pharmacy for a vitamin that is available over the counter is really just spending what was likely hundreds of dollars on something that would have cost just a few dollars. Seems a bit ridiculous to do something like that.' calendar_girl says:

if it is the green clearish looking one it is d 2

I am on this and checks when the doctor told me to take this and went on maternity leave and the nurse practitioner refused to refill it saying she only prescribes d3 as she feels d2 does not work so I checked with pharmacist.

You are wise to try to avoid prescriptions. I do the same and it ticks the doctors off. If I listened to them I would probably be on a dozen drugs.' agirlonthego says:

My vitamin D level was just diagnosed at 16.7. My doctor has prescribed 10,000 IU of prescription Vitamin D2, once a week for 4 weeks. Then 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 per day for 4 weeks with a retest of my blood at 8 weeks. I know that you are adamantly against people taking Vitamin D2, but will this harm me? I'm so afraid to take medicine of any kind. I don't want to have an adverse affect from this treatment, but I also want to follow my doctor's instructions. What's your opinion?

Yes, you should be taking over the counter vitamin D. If a doctor gives you 50,000 IU’s, it’s for once a week dosing, which means that you’d be getting about 7000 IU’s a day. Taking more all at once is not necessarily a good idea. When you are so low, you can get more side effects, so starting out with 5000 IU’s a day is not such a bad idea. I can understand that you are in pain, but getting levels up more quickly is not such a great idea. I’d make sure to get the necessary cofactors of magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and possibly others as yet identified. When you do, you lessen your risk of problems, which is why I offer the Vitamin D Absorption pack.

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