Alternative sources of calcifediol, including lab grade pure powder and DSM Hy-D diluted powder intended for agricultural animal feed

This page contains what was previously a section of the main cv19 page: 

../#calcifediol-lab-agri

It is rather long, so I made it into this separate page.

Before proceeding here, please read the previous section on the main page ../#calcifediol-au and all the items of required reading specified there.

I found two online sellers advertising animal feed calcifediol supplements made by DSM - one a powder and the other a liquid.  It is exceedingly annoying that the liquid is not a stocked item they have for sale, but I am mentioning it anyway, since the listing includes price information.  Maybe someone can find a seller who has it in stock, for online ordering.

The powder form is available for in-person and online sale to residents of Canada.  Since I am in Australia, I asked one Canadian package forwarding company to purchase it and send it to me, but they declined since they decided that it would involve them in filling in extra customs forms.

So at present (2021-04-09) I don't know of any agricultural source of 25OHD, AKA calcifediol, AKA 25-OH-S AKA 25(OH)D AKA 25-hydroxyvitamin D which can be sent to most countries in the world.   I will keep looking, and if anyone finds such a product, please let me know.

This page also lists some places where pure lab-grade calcifediol can be purchased.  I guess some of these can ship to other countries, or could be obtained via a package forwarding company.


The following is for the interest of people who make up their own minds about nutrition and medical matters and take full responsibility for this.  This includes doctors, other healthcare professionals and various autodidacts.  The suggestions below are the thoughts of an electronic technician.  If you treat this like medical advice and bad things happen, blame yourself and not me.  If these ideas prompt you to make your own decisions which work out well, or not, please let me know what happened.

I am contemplating emergency situations where people who are not vitamin D replete - due to insufficient recent UV-B skin exposure and not having taken robust D3 supplementation for months to bring their 25OHD levels to (very approximately == "~~")  ~~50ng/ml or more.   When such people contract COVID-19 then they need their 25OHD levels boosted to at least 50ng/ml as a matter of urgency.  (The same goes for sepsis, Kawasaki disease and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, as mentioned above.)   Bolus D3 (even if we can get enough of it in a large-scale COVID-19 crisis) is too slow to get their 25OHD levels up.  It days days or week or so.  The only way to raise 25OHD levels in a few hours is calcifediol - oral administration is fine, unless the person is unconscious or on a mechanical ventilator, in which case you will need a doctor or nurse and intravenous calcifideol.

I am contemplating doctors and nurses supervising this, or autodidacts doing it for themselves, their loved ones and friends due to the impossibility of finding any medical professional who will handle the situation this well.

If you already have the Fortaro tablets, then this is great.  Not counting shipping, the cost is about USD$20 for 60 x 10ug = 0.6mg, so the cost is ~USD$33.33 per milligram.  I think 1 milligram is likely to be a lifesaver in some emergency situations.

If you need calcifediol then you need it immediately - hours, not days or weeks.  So you will need to buy some well beforehand.  The Fortaro tablets are a good choice, since they are inexpensive, pharma grade, and most people would be able to ingest 60 to over 100 tablets over a period of minutes or half an hour without any trouble.  (Remember you are reading the ramblings of an electronic technician, not something from a peer-reviewed journal article.)

It is easy to find calcifediol for sale from Chinese merchants on Alibaba.com .  Maybe you could get this through US Customs.  You can pay USD$20 a gram (enough for 1000 patients) or USD$40 a kilogram Shanghai Xinglu at Alibaba.com (enough for a million patients) or $945 a gram Shandong Sunrise at Alibaba.com.  These prices vary by 5 or 6 orders of magnitude, and I can't see a reliable way of assessing which companies would providing the real, ~~99.9% pure material - or how the purchaser could prove to anyone else that this material is what it is sold as.  These suppliers would be adept at flying their products under Customs radar, so they would not necessarily be labeled in ways which would alert Customs to the product being a prescription pharmaceutical.  Also, it might be easier to have it shipped to to a mail forwarding company in a country other than the USA.

Use of these in humans would probably violate laws, regulations, insurance and employment rules, so a doctor doing so in the USA would probably face all sorts of difficulties.  However, for people who have not been robustly supplementing vitamin D for months already, and who contract COVID-19, immediate ingestion of 0.6 to 1.0 milligrams of calcifediol 25 hydroxy vitamin D is likely to save them from severe symptoms, lasting harm and possibly death.  (More for obese adults.)

Here are some alternative sources I found.

Lab grade calcifediol

This is close to 100% pure powder.  It is probably not officially licensed for human pharmaceutical use, but it will be fine.   Each person only needs ~~1 milligram (see my 14 microgram per kg bodyweight suggestion above for a one-off emergency dose), so there can't be any contaminant in that tiny quantity which could cause any trouble.

You will need some way of diluting it - such as in another powder or perhaps oil - and then dividing the resulting mixture into masses of 100mg or more - something which can be reliably weighed - to get the desired amount, which is likely to be in the order of 1mg of calcifediol for adults. This would be tricky for most people.

Here are a few sources I found.  Pricing varies a lot with quantity.  The prices below do not include shipping.  It is possible you might need to provide some reason to obtain these products, but probably not since calcifediol is a laboratory reagent, not a volatile liquid, explosive, drug of addiction etc.

Agricultural animal feed calcifediol 25 hydroxyvitamin D

This section contemplates the use of agricultural animal nutritional supplements for human use.  This is contrary to the specification of the product and the intention of the manufacturer.  Such use may also be contrary to various laws, principles, professional misconduct insurance requirements etc. etc. etc.  If any of this gives you a headache, please read no further.

What follows are suggestions of an electronic technician for acquiring, in a 5kg pail, for about USD$100 plus shipping, sufficient calcifediol to raise the 25OHD levels of 1500 or so people to 50ng/ml or more, within a few hours, for the purposes of enabling their immune system cells to function properly (at least in respect of their autocrine and paracrine signaling) and so have a good chance of suppressing SARS-CoV-2 infection and avoiding the excessively inflammatory responses which are the primary or sole cause of severe COVID-19, Kawasaki disease and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.

I also suggest that the contents of each pail could provide good levels of vitamin D supplementation for about 285 person years, at a cost which is lower than any normal pharma-grade D3 arrangement, but probably not lower than using feed grade D3.

The DSM Hy-D product page: https://www.dsm.com/anh/en_US/products/vitamins/hy-d.html does not have specific details of this or any other Hy-D products.

I searched high and low before I found this source of calcifediol online, in-stock, with price.  Please let me know if you find any more.  See below for a liquid form, also  available for online ordering - but actually not available.
This powder is intended to be mixed into water and then further diluted into the water feed for chickens and turkeys and pigs.   2.66 grams of this powder, I guess about a teaspoon full, will provide 1mg calcifediol - and it was 0.532mg which made such a difference in Cordoba.

This powder is 0.000375 = 0.0375% calcifediol.  The Fortaro tablets are 0.0067% calcifediol, so 15 grams of these tablets provide 1 milligram of calcifediol.   The powder in this pail is 5.6 times as concentrated as the Fortaro tablets.  



High-res version: Hy-D-WS-1448x1520.png.  Does anyone know the DSM product number for this?

While my interest in calcifediol was solely for its use as a one-off dose to raise circulating 25OHD levels in a few hours, to healthy levels in the 50 to 100ng/ml range, when people really need it, such as when at risk of, or suffering, severe COVID-19, sepsis, Kawasaki disease or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.

However, the low cost of this powder makes me consider other uses:  To what extent would this be a good alternative to D3 for long-term supplementation?   I am thinking theoretically and am ignoring whatever concerns their might be supplying agricultural animal nutritional supplements to humans.  I imagine some or many doctors running as hard as they can in the opposite direction from such a suggestion, in part due to fear they may be referred to as a (sound emitted by duck).  

However, if I was a doctor - or even if I wasn't - and I was in some area where people were dying and/or being seriously harmed by COVID-19 (and long COVID can begin after a relatively mild illness, so everyone is at risk) and I could obtain a product like this, in 5kg or more quantities, I would then be in a position to distributed it to lots of needy people, as a one-off intervention, for trivial cost per dose.

But rather than wait until people become sick, or were reasonably suspected of being infected with COVID-19, it would be better to supplement as many people as possible to get their 25OHD levels up to 50ng/ml or so at least, for their general health and to ensure their immune cells have enough 25OHD if and when they get COVID-19.   Since neither vaccination and/or prior infection provide reliable protection from further infections, especially with one of the increasing number of new variants: https://vitamindstopscovid.info/#update-2021-01-31 this means the entire population is at risk.

To get a person's 25OHD level up within hours, with this generally lasting for days or a week or so (see the patent graph above) I guess a one-of dose 14ug calcifediol per kg bodyweight would do the trick, no matter how low the person's level was before this.     (Only if a person's level was close to or beyond whatever level for them results in hypercalcemia or hypercalciuria would this one-of dose cause any problems.   Such levels might be as low as 150ng/ml for some people.  So assuming the person had not already been overdoing D3 supplementation, this one-off dose would do no harm, and in many cases would provide decisive benefits if and when the person is infected with COVID-19.

But what about using this inexpensive material for long-term supplementation, as an alternative to D3 capsules or powder?  D3 alternatives include, for a 70kg adult, one 5000 IU cap a day or, for instance, one 50,000 IU capsule a week (7143 IU a day).  See https://vitamindstopscovid.info/01-supp/ for my ideas on D3 supplemental intake quantities as a ratio of bodyweight.

There is no precise conversion between calcifediol and D3 (cholecalciferol) regarding  long-term 25OHD levels.   I guess the ratio is around 4:1 - meaning that 100ug of calcifediol will raise 25OHD levels about as much as 400ug (1000 IU) of D3.

Ignoring uncertainties about the actual potency of the above product (which would depend to some degree on how long it has been stored for, and at what temperature) and regarding the possibly somewhat higher nonavailability's of the Faes Farma 0.266mg calcifediol in oil capsules compared to this dry powder (best take this powder at the end of a meal with significant fats) here are some thoughts on how much of this material would be needed to raise a 70kg adult's 25OHD levels to a healthy 50ng/ml or so.  Depending on the research article cited, I think that 5000 IU a day D3 in average weight adults raises 25OHD levels to the 50 to 60ng/ml range, which is what we should aim for in a population average.

If we assume a 4:1 ratio, then instead of 0.125mg (5000 IU) D3 per day, we would only need 0.031mg calcifediol per day.  Since the cost (ex-shipping) of Hy-D WS is 5.33 US cents per milligram, this is 0.17 US cents per day.

Another angle is to look at this research from Spain, which used a single Faes Farma Hidroferol capsule every two weeks or every month:


Monthly versus biweekley calcifediol in the treatment of osteoporotic patients. Study in real life
Olmos JM, Arnaiz F, Hernández JL, Olmos-Martínez JM and González Macías J.
Revista de Osteoporosis y Metabolismo Mineral 2018-06-25
http://revistadeosteoporosisymetabolismomineral.com/2018/07/23/monthly-versus-biweek.../


This article and some similar studies which are cited in it have these results, all with people suffering from osteoporosis:

40 post menopausal women for 6 months, baseline ~15.5ng/ml:
  • 0.266mg once a week: 80ng/ml.
  • 0.266mg once every 2 weeks: 65ng/ml.
Women for 3 months, baseline ~21ng/ml:
  • 0.266mg once a week: 82ng/ml.
23 men and 133 women, av. weight ~65kg, BMI ~26.5 and age ~72 years, after one year of treatment:
  • 0.266mg every 15 days: baseline 17ng/ml -> 56ng/ml.
  • 0.266mg every month: baseline 23ng/ml > 39ng/ml.
The researchers decided that 0.266mg once a month gave the 25OHD levels they were happiest with.   I think the 0.266mg every 14 or 15 days gave a more desirable result.

Sidebar on frequency of D3 or calcifediol supplementary intakes:

There are critiques of weekly D3 dosing compared to daily dosing, but I am not convinced that once a week is too infrequent.   I would be inclined to think that once every two weeks or more is probably too lumpy, given what I know about D3 decay rates and 25OHD's half-life, which gets shorter at higher levels.  (This is a whole different discussion I have not yet written up.)

Perspective: Vitamin D supplementation prevents rickets and acute respiratory infections when given as daily maintenance but not as intermittent bolus: implications for COVID-19
George Griffin, Martin Hewison, Julian Hopkin, Rose Anne Kenny, Richard Quinton, Jonathan Rhodes, Sreedhar Subramanian and David Thickett
Royal College of Physicians Clinical Medicine Journal 2021-02-16
https://www.rcpjournals.org/content/clinmedicine/early/2021/02/16/clinmed.2021-0035


From this I conclude provisionally that 0.266mg every 15 days gives us the 25OHD levels we want, at least in these older people.  This is 0.018mg calcifediol per day, which is 0.096 US cents a day.  (This implies a calcifediol to cholecalciferol effectiveness ratio of about 0.125 / 0.018 = 7:1 which is a lot more than the 4:1 I guesstimated above.)

This low a cost would be hard to beat with D3 capsules - though remember I am discussing a powder, which someone needs to measure and dispense in quantities and frequencies roughly according to bodyweight - so there are extra costs, which need not be very high.

For D3 capsules for developed nations, 50,000 IU capsules, such as one a week is a good approach.  The Bio-Tech Pharmacal capsules Tina and I use cost USD$30 for 100 capsules, so this is 4.285 cents a day.  Other companies make similar products at somewhat lower prices.

Scouring Alibaba for the cheapest bulk prices on 5,000 IU D3 capsules I found one supplier (MOQ = minimum order quantity) 30,000 capsules USD$11.42 per thousand capsules.  One of these a day is 1.142 US cents a day.  D3 diluted in powder is available there too, but the prices are all over the place, so for comparison I used a US supplement supplier.  Note that this is pharma grade D3, and I am comparing it animal feed grade calcifediol - though I have no reason to think there is anything technically deficient or dangerous in this particular DSM product.

https://www.bulksupplements.com/products/vitamin-d3-cholecalciferol?variant=32133465899119

20kg of 0.25% (1/400th strength) D3 powder costs USD$1050.  This is 50 grams of D3 = 2,000,000,000 IU which could provide 400,000 5000IU daily doses.  Such a dose with this material would cost 0.265 cents per day.   Feed grade D3 diluted powder would be less expensive, I am sure, but I haven't found a price.

On the above assumption - a 7:1 effectiveness ratio, one 5kg pail (total mass with packing would be 6 or 7 kg) of this Hy-D WS powder would provide 104,167 days of supplementation for 70kg adults to the ~50ng/ml level.  This is 285 person years.

Using the abovementioned D3 powder to provide the same number of daily doses would be 104,167 * 0.125mg * 400 = 5.2kg.  So Hy-D WS has no inherent weight or compactness advantage over this common 1/400 concentration D3 powder.  The D3 in feed grade powder has not been refined as much as that in the pharma grade, but I am not sure how much that matters to humans or non-human animals.  My guess is that this difference would cause no significant health effects.

So it seems that DSM Hy-D Water Soluble would be cost-completive for long-term supplementation compared with all pharma grade D3 products, including raw powder, but probably not compared to feed grade D3 powder.

Disadvantages include:

Not pharma grade, so potential legal and other complications giving it to humans.

(I can't imagine there would be any safety concerns, assuming reasonable quantities - but I am no authority on such matters.)

The powder needs to be divided up, such as into capsules with a capsule filling machine, or diluted in water.  (But how long is it stable in water?)  Capsules can be filled by hand.  Precise measurement to finer than 20 or 30% is not really required.

No provision of D3 cholecalciferol, which, without conversion to 25OHD, has been shown to be protective of endothelial cells: ../#2015-Gibson .

Advantages include:

No reliance on liver function to convert into 25OHD.  This may remove a significant cause of individual variation in D3 -> 25OHD responses.

No delay due to liver processing.  This is not important in the long term, but is helpful when getting people's levels up to start with.

Inexpensive compared to all alternatives except feed grade D3.

Perhaps this would be of interest to people in developing countries, or to those in developed countries whose medical systems are not up to speed on the need for vitamin D levels of 50ng/ml or so, and which either will not or cannot provide sufficient (1mg is not much) calcifediol when unsupplemented people contract COVID-19.

It may provide cost advantages for long-term supplementation over pharma grade D3 capsules and raw powder, but probably not over feed grade D3 powder.

If this powder was to be used for my suggested arrangement (above) of 14ug per kg bodyweight single dose to rapidly boost 25OHD levels in emergencies, then here is some guidance:

The powder is 0.000375 calcifediol, which is one part in 2667.  So 37 milligrams of powder contains 14ug calcifediol.   For a 10kg child, this works out to 0.37 grams of powder.   Ideally, use a milligram scale.  Otherwise weigh out 16 times this (6 grams) spread into a square, and divide into 16 smaller squares all the same size.

For a 70kg adult: 70 x 0.037 grams = 2.6 grams.  There's nothing very precise about this.  Toxicity is hard to imagine with a one-off dose like this, and these quantities err on the high side, because in the hours and days which follow, the person's health and life hangs in the balance.

Here is a second supposedly online-available animal feed source of calcifediol, also from DSM.  Much the same considerations apply as mentioned for the powder form. 

From a ~2018 video we see the bottle and a label which is about 0.0563% calcifediol:



High-res: Rovimix-Hy-D-Solution.jpg .  "Ro" seems to be from a previous version branded "Roche", which was a company DSM took over in 2008.

This bottle contains 1.981 litres with 563mg calcifediol per litre = 1.062 grams of calcifediol total.  On a mass basis, this is 1.5 times the concentration of the powder form.   On a volume basis, which is important for international shipping, this would probably be 3 to 5 times the calcifediol per unit volume.  Product code 5003016103.  Use-by date 6 months after manufacture, so this would be a tricky product for distributors or retailers to stock.
The liquid is 0.000536 calcifediol, which is one part in 1866.  So 26 milligrams of powder contains 14ug calcifediol.   For a 10kg child, this works out to 0.26 grams of powder.   Ideally, use a milligram scale.  Otherwise use gram scales to weigh, for instance, 50o drops from eyedropper and so calculate how many milligrams there are in each drop.  Then it is easy to dispense the required amount.

For a 70kg adult: 70 x 0.026 grams = 1.8 grams.  There's nothing very precise about this.  Toxicity is hard to imagine with a one-off dose like this, and these quantities err on the high side, because in the hours and days which follow, the person's health and life hangs in the balance.


Here are some other DSM calcifediol supplements for animal feed which I have not yet found available for off-the-shelf or online ordering:

There is or at least was also a Rovimix Hy-D 1.25%powder, intended for mixing with other nutrients to form premixes to be added to the main starch, oil and protein bulk of the animals' feed.

Please let me know if it is obtainable, in a shop-front or for online ordering. This is more concentrated per unit weight than the above pail of powder.  This page, which may be out of date, mentions a 25kg drum with 12.5 grams of calcifediol per kilogram.   Weight for weight this would be 1.25 / 0.375 = 3.33 times the amount of calcifediol per gram than the powder WS Water Soluble form discussed above.  (Brazilian page shows 25kg bag.)

Here is the 2009 European Food Safety Authority approval document for ROVIMIX® Hy•D®.   Above, I have used a dash rather than this dot character, but most DSM material uses the dot.  https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.969

In this document, the specification for the additive itself is at least 94% calcifediol, less than 1% other sterols, less than 1% other organic solvents and 5 parts per million or less erythrosine, which is a pink dye.

This makes up (page 8) 1.25% of the product, with 0.375% antioxidant, 0.25% sodium ascorbate, 0.5% vegetable oil, 0.1% silicon dioxide (I assume to make the spray-dried #spray-dry oil-based  beadlets flow more easily) 15% maltodextrin and 71.5% maltodextrin - these latter two being fillers.  

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