Allergic Reactions To Vitamin D Supplements

Hives (urticaria). Source: Oak Brook Allergists

Look at this…

Can a Person Have a Reaction to Vitamin D3?, San Francisco Chronicle, December 2018

Taking a vitamin D-3 supplement has the potential to trigger an allergic reaction in some people. This occurs when your body mistakenly recognizes the vitamin D-3 as a potentially harmful chemical and mounts an immune response against it. Mild allergic reactions can cause rashes, hives and nasal congestion.

Is Face Swelling an Allergic Reaction to Vitamin D?, Livestrong, 17 April 2020

Certain supplements may cause allergic reactions. That’s the case with calcitriol, calciferol and other man-made forms of vitamin D. These products carry potential effects ranging from swelling of the face and lips to hives.

Some individuals experience face swelling due to allergy. Others report wheezing, chest tightness, tingling in the mouth, runny nose or light-headedness.

Vitamin D in its natural form is unlikely to cause allergic reactions. Synthetic vitamin D, on the other hand, carries potential adverse effects. … Dietary supplements contain vitamin D2 or D3 in the form of calciferol, ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol and other man-made compounds.

Synthetic vitamin D is more likely to trigger allergic reactions and other side effects compared to natural vitamin D.

Ergocalciferol, for instance, may cause swelling of the face and hands, itching, hives, difficulty breathing and other allergic symptoms, warns Penn State Hershey. Some people may also experience bone pain, headaches, cloudy urine, arrhythmias and digestive distress.

Cholecalciferol, a synthetic form of vitamin D3, may cause allergic reactions too. These may include swelling of the face, eyes, lips or tongue, skin rash, dizziness, itching and hives, notes the Mayo Clinic.

This is the first time I’ve heard of this, that taking oral vitamin D, either ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), can trigger an allergic reaction. Mayo Clinic and (just 2 random sites I checked) both list symptoms of an immune response under side effects. I can’t find any actual studies at the moment. Still looking. Can anyone point me to some?

Vitamin D: The Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guideline

Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline,The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 96, Issue 7, 1 July 2011

Bits (text in red are my notations):

We suggest that the maintenance tolerable upper limits (UL) of vitamin D, which is not to be exceeded without medical supervision, should be … 4000 IU/d for everyone over 8 yr.

25(OH)D is the major circulating form of vitamin D, with a circulating half-life of 2–3 wk. The circulating half-life of 1,25(OH)2D is approximately 4 h. It circulates at 1000 times lower concentration than 25(OH)D, and the blood level is tightly regulated.
25(OH)D —> biologically inert, what lab tests measure
1,25(OH)2D —> active form of vitamin D. 4 hours is not long. This is a powerful molecule.

The major source of vitamin D for children and adults is exposure to natural sunlight. Very few foods naturally contain or are fortified with vitamin D. Thus, the major cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate exposure to sunlight.

Wearing a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95% (39).

People with a naturally dark skin tone have natural sun protection and require at least three to five times longer exposure to make the same amount of vitamin D as a person with a white skin tone.

There is an inverse association of serum 25(OH)D and body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2, and thus, obesity is associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D produced in the skin may last at least twice as long in the blood compared with ingested vitamin D

When an adult wearing a bathing suit is exposed to one minimal erythemal dose of UV radiation (a slight pinkness to the skin 24 h after exposure), the amount of vitamin D produced is equivalent to ingesting between 10,000 and 25,000 IU.

Above and below latitudes of approximately 33°, vitamin D3 synthesis in the skin is very low or absent during most of the winter.
33 degrees north is approximately at the midpoint between the equator (0 degrees) and the Arctic Circle (66.6 degrees).

Few foods naturally contain vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 (Table 1).

Because most tissues and cells in the body have a vitamin D receptor and 1,25(OH)2D influences the expression levels along with other factors of up to one third of the human genome, it is not at all unexpected that a numerous of studies has demonstrated an association of vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of more than a dozen cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, and pancreas; autoimmune diseases, including both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis; infectious diseases; and cardiovascular disease.

What I learned from all this … Sunshine is everything!

Vitamin D Status In United States (Is Our Low Status Linked To High Obesity Rates?)

Vitamin D Status In The United States, 2011-2014, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2019

In conclusion, the prevalence of the US population at risk of vitamin D deficiency has remained fairly stable, ∼5%, over the past decade, from 2003 to 2004 through 2013 to 2014. The prevalence of at risk of vitamin D inadequacy decreased from 21% to 17.7%.

Deficiency was defined as a serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) less than 30 nmol/L.
Inadequacy was defined as 30–49 nmol/L.

One nmol/L is equal to 0.4 ng/mL
One ng/mL is equal to 2.5 nmol/L
Deficiency: 30 nmol/L = 12 ng/L
Inadequacy: 30–49 nmol/L = 12-20 ng/L

If ~20% of the population is inadequate, that’s not good.

There are 3 ways to increase vitamin D status:
1. Sunshine
2. Supplements
3. Certain conditions lead to lower vitamin D, e.g. obesity, inflammation, some prescription drugs, loss of the part of the bowel where vitamin D is absorbed (upper small intestine).

In that list above, the first two add vitamin D to the system, the last one subtracts it. I don’t think we pay enough attention to that subtraction factor. If we addressed number 3, numbers 1 and 2 would reduce in importance.

Here are three links addressing the problem with obesity (number 3 above):

The link between obesity and low circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations: considerations and implications, International Journal of Obesity, March 2012

One potential mechanism by which obesity could contribute to low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D is adipose sequestration of vitamin D.

The importance of body weight for the dose response relationship of oral vitamin D supplementation and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in healthy volunteers, PLoS One, November 2014

BMI, relative to absolute body weight, was found to be the better determinant of 25(OH)D [than dose]. Relative to normal weight subjects, obese and overweight participants had serum 25(OH)D that were on average 19.8 nmol/L and 8.0 nmol/L lower, respectively. … We recommend vitamin D supplementation be 2 to 3 times higher for obese subjects and 1.5 times higher for overweight subjects relative to normal weight subjects.

25-Hydroxyvitamin D response to graded vitamin D₃ supplementation among obese adults, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, December 2013

Here, they actually came up with an equation:

The most important outcome of our study is that we were able to quantify the dose needed to raise a person’s 25(OH)D level based on his or her weight:

Additional daily vitamin D3 dose (IU) = [weight (kg) × desired change in 25(OH)D × 2.5] − 10

In other words, we require ∼2.5 IU/kg to raise 25(OH)D by 1 ng/mL. Thus, raising the 25(OH)D level of a 120-kg person by 10 ng/mL would require an average additional daily dose of 2990 IU of vitamin D3.

If that 120 kg (265 lb) person instead weighed 86 kg (190 lb) they would need about 1000 IU less a day (2140 IU instead of 2990 IU). Right? Although, there was a lot of variability in this study: “… given the variability in response, 13 subjects receiving 1000 IU of vitamin D3 daily achieved a 25(OH)D level >30 ng/mL, whereas 1 subject who received 10,000 IU daily did not reach a 25(OH)D level of 30 ng/mL.”

The CDC says:

Percent of adults aged 20 and over with overweight, including obesity: 73.6% (2017-2018)

73.6%. Wow. Almost three-quarters of us are either overweight or obese. Could our low vitamin D status be linked to our high obesity rates?

Magazine Editor Joins 30,000 UK Women In Experiencing Post-Vaccine Menstrual Problems, Fears Being Accused Of Being “A Dreaded Anti-Vaxxer”

Photo source: Avera Health

Will you look at that. Someone in the mainstream is questioning the narrative.

The Covid Vaccines May Affect Periods. Are We Allowed To Talk About This?, Lara Prendergast, The Spectator, 21 August 2021


I feel a little uncomfortable bringing the subject to the pages of The Spectator. I do so because I was interested to read that British women have made 30,304 reports of changes to their periods after having received a Covid vaccine. I realised I am one of them.

I will spare the details but suffice to say that after I had my first jab of Pfizer in late May, my cycle was flung off course. … When I had my second dose, the man in the booth asked whether I had experienced any side effects. I mentioned the changes to my period. He logged it on my file, said it would be flagged to the MHRA scheme and a minute later a doctor rushed in to reassure me there was ‘no reason to be concerned that the Covid jab would affect my fertility’. I hadn’t asked if there was.

I wanted to ask how he could be so certain, given these vaccines are very new. But I was concerned that would make me sound loopy. Goody two-jabs that I am, I didn’t want a black mark next to my NHS number.

In the US, one research survey tracking menstrual changes brought on by the Covid jabs received 140,000 responses. The two biological anthropologists conducting the research said they had expected to receive around 500 when they launched their survey.

The real number of cases in the UK is possibly quite a bit higher than 30,304. But it is awkward talking about what the jab has done to our periods. Friends tell me they’ve also been affected and nope, they didn’t report it either. Nobody wants to be thought of as hysterical. Emotional. A tad neurotic. So instead these conversations are going on discreetly, on WhatsApp chats, on internet threads, in hushed tones. Who wants to be accused of being a dreaded ‘anti-vaxxer’?

Is it ‘anti-vaxx’ to be concerned that these jabs may be having an effect on our menstrual cycles?

Is it so wrong to talk about this? And if the jabs are affecting so many women’s periods, who knows what else might be going on. Medical trials on pregnant women were banned following the thalidomide scandal of the 1960s.

In another survey run by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in May, just under 60 per cent of pregnant women said they had declined the vaccine. … The official information sheet offers pregnant women two options: ‘Get a Covid-19 vaccine’ or ‘Wait for more information about the vaccine in pregnancy’. Pregnant women do not have oodles of time to wait. They could also be forgiven for thinking they are being somewhat strong-armed into taking the jab, given how keen the government is on pushing through vaccine documentation for the double-jabbed.

Women associate their periods with their fertility. And there is reason to believe that the Covid jabs are having an effect on some women’s periods. A month after my second jab, I make a note that my latest cycle is messed up, once again.

These are the words the author used that I saw reflected how she felt questioning a vaccine side effect:

A black mark next to my NHS number
“Accused of being a dreaded anti-vaxxer”
“Is it wrong to talk about this?”
“We can only hope and trust”
Feeling “strong-armed into taking the jab”

How did it come to pass that a strong woman is afraid of addressing her concerns – concerns that are valid and shared by thousands of people – because it may make her appear “loopy” or may earn her a “black mark”?

This isn’t right. Society should be encouraging and embracing debate, not squelching it. She should feel proud, not embarrassed. What is going on?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) And Depression. Does One Come First?

There is a well-documented association between IBS and psychological complaints, e.g. distress, depression, anxiety. How do they influence each other? Does one more often come first? Are people down because of the pain, discomfort, and stigma of IBS? Or do people experience stress, anxiety, depression first and it contributes to IBS shortly thereafter? It’s evident that both directions are in play. But, can we learn anything by looking closer?

This well-designed case study found that IBS symptoms can foretell a down mood over successive days.

Pain And Psyche In A Patient With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Chicken Or Egg? A Time Series Case Report, BMC Gastroenterology, 3 August 2021

This is the first study to investigate the temporal relationships between somatic and psychological variables on a daily basis. We analyzed a female patient with IBS in her mid-twenties with symptoms of diarrhea, flatulence, and abdominal pain. She reported stress-related IBS symptoms as well as symptom related fears. In most variables, strong same-day correlations between somatic (especially daily impairment) and psychological (including coping) time series were observed. The day-lagged relationships indicated that higher values in abdominal pain on one day were predictive of higher values in psychological complaints (nervousness and tension) or of negative coping strategies (catastrophizing, hopelessness) on the following day. The use of positive thinking as a positive coping strategy was helpful in reducing the pain on the following days.

In conclusion we found in the presented case that somatic symptoms [IBS] temporally precede psychological complaints.

Good reading:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Microbiome-gut-brain Axis Disorder?, World Journal of Gastroenterology, October 2014 (They call the microbiome, the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms in our intestines, a “virtual organ.”)
The Gut-Brain Connection: How It Works And The Role Of Nutrition

A good way to cultivate beneficial organisms in the gut, ones are related to lower risk for IBS and improved mood, is to eat foods that feed those beneficial organisms. Eat starches. All kinds of starches … bananas, pasta, oats, rice, beans, potatoes. Some of that starch will barrel through to the colon where bacteria imbibe.