person holding their stomach in pain

Q. My blood level of vitamin D (16) is very low. A few years ago I was prescribed 50,000 IUs once a week, but I had to quit after just one month. It caused severe acid reflux that took me several months to get under control.

I’d feel a lot better if I could get my vitamin D levels up, but how can I manage that with my hypersensitive stomach? Using acid suppressors over a period of time creates a rebound reflux that really makes things worse. I’d appreciate any suggestions you can offer.

A. With such a low level of vitamin D in your body, you would probably feel better if you could bring it up. Low vitamin D has been linked to asthma, infections, depression, joint pain, heart disease and high blood pressure, among other problems.

You might want to try a lower dose of vitamin D3 to see if you can tolerate it. The earlier medication you took was vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is available OTC in doses such as 1,000 or 2,000 IU.

Now that spring is here, you might also want to get 15 or 20 minutes a day of sun exposure. We are sending you our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency for more details on the pros and cons of this essential nutrient. We also describe the appropriate levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the test that showed your body is so low in this vitamin.

Although vitamin D is not supposed to cause side effects, you are not the only person to report difficulties, particularly with the high-dose once-a-week regimen. Anyone else who has had a reaction to vitamin D may report it in the comments below.

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  1. Jessica

    I have been taking vitamin d3 for 3 days, 2000 I.u. This morning I got bad gas pains all over, hands got really cold and burning feeling. Also burning sensation on back. I had a bowel movement this morning. Ever since I took the vitamins this morning, after my walk, I feel my stomach hurts and left side hurts. Trying to walk all day and feel nauseous. I’m not taking as much as everyone on here, and for a short period of time. Why is this? Too much? I am waiting for my doctor to order a lab test for me to see how my numbers are with a complete vitamin panel. I felt in the last few days amazing even today. Feel calm. I also forgot to take my Xanax. I take it only as needed and a very low dose, and I have not taken that in three days either, I called my doctor and she said she does not think its from withdrawals. Just my anxiety is high. I never felt this way before missing my Xanax. I’m also anemic, and when I felt my hands and feet being so cold and burning sensation, I took a iron pill. Ugh, I guess stop the vitamins and just get checked to see if I even need to take supplements.

  2. Sandy L.
    United States

    I have been low in vitamin D at every yearly physical for several years. However, when I begin taking the D3/Calcium supplements my doctor recommends my chronic reflux flairs up quite badly and my usual medication doesn’t seem to help. Consequently, I take the supplement for a few days until I can’t stand the reflux any more & then I quit. Of course, my vitamin D levels are still low at my next checkup. My doctor doesn’t seem to believe that the supplement is causing the reflux, but the reaction has been pretty consistent for at least 3 years. Any ideas?

  3. Jessica
    Cleveland, Ohio

    I started taking once a week vitamin D supplements because I was also low. By the third week I started to experience pain, empty, knotty feeling in my stomach about an hour after eating. So far it has only happened 3 times. I did an ultra sound to rule out gallbladder but the only other thing I can thing of is because of this vitamin D supplement. It is the only thing that has changed in my diet. My doctor told me to stop taking it and see how I feel in two weeks. Any one experience something similar? So far all doctors seem to think Vitamin D is not causing this issue.

  4. Jen T

    I was prescribed 10,000 IU of vitamin d for six weeks after I had a stress fracture and my bloodwork showed a low level (21) of vitamin d. I have had severe reflux since I started taking it. The reflux is causing a nagging cough. I have not had a problem with my reflux in over three years. Dr said she doesn’t think its the vitamin d but nothing else has changed in my diet except that.

  5. Susie

    I have been taking 10,000 i.u. Vit. D 3 Daily now for over a month due to low lab results. I am experiencing a lot of heartburn. Miserable. The naturopath gave me a D3 10,000 IU in one tiny capsule, but wondering if maybe like 5 of the 2000 through the day might be a better option?

    • Tammy

      I’m glad I found this website. I’ve taking vitamin D 50,000 weekly. After 5 weeks I experienced loose stools, sweating, aching in my back, joint pain and itchy skin. I stopped and now I have a nagging cough.

  6. Kavya K.

    Im facing similar issues as above….upper n middle back …feel severe burning sensation
    ..take vit d3 once a week 60k and have taken for 4 weeks once a week…how fo I stop these burning sensations in my back…pls help

  7. amanda
    yorkshire, uk

    I was prescribed the vitamin d chewable tablets after being told by the doctor that my levels were very low, (+ early menopause).
    I started getting the acid reflux and bronchial aches and pains, more noticeable when i’m sitting down.
    It’s a relief to know I’m not the only one.

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