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CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D3 -What you need to know.

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  • CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D3 -What you need to know.

    I just wanted to make a post in regards to this misunderstood topic. It is a very complex topic and I will not go deeply into the details of how calcium, d3, and phosphorous all work and how they effect each other, but I will give a basic explanation of why each one is necessary.

    I get at least one phone call or email per week about someones gecko that is showing signs of severe calcium deficiency, and after asking a few questions I find that it is because they are feeding insects that are not supplemented with cal and d3 or they are only supplemented with calcium. In some case people think that using certain gut loads is enough. (it's not)

    If you feed strictly Crested Gecko Diet, you have nothing to worry about, it contains the correct amounts of calcium and vitamin d3.
    However when you add anything else to a geckos diet, insects, fruits, or whatever, the balance of calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin d3 all change. Insects are very high in phophorous and since most reptiles require a 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous, these levels quickly become imbalanced. The solution is to dust the insects with calcium to restore the 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous. But in order for the gecko to metabolize the calcium they need vitamin d3. Reptiles exposed to UVB can manufacture their own vitamin d3, crested geckos may be able to but there are not any good studies to see whether or not they utilize UVB rays or if they are even able to manufacture it. This can be argued about but the fact is most people do not provide UVB and Crested Geckos obviously do just fine without it as long as d3 is supplemented in the diet.

    D3 is a fat soluble vitamin, so it can be overdosed, and this is why people freak out about supplementing it and why there are so many posts saying "never use calcium supplements with d3" and so on. I have never heard of a substantiated case of vitamin d3 overdose in any reptile (and by substantiated I mean a vet conducted blood tests, not someone blaming a mysterious death on d3), but I do hear of calcium deficiency and metabolic bone disease almost every day. A gecko would have to ingest a ton of d3 over an extended period of time before it built up to toxic levels, and commercial calcium supplements simply don't contain enough d3 to cause overdose when they are used properly. Certainly dusting a dozen or two crickets a week with a commercial calcium and d3 suplement will not even come close to causing an overdose. For those that are still worried about it, Allen Repashy makes a calcium supplement with varying levels of d3, low, medium, and high. I personally use the Medium d3 calcium supplement 2-3 times per week with every single insect feeding, from hatchling geckos to adults.

    I am posting this to help people, not to start a debate, or to ruffle anyones feathers. I truly feel that the demonization of d3 is causing many geckos to suffer and often times die. The saddest part about it is that it is totally avoidable.



    Side note:
    Keep in mind that a gecko must have a healthy intestinal track, kidneys, and liver to properly absorb calcium and particulary vitamin d3. A heavy parasite load, infections, etc, can cause nutritional problems even if they are fed a proper diet.

    Does CGD have enough d3 to make up for the occasional insect feeding? Possibly if you only feed a couple of insects per week.
    Last edited by Matthew Parks; 04-16-2009, 06:46 PM.

  • #2
    That is an awesome post. I agree I have seen a lot of negative words toward the use of D3 and I do believe those posts were not intended to misleading but they were. Understanding the correct application of D3 will help many folks out in the future. I could never have put it as well as you did.
    Thank you for taking the time to post this.
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    • #3
      An excellent post from our fearless leader. I have been using a vitamin / mineral supplement for years with no ill effects, and it does contain D3. It is also free of phosphorous.
      Mike
      www.dragontownreptiles.com

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      • #4
        Could someone include a list of good calciums to use?

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        • #6
          I use JurassiCal. No Vit. D in it.

          I add a pinch to my CGD about one a week and dust my crickets with it.
          Love and Light-
          Donna

          "What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to the man. All things are connected."-Chief Seattle

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          • #7
            How does the Calcium (low, med, high) w/ D3 compare to the Calcium Plus product?

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            • #8
              I use the "All In One Calcium and Vitamin Supplement" from Matt's product page. This has no d3, right?

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              • #9
                Originally posted by SweetKittyKat View Post
                I use the "All In One Calcium and Vitamin Supplement" from Matt's product page. This has no d3, right?
                This is from the passage "The solution is to dust the insects with calcium to restore the 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorous. But in order for the gecko to metabolize the calcium they need vitamin d3."

                So d3 is a good thing as long as its not to much.

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                • #10
                  Yep, I got that. But there are 2 Repashy products

                  1)Calcium (low, med, high) w/ D3
                  2)Calcium Plus All in One

                  What's the difference? I understand the plain calcium comes in 3 different d3 strenghts, but how do the compare to the Calcium Plus all in one?

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                  • #11
                    The calcium plus is an all in one calcium/vitamin supplement. It does contain Vitamin d3 and can be used to dust insects a couple of times per week.

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                    • #12
                      I use the Repashy Calcium ICB stuff to dust my insects with for both my rhacs and my leos.

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                      • #13
                        oh!
                        And thank you for posting this.
                        The whole D3/no D3 thing has always confused me a little.

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                        • #14
                          thank you for helping everyone get more info on this cal and d3 issue
                          2.0.0 gargoyle geckos(Murderface 3 years old and Manson 3 years old)
                          R.I.P. 0.0.1 house gecko(Doomageddon 2 years old)
                          R.I.P 1 fired belly toad(Frogger 13 years old)
                          2 cat(Lilly 5 years old and Lola 20 weeks old)
                          R.I.P 3 hamsters(Kenna and her 2 babies)

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                          • #15
                            This clears up a lot !
                            Thanks Matt !

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