Frequently asked questions

Australia has plenty of sun exposure, shouldn’t the risk of vitamin D deficiency be low?

Despite Australia’s climate, low vitamin D levels are common amongst Australians. Even in the sunshine state of Queensland, one study found that 4 in 10 women had low vitamin D levels at the end of winter. If you live in the lower (or southern parts of Australia, latitude > 35o S) the risk of vitamin D deficiency increases.

Ebeling PR, et al. Building healthy bones throughout life: an evidence-informed strategy to prevent osteoporosis in Australia. Med J Aust. 2013;199:S1-S46

Who is at risk of low vitamin D levels?

There are a number of different factors that can increase your risk of having low vitamin D levels such as:

  • People who are less likely to spend time in the sun, such as office workers and shift workers
  • People with darker skin
  • People who wear modest clothes, covering most of their skin
  • People living in aged care facilities
  • Infants if the mother was vitamin D deficient during pregnancy

Who is at risk of low calcium levels?

People at risk of low calcium levels include those who do not eat calcium-rich diets. This most commonly occurs in people who avoid or don’t eat a typical amount of dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses. Typically adults need to eat 3 to 4 serves of calcium-containing foods each day to get adequate calcium levels.

Over half of all Australians aged 2 years or older have diets that do not provide the recommended calcium intake. It is important to understand that our calcium needs change over time. Our need for calcium is higher during teenage years when we are growing bone mass. Another peak period for women is around menopause.

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes, 2011-12, 4364.0.55.008.

What can I do to keep my bones as healthy as possible?

To keep your bones as healthy as possible:

  • Eat foods rich in calcium, such as milk, yogurt and green leafy vegetables
  • Have safe exposure to the sunlight
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week, e.g. go for a daily walk
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to 1 or 2 standard drinks per day
  • Take a calcium and/or vitamin D supplement if you do not get enough through your diet and lifestyle.

Is OsteVit-D One-A-Week as effective as once daily vitamin D?

Yes. OsteVit-D One-A-Week is a more convenient way to take vitamin D, once weekly compared to once daily. The total dose is the same as daily use, 7000 IU per week and in general both doses are equally effective and are equally well tolerated.

How do I know if I should take vitamin D only or vitamin D plus calcium?

In general you should consider taking vitamin D supplement if you have low vitamin D levels or are at high risk of this. The need for additional calcium is usually worked out by understanding if your diet is low in calcium-rich foods (mainly dairy-based foods). If you eat 3-4 serves of calcium-rich foods per day you may not need to take additional calcium. Your pharmacist or doctor will be able to help you with additional advice regarding your specific situation.

Can taking too much calcium be harmful?

Getting too much calcium can cause constipation.

The upper recommended limit of calcium per diet from all sources (your diet and supplements) in Australia is 2500 mg/day. This is much higher than found in individual supplements that typically contain 600 mg/dose. Please be aware that some antacids also contain calcium, so if you regularly use antacids you should check with your pharmacist or doctor on what is best for you.

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency often has no symptoms but may cause muscle weakness and joint pain if the level is very low.

Does the vitamin D in OsteVit-D interact with any medications?

Vitamin D does not interact with any other medications but some prescription medications may cause vitamin D deficiency as they increase the degradation of vitamin D.

Won’t I get enough vitamin D from a multi-vitamin?

Most multi-vitamins contain around 400 IU of vitamin D and the daily requirement for adults is 1000 IU of vitamin D.

What is the difference between vitamin D3 and vitamin D2?

Vitamin D3 is the form that your body manufactures from the sun and the form found in oily fish.  Vitamin D2 is the form found in some plants.  OsteVit-D contains vitamin D3.

What is the best way to take vitamin D for those who have difficulty swallowing a tablet?

OsteVit-D is available in a liquid formulation for adults and as a children’s formulation with a pleasant butterscotch flavour.

Won’t breastmilk have enough vitamin D for a newborn baby?

A baby’s vitamin D levels reflect that of the mother.  If a mother has low levels of vitamin D her baby will also be deficient and so will her breast milk.  OsteVit-D Vitamin D3 Kids Drops are suitable for infants and children aged 0-12 years and are sugar free.

What product can I take if I find it difficult to swallow large calcium tablets?

OsteVit-D One-A-Day Vitamin D3 & Calcium tablets are chewable and they have a pleasant French vanilla flavour.

When should I take my OsteVit-D One-A-Day Vitamin D3 + Calcium?

The type of calcium in OsteVit-D One-A-Day Vitamin D3 & Calcium is calcium carbonate.  Products containing calcium carbonate should be taken with food to ensure that they are properly absorbed.

Are there any side effects from taking OsteVit-D One-A-Day Vitamin D3 & Calcium?

Calcium supplements are usually well tolerated.  Occasionally they may cause constipation, bloating and flatulence.

OsteVit-D is available for purchase in leading pharmacies