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How to Raise Vitamin D Without Suffering

Low vitamin D levels cause many health problems, but a 50,000 IU vitamin D2 pill may cause digestive distress. How can you raise vitamin D comfortably?

Vitamin D is critically important to maintain healthy metabolism as well as to keep bones strong. Many studies demonstrate the hazards of low circulating vitamin D levels, but few show that trying to raise vitamin D levels in the usual way with a weekly supplement pill can overturn those problems. This reader reported a bad reaction to the 50,000 IU vitamin D2 supplement the doctor prescribed.

Reaction Makes It Hard to Raise Vitamin D Levels:

Q. After seeing my doctor and getting a blood test, I was told that my vitamin D levels were abnormally low (below 10). I have symptoms of deficiency including fatigue, depression and muscle and bone pain. My doctor prescribed 50,000 IUs of vitamin D weekly, but after the first dose my symptoms got worse.

The bone pain got really bad, along with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The urgent care doctor blamed it on the vitamin D supplement. How can I raise vitamin D levels without suffering side effects?

Other Ways to Raise Vitamin D Levels:

A. Ask your doctor if it would be acceptable for you to take a lower dose every day instead of 50,000 IU weekly. Some people find that regimen is easier to tolerate.

As the sun gets stronger, you might consider 15 to 20 minutes of exposure a day. That is one way to get your vitamin D without upsetting your stomach or aggravating your bone pain. Be sure not to get so much sun that the skin gets red.

Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3:

You haven’t said whether your doctor prescribed vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Many readers have reported digestive difficulties (heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, etc.) with a high, once-a-week dose of vitamin D2. You can learn more about vitamin D, the symptoms of low levels and how they can be corrected in our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.

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