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Hello! I’m in Scotland, UK (ie no sunshine). Have found your site very useful. My D levels have just been tested at 27ng, which I see is considered to be in the ‘insufficient’ rather than deficient range. I’m suffering from fairly widespread joint pain & aching, particularly knees/lower legs/feet. Could my levels account for these symptoms, even though I’m not technically deficient? I’m 48, otherwise fit, healthy & active though currently struggling to maintain my usual exercise regime. I’m also perimenopausal and I know my symptoms could also be attributed to low estrogen, but it just all feels a bit extreme and coincidental! Thanks in advance for any insight and advice. Sally

Asked by  SallyG on July 9, 2019

Answers
  •  SallyG on

    See title

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  IAW on

    Yes SallyG your symptoms are most likely from low D.
    At levels at and below 30ng/ml, calcium cannot absorb correctly from the intestines. At levels at and below 40ng/ml, your risk for cancer and autoimmune diseases rises “dramatically”. Some cancers by 60%.
    We here at the VDC recommend maintaining a “healthy” level of 50ng/ml. As you can see you are very deficient by our standards. There must be a little sunshine in your D level or most likely it would be a lot lower.
    Since you have symptoms, I would treat yourself by taking 8000-10,000iu of D3 per day for 8 weeks. Vitamin D is based on weight so if you weigh a lot more than 150lbs, let me know.
    If in 8 weeks your symptoms are all gone, then take a maintenance dose of 5000iu a day, forever. If you are not totally well in 8 weeks, then retest your level and come back and tell me what your new level is.
    It is very important to read http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-and-other-vitamins-and-minerals/.
    If you have any more questions, just ask!

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  SallyG on

    Thanks for replying, much appreciated! I’d been advised 6000iu p/d for two weeks with a 3000iu maintenance dose, but if you think it’s safe to raise that for two months then i will – desperate to feel normal! I’m 140pounds, usually less but I’ve been unable to exercise lately. I have a 4000iu supplement that contains zinc, mg, boron & mk7, plus a spray that contains mk7. Should I be taking calcium too? I have a good one that is bioavailable seaweed calcium. I had previously been taking mag citrate but I felt it made my symptoms worse – do you know why this could be, something to do with my D levels? I realise cofactors are important so I will work out what levels of each I should take alongside D. Am I right in thinking that recovery would be harder without the cofactors? I’m relieved to know that my levels are probably causing my symptoms, I thought I was ageing v quickly! Thanks again, Sally x

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  IAW on

    Co-factors are important to know about but if your diet contains enough of everything then you do not need to supplement. This goes for calcium too. Magnesium is usually “lacking” in a typical diet. If it is “lacking” than Vitamin D can cause symptoms to worsen or you can get new symptoms.
    I think your symptoms at this point are mostly just because of not enough D rather than a low mineral or vitamin. But be aware Vitamin D can cause minerals or vitamins to “go low” at any point. For example let’s say you do not supplement and feel your diet is enough. Three weeks go by and now you are getting “headaches” that you never got before. It probably means you “ran out” of magnesium and now you will have to supplement at least for a while.
    It is safe to take between 8000-10,000iu a day for 8 weeks. For winter make sure you take 5000iu a day. In the spring/summer, if you get some sunshine, you may be able to take a little less than 5K probably 3K.
    As for the “magnesium” maybe making things worse. Well, start with not taking any and see what happens when you take the D. (If you get any new symptoms or old ones get worse, come back and tell me.) If you are OK, then I guess your diet contains enough. If things get worse, try the magnesium again you have. If it makes things worse again, then try switching to a different “type” of magnesium. Try to avoid “Oxide”.
    If you have any more questions, just ask!

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  SallyG on

    Thankyou, that sounds sensible! I don’t have much dairy in my diet, though it’s not completely absent so it’s hard to tell whether I’m getting enough. My D supplement spray has vitamin K in it. I’ll stick with just D3 for now. I have read that sometimes when your bones start to remineralise it can cause additional discomfort for a while. I started the regime yesterday and I’m feeling quite bad today but hard to know if there’s a correlation or if it’s too early to make assumptions! Last question for now 😃 – should I take 10000iu all at once (morning or evening?) or spread the dose throughout the day? Thanks again! S

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  IAW on

    OK, Vitamin D should only make you feel “worse” under 2 maybe 3 circumstances. One I already said and that is you run short on a vitamin or mineral and it does not even have to be a co-factor vitamin or mineral. The one’s I see the most are magnesium, B12, B9 and calcium. Second, in some people even a “small” amount of D will cause hypercalcemia because they have a “sensitivity” to the D.
    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. If you get these symptoms and you may not get all of the symptoms, then you need to stop taking the D. A simple blood test for calcium levels should confirm or deny this is the case.
    The 3rd which you mentioned, “bones start to re-mineralise”, I have never confirmed with any medical professional. It may be that these people are not getting enough magnesium or calcium but I really do not know.
    You can take the D all at once.
    Define feeling “quite bad”?

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  SallyG on

    I was just pretty tired and achey, lower leg and foot pain seemed worse yesterday – but I had been exercising the day before, and part of my problem at the moment is exercise recovery. So had attributed it to that. I’m unsure what to do now!

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  SallyG on

    I should add that I have taken vitamin D before with no apparent issues. A couple of years ago I was taking 5000iu and more recently (prior to receiving test results) supplements that contained either 1000 or 2000iu. Could the sensitivity be sudden onset?

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  IAW on

    After the newest piece of information “exercised the day before”, I do not think you have hypercalcemia.
    Muscles use “a lot” of Vitamin D. So you are already “struggling” and then added exercising on top of it. I try not to discourage exercising because it’s “good for you” but you may want to stop until you feel a little better or “cut back” on the amount or intensity at this point in time.
    The exercising is what made you feel worse. Not enough D to “go around” for muscles and repairs. 🙂

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  SallyG on

    Ok, thankyou! I think I’m still struggling with the notion that my D is low enough to cause these symptoms, particularly because I was exercising with no probs up to a few weeks ago when presumably my D was even lower as I wasn’t supplementing. But I’ve possibly worn myself out! I keep reading about folk with levels lower than mine who have extreme symptoms and I’m thinking I must be barking up the wrong tree. I’ve actually made an appt with doc today and I’m going to ask to have full bloods done, just so I know if there’s anything else going on with other levels.
    Thanks again!

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  IAW on

    So your saying the 27ng/ml was with supplementation? Yes that is the problem. Even if it wasn’t Osteomalacia is not suppose to happen unless your level is at or below 10ng/ml but I have seen people above 10 with the symptoms.
    Really your symptoms are from low D.

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  SallyG on

    Not a massive amount of supplementation, I was occasionally taking (ie when I remembered!) a sea calcium supplement that had vitd2 up to the point I did the blood test, and a couple of years ago had taken 5000iu but stopped when my results came back at 90nmol (stupidly because I interpreted that as high! Was thinking ng). So I do think at some point in the last year or so that my levels could have easily been under 20ng, especially over the winter. Had a sunny holiday in April that probably kicked it up a bit!

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  SallyG on

    My sister’s levels were 18ng and she was diagnosed with osteomalacia!

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  SallyG on

    I’ve actually just double checked exactly what I was taking because I’d forgotten another supplement I was on: 600iu a day maybe a couple of weeks before testing and about a month prior to that roughly 500iu a few times per week. Not sure if that would have been enough to raise levels up to 27 from lower or just stabilise?

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  SallyG on

    Sorry, it’s me again – just back from doc; disinterested in my levels, said they’re totally normal, googled the uk guidelines and advised 400iu, wants to test me again even though my private test came from an NHS pathology service… aaargh. Also agreed to test my calcium levels which I suppose is good, but nothing else.
    🙄

    Answered by  SallyG on
  •  IAW on

    I am not sure what else you want or need me to say. Forget your level and do 8 weeks of the 8-10k.
    I don’t usually get this specific but let’s say for example in 4 weeks at a high amount of d you felt all better. Well then at that point take the maintenance amount.
    I really do not think this next part applies to you. Let’s say you do the 8 weeks at a higher amount and still have symptoms. Let’s say you test and your new level is 40ng/ml. Your level at that point should be 80ng/ml or higher. This then would indicate that you are going thru an awful lot of vitamin d. To me this would then indicate an autoimmune issue. If this is so, the fix for this would be taking even higher amounts of d.
    I am on a holiday and did not bring my computer and am typing this on my phone which is not easy and I have not ever tried before. 🙂 So anymore lengthy answers may have to wait till next Tuesday or Wednesday.

    Answered by  IAW on
  •  SallyG on

    Apologies, did not mean to take up so much of your time, or realise you were doing this on a volunteer basis (and on your days off😳). I appreciate your responses. Just have a lot of questions and info of the type you provide is lacking in UK! I will leave you alone now 😃 Please enjoy your holiday! Thanks again, Sally

    Answered by  SallyG on

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