Dear Dr. Roach: I've been taking an ACE inhibitor and a calcium channel blocker for the past four months for high blood pressure as advised by my cardiologist. In my blood test a month ago, my vitamin D level was at 16. I'm also taking weekly vitamin B12 as advised by my neurologist. Can I take vitamin D2 (50,000 IU) as a weekly dose for six weeks to overcome vitamin D deficiency, or would it interfere with blood calcium balance?
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A: Vitamin D will not interfere with the action of your ACE inhibitor or calcium channel blocker. Vitamin D usually has a very small (if any) effect on blood calcium levels, as these are tightly regulated through multiple means, especially the parathyroid hormone level and the kidneys.
I see many people who are given a six-week course of high-dose vitamin D2, such as the 50,000 units weekly for six weeks you were prescribed. I do not prescribe it that way, since many people wrongly feel that this will "cure" their low vitamin D, and they stop monitoring it after the course of treatment. Many people have inadequate vitamin D levels, and although there is some disagreement about what levels need to be treated, yours is in the range where everyone agrees treatment is necessary. For those who need it, ongoing supplementation of vitamin D is necessary, whether through pills, diet or sun exposure. For most people with a level as low as yours, oral supplementation is by far the most effective and safest treatment. I prefer 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily as a starting point for supplementation in most.