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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Hello, I am 39 and im Feb this year my Vit D level was 12ng and I felt really unwell. I was put on a high dose of supplements (i think 5×800 per day) for 3 months. This took me to end of may and then I have spent plenty of time outside in the sun over the summer. I have just had my levels checked and they are now 26.6 ng. After all the vit d I would have expected them to be higher than that. Is this level ok now. My GP said it is and I no longer need a supplement. My Mum is going through similar issues. She has low vit d, high calcium and high pth. She was diagnosed with osteoporosis 15 years ago in her 40s. She was given drugs for the Osteoporosis and more recently a regular injection but her bloods are still the same. She suffers a lot and is worried that I might be heading in the same direction. Thanks for any advice.

Ask the Vitamin D Council

Asked by  kathrynancell80187100 on September 19, 2016

Answers
  •  kathrynancell80187100 on

    See title

    Answered by  kathrynancell80187100 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    Let’s stick with you for the moment.
    First I would just like to ask how you feel at the moment and do you have any symptoms?
    The GP is grossly wrong. If you stop supplementing, your levels will plummet again. Here at the VDC we promote having a “healthy” level of 50ng/ml. So no you have not even reached this level. We promote this level because scientific studies have shown that levels below 40ng/ml and your risk of cancer and other diseases increases dramatically.
    As you have found first hand, getting summer sun did not even get you to this level. I do not know where you live (latitude or country) and this and the color of your skin and the amount of time and the time of day and how much clothing you are wearing, all play into how much Vitamin D you can make.
    For the moment, until I know where you live, I will also assume you will be going into fall and winter. Depending on where you live, is whether or not you can make any Vitamin D at all during this time frame. So odds are you are already becoming deficient again.
    It takes most people with the average weight of 150lbs, taking 5000iu a day to reach the level of 50ng/ml. If you weigh more, you have to take more.
    Vitamin D helps calcium absorb from the intestines, so if you do not have enough Vitamin D, calcium does not get absorbed and there is nothing for your bones.
    For your Mom, I need more information. What did you mean by high calcium level? Is it above range and by how much? Did you mean “by injection” an injection of Vitamin D or something else?

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  kathrynancell80187100 on

    Thank you for coming back to me. I live in the UK so you are quite right about approaching autumn and winter. I weigh 64 kilos. My current symptoms are muscle and bone pain, fatigue, headaches and digestion issues. I also seem to be losing quite a bit of hair again which I did when I had the deficiency. I have improved as a few months ago I couldn’t get off the sofa and was in pain all the time. I also suffer from anxiety and depression and seem to have symptoms which may be linked to my menstrual cycle, including nausea and dizziness. It is frustrating because I don’t think GPs here take it seriously enough and are quite dismissive.

    With regard to my Mum her calcium this week was 2.65 mmol and her pth was 7.9 pmol. She was diagnosed 15 years ago with osteoporosis and was then given fosamax which didn’t work. She was then given risedronate which didn’t work. For the last 5 years she was given denosumab by injection once every 6 months. Her vitamin d has always been very low. Her current vit d is 45.7 nmol.

    She is also treated for high blood pressure (losartan 100mg) high cholesterol, asthma, and depression (fluoxetine 20mg). She also has palpitations and takes medication called propranolol 10mg. She is 64 and weighs 57 kg.

    She has broken numerous bones over the years, toe, bad displaced fractures to both wrists, spinal fractures, 2 fractures to her feet.

    She also has repeat infections which she struggles to get rid of and the GP always prescribes courses of antibiotics. These are mainly chest and urine infections.

    My Mum has suffered so much and still does and she is worried that I may have inherited her problems. I already am following in her footsteps with menstrual problems, depression, and low vit d.

    Thank you very much for your help

    Answered by  kathrynancell80187100 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    You need to take the time to read http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-and-other-vitamins-and-minerals/. It is very important. (If you need to supplement with magnesium do NOT get oxide any other type will do.) Also just to add some more information bones not only need calcium, they also need magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, boron and silicon.
    When you were originally treated, you were only given about 4000iu a day. When someone is as deficient as you were originally ,doctors usually give twice that amount.when they treat.
    Since you are having symptoms this is what I would suggest. I would take 8-10,000iu of Vitamin D3 a day, until you are well. If most of your symptoms stop but not quite all, then come back and tell me which ones you still have. Enough Vitamin D should take away all of those symptoms, meaning they are all associated with low Vitamin D. When you feel well, I would then try the 5000iu a day. If you start to feel unwell again, then you are a person that will need more than the 5000iu a day as a maintenance dosage. If you get any new symptoms or any symptoms you have get worse, then come back and tell me. It usually means you are deficient in a mineral. You do not need to follow in Mom’s footsteps, you just need to take Vitamin D and take enough of it.
    I am going to come back and post about your Mom later today.

    Answered by  IAW on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    First let me say I am not a doctor. You said Mom’s calcium this week was 2.65mmol. Has it been higher or out of range in the past? The internet tells me that the range is 2.2-2.7 so she is in range BUT if her calcium has ever been high, that could mean a different scenario. Not enough Vitamin D can cause PTH to go high. This could be why she is out of range on the high side.
    Yes, her Vitamin D is low 46nmol/l that equals 18ng/ml. As I said before we promote healthy and that is 50ng/ml or 125nmol/l.
    You also said treated for high cholesterol but did not mention what she is taking. Some cholesterol medicines actually increase Vitamin D levels.
    There should be no interactions between the medicines she takes and Vitamin D. Having said that, does Mom take any Vitamin D and if so how much? Has she ever been told she cannot take it or that it will interact with something she does take?

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  kathrynancell80187100 on

    Hello, thanks for replying. Yes I believe Mum’s calcium has been higher before and is persistently at the top end of the range, as is her PTH. Her Vit D has always been low since she started getting tested. It has been much lower than that before. She was told to take a supplement but it is a very low dose that she has been given, around 800 per day.

    Sorry my mistake, she doesn’t take anything for high cholesterol but also doesn’t have a high cholesterol diet and is quite strict about what she eats.

    I don’t think she has ever been told not to take it or that it would affect her medications. However the doctors don’t appear to be very active about getting her dosage right. Her reading has always been very low yet the most Vit D she has ever been prescribed is 800 per day which seems ridiculous to me. She has been taking that for months and her level hasn’t increased yet they haven’t altered her dose.

    Thanks for the advice. I am definitely going to take a high dose myself to see if it improves my symptoms.

    Answered by  kathrynancell80187100 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    Since you asked about your Mom, I do not know if it will be hard to convince her to take more Vitamin D or if she even will.
    Low Vitamin D levels are implicated in just about everything your Mom has. The high blood pressure, asthma, depression, frequent infections and fractures can all be caused by low levels. The palpitations may also be connected. Not sure we can do anything about the Osteoporosis.
    As I have said to other people, I have no idea what happens if someone is being treated with a medicine for any condition and then you give them “adequate” amounts of Vitamin D. For example let’s use the blood pressure. What if the D starts to lower her blood pressure? That’s a good thing unless it takes a “nose dive” and she ends up fainting. Then that would not be good. SO my point is if your Mom is willing to take more, maybe start slower and work her way up.
    Sometimes people can have a “hypersensitivity” to Vitamin D and it will then cause hypercalcemia. At this point someone has to decide if it’s a “little or a lot”. If it’s a “little” then it may be worth continuing the Vitamin D. If it is “a lot” and you actually GET hypercalcemia symptoms, then it would probably be recommended that you stop taking the D. This would mean that internal organs could become “calcified”.
    The symptoms of hypercalcemia include: feeling sick or being sick, poor appetite or loss of appetite, feeling very thirsty, passing urine often, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle weakness or pain, feeling confused, feeling tired and bone pain.
    So whether or not Mom can monitor her symptoms herself or you need to check on her, make sure she is aware or you are aware if these symptoms start.
    I would also state the same for her as I did you, if you get any new symptoms or old symptoms get worse, come back and tell me.
    By start slow, maybe she should take 1000iu for a week. If she has no issues, then double that the next week and take 2000iu. If still OK then take 3000iu the next week. If it is easier to buy the 800’s then start with two 800’s and see what happens then do the same thing.

    Answered by  IAW on