Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s liver and fat cells. Even fat soluble vitamins have to be replenished but excess amounts can be toxic.
Vitamin D is necessary for the maintenance of good health. It helps to maintain normal growth and for the body to metablolize carbohydrates. It regulates absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous and is necessary for strong bones and teeth. It is very important in infancy and childhood.
Symptoms of Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency results in rickets in children: softening of skull bone, bowing of legs, spinal curvature and increased joint size.
In Adults: Osteomalacia (adult rickets): often seen in elderly people who don get any sunlight, particularly those house bound. It shows up as lack of bone strength and density, and joint pain.
Causes of Deficiency
Lack of exposure to sunlight, dieting, excessive use of alcohol, fat malabsorption syndrome; disorders of liver, kidney, colon or gallbladder.
Fish, liver, fortified dairy products, egg yolk, exposure to sunlight, cod liver oil, dark green leafy vegetables; vegetables are low in vitamin D.
Discuss the dosage and duration of use with the pharmacist before taking the medication. It can be taken with other medications for other conditions on the advice of a pharmacist or a doctor.
Health Canada has recommended a minimum and a maximum daily requirement for Vitamin D:
all ages - 5 ug/day
all ages - 25 ug/day
If serious overdosage then contact the poison control center or emergency room. If you miss a dose then take it as soon as remembered, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and go back to the regular dosing regimen. If taken an extra dose by mistake then contact the pharmacist or a doctor.
Excess Vitamin D leads to increased calcium absorption into internal organs, and kidney stones are some of the characteristics of Vitamin D toxicity.
Some of the symptoms of overdosage include: appetite loss, diarrhea, increased urination, muscular weakness, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness.
Tell the pharmacist/doctor if pregnant or planning to become pregnant or if breast feeding.
Possible Side Effects
When starting to take any new medication, if one notices any side-effect, contact the physician or pharmacist:
Normally side effects are the symptoms of overdosage.
This is not an all inclusive list, discuss it with the pharmacist:
Antacids, clofibrate, Cholestyramine, laxatives, carbamazepine, dilantin, phenobarbital, mineral oil, corticosteroids, thiazide diuretics.
Store medication in a safe place at room temperature; away from heat, light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink or on top of the fridge. Out dated medications must be returned to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
Tell the pharmacist/doctor your complete medical history.
One must inform the pharmacist or doctor if taking any prescription medication, over the counter medication, herbal or alternative medications before starting any new medication, food supplement, herb or vitamin.