Vitamin D and Erratic high blood pressure

I was taking 500IUs of vit D daily along with calcium, magnesium and vit K prior to finding out I had osteoporosis. At that time in 2008 I was diagnosed with a parathyroid adenoma and it was surgically removed. After the surgery, I continued to take my vitamins to help in building my bones. In April of 2009, many of the symptoms I had with the adenoma returned. The most confusing is my erratic blood pressure. I was put on meds for the BP. About the same time, I was told to stop the vitamins to have blood work done. For about two months the BP was good. I figured it was the medicine. After the blood work ruled out another adenoma, they told me to start back on the vitamins. I was given prescription for 50,000 IUs of D. I took that for 8 weeks and during that time my blood pressure started going crazy again. My doctor increased my BP meds but the BP still keeps going up.

My question is whether anyone else out there has had a similar problem as mine? When I take vitamin D my blood pressure gets worse.

I have decided to stop the D for awhile again and see if the BP comes down. Anyone have any thoughts pertaining to Vitamin D and blood pressure?

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29 replies. Join the discussion

When I was on the 50000K D, my blood pressure came down.

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Are you taking any magnesium? Magnesium will really lower your BP---it is a natural calcium channel blocker. In fact because I have low BP anyway I have to watch how much mag I take as it will get down too low= 71/50.

My husband who has high BP uses magnesium (400mg/day) to keep his BP low and doesn't have to take any BP meds. Maybe the high level of vitamin D you are taking is needing magnesium taken along with it.

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Dear 2less,

What I can tell you is that both my sister and I (we have both had hyperparathyroidism and surgery for it in 2006 and 2007) noted that our bloodpressure took many months to stabilize. After 2 1/2 years of ups, downs and disappointments, mine has finally become quite stable; my sister's took a similar period of time to stabilize.

My guess is that the hypertension is one of the lingering effects of having had hyperparathyroid disease. Why it takes so long to resolve is a mystery to both of us, but my guess is that it is probably not related to calcium intake at all.

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2less:

I was reading your saga on your other thread. These kinds of stories make me nuts because - what if you're right? When I was a kid, I used to get pneumonia almost every year (outgrew it by the age of 12). My mother got so good at spotting the symptoms, she always knew I had pneumonia before the doctors did. Mothers are funny that way.

By the time I was eleven, I knew what the symptoms were, too. It was summer, and I called my mom at work, I was having trouble taking a deep breath. My body ached all over and my teeth hurt (I know I have a high fever if my teeth hurt). I said "Mama. I think I have pneumonia again." Which was weird, because I usually got it in winter.

She came home, took my temperature -- 102. We went to the doctor, he listened to my chest. No rattling sound. He said "It's not pneumonia. It can't be. I don't hear anything. It's just the flu." And sent us home.

My fever continued. Three days later it was at 104. I felt so weak, I could barely get out of bed. Back to the doctor. Mama said, "My child has pneumonia, you need to put her in the hospital and give her antibiotics." Doc insists. INSISTS it's impossible. She's paranoid. She's just looking for pneumonia, but it isn't pneumonia. She says take an x-ray. He says it's not pneumonia, unnecessary, blah blah blah.

I can still see my mother, all 5'0" inches of her, 95 pounds soaking wet, standing in the open doorway of that examination room, blocking that doctor's exit, yelling for the entire waiting room full of patients to hear, "I am not leaving this room and neither are you until you take a g-d x-ray! A doctor almost killed her when she was two. She cursed at him a bunch more (this was 1973 in very Baptist Alabama -- women just did not curse, let along say g-d. I don't think I'd ever heard my mother curse before that) -- she would not budge. She turned purple yelling.

He begrudgingly took an x-ray. They got the results and I was immediately rushed to the ICU at Druid City Hospital. I had a mass of pneumonia in my lung the size of a grapefruit. It was so solid, it wasn't rattling at all -- that's why they couldn't hear it. Spent the entire summer in the hospital, getting massive shots of every dang day. Permanent scar tissue on my left lung.

I think you should trust your gut. If it feels like it's your parathyroid again, it's probably your parathyroid again. I understand it's a complicated surgery, but you'd think they'd at least do an exploratory if you insisted. I mean, it's your health. I just hate that you could end up losing more bone mass if you're right. I mean, what if you're right?

What happened to patients rights? Are there other tests they could do?

Worrying about you,
Raye

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Sante Fe,

I was taking magnesium with the vitamin D (250mg). After the eight weeks at 50000IUs I switched to 2000IUs a day of D. Now I have just stopped it all to see if the BP goes down. After just two days of no D I am feeling a bit better for the time being.

Maggie 75,

Interesting to hear from someone else who has had an adenoma removed. Your family must be like mine. Three siblings and so far 5 adenoma's removed. My blood pressure had been normal without meds immediatley after the surgery. It wasn't until a few months later that the BP started being erratic. That is when I started on BP medicine to no avail.

Lilrayofsun,

Thanks so much for your story about the pnuemonia. Maybe I could take your mom along for my next doctors appointment. It is so true that we know our bodies and what we are feeling. Unfortunately finding a doctor who will listen more to your symptoms instead of just relying on the standard ranges for blood work for this disease is almost impossible. I will keep trying. I know my family physician is ready to pass me off to either the Cleveland or Mayo clinc. Don't know if I would fair any better there. Hopefully, some doctor will get to the bottom of this while I still have any bones left.

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I did find this study (doesn't say when it was published) that says high levels of D are supposed to make your blood pressure lower.

http://search.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/17956/1/IND44063374.pdf

Don't know if this helps at all. Found lots of links to current studies, but not much on results.

We all need a fiesty mom every now and then.

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Lilrayosun,

Can't get the study to come up on my computer but thanks for looking into this. My former endocrinologist said I would feel great on the high doses of Vitamin D but that hasn't been the case for me. Its effects on me have been contrary to everything I have heard or read unless you have hyperparathyroidism. It would be so nice if my serum calcium or PTH would come back elevated on my next blood work. But, then again, maybe there is something else that causes these symptoms. I just don't know what though.

Again, thanks for the info.

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The more I read on this site about the side affects from taking vitamin D has really put me off taking it. I think I will take my chances now with diet and exercise and natural sunlight when I can get it! I gave up on biphosphates some time ago because of terrible side affects, it seems there is nothing safely available for our poor bones!!

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Kettle,

Don't think most people need to worry about taking vitamin D and having problems such as I am having. I think the problem for me is that I probably have a parathyroid adenoma and vitamin D is bad for people with hyperparathyroidism.

Everything I have read suggests that vitamin D is very helpful for a myriad of problems just not my problem.

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Hi 2less,

In the parallel Journal thread you mention "Would like to try more alternative medicine things but not sure where I can get treatment near where I live." Just wanted to make a few suggestions. It seems many health food / supplement places are run by people who are very serious about alternative approaches; the owner of such a place in my town is always reading on his own and discussing with customers... If you're looking for a certain kind of approach, someone like that might be able to help you find a good practitioner (and avoid others). Also, you can look online or in yellow pages and contact various practitioners... write up a list of questions that you want to ask. Some places offer a free initial visit (phone or in person) and this can help give you a feel for things and can save time in the long run.

Thanks to lilrayosun for sharing that story --- nothing short of inspiring!

Maybe you indeed can get something exploratory at least, if you can connect with the right place, carefully chosen of course. Don't give up!

But also you might continue to consider the flip side, in terms of keeping open to other possibilities, so as to not "miss" whatever else it could be! No easy feat, I know, and it's consuming and can be stressful. Sometimes there are multiple things going on, not just one thing, and this, too, can muddy the water.

Not sure where all the info is about VitD is bad for folks with hyperpararthyroidism (I think you said on parathyroid.com but I didn't see it). I did find this
http://www.webmd.com/news/20000404/vitamin-d-hyperparathyroidism
but perhaps it's too old or some other problem with the study mentioned.

I've wondered how much "stress alone" can erode BMD. Anyway, I hope you can take some time once or more each day to de-stress; I need to remind myself and make a time because it just won't happen otherwise! It's one more way we can "take back" control over some aspects of the situation, if we set our minds to it...

Best wishes to you and keep us posted!

Oh, and KETTLE- I agree with 2less, please don't rush into discounting Vit D!

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2lessparathyroids,
Was your Vitamin D3 low is that why your Dr. put you on such a high dose?

Everything I read, says to take K, but I get leg cramps, so go figure!!

Raye,
Mothers do know best..If your mother did that in todays, world, she would have been taken away by the police lol..
I hope the Dr. could admit his mistake, and say he was sorry!!
As they say, there just Practicing!..

April

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Hi 2less,

I am confused about my BP being erratic also. Perhaps it's just a coincidence; but, I've always had a very good BP of ~ 120/70. Lately, it goes up to ~165/85, off-and-on. When you say erratic, does yours vary more than mine?

In the past few weeks, I've started to take Vit. D, Magnesium, K2, multi-vitamins, etc. Just not sure what is causing the BP problem. A knowledgeable friend told me to relax and that things will settle down. In addition, to add up the supplements to check the total amount of each, including Vit. A, Vit. E, etc. from the other supplements. My system needs to get used to "absorbing" the new inputs. I will ask for the Thyroid Panel at my next blood test, since I've never done that.

Hope that your BP will stabilize soon,

Sylvia

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Dear Sylvia and all,

I have gone to the web and searched extensively on anything to implicate Vit D for the increase in blood pressure. However all I could find was the information that Vit D reduced blood pressure and was beneficial for it.

It also said that Magnesium reduced blood pressure. And therefore there was a caution against using the two of them -- Vit D and Magnesium--in large doses, as the blood pressure might shoot downwards drastically!

My blood pressure was 120/70, and after three months of Vit D ( 60,000 IU per week) it was 116-118/70, and now after giving up the mega doses of 60,000 IU per week, it is again 120/70. I am on about 4500 IU per day.

So adding Vit D did not raise the blood pressure in my case even after a trial of four months to date.

Maybe its the worrying about Vit D that is raising the blood pressure. LOL.

Best wishes and warm regards,
Yours,
Priya

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Chirp,

The info is on the parathyroid.com site but they tell you not to read it unless your doctor prescribes vitamin D. The first time I was prescribed the high dose of D I had remembered seeing it on there but not reading about it. Went home and read it and decided not to take the D. It is very interesting what the site says regarding this and it is a bit complicated so I won't even try to tell you about it here.

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Sylvia,

Before this all started my blood pressure use to be around 120 or less over 65 or less. Then it just started fluctuating all over the place. It has gone as high as 170/102 but I can start to feel symptoms as soon as the bottom number hits 80. Right after the adenoma was removed my blood pressure was mostly around 120/70. A few months after surgery my blood pressure was around 90/65. Then it all went crazy again and the cotors put me on BP medicine. That helped normalize it for awhile and then I was told I could start taking Vitamin D again. My D level was 26 so they felt I needed to get that higher and then my symptoms would all go away. As I said before my symptoms got much worse and even though I was taking BP meds, my blood pressure was still going up. They increased the meds and it still went up.

As of right now I have stopped taking everything but my BP meds to see what happens. I am in Australia right now visiting my son and having a nice time. Haven't taken my BP but I haven't had that funny feeling I always get when it starts to go up. I am here for two weeks and will see my doctor again when I get home to see where we go from here.
I think the only problem with D is for those of us who probably have parathyroid problems.

Thanks to all for some great advice and for looking into this matter. Take care all.

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Hi 2less,

The top number of 170/102 is not bad, that's what my "knowledgeable" friend said. When my systolic BP went up to 170, I was very concerned. In addition, the fact that you can start to feel symptoms as soon as the diastolic BP hits 80 is excellent. It means that you are sensitive to it -- which is good, I believe, to have such capabilities. I didn't feel any different when mine goes up and down ;-( Just happened to check my BP for fun, after I checked my Dad's.

According to the booklet which came with my Dad's BP Monitor (by Omron), Stage 1 hypertension is 140 to 159 mm Hg for Systolic and 90 to 99 for Diastolic BP.

It will be interesting to see what you doctor say. Meanwhile, have fun in Australia. I heard that it's a really fun place. Buy some nice opals while you're there ;-)

Hi Priya & chirp,

Thanks for the info. Maybe it is the worrying about Vit D that is raising the blood pressure (ha ha ha). And, I will definitely look into the parathyroid.com site. Telling us NOT to read it is such a motivation to read it ;-)

Best regards,

<3 sylvia

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Hi 2less,

Thank you for the note, and I'm happy that you didn't feel a need to explain! In fact, in revisiting the link I posted, I suspect it might have been a very poor choice --- perhaps the very kind of "opposite thinking" that parathyroid.com warns about when it says things like "It is the parathyroid tumor that is causing the body to decrease the amount of Vitamin D-25. Not visa versa" and "The low vitamin D is GOOD [when found in the people with parathyroid adenomas]... it is protecting you from even higher calcium levels."

You're right, it's complicated---and I'm glad that you're paying very close attention! Hope you're having a great visit and continue to feel better!

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Priya,

Once again your research has proven so beneficial to us here. As I mentioned at the start of this discussion, I am having extremely low BP happening which I thought was just from the high magnesium I am taking. I really need the magnesium for my heart issues and haven't wanted to lower my dosage, so have just put up with the dizziness/light headedness of low BP.

But you found evidence that the combo of high magnesium and D can really make the BP plummet. And I have been on high dosages of both---mystery solved!
Since I have to lower my D now because of the thyroid issue, I hope that solves this low BP issue without having to lower the magnesium which I so need.
These discussions are so informative and helpful.

Please don't go looking for it again or spend time searching, but if you happen to have saved the article stating that mag and D together can plummet BP, could you post the link here? I Googled it, but could not find it.
Thanks so much for clearing this up for me!
Warm regards, Santa Fe

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Dear Santa Fe,

Many thanks for your kind thoughts. But I am really stumbling in the dark in unfamiliar terrain when I talk about Vit D and Magnesium taken together. I am still looking for the combination of Vit D and Magnesium article that I read amongst the thousands scattered on the web. But I am sure I read it somewhere even as a small warning!

However from whatever else I have been able to glean comes the important fact that Vit D increases the absorption of Magnesium, and that in cases where there is renal failure this could lead to hypermagnesia -- which has one of its paramount symptoms as hypotension.

So if a person has an undetected renal insufficiency and is taking Vit D along with Magnesium this is shooting up his magnesium levels. And since the magnesium levels are responsible for lowering the blood pressure, this would result in hypotension.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/500188_3

Quote:

"Hypermagnesemia mainly affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems and does so in a dose-dependent manner. The initial effects of hypermagnesemia are nonspecific and can occur at levels of 3 to 4 mEq/L.[9] These include nausea, vomiting, cutaneous vasodilation, and feeling hot all over.

As the serum magnesium level increases to 4 to 6 mEq/L, deep tendon reflexes are lost and electrocardiographic changes occur, including PR interval prolongation and QRS interval prolongation. Hypotension, bradycardia, and further conduction abnormalities can occur at serum magnesium levels of 6 to 10 mEq/L.

As the level continues to rise to 10 to 15 mEq/L, complete heart block, respiratory depression, and coma can occur. Asystolic arrest is a frequent finding with magnesium levels of greater than 15 mEq/L.[13,23-25]"

Unquote

Then again in this research below:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/500188_3

it is said that:

"The presence of magnesium-containing whitlockite found in addition to apatite in the vitamin D-treated rats, has to be seen in view of the well-known vitamin D-stimulated gastrointestinal absorption of magnesium."

And then again:


http://www.springerlink.com/content/n92g57j9k00ul822/


They say:

"The data suggest that in patients with chronic renal insufficiency intestinal magnesium resorption may be significantly increased by vitamin D treatment."

This would then take us into the complications of what constitutes renal insufficiency, and we would go around rushing to test the creatinine and urea and get creatinine clearance tests etc., at the slightest panic signal. And only then take Magnesium and Vit D together. Hypotension would then only be the symptom of a higher malaise!!

I would think that even with normal kidney function, if Vit D increases the absorption of Magnesium, and Magnesium increases hypotension, then supplementing Magneisum with Vit D could exacerbate the hypotension.

I believe you had the sixth sense and the knowledge to have reduced Vit D yourself, as you rightly judged it was increasing the hypotension, when taken in conjunction with Magnesium.

There are a plethora of sites that show that Vit D deficiency leads to high blood pressure, and there are also a plethora of websites to show that Magnesium leads to low blood pressure. So putting two and two together would bring us to the right conclusion -- as you have, in all your wisdom done.

I have always worried more about low blood pressure than about high blood pressure. When the BP is high all we have to do is to take a tablet to bring it down, but when the BP is low there is virtually nothing we can do except rush to a hospital and get intravenous fluids and medications. Also when the BP is high there are often no symptoms at all. But when it is low one really feels like fainting, and sometimes faints, which can be tragic.

So please keep the magnesium in check, and maybe you should not take it at all, since the research on Magnesium cleaning up the arteries is just as unclear as that of Vit D. I had not even heard about Magnesium all these years in India, and only knew of Milk of Magnesia, where I first heard the name. The only time I heard it again was in NOF when several members were speaking about it.

Thank you for your knowledgeable and wise counsel throughout in all the discussions. Like they say, "You're the boss!"

Please take care,
Warm regards,
Yours,
Priya

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Hi, Santa Fe, et al:

I remember a cardiospecialist telling me to have a couple sips of cool, not cold, water, if one's BP suddenly dips upon rising, so, maybe carrying a water bottle around or having it nearby to bring one's BP up from a dip might help?
From the enchanted forest!
PatriciaSami

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