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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.

I'm a 60 year old female (live in Canada) and don't spend much time in the sun since i'm very fair skinned and burn easily. I saw it was mentioned that you need to be in the sun for at least 15 minutes in mid afternoon to get enough Vitamin D? My chest starts to burn in 10 minutes. My legs take longer to burn. If i exposed just my legs, would that do the trick? I am taking vitamin D supplements and just beefed them up to 3000 IU's daily. Should i increase that amount. I weigh 122 pounds. Thanks in advance for your response. I haven't been tested yet but will soon. Debbie

Ask the Vitamin D Council

Asked by  debbierowe81681500 on May 22, 2016

Answers

  • debbierowe81681500
    Participant
     debbierowe81681500 on

    See title

    Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    First I try and encourage everyone to read http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-and-other-vitamins-and-minerals/. It is very important.
    We encourage everyone to get “sun” when they can because it gives you benefits other than D. That being said in Canada supplements are definitely needed in winter.
    We recommend reaching and maintaining a healthy level of 50ng/ml (125nmol/l). It takes most people weighing an average of 150 lbs taking 5000iu a day. Without any sunshine, you may be able to get by on 4000iu but if you take the 5000iu you will probably just end up a little higher than 125nmol/l. This is wear testing helps just to make sure you can reach the minimum 125nmol/l on the amount you take.
    You said “I just beefed up to 3000iu”. You may find that if you take 4-5000 iu starting in September thru spring 2016-2017, that you may not burn as easy or at all next summer. (It is a fact,)
    Now to your question. You cannot expose just face and arms. You are correct that you need more “surface area”. If you expose most of your legs, that should work.
    If you are having any health concerns my answer might be different. I would continue the 3000iu and get the sun. Then in September you need a minimum of the 4-5000.(If you get a lot of rainy weather, you could take 4000iu on those days.)
    IF you get any symptoms, along the way, let me know. It usually means a mineral deficiency.
    I would not get crazy on the testing but if you could test again in Dec/Jan, then you will know if you are getting enough in the winter.

    Answered by  IAW on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      Thanks very much for your response. I guess i’m on the right track for now. I was concerned that if i did get my 15 mins of mid afternoon sun, along with the 3000 iu’s daily, that it might be too much, but i guess not, so i will continue to take the 3000 daily. My health is pretty good. I exercise, do yoga and stay fit on a regular basis and very conscious of what i eat. I take fish oil as well. I’ve been taking prescribed medication for the past 20 years for an under-active thyroid and 6 years ago was diagnosed with mild ulcerative colitis, which has been in remission since a few months after i was diagnosed. I saw a naturopath back then and he recommend probiotics and i’ve been taking them ever since. and the smptoms have not returned. On the whole, i feel great and am thankful that i have no other physical health issues (touch wood). I do have episodes of depression and hoping the extra vitamin D may help with it. Does being 60 years of age make it more difficult to absorb vitamin D?

      Thanks again for your advice,
      Debbie

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      When you said..”if you get any symptoms along the way”….what symptoms do you mean? from taking the 3000 IU’s daily? what would the symptoms be?

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • IAW
      Participant
       IAW on

      Yes, I meant from taking the supplemental Vitamin D and/or the added sun exposure. I am really not expecting you to get any symptoms and Vitamin D should only make you feel better. If you do not have enough magnesium in your diet then you might get HYPOmagnesemia symptoms. Sometimes people have adverse reactions to supplemental Vitamin D. That can mean an allergy to it or in some people even a small amount can cause HYPERcalcemia. In some people that have very low levels of Vitamin D to begin with and then take Vitamin D, it will cause HYPOcalcemia or not enough in your diet. It is my understanding, after researching, that these last two do not necessarily show on a blood test or symptoms appear in advance of the blood test actually showing a problem.

      Answered by  IAW on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      Hmmmm….i don’t know if i like waiting around to see if i get symptoms :-(..what kind of symptoms? how long will it take for symptoms to show up and what are the most common?
      as for magnesium..my diets consists of dailyt salads, lettuce. raw veggies, lots of avacados and cilantro and pure peanut butter, along with a whole food multi vitamin/mineral,,

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • IAW
      Participant
       IAW on

      I do not think you have hypercalcemia or an allergy because they would have showed up already.
      Magnesium deficiency symptoms include •Irritability or anxiety, Nausea, Headaches, Insomnia, Fatigue, Muscle cramps/twitching, Weakness and constipation.
      HYPOcalcemia (not enough calcium) the symptoms are/can be muscle spasms/twitches, numbness and tingling of your fingers and toes or around the mouth (pins and needles), depression, irritability, very low levels may cause confusion, disorientaion and heart irregularities.
      If your diet is good enough and the multi, you should have no issues!

      Answered by  IAW on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      Okay, I don’t really i have many of those symptoms, other than occasional anxiety and depression, which i doubt is related to that.
      Thank you.

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    The depression should correct itself with higher levels. Gut microbes are also influenced by Vitamin D.
    Your age will not affect absorption of Vitamin D supplements but gastro problems may. Getting older means not being able to produce as much Vitamin D by sunshine. From http://www.grassrootshealth.net/holicksuntranscription “We know that aging has a lot of effects on metabolic processes, and we went on to show that, indeed, if you are 70 years old and exposed to sunlight, you make about 25% of the Vitamin D that you would make if you were 20 years old.”
    Let me know how you feel in several months!!!

    Answered by  IAW on

  • debbierowe81681500
    Participant
     debbierowe81681500 on

    I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather the past few days…i’m still taking 3000 iu’s daily of vitaimin D and I just want to make sure i’m not getting too much. I’ve been feeling very tired with low appetite,but no nausea. Could this caused by the vitamin D? Thanks.

    Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    Debbie sometimes there are times when I do not know how to answer because I am not a doctor, My guess would be not enough Vitamin D as apposed to too much. It might sound strange but you could try doubling the amount of Vitamin D for two or three days and you can still go out in the sun. Then see what happens. If you start feeling even worse, then stop the Vitamin D and/ or cut back. If you feel better though, then I propose this.You picked up some kind of “bug” (sickness) and since you are now taking Vitamin D it did not go “full blown” but you did not have enough D to fight it all the way off. So I am saying without taking the D, you would have gotten even sicker.
    Please let me know what happens.

    Answered by  IAW on

  • debbierowe81681500
    Participant
     debbierowe81681500 on

    Thanks IAW…..I know you’re not a doctor and i wouldn’t expect you to always have an answer for me, just trying to get some input or your “thoughts”. ….. I’m thinking it could be a bug of some kind. It’s just very rare that i have little or no appetite. That’s interesting that the vitamin D could be possibly helping to fight off what i have… i did see a doctor today and told him how much vitamin d i’m taking and he said it’s fine. He’s going to so some blood work and also check my magnesium and vitamins D & b12 levels..along with other things, just to be thorough…he said because of my colitis, even though it’s inactive, i could have malabsorption issues,, meaning i may have to take higher doses like you suggested. I’m also started taking oil of oregano yesterday because of its anti-viral and anti bacterial properties.
    Thanks and i”ll let you know the results of my vit d level test when i get them,

    Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      Hi …My vitamin D and magnesium levels tests came back. The receptionist at my Dr.’s office read them to me, i’m not sure if this sounds right to you..or if she was reading them properly. .Vitamin D level is 126 and magnesium is 84.
      Thanks

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • debbierowe81681500
    Participant
     debbierowe81681500 on

    Hi, i’m still waiting on my Vitamin D and magneiume level test results…hopefully this week. Do you think a vitamin D lamp would be a good investment? (along with, or in place of supplements?)I try to get out in the sun as much as possible, which is still very little. Even though it’s the best time of year right now, I work full time and don’t have the time during my daytime work hours.
    Thanks

    Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      the number i just gave you, don’t jive with what i’ve looked at online. I don’t think she knew what she was reading…sigh… i’ll have to go in and see the doctor in order to get the proper results/numbers….She said it was normal.

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • IAW
      Participant
       IAW on

      Well I cannot comment on the magnesium number. It makes no sense. Sometimes countries use different units of measure but I do not even think that applies. (Just remember even if it is “in range” does not mean that you are not deficient. Blood tests only measure the 1% found in your blood and not body stores.)
      If she has the 126 correct than in Canada it is measured as nmol/l and that equals our recommended level of 50ng/ml. Therefore it appears that you are absorbing it just fine.
      Now more importantly how do you feel? If you still have episodes of depression or anxiety, then you may want to take some more Vitamin D. For all we know it may take a blood level of 200nmol/l for you personally not to have depression.
      For future reference if you think you are coming down with a cold or flu, need some kind of surgery or break something or are under severe stress you may want/need to at least increase the amount of Vitamin D you take, for a few days/weeks, to compensate.

      Answered by  IAW on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      I’m feeling okay. Seems the depression has lifted for the most part, I’m still monitoring it. When she said the number was 126, she also mentioned that 170ish would be toxic…
      I believe this 126 level is from the supplement along with whatever I’m getting from food. I haven’t been in the sun much at all. except for a day or two on a weekend.
      I started taking the 3000 iu’s daily around six weeks ago so I guess I can assume the levels are now at a stable level with this daily dosage?
      I’ll keep that in mind about taking more if I’m very stressed or feeling under the weather.

      Thank you,
      Debbie

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

    • IAW
      Participant
       IAW on

      The following are facts and not my opinion.
      The information the “nurse” is imparting is incorrect.
      The range in the USA is 30-100ng/ml and the equivalent for you is 75 -250nmol/l. Science has already proved that a level below 40ng/ml (100nmol/l) and your chance of cancer “increases dramatically”. We know the safe upper limit to take is 10,000iu a day and/or a blood level of 150ng/ml which for you translates to 375nmol/l.
      Yes your levels are probably close to “stable” unless something happens like I mentioned above.
      Here is an interesting read for you http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/blog/looking-back-a-vitamin-d-toxicity-review-from-1937/. (Maybe after reading it your 3000iu will look very small to you!)
      Glad you are feeling better!

      Answered by  IAW on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      Thanks very much for this info…Cheers :-)

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    Well a Vitamin D lamp will only produce the wavelength that will produce Vitamin D in your skin. Sunshine is “full spectrum” so if you want to duplicate that, it is a different story. Then you have to get a lamp/bed that reproduces sunshine.
    If you get a lamp, you still have to take the time to “sit by/under” it. You also need to expose a large area of skin not just arms and face or it will not be productive.Vitamin D produced by your skin,does last longer in your system. Other than that supplements do the same job.

    Answered by  IAW on

    • debbierowe81681500
      Participant
       debbierowe81681500 on

      Taking the time isn’t an issue, since I would no longer be restricted to the summer outdoor hours between 10 and 3. It’s just a matter of finding a good lamp. but know how often to sit by it…or to keep taking supplements…

      Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • debbierowe81681500
    Participant
     debbierowe81681500 on

    Okay, thanks.

    Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • debbierowe81681500
    Participant
     debbierowe81681500 on

    I’ve been in the habit of taking 3 drops (1000 iu per drop) 3 times a day. Does it matter whether I take the 3 drops separately or all at once?
    I think I read a while back somewhere that it doesn’t matter…but I can’t find it now, so I thought I’d check with you 😉
    Thanks

    Answered by  debbierowe81681500 on

  • IAW
    Participant
     IAW on

    It should not matter. You can take them all at once!

    Answered by  IAW on