Vitamin D holds a unique and vital position in the vast array of nutrients essential to our well-being. Its influence spans various physiological functions, from bone health to immune system strength. For those living with kidney disease, maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D becomes even more crucial as it helps in managing bone health and mineral balance. Still, it’s not as simple as just taking a supplement. This blog will discuss mistakes kidney patients make when taking vitamin D supplements.

Patients with kidney disease face a unique set of considerations when taking vitamin D supplements. To guide you through this process, we’ve identified three common mistakes that many kidney disease patients make.


mistakes kidney patients make when taking vitamin D supplements


By Majd Isreb, MD, FACP, FASN, IFMCP

Vitamin D mistake #1. Not Checking Vitamin D Levels

It’s crucial for anyone considering vitamin D supplements to check their vitamin D levels first, but it’s particularly essential for patients with kidney disease. Some studies showed that as many as 80% of patients with chronic kidney disease have vitamin D deficiency. Due to changes in kidney function, these individuals often struggle with regulating their vitamin D levels, making regular checks a necessary part of their health routine.

Vitamin D testing typically involves analyzing a blood sample for the concentration of 25(OH)D, the best marker for assessing vitamin D status in the body. This test provides vital information to ensure patients are getting enough vitamin D. Enough to support their bone health and immune function. But not too much to increase the risk of hypercalcemia, a condition characterized by too much calcium in the blood. Hypercalcemia can worsen kidney problems.

In fact, vitamin D is used in large amounts as a rodenticide as it causes hypercalcemia and death in rodents.

Conventional providers may aim for a target level of 30 ng/mL. Some experts even advocate for lower levels. We believe that vitamin D levels should be checked twice a year in kidney patients. The target level for vitamin D in kidney patients should be 50-60 ng/mL as long as hypercalcemia is avoided.

Vitamin D mistake #2. Not taking Vitamin K2 with it

The interaction between vitamin D and vitamin K2 is crucial for maintaining a healthy calcium balance in the body. While vitamin D aids calcium absorption in the gut, vitamin K2 helps to direct this calcium to the bones, where it’s needed, and away from arteries and other soft tissues, where it can cause harm.

For kidney disease patients, this relationship becomes even more critical. Vitamin K deficiency is common in kidney patients. Studies have shown that vitamin K2 can help to lower the risk of vascular calcification, a common problem in those with kidney disease. However, keep in mind that some anticoagulant medications can interact with vitamin K2. If you’re on these medications, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning a regimen of vitamin K2.


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Vitamin D mistake #3. Not Taking Magnesium with Vitamin D

The last common mistake kidney disease patients make is not taking magnesium with their vitamin D supplement. Magnesium is involved in the conversion of vitamin D into its active form, which the body can use. A deficiency in magnesium can hinder this process, potentially making vitamin D supplements less effective.

Furthermore, supplementing vitamin D leads to increase utilization of magnesium. This may lead to magnesium deficiency. Therefore, it becomes crucial to check and supplement magnesium in kidney patients taking vitamin D.

However, kidney disease patients need to approach magnesium supplementation with caution. Advanced kidney disease can lead to an excess of magnesium in the body, a condition known as hypermagnesemia because the kidneys are less able to remove this mineral.


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Bonus Mistake: Not Prioritizing Supplement Quality

As is the case with any supplement, the quality of the vitamin D supplement you choose to take significantly influences its effectiveness and your health. All supplements are not created equal, and with a market inundated with various brands and types of vitamin D supplements, picking the right one can be challenging.




Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that the supplement industry is loosely regulated. This means that the onus of ensuring product safety and efficacy often falls on the manufacturers. Unfortunately, not all companies adhere to stringent manufacturing practices, leading to products that may contain contaminants or do not contain the stated amount of the vitamin.

For patients with kidney disease, this could potentially pose serious health risks. Low-quality supplements might contain harmful additives or contaminants that could worsen kidney damage. Alternatively, they may not provide the stated amount of vitamin D, leading to suboptimal levels despite supplementation.

To avoid this mistake, always opt for supplements from reputable brands that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and have their products independently tested for purity and potency. Look for brands that are transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing processes. When in doubt, seek guidance from your Integrative healthcare provider to help you select a high-quality vitamin D supplement that is suitable for your specific needs.

The bottom line

Although vitamin D supplements can play a vital role in managing kidney disease, they need to be taken correctly to optimize their benefits and prevent possible complications. Regularly checking your vitamin D levels, considering the role of vitamin K2, and discussing magnesium supplementation with your Integrative healthcare provider will ensure that you’re making the most out of your vitamin D supplements. As always, personal healthcare decisions should be made in consultation with a trusted medical professional who understands your unique health situation.