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High Dose Vitamin D Ampoules & Menopause - Think Twice, Ladies!

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

*(this is an edited excerpt from my book, "HRT in France").

Wondering why here in France you are offered glass 'ampoules' of high dose Vitamin D, and given the idea taking two of these a year is all you need? Bone issues and mood problems solved? But in other countries you lived in they weren't smart enough to give you these?

To be blunt, because it isn't so smart. Bear with me here.

Vitamin D for menopause

I was prescribed this originally, at a very high dose of 100,000 IU, in a glass ampoule you break and pour into water. At the time, I didn’t do my research and just took it, even when my then partner warned me off it.

I assumed he was misinformed, as I had heard, like I am sure you have, that as women of a certain age, our Vitamin D levels drop and put our bones at risk. So it seemed logical to me that a huge one-off dose would be helpful.

I was surprised at the palpable results. I felt a sudden rush of energy, and was on a mood high all during the day of taking it, so thought it must be a good thing.

But now I would never take such a high dose at once. Such a high dose is not recommended by newer research and not prescribed in other countries for good reason.

A One-off High Dose of Vitamin D Doesn't Last in the Body and Doesn't Have a Notable Advantage for Bone Health

A study on a dose of 70,000 IU looked at how pregnant women metabolised vitamin D versus non-pregnant. So not perimenopausal women, true, and a very small study, but what is interesting here is that even the researchers were surprised to discover that the higher level of vitamin D in the bloodstream after such a mega dose lasted at best about three weeks, before levels plummeted back to where they were! Effects on fatigue were found to diminish within only a week!

Then there is the bones issue, which is the main reason menopausal women are advised to take a D supplement. A year-long study on menopausal women published back in 2012 found that “a vitamin D(3) dose of 6,500 IU/day was not better than the standard dose of 800 IU/day in improving bone mineral density (BMD) in the hip and spine”.

A study published more recently in 2019 confirmed much of the same. This time it was a mixed group of over 300 healthy men and women aged 55 to 70. The researchers concluded that their findings “do not support a benefit of high-dose vitamin D supplementation for bone health”.

The Dangers of a High Dose Vitamin D Supplement

Also note that too much Vitamin D can be dangerous (only in supplement form, the body can’t take in too much D via the sun or food). And that unfortunately, the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity can take a very long time to show up, so you might think you are fine taking tons of the stuff, only to be sick several years later (kidney failure being the worst effect here).

It's very rare, true. But still, be sure of what you are doing when it comes to this supplement, particularly if you have other health issues.

For me in particular it was a red flag that the big Pharma behind one such high dose vitamin D product, Abiogen pharma, felt they had to recently in 2020 fund a study that of course was designed to 'prove' high doses safe. The entire thing to me feels dubious at best.

Vitamin D is surrounded by controversy, to say the least...

Look, vitamin D is a huge controversy, there are people obsessed with this stuff as the panacea for all their problems. (A bit like the women coming to me who think HRT will solve all their problems that existed pre perimenopause! Nope. Sorry ladies. Those mental health and relating issues need more than HRT).

There is certainly a lot of contrasting research. Do your own, noting that some people touting their ideas and claiming to be 'doctors' aren't, but are only nurses, osteopaths, you name it, cashing in on the Vitamin D craze. Much like they cash in on the 'hormonal imbalance' craze, etc, etc.

A lot of women get very upset and stubborn with me when I share this information. I know it can be challenging if you have convinced yourself something is one way and now are being told it's another, particularly if something seems a magic bullet, such as thinking only two vitamin D ampoules of 100,000 a year will keep your bones safe.

And stay logic. Remember there is no magic bullet better than a healthy lifestyle, and that too much of anything tends to be unwise. Focus on getting outside every day of the year for an half hour or more, and considering a reasonable dose daily supplement if you feel you need more.

Make sure as well you actually need it, don't assume you do, ask for a blood test, covered by the system here. The NHS in the UK recommends up to 4,000 a day although there is some research that suggests you can go quite a bit higher. But no, 100,000 is not needed :).

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