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A Big Weekly Dose of Vitamin D Caused Terrible Heartburn

Some people report that taking large doses of doctor prescribed Vitamin D may provoke a side effect of painful heartburn.

Q. My vitamin D level was low so my doctor prescribed vitamin D2 in a dose of 50,000 IU once a week. Within a day I was experiencing terrible nausea and heartburn.

It took a couple of weeks for me to figure out the pill was causing my reflux. I never suffered from it before. Is there a good way to get enough vitamin D without causing such misery?

A. Although doctors frequently prescribe a once-weekly dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin D2, some readers report side effects from this formulation. Don’t ignore low levels of this nutrient, though, because deficiency is associated with arthritis, asthma, cancer, infections, depression, diabetes and dementia.

We are sending you our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency with details about dosing, interpreting lab results and a discussion of how much is too much. Sharing this information with your doctor should help the two of you reach a decision about the best way for you to replenish this essential vitamin.

You may find that a lower dose taken more frequently is less likely to cause you distress. During the summer months, a quarter-hour outside in the sun several times a week might be adequate, but your doctor will need to follow your progress by testing your serum level.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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