Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Musculoskeletal

Vitamin D3 

(cholecalciferol)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Musculoskeletal
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Raises Vitamin D levels.

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Our bottom line

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) works well for vitamin D deficiencies and is available over the counter. It absorbs better than vitamin D2, but it's animal-based so vegetarians and vegans might not want to take it.

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Upsides

  • Available in generic and over the counter.
  • Available in oral solution, tablet, and capsules.
  • You can take it as a once-a-day or once-a-week medication.
  • This version of vitamin D is better absorbed by the body than vitamin D2.
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Downsides

  • This is an animal-based version of vitamin D, so vegetarians and vegans may not be comfortable with taking this supplement.
How it works

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) is a form of Vitamin D. It raises Vitamin D levels in your blood. This in turn raises calcium levels in your blood by helping you absorb more calcium from food in your intestine.

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Side effect rates for Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

Risks and Warnings for Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

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  • People on Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) who take more than the recommended dose can have high calcium in the blood, which can be dangerous in the kidneys. If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain or a bad headache, talk to your doctor. Keep the amount of calcium you eat the same from day to day.

Common concerns from people taking Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

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Pain
  • Call your doctor if you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain, headache or sleepiness.