Vitamin D

I have been taking Fultium-D3 800IU Capsules, prescribed by my doctor, for about three years after being diagnosed Vitamin D deficient. Today I received a phone call from my doctor's surgery telling me that they are no longer able to prescribe these capsules and I have to now buy Vitamin D over the counter. I believe that most "over the counted" vitamin D contain calcium, the whole point of taking Fultium-D3 is that it does not contain calcium. Has anyone else received a similar call from their surgery?

29 Replies

  • Try Amazon. There are dozens of vitamin D3 supplements available with no calcium in. And you have a far larger choice of dosages available commercially than you do from the NHS.

    800 iU doesn't actually raise levels in many people unless they have particularly healthy guts and the supplement is absorbed well.

  • I know the 800 IU does not actually raise levels it is a maintenance dose, which the doctor told me I would be on for the rest of my life. I know things can be bought on Amazon but I prefer to buy things in local shops as I feel local shops should be supported and I do try not to support "Tax Dodgers" therefore I am limited to where I can buy these things.

  • Many supplement shops based in the UK, which are housed in bricks and mortar, also have websites. I doubt they dodge taxes. Perhaps you could try one of them.

  • Tezza What is your actual Vit D level at the moment? If you were deficient that means originally your level would have been <30 and 800iu could not possibly have raised it. Once it was up to the recommended level with loading doses then you should have gone on to the maintenance dose.

    The recommended level is 100-150nmol/L.

    If your GP won't test Vit D any more, you can get a private fingerprick blood spot test from City Assays (which is the lab at NHS City Hospital in Birmingham) and it costs £28 . It is recommended to re-test once or twice a year when supplementing to stay within the recommended range and not allow D3 to build up to toxicity level which is 220+

    It's not unreasonable for doctors to suggest we buy our own due to financial constraints, they are relatively cheap eg a year's worth of 5000iu daily costs as little as £13.95 in a good brand. There are very many that don't contain calcium. The problem is that most good quality supplements can't be obtained from local shops. Online sources are generally the best place together good quality supplements and there are alternatives to the 'tax dodging' sites.

    One of the best D3 supplements is this one, which contains just two ingredients ie D3 and extra virgin olive oil to aid absorption. It comes in different strengths so you can choose the most suitable one. Many people, once they've reached the recommended level, find they need a maintenance dose of maybe 2000iu daily throughout the winter, maybe only 1000iu daily in the summer. Using a higher strength one alternate days, for example, can further reduce the cost.

    Your GP probably won't have told you, they don't know much at all about nutrition, vitamins and minerals, as they aren't taught it, but there are important co-factors needed when taking D3

    D3 aids absorption of calcium from food and K2-MK7 directs the calcium to bones and teeth where it is needed rather and away from arteries and soft tissues where it can cause problems.

    You can get combo supplements that include K2 such as - or if you don't want to buy from Amazon then this is the same product

    Or you could buy a K2-MK7 supplement separately

    D3 and K2 are fat soluble so should be taken with the fattiest meal of the day, D3 needs to be taken four hours away from thyroid meds.

    Magnesium, also needed, comes in different forms, you can check to see which would suit you best and as it's calming it's best taken in the evening four hours away from thyroid meds

  • Most small businesses, like the supplement sellers on Amazon, are not tax dodgers and probably pay more tax than big businesses. OK., Amazon gets a cut, but you are still supporting them and if you go via easy fundraising you are supporting Thyroid UK. You can also buy from your local independent healthfood shop (but Holland & Barrett are a big chain snd so...)

  • Congratulations you are the 1,000,000,000,000th person to be prescribed a useless 'maintenance dose' of vit d. The point of a maintenance dose is to maintain replete levels, and if you levels were replete they wouldn't prescribe it.

    Jam tomorrow, Catch 22 etc.

    A lot of folk who use 800iu find their levels actually fall. The current advice is closer to 1000iu if your levels are already replete but if you're persistently low you need a loading dose and then, anecdotally I read about taking 1500, 2000, 3000 or even 5000 per day depending on how you absorb it. It needs monitoring so telling you to take 800iu for the rest of your life is neither here nor there. If you move to sunnier climes or change your diet it all could change anyway.

    If you ask your local health food shop should be able to order you a vit d w no calcium. I take one w vit k as well which is meant to help teeth and bones.

  • Well, it was such a low dose it probably wasn't doing anything anyway, and I've never had an OTC Vid D supplement with calcium in it. Look for soft gels or drops - 2000iu - I use biotics research bio D mulsion forte (on Amazon). It looks expensive but a bottle lasts a year.

  • Sunshine is free and the best way to obtain VitD. Even on cloudy days the UVB rays come through so sit out if not raining and expose your body as much as possible :-)

  • Yep, you can do that especially here in the frozen north 😉 I have read using aluminum foil can help increase the sun strength. It's generally well known that the U.K. doesn't get enough sunshine at a strength required to promote Vit. D production so supplementation at least during the winter is necessary.

  • Most vit D I know don't contain calcium. Make sure you get the liquid or gel/oil capsule type, as tablets are hard to absorb. 800IU is a tiny tiny tiny dose especially if you are deficient. I have to take 20,000IU per week and still managed to end up at the bottom of the range by the end of this last winter.

    I would recommend getting your vit D tested before deciding which dosage to buy, post the results here. If you are deficient you need a high dose, but if you are not a high dose could potentially put you over range.

    All the best,


  • Thank you everyone for your advice, I am sorry but I do not buy on line and so am going to try working this out and will probably stop taking the vitamin D altogether. I was on a loading dose for three months in 2014 and have been taking Fultium-D3 800 IU capsules one a day ever since.

  • I don't know where you can get good quality supplements other than online. You can get plenty of rubbish ones from places like supermarket, Boots and Holland and Barrett own brand but they are best avoided as they tend to use the wrong form of ingredients and the least bioavailable form so they wont be much use.

    If you are not within the recommended range for vit D, which is 100-150nmol/L, then if you stop taking it you could very well start to feel the symptoms of deficiency.

  • As far as I know I am now well within the recomended range and if I start to get deficient again at least I know the symptoms now. Boots sell Fultium-D3 over the counter but onle in 400 IU and they are £7.99 for 30 which strikes me as an awful lot of money for 15 days worth of vitamin D.

  • Which is why Doctor's Best brand are an excellent buy for such an excellent product.

    The whole point of supplementing is to bring you up to optimal level then keeping it there with a maintenance dose so you don't fall back again and suffer symptoms. Yo-yoing up and down isn't a good idea.

  • Yes that is expensive. I paid that once for 30 and remember the mental distress when I handed over £7.99 for 30 pills (Am I going to have to pay that every month now along with several other supplements from that same chemist? That would have cost me near £50 a month on top of my prescription cost when I get my usual meds). Most of the ones on Amazon are around £10 - £15 for anything between 90 & a years supply.

    I don't worry about K2 & magnesium because I take it with my lunch which is usually homemade soup with lots of greens in it.. If not with lunch then I just take it with a few squares of dark choc which provides the fat, k2 & magnesium.

  • There are some reliable brands in brick and mortar shops, just check the ingredients, capsules rather than pills, mixed with oil for preference. I'd have thought Solgar would be ok, they are available in most health food shops. I would not buy from Holland and Barrett I'm afraid especially their own brand lines.

  • Holland and Barrett and Solgar are owned by the same company.

  • Good heavens! I checked the Solgar softgels before I recommended them, they seemed reasonable!

  • There's nothing too bad in the Solgar softgels, but there are better ones for less money :)

    The parent company has lots of fingers in lots of pies, even supplying arms I believe. Have a look at Londinium 's thread

  • SeasiseSusie, how did you add my name in your reply? When I've tried, it hasn't worked. 🤔

  • Pure luck tonight Londinium . The site has been playing up quite a bit and I haven't been able to add names to a lot of my replies.

    I take it you've tried putting @ in front of the name but no space, the list of suggested names has popped up and you clicked on the one you want? If so, it's probably the site having a wobble.

  • I did @ and typed the name without any space between @ and the name. No names popped up, and it was just black font without going blue. ☹️

  • That's exactly what was happening to me earlier with some members' names. I was quite surprised when it worked with your name :)

    I think it's just one of those times when the site plays up a bit. I was getting the orange blob next to the bell to notify me of replies etc. When I clicked on the bell to check them they weren't showing up. That went on for about an hour, then all of a sudden I had about 10 notifications show up all together, all of them were the ones that weren't showing before. Definitely something up tonight.

  • Unfortunately, no I can't. I've only ever used Solgar methylcobalamin up to now, I shall finish my current supply then I have to find a new one myself.

  • This is a really good supplement. it's quite expensive but lasts for months:

    But unfortunately I think this is only available online,

  • That's interesting, I didn't know about that. My dad takes both so I looked it up.

    It seems there is some benefit from a low dose of K2 with warfarin, although due to ratios, with the Thorne one, to get a 100mcg dose of K2, you'd only get 500mcg of D3.

  • Wo! ... not received the call to say stopping vit d yet!

    I would be very disappointed if I get that call!

    It took a lot of badgering my GP to test and then prescribe for my vitamins d deficiency!! Lol..

    Yet, for years I was coerced into taking statins, aspirin, beta blockers because computer said...... blah blah..

    Since coming to this site, my confidence in my own ability to fight for my well-being, has led me to getting my GP to agree, that I am better without those so called preventative meds.

    I wonder if I could have a trade-off for no longer having meds prescribed that I neither wanted, desired or needed (I now have a neurologist consultant letter telling me and GP, I am not at risk)! Seems a fair deal to me, giving up all those meds for vit d!!!

  • I sent an email to NHS England asking why my vitamin D3 had been stopped, I received a reply yesterday saying:- "Thank you for your email to NHS England regarding the prescribing of vitamin D. I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy that these will no longer be available to you on prescription. Please also accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.

    This decision will have been made by your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as they determine which medications are available on prescription and I am sorry but we cannot overrule this decision. A number of other medications will also no longer be available on prescription in order to save the NHS substantial expenditure.

    Please see the following link which gives further information about these changes.

    I hope this information has been helpful.

    " The link takes you to an article about the most recent announcment about stopping various prescription items, there is no mention of vitamin D3, I am shortly going to email again about this but I am not holding my breath.

  • Thanks Tezza,

    Yet another poorly planned and poorly executed development taking place within the NHS!

    So much time, money and energy is wasted by decision makers and implementers within the NHS, they gotta target patients yet again!

    Thank you for the link, I will read and ponder who is responsible for making people sick with NHS today..

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