ZocdocAnswersMy doctor suggested taking Vitamin D for my slight hypercalcaemia. Should I take it?

Question

My doctor suggested taking Vitamin D for my slight hypercalcaemia. Should I take it?

My doctor told me in my most recent blood test I had a bit of hypercalcemia and to take Vitamin D for it. (I'm 17 by the way) and I read up on it more in my home medical book and it said "one of the causes is taking too much vitamin D." So my reaction was "wait, what? Is she trying to kill me?" But it was a bit outdated book so I looked online and found the same results. I'm pretty sure my parathyroid gland is fine, but I'm not 100% So I'm just trying to figure out why she told me to take Vitamin D, when it seems like that is the last thing I should do. I drink Vitamin D enriched milk whenever I could so I think my vitamin D levels are fine. Not to mention that its FAT SOLUBLE so its gonna stay there for a while. What do you think? You think my doctor wants me to have kidney stones or put me into a coma?

Answer

Thank you for your question. Your research is correct in that hypercalcemia (ie an elevated calcium level) is by itself not an indication for vitamin D supplementation. When prolonged and severe, vitamin D deficiency can result in hypocalcemia (low calcium levels). These changes may result in demineralization of bone and increased risk of fractures. It would be a good idea to review your lab tests with your physician and see if there is another reason why she is suggesting vitamin D pills. Generally, vitamin D deficiency is most commonly caused by inadequate sun exposure, insufficient dietary intake, or malabsorption problems in the GI tract. Liver or kidney problems can also result in vitamin D deficiency, although these would be less likely in an otherwise healthy 17-year-old. If you have risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, the definitive way to diagnose this is to measure a 25(OH)D level (ie serum vitamin D). If less than 20, vitamin D supplementation is reasonable. If less than 10, further testing may be indicated (including parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphate, alkaline phosphatase, and kidney function tests) in addition to supplementation. I recommend that you discuss some of the above with your primary care physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.