Current Treatment Options for Hypoparathyroidism

 

VITAMIN D

TYPES OF VITAMIN D:

  •  Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from the effects that ultraviolet light has on fungus and can be found in a rare group of foods including mushrooms.
  •  Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from ultraviolet light directly.  This is the vitamin D we make from exposure to the sun.  Generally, if something includes “vitamin D” but doesn’t specify what kind, it refers to vitamin D3.
  •  Both vitamin D2 and D3 are also called “native” vitamin D. 

WHAT VITAMIN D DOES AND HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD TAKE:

A very important role of native vitamin D is to increase the intestines’ ability to absorb calcium.  The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) or Vitamin D is 400IU (International Units, 400IU = 10 micrograms) per day for all ages and genders, however hypopara patients may need more than this.  In fact, people who are found to be vitamin D deficient can be prescribed doses of 10,000IU or 50,000IU or more!  This DRI may be increased significantly as a result of some ongoing research.  Be sure to work with your doctor to figure out how much is right for you.

SOURCES OF VITAMIN D:

  • Sun exposure: 10-15 minutes at least twice a week of direct sun onto your skin usually provides adequate amounts of vitamin D.  Limit exposure to sunlight as excess may cause skin cancer.
  • Food:  Fortified cereals, cod liver oil, fortified milk, eggs, fish (oysters, salmon), dark leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), mushrooms.


CALCIUM

TYPES OF CALCIUM:

      Calcium comes in several different forms, but the two primary ones are:

  • Calcium carbonate (such as TUMS; often chewable)
  • Calcium citrate (such as Citrical; often large pills, not usually chewable)

HOW MUCH CALCIUM SHOULD I TAKE?

 The Daily Reference Intakes (DRIs) are:

  •  Children 1-3 years old: 500 mg/day, Children 4-8 years old: 800 mg/day
  •  Males and females 9-18 years old: 1,100 mg/day,
  •  Males and females 19-50 years old: 800 mg/day
  •  Males 51-70 years old: 800 mg/day, Males  greater than 70 years old: 1,000 mg/day
  •  Females 51 years old and older: 1,000 mg/day

However, hypoparathyroidism patients may need more (sometimes significantly more) calcium than is recommended by the DRI.  Be sure to work with your doctor on how much is right for you because taking too much or too little can both have serious consequences.


CALCITRIOL

Calcitriol (also called Rocaltrol) is a prescription form of “activated” vitamin D.  “Active” vitamin D is the type that the body makes when “native” vitamin D and parathyroid hormone join forces.  Hypoparathyroidism patients cannot make Activated vitamin D because they do not make parathyroid hormone, which is why it is provided to hypopara patients in prescription form.  Calcitriol comes in doses of 0.25 or 0.5 micrograms.

 A very important role of native vitamin D is to increase the intestines’ ability to absorb calcium.  The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) or Vitamin D is 400IU (International Units, 400IU = 10 micrograms) per day for all ages and genders, however hypoparathyroidism patients may need more than this.  In fact, people who are found to be vitamin D deficient can be prescribed doses of 10,000IU or 50,000IU or more!  This DRI may be increased significantly as a result of some ongoing research.  Be sure to work with your doctor to figure out how much is right for you.

 

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