Vitamin D3 is the catalyst required for calcium to be absorbed by your bones. Vitamin D must be converted by your body to D3 before it will become effective in the absorption of Calcium. A large portion of our population is not able to convert Vitamin D to D3. So it doesn’t matter if your endocrinologist or doctor gives you massive doses of 50,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D if your body is not converting it to D3. For some reason, many doctors don’t seem to get it. Higher doses of D will not help if your body is not converting it to D3.
The simple way is to take Vitamin D3 in the first place. Then you don’t have to worry about whether your body is converting what you need. Without adequate D3, your calcium supplements and calcium you ingest will deposit in organs and vessels where you do not need it, rather than your bones.
I had osteopenia 15 years ago. Both my mother and grandmother had severe osteoporosis. I was able to completely reverse my osteopenia and my bones are now the density of a teenager. I bought the Walgreens D3 softgels 2000 IU strength. I took three D3’s every day with calcium supplements until my osteopenia was completely reversed. It only took a few months. If you are deficient in something like calcium or D3, taking the standard dose will only maintain what you are. To restore calcium to repair damaged bones requires more than a standard dose of D3. Once my reversal was achieved, I reduced my D3 dose to two per day as an ongoing maintenance dose. After my bones were restored, I no longer required extra calcium because of the amount of milk I drink. It was my inability to produce D3 in the first place which caused my osteopenia and my family’s proclivity toward osteoporosis. You will have to base your calcium intake on the density of your bones and the amount of milk you drink. (read my article on IBS if you have issues with drinking milk. You may find it is the contents of the milk causing your dairy problems.)
Avoiding dairy is the worst thing you can do to your bones. Even if you have had kidney stones you should not go to the opposite extreme. Otherwise you will pay for it with your bones. At the very least, you will need to take daily calcium supplements with D3 if you do not drink milk. I drink Horizon brand skim milk which is free of any bGH or bST Bovine (cow) hormones. It is these hormones given to dairy cows to increase milk production which causes the IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and misdiagnosed lactose intolerance. Never buy any milk unless it specifically states it is free of these bovine hormones. Try the hormone free skim milk by Horizon. I think you will find it does not cause those problems. At least it works for everyone I know… over 50 people who no longer have IBS or lactose intolerance issues because they discovered it was the bovine hormones causing the problems. But be aware that cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, puddings, etc., may have been made with milk which has bovine hormones and may result in IBS or similar issues.
I highly recommend drinking skim milk (bovine hormone free) to avoid any problems with developing kidney or gall stones. Taking D3, will help the calcium absorb in your bones, not build up in your organs and blood vessels as well as reduce the incidence of stones by allowing calcium to absorb into your bones rather than your kidneys.
The suggested maintenance dose of D3 is only effective if you have no bone thinning problems. It requires more D3 to reverse damage. My doctor is aware of the doses I take, so it is not a haphazard amount. The doctors were amazed at the rate of reversal I was able to eliminate my osteopenia. It was the three 2000 IU D3’s I was taking. I did not take excessive amounts of calcium and most of the time, my calcium came from the amount of milk I drink. Excessive calcium is not a good idea. You will end up with it in your organs and vessels or stones. So do not exceed the amount of calcium recommended by your doctor, etc. Without the D3, your bones will not absorb the calcium.
I am not a doctor. I can only tell you what works for me. For me, it was a simple matter of engineering & logic to increase the dose of D3 to absorb more calcium to repair damage. After the repair was fully accomplished, I reduced my dose to two D3’s per day as a maintenance dose since I have a proclivity toward osteoporosis.
You may also need to take estrogen (females) or testosterone (males) if you are abnormally low. This will also help with the absorption of calcium in your bones. But these come with risks of their own. The only type of estrogen I will take is premarin. I have taken it for 25 years. Most estrogens are made from soy. Premarin is not. I will not take anything made out of soy.
Often, males have osteoporosis as frequently as females, but they never bother to get bone density tests. Drinking coffee all day long does not help the situation. Most coffee drinkers do not get enough calcium. Males usually wait until they break a bone and it doesn’t heal correctly before they find out their bones are thin. Bone density is a simple scan which is done in a doctor’s office. Nothing to be afraid of. It is quick and easy to get a bone density scan. Nothing invasive. No pain. Just a simple scan on an exam table in the office of doctors who specialize in these scans. If you are over 50, (or whichever age they are recommending for bone scans) just ask your GP who can run the scan for you. Don’t wait until you incur bone damage to check your density levels. It is far easier to fix if you catch it early.
As with any medical problem, you should always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional. But remember, if your doctor is not providing the proactive care you need… find a new doctor who will address your needs.