Does Vitamin D therapy Cause aches & pains?

by April
(Cleveland,Ohio USA)

My baby Caleb

My baby Caleb

Since taking higher doses of vitamin D 8wks ago when I was diagnosed vitamin D deficient with a level of 27 ng/ml.

Note: I was deficient while i was pregnant & the 13 months while I breastfed my son. He would barely eat anything during that time except breastmilk.

I was diagnosed vitamin D deficient 3 months after stopping breastfeeding and I was already having some bone pain in my lower spine, teeth sensitivity, & A little mild pain in other areas but nothing extreme during the time I breastfed except for the lower spine pain off & on.

About the 2nd or 3rd week after starting the vitamin D therapy I have been having all kind new bone pain in other places I never even had pain before. Plus little muscle spasms once in a while & I'm a little fatigued at times.

Note that I never had these before the vitamin D therapy. Also at times I feel like in the area where my liver & kidneys sometime feel achy.

Its been 7 wks now the bone pain now isn't as bad as it was at the beginning of the vitamin D therapy. I read the information below on another forum. Do you think this information is accurate? Is the bone pain the calcium coming back into the bones?

The comments below are from another Vitamin D forum and does not necessarily reflect the views of Easy Immune Health:

"I spoke to Dr Michael Holick, leading Vitamin D expert in the world and author of numerous papers on Vitamin D

Dr. Holick Vitamin D Review

Summary of few things from our conversation:

*** 6 years of research have helped him successfully treat Vitamin D deficiency in his patients with 50000 iu weekly for 6 weeks and then 50,000 iu maintenance dose every two weeks thereafter forever.

*** Vitamin D treatment is known to initially aggravate bone pain and cause other side effects but bone pain and weakness should improve over time

*** Target blood levels for Vitamin D should be between 40-60 and that can be accomplished with the treatment doses he suggested

I spoke to
another leading endocrinologist specializing in Vitamin D as well and he said he has successfully treated patients with 50000 iu weekly for 6 weeks and then 5000 iu maintenance dose daily thereafter forever.

Posted by: fgg | December 5, 2008 11:58 PM

Addendum to my previous post:

For anyone with Vitamin D deficiency, here is my recommendations based on my experience and talking to experts:

1. Talk to your Physician about following treatment method suggested by Michael Hollick in previous post: 50000 iu weekly for 6 weeks followed by 50000 iu every two weeks thereafter

2. After the first 6 weeks of above recommended treatment, recheck Vitamin D levels again. If not normal, recheck again after another 6 weeks. If it does not correct by then, see ONLY an endocrinologist who is an expert in Vitamin D deficiency - not all of them are and Vitamin D deficiency is serious enough to leave unsuccessfully treated for too long.

3. If above treatment is successful, then develop a plan to check Vitamin D levels periodically as agreed by you and your doctor.

4. Also, make sure you are not consuming too much calcium (but do consume about 1200 iu of calcium or so as recomended by your physician) as consuming so much Vitamin D and excessive calcium at same time may lead to calcification of organs, kidney stones and the like.

5. Vitamin D treatment initially replaces lost calcium from bones - so early during treatment you will notice lots of bone pain depending on how much bone calcium you lost that is being replaced (if you have vitamin d deficiency when you are pregnant or lactating, you will lose more calcium from your bones as the bones are the body's calcium store and they are used as a last resort if dietary calcium is not made available due to vitamin d deficiency - vitamin d helps in absorbing dietary calcium, with deficiency, this won't happen and so bone calcium is used up)

6. Vitamin D deficiency is serious and can trigger all kinds of disorders and illness - so please consult with someone who is an expert and get it corrected soon"

Comments for Does Vitamin D therapy Cause aches & pains?

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Vitamin D Therapy Causing Aches and Pains
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

Hi April,

I LOVE Dr. Holick and have read MUCH of his work. He is a ROCK STAR of the Vitamin D world and I value his opinion/research very much.

His theory about Vitamin D Deficiency causing bone pain is "...hydration of the demineralized gelatin matrix... [of the bone] pushes outward on the periosteum, causing throbbing, aching pain."

If his theory is true, then adding MORE volume in the form of calcium and other minerals going back into the bone seems it should cause worsening bone pain or even pain where there was not before.

I will certainly not discount this possibility and will keep my ears open for any mention of it in studies...

The only other problem that I have with the previous comments is that the person gives a blanket statement to take 5000 IU's 'forever' after treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.

Unfortunately, many doctors believe that their treatment of 50,000 IU's for 6 to 8 weeks, then 5000 IU's thereafter SHOULD be enough Vitamin D and therefore do not do blood levels after this treatment.

But this treatment VERY OFTEN leaves people Vitamin D Deficient as This Previous Post where the woman took 7000 IU's for a year and was still deficient!

So, I urge you to not accept a 'One-size-fits-all' dose of Vitamin D. It should be individually based upon your levels as everyone has different needs.

I hope that this answers your question, April.

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Easy Immune

Bone Pain Due to Vitamin D 50000 lU
by: Anonymous

I started taking vitamin D 50000 lU 4 weeks ago and I have developed a severe pain that stays with me in my left leg-from hip to ankle, and my right toe seems to be turning into gout or something I have never had.

I am contacting my doctor, but mean while I am trying to find out if I should continue taking the vitamin?

My bones needed it, so why the pain?

Why the Pain
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

Well, YES, your bones need it and that is likely exactly WHY you are having the pain in the first place. Here's the quote from the first part of this post that explains it:

More About Vitamin D

"Vitamin D treatment initially replaces lost calcium from bones - so early during treatment you will notice lots of bone pain depending on how much bone calcium you lost that is being replaced...".

and this is because the 'bone mineral matrix' gets hydrated and expands against the periosteum- or covering of the bone which is inelastic.

So, that MAY be why you are having pain, but you should definitely speak with your doctor to make sure that it is not something more serious.

Kerri Knox RN Immune Health Queen

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Health Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Easy Immune

Vitamin D
by: Anonymous

Since taking Vitamin D I have had alot of aches and pains in bones, particularly hands and feet. I am also getting sharp pains in other areas. A friend's husband has also got similar symptoms after taking vitamin D supplements. There doesn't seem to be alot of information on this condition. I talked to my doctor who said he wasn't aware of any side effects.

In the meantime my aches and pains continue.

I have stopped taking Vitamin D.

New to treatment and HAPPY!!!
by: Lori L

My husband I started taking 1000IU daily about three weeks ago and could not be more pleased with OUR results. Yes, we have both experienced the aches and pain but went away after the second week. My hubby had suffered with GI problems for years and he said the Vit D has made a world of difference. I have lost 12 pounds since taking the Vit D.

We also take Calcium and Omega 3 Fish Oil...

Increasing pain...
by: Anonymous

I too, like so many of you, are experiencing more pain after taking Vit D supplements. My Vit D levels were 20. I had two back to back miscarriages after our first son. I believe my levels lowered after having my son and breastfeeding for 13 months. I later read the Vitamin D deficiency can cause miscarriage and a whole host of women are all having the same issues after a ton of research on my part.

I am now taking 5000ius a day and supplementing with 1000mgs of calcium. I am only taking 200mgs of magnesium but from what I am hearing... it should be more like 800 because of the Vit D using both as it builds in the body. It also says I should have started taking the Calcium and magnesium two weeks prior to starting the Vitamin D supplement. I have been taking the Vitamin d and calcium for three weeks now and I am having a lot of back pain and general fatigue.

I can say that it is worse than before starting the Vitamin D for sure. How long before the pain starts to go away????? I am really hurting! I will stick with it if this is normal and will subside once my bones hit max. calcification but I really don't want to be hurting my body more in the long run. What to do? I haven't a clue. It seems like the opinions are all over the board.

How can anyone say what really works... it seems to be so specific to each individual. Can anyone say for sure I am not hurting my body more and will have more problems down the road by choosing to up the Vit d? I would love to have several people give their opinion on this...

what is the majority feel out there on my situation? We really want to try for another baby but I am terrified we will miscarry again. Should I continue to try to get my d levels back up before trying again? I am 35. Any thoughts? (it is easy to reply... this site doesn't require a lot of info). Thanks!

Yes, I'm 100% sure that you are not harming yourself..
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

Yes, I can be 100% sure that you are not harming yourself by taking vitamin d when you are deficient. If you stay on the vitamin d, it will pass- pain always takes longer to go away than you want it to.

And would you rather have a baby that is vitamin d deficient than to experience a bit of pain for a couple of weeks? Please read my page on Vitamin D During Pregnancy to see why it's IMPERATIVE that your baby be vitamin d sufficient throughout life. You would do anything for a healthy baby, right?

Unfortunately, your pain may last longer than you want it to because you are taking an inadequate dose to correct your deficiency. 5000 IU's is a MAINTENANCE dose, not a dose that will correct your deficiency. So, by taking the low dose that you are on, you are severely prolonging your pain and not improving your levels. Please read my page on Vitamin D Therapy to get the correct dosages to increase your vitamin d levels.

And yes, you are right about the magnesium. 300 mg is far short of what most people need to take in order to relieve their adverse effects of vitamin d that may be due to a magnesium deficiency. Also, your high anxiety over this issue is another symptom of magnesium deficiency. Get more magnesium, take some mild painkillers like Ibuprofen and take a nice warm epsom salt bath. The pain will pass, just try your best to relax and get through it until it does...

Kerri Knox RN

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune System Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Immune System
Side Effects

pain with vit D continued...
by: Anonymous


Thanks for writing back! I am on 5000ius now and getting tested this Thursday. I have been getting a lot of sun but I fear I may just not be able to convert it in my body anymore. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about the high dose Vitamin D. I am still a little leery, even after reading several Holick studies. I want to talk about this a little further with my doc. I have a few extenuating circumstances... (an artificial hip that has been experiencing some major pain at night while taking the vitamin D).

I just don't know if the symptoms are related to the low Magnesium or my body building back the Vitamin D. It is hard to figure out. We will probably up the dosage and retest in a month. I am kind of anxious as we want to continue trying for a baby. I really need to get this straightened out first, I know. I do know the importance of Vitamin D for the baby.

My first one was fine and my levels were normal. They plummeted after breastfeeding for 13 months. I am convinced this is what led to my miscarriages. I just really hope I respond to a higher dose. We will see how it goes on Thursday. I wonder if they have gone up at all after 4 weeks on 5000ius.

I'll check back in and let you know- I know it is a bummer when people don't update! Any recommendations for a good Magnesium supplement? There are so many types... would the Malate be better than the oxide? Given that we want to try for a baby, is one better than another and can I continue to take it when we conceive? I can pin down my ovulation the minute the egg starts traveling!

The getting pregnant has not been a problem... it is the staying pregnant. Both miscarriages were around 9 weeks. One blighted ovum (no formation of the baby) and one missed- miscarriage (baby formed but at our 12 week ultrasound, there was no heartbeat). I just want to do everything right so I would be curious what you would take in a situation like this.... if you could be brand specific, that helps a bunch! I know this is just you opinion and I will consult with my doctor about all of it as well.

Why would you not be converting it anymore?
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

So, I'm curious why you believe that you are 'not converting vitamin d anymore'. Unless you magnesium deficient or simply washing the oils off your skin after getting sun, this fear is completely unfounded and there is no reason for you to believe that. In all reality, you just 'think' that you are getting 'plenty' of sun when you are getting very little. Unless you are purposefully sunbathing nude or in a bathing suit in strong sun and getting tanned and bronzed, then you are probably NOT getting 'plenty' of sun! Our bodies are designed for a LOT of sun, not just a little on our hands and arms- we need a LOT. But most people think that whatever amount that they get is 'plenty' even if they just expose their arms in weak sun on a 1/2 hour walk everyday.

So, again, there is just simply no reason to believe that you are not able to convert vitamin d anymore, except that you are probably magnesium deficient which is contributing to your anxiety around this issue- anxiety is a symptom of magnesium deficiency. And no, I don't have a specific brand of magnesium that I recommend. Just take ANYTHING but oxide. Magnesium malate is completely fine and I DO very much like Jigsaw Health's Extended Release Magnesium Malate . Also, see my page on Magnesium in Pregnancy for more information about that subject.

I also find it interesting that you have an artificial hip. If this was due to cartilage breakdown and not due to an accident or another reason, it is likely due to magnesium and vitamin d deficiency in the first place, leading me to believe that you've been vitamin d deficient for a LONG time.

Then, as far as your miscarriages are concerned, I urge you to take a look at my pages on Gluten Sensitivity and especially the page on Gluten and Infertility. Miscarriages are an initial symptom of gluten sensitivity in otherwise 'healthy' women and is probably THE most overlooked reason for miscarriages that there is. But with your magnesium deficiency, vitamin d deficiency and (presumably) cartilage breakdown AND history of miscarriage- these are MANY symptoms of gluten sensitivity!!

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