Got a question for us? We’ve got answers!

Our wonderful staff field hundreds of questions a month from doctors and patients. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of a few of the questions we hear most. If you don’t see your question here, just go ahead and ask us a question. We’re always happy to hear from you!

About Decara

What is Decara’s gelatin sourced from?

Decara 50,000IU softgels have gelatin sourced from beef.
Decara 25,000IU vegicaps use carrageenan, a common food additive derived from red seaweed.

Is Decara vegetarian or vegan?

We offer Decara 25,000IU vegicaps for patients who do not wish to consume anything produced from the death of an animal. The Vegicaps® capsules are specifically formulated by Catalent to be free of animal products. However, Decara sources its vitamin D from lanolin, an oil obtained from sheep’s wool. As far as we know, there is currently no high-potency, prescription-grade vitamin D3 product that is vegan. Decara may be suitable for some vegetarians.

Is Decara gluten-free?

Yes! All Decara products are gluten-free.

Is Decara non-GMO?

Unfortunately, we currently do not offer a Decara product that is GMO-free.

Is Decara Halal or Kosher?

As far as we are aware, no ingredients in either Decara 25,000IU or Decara 50,000IU are religiously prohibited, except potentially during Passover. Decara contains soya (soy bean) oil, which may be avoided by Jews during Passover. Our gelatin, however, is bovine (from beef) and not sourced from pork.

Is Decara sulfate or non-sulfate?

The vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, in Decara is not sulfated. Cholecalciferol is used to treat vitamin D deficiency and especially the resultant bone demineralization. Vitamin D sulfate has no known medical use.

How do I write the script?

It is imperative that the scripts states “Brand Necessary” and that the doctor list Decara and vitamin D3 specifically. Many doctors only write “vitamin D” or fail to write “Brand Necessary,” resulting in pharmacists using other products to fill the script.

What is the recommended dosage?

We are not allowed to give medical advice. However, we can point you to the IOM’s recommendations (600IU/day) and the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Guidelines (2000IU/day).

About Vitamin D

Why choose vitamin D3 over vitamin D2?

Some research suggests that vitamin D3 is far more potent than vitamin D2 in humans; we know that there are differences in their potency in other animals. However, the relative potency has not be definitively proven. Vitamin D2 was only added to the human diet in the 1930s, when it was discovered that scientists could easily make this form from plants and fungi. Without enough research on the metabolism of both forms of vitamin D, we believe that the best form of vitamin D is the one our ancestors produced and consumed for millennia.

Why should doctors test vitamin D levels?

According to the CDC, 33% of Americans have vitamin D levels below sufficiency.1 The definition of sufficiency used by the CDC only takes into consideration vitamin D’s effects on bone health, not the wide range of other elements of good health we now suspect vitamin D to influence. Vitamin D receptors are found to exist in most tissues throughout the human body and research has suggested a relationship between vitamin D and the immune system, cognitive health, hair retention, depression, cancer, and much more.

Why shouldn’t I just take an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement?

Dietary supplements sold over-the-counter do not require FDA approval. OTC supplements often have inaccurate labeling; it’s not uncommon for a dietary supplement to have vastly different amounts of an ingredient than listed, or have unlisted contaminants. Taking a prescription-grade supplement such as Decara helps ensure that you’re actually getting what you need.

How does Vitamin D affect pregnancy?

Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and small infants. There has also been a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and pre-term birth. Pregnant women who take adequate amounts of Vitamin D during gestation may also experience positive immune effects.

Can high doses of Vitamin D be toxic?

Vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D, is a rare but potentially serious condition that occurs when you have excessive amounts of Vitamin D in your body. Toxicity from Vitamin D is more likely to develop if you take 50,000 IU per day for 2 months or more or 300,000 IU in a single day.

How can I tell if my Vitamin D levels are too high?

Everyone taking high doses of Vitamin D should be under the care and supervision of a physician. A blood test can be administered by your physician to measure your 25(OH) D levels. If your 25(OH) D levels are above 150 ng/ ml then this is considered to be potentially toxic. A blood test to measure calcium can also measure 25(OH) D levels. If your calcium levels are high and 25(OH) D is high, then you may be getting too much Vitamin D.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity?

Symptoms of too much Vitamin D can include nausea, poor appetite, frequent urination, weakness and kidney problems. If you experience these symptoms when taking Vitamin D, you should stop immediately and consult your physician.

What is the treatment for Vitamin D toxicity?

Your physician may prescribe intravenous fluids and medications, such as corticosteroids or bisphosphonates.

How does Vitamin D work with other vitamins and minerals in my body?

Vitamins and minerals in your body are interconnected. Other vitamins and minerals that help Vitamin D work better are called cofactors.

What cofactors of Vitamin D are most beneficial?

The most important cofactors are Magnesium, Vitamin K, Zinc, Boron and Vitamin A.

Useful References

Cusano NE, Thys-Jacobs S and Bilezikian JP. “Hypercalcemia Due to Vitamin D Toxicity.” In Vitamin D, Third Edition, by Feldman D, Pike JW and Adams JS. Elsevier Academic Press, 2011.

Vieth, R. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and safety. American Journal of Nutrition, 1999.

Vitamin D. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. Accessed Dec. 23, 2011.

Dietary Reference Intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Institute of Medicine.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed Dec. 23, 2011.

Hathcock JN, et al. Risk assessment for vitamin D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85:6.

Lee JH, et al. Vitamin D deficiency: An important, common, and easily treatable cardiovascular risk factor? Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2008;52:1949.

Lowe H, et al. Vitamin D toxicity due to a commonly available ‘over the counter’ remedy from the Dominican Republic. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011;96:291.