Calciferol – what it is, benefits, dosage, uses and side effects!

The benefits of calciferol are many, and it is used to treat hypoparathyroidism (decreased function of the parathyroid glands), and it is also used to treat rickets (softening of the bones caused by vitamin D deficiency ). It is available in fatty fish, eggs, milk, butter and cheese, and cod liver oil . Small amounts are found in green leafy vegetables and mushrooms. It keeps your bones, muscles and teeth healthy, along with your heart and nerves.

What is calciferol?

Calciferol is considered a prohormone and not a vitamin. Vitamins are nutrients that cannot be created by the body and therefore must be ingested through our diet . However, this compound can be synthesized by our body when sunlight hits our skin .

It is estimated that sensible sun exposure to the skin  for 5-10 minutes, 2-3 times a week, allows most people to produce enough of this compound. But, it breaks down quickly, which means doses can get low, especially in winter. Recent studies have suggested that a substantial percentage of the global population is deficient in Calciferol .

How to use calciferol:

Take Calciferol by mouth as directed. It is best absorbed when taken after a meal, but can be taken with or without food. It is usually taken with food. Follow all instructions on the product packaging. If you are not sure about any information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If your doctor has prescribed this medicine, follow your doctor’s instructions. Your dosage is based on your medical condition, amount of sun exposure, diet , age, and response to treatment.

If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon as you may not get the correct dose. If you are taking the chewable tablet, chew the medicine well before swallowing. Do not swallow whole.

If you are taking the quick-dissolving tablets, dry your hands before handling the medication. So place each dose on your tongue, let it dissolve completely, and then swallow it with saliva or water. You do not need to take this medicine with water.

Certain medications (bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine/cholestipol, mineral oil) may decrease the absorption of Calciferol . So, take your doses of these medications as far away from your  Calciferol doses and sources as possible .

It may be easier to take Calciferol at bedtime if you are also taking these other medications. So ask your doctor or pharmacist how long you should wait between doses. And to help you find a dosing schedule that will work with all of your medications.

Calciferol sources:

First of all, eating Calciferol sources is your best way to increase your levels of this compound. Get to know some of the richest foods now:

Benefits of calciferol:

1. Healthy bones:

Calciferol plays an important role in regulating calcium and maintaining blood phosphorus levels, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. We need this compound to absorb calcium in the intestines and recover calcium that would otherwise be excreted by the kidneys.

2. Reducing the risk of flu:

Children who received 1,200 International Units of Calciferol daily for 4 months during the winter reduced their risk of influenza A infection by more than 40%.

3. Reducing the risk of diabetes:

Several observational studies have shown an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of Calciferol in the body and the risk of type 2 diabetes . In people with type 2 diabetes , insufficient levels of Calciferol can negatively affect insulin secretion and glucose tolerance. In one particular study, children who received 2,000 International Units per day of Calciferol had an 88% lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes at age 32.

4. Healthy pregnancy:

Pregnant women with Calciferol deficiency appear to be at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia and needing a cesarean section. Low status is associated with gestational diabetes mellitus and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women. It is also important to note that high levels of Calciferol during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of food allergy in the child during the first 2 years of life.

5. Cancer prevention:

Calciferol is extremely important for regulating cell growth and cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormonally active form of  Calciferol ) may reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancer tissue, increasing cancer cell death, and reducing cell proliferation and metastases. Calciferol influences over 200 human genes, which can be harmed when we don’t have Calciferol .

Precautions with calciferol:

Before taking Calciferol , tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it. Or to other Calciferol products (such as calcitriol) or if you have other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as peanuts/soybeans) which may cause allergic reactions or other problems. So speak to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of high calcium levels (hypercalcemia/hypervitaminosis D), difficulty absorbing nutrition from food (malabsorption syndrome), kidney disease, liver disease.

Liquid products, chewable tablets or dissolved tablets may contain sugar and/or aspartame. Liquid products may also contain alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, liver disease, phenylketonuria (PKU) or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet . Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to use this product safely.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal products).

During pregnancy, doses of Calciferol above the dietary recommendation should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Therefore, this medicine passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Calciferol interactions:

Drug interactions can change the way your medications work or increase your risk of serious side effects. Therefore, this document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/over-the-counter drugs and herbal products). Also, share with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s approval.

Some products that may interact with this medication include: phosphate binders. Check the labels on all your medications, look at the prescription (such as antacids, laxatives, vitamins) because they may contain calcium , magnesium, phosphate, or calciferol . Ask your pharmacist about using these products safely.

This compound is very similar to calcitriol. Do not use medications containing calcitriol while using Calciferol . This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including cholesterol tests ), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know that you use this medicine.

Calciferol Deficiency:

Although the body can create Calciferol , there are many reasons why a deficiency can occur. For example, darker skin  color and the use of sunscreen reduce the body’s capacity. From absorbing the rays of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun necessary to produce the compound.

A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 can reduce the body’s ability to synthesize by 95%. To start producing Calciferol , the skin  must be directly exposed to sunlight, not covered by clothing.

People who live in northern latitudes or in high-pollution areas work at night and stay home during the day, or are foraging for food whenever possible. Babies who are exclusively breastfed need a Calciferol supplement .

Especially if they are dark- skinned or have minimal sun exposure. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed babies receive 400 IU per day of an oral supplement; drops made specifically for babies are available. While supplements can be taken, it’s best to get any vitamin or mineral from natural sources whenever possible.

Calciferol dosage:

Calciferol intake can be measured in two ways: in micrograms (mcg) and international units (IU). Therefore, one microgram is equal to 40 IU. Recommended lifetime intakes were updated by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2010 and are currently defined as:

  • Babies 0-12 months – 400 IU (10 mcg);
  • Children 1-18 years – 600 IU (15 mcg);
  • Adults up to 70 years old – 600 IU (15 mcg);
  • Adults over 70 – 800 IU (20 mcg);
  • Pregnant or lactating women – 600 IU (15 mcg).

Calciferol side effects:

Calciferol in normal doses usually has no side effects. If you experience any abnormal effects, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately. If your doctor has advised you to take this medication, remember that he or she has judged the benefit to you to outweigh the risk of side effects. Many people who use this medication do not have serious side effects.

Too much Calciferol can cause harmful high levels of calcium . Tell your doctor immediately if any of these signs occur: nausea/vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination , mental/mood changes, unusual tiredness .

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. Also including: rash, itching/ swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, difficulty breathing.

Useful links: 

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. Therefore, if you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

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