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Old 05-19-2011, 02:53 PM
 
Location: PA (work in NJ)
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I know at least 9-10 people who have recently been diagnosed with low Vitamin D, and yesterday I saw my doctor to review my labs, and sure enough, mine is low too.

Yes, I understand the reasons for it being low: very few foods contain vitamin D, and we primarily get it from the sun. If we live in higher latitudes, avoid the sun, or use sunblock, we don't get the vitamin D.

But I'm also wondering about the reason why so many people are now getting diagnosed with this all at once. Was this recently added to routine bloodwork panels like the CBC, when it had not been there before? I'm thinking that vitamin D was not routinely tested, so we might have all been deficient, and it just didn't come up. I've had bloodwork done every 1-2 years for years, and it never came up as an issue. And I've always avoided the sun (I'm very pale and don't want skin cancer or premature aging).

Anyone else recently get diagnosed with this?

I had also always thought that milk and dairy products contained vitamin D, but it turns it doesn't naturally contain it. The US has just been fortifying milk with vitamin D since the 1930s to combat rickets in children. So all that European cheese I eat isn't really giving me any Vitamin D.

I'm supposed to take 2,000 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D a day. My friends and co-workers are each taking between 1000-1500/ day. One guy I know is actually on prescription strength vitamin D, plus vitamin D injections for several weeks. Is this crazy? The recommended daily allowance for most adults is only 600 IUs a day.

I have no problem taking this supplement every day (though I may drop it back to 1,000 IU after a few months). But I can't help but wonder, is this some kind of hysteria created by the supplement manufacturers? Did they lobby to have the test added to routine bloodwork, so now everyone knows how deficient they are? Would we all have been just fine being Vitamin D deficient and not knowing it? Is anyone having serious medical problems from low vitamin D?

I researched a little since yesterday, and it seems if you don't have other illnesses (cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis), all you might experience is muscle pains or fatigue. But who isn't at least a little achy and fatigued once they've hit 40? Sure, children can have worse problems, because they are still growing. But we adults won't have problems with rickets or short stature. And I'm not yet old enough to have to worry about brittle bones and breaking a hip.

So is it a real problem, and maybe I'm just a little cynical? Or is this a "manufactured" problem?
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Hot-Houston Texas
20,048 posts, read 21,026,858 times
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I was diagnosed with low vitamin D last month. My dr told me to take 1000mg vitamin D3. I avoid the sun and use a high SPF.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 17,082,031 times
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No one needs 1000mg of D3 per day. The -most- your body needs, daily, would be around 800mg, if you were 70 years old. And that wouldn't be how much you'd need to take as a supplement, it'd be how much you'd need total, -including- a supplement.

If you're an adult, and not particularly old, you should be getting around 600mg daily. That includes whatever you get from the sun, and from fortified milk, and certain fish (such as salmon) which has D3 naturally.

Basically, if you took 500mg tablet of D3 daily, your levels would rise to where they should be. If they were -too- low you'd get rickets. And since you don't have rickets, you don't need more than the RDA.

Taking TOO much D3 can be dangerous; it can lead to kidney, heart, and blood vessel damage. I don't know why some doctors are recommending such high amounts of vitamin D. You should be getting a -normal- amount of it, not an -extra- amount of it. A normal amount is between 400 and 800 mgs/day, from all sources combined.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:47 PM
 
Location: California
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I don't think it used to be a problem years ago. But it sure is now and so I'm guessing they are including it in blood tests now.

According to what I read, vitamin D deficiency is widespread and could be related to many health issues, including obesity, MS, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. People are not outside as much as they used to be, and are using sunscreen, etc. You can not get enough vitamin D from foods.

20 minutes in the sun everyday, morning or afternoon, without sunscreen, depending on the climate you live in. I believe our bodies need natural sunlight. Supplements are fine, but get some of the real thing.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:47 PM
 
Location: PA (work in NJ)
6,770 posts, read 8,784,079 times
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Thanks for the validation. I thought it sounded excessive. Not to mention, expensive.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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When you live in a climate that seeing the sun is chancy, and enduring very cold winters, sun bathing 20 minutes a day is not reality. Taking D3 is the next best thing which I do take, but only 400iu per day. I recently had blood work done, and my levels came back within normal. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing, and why doctors are saying 1000ius's (NOT mgs) is beyond me. Please do your own research as to what foods contain Vita D and what is the right dose of D3 to take.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Sherwood
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Yep I take it with a grain of salt, too. My gynecologist told me my blood level was low, but I believe the recommended dosages of vitamin D have recently been increased and the definition of "low" levels may have as well. I totally love my Dr., but I also am weary of taking too much of oil soluble vitamins.

I take a multivitamin every day that contains vitamin D anyway, and I wasn't feeling well when I took the stronger vitamin D supplement. Seriously, I felt very weird. So, I discontinued the "extra strength" supplement and just decided to get more sunlight every day. I do occasionally take an extra vitamin D supplement, but I usually cut the pill in 1/2 or 1/4.

Vitamin D supplements may cause too much absorption of calcium, which can be dangerous for blacks. As a fairly black woman with fairly heavy bones, osteoporosis is not likely to be a problem for me (Securing the Benefits of Medical Innovation for Seniors), and has not been for anyone in my family.

Excess calcium may be bad news for blacks with West African ancestry (Low Calcium Intake Among African Americans: Effects on Bones and Body Weight) since their bodies tend to absorb calcium more readily. Excess calcium can also negatively affect the kidneys. Since I eat a balanced diet and am in perfect health according to all the tests I take at my physicals, I would rather not cause a problem where none exists.

If there's a deficiency for the "colored" population, I think it may be attributable to the fact that a lot of blacks and Asians avoid the sun in order to keep our skins as white as possible LOL. I think it might be better if doctors just advised more sun exposure.

I think if you have a darker complexion, it's the safest way to get vitamin D.

My own mom told me to keep out of the sun, but IMO she's crazy. The chances I will get skin cancer are low, and dark complected people need more sunlight exposure per day. My relatives tilled the field for hours per day in the blazing hot Caribbean sun, and we have yet to have a skin cancer fatality.

For people with lighter skins who may be at higher risk of skin cancer, limited sun exposure may be good, I think. Lighter skinned people actually need less sunlight to make enough vitamin D. I wonder if there's a safe amount of daily sun exposure they can use to avoid excessive use of supplements? Maybe getting sun on various parts of the body for X minutes a day would help...
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:09 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
5,126 posts, read 7,220,475 times
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Count me in on the group that has bloodwork done and my results show low Vitamin D. I was told I need 1,000 mgs but I take a multivitamin everyday. I think I will try a little bit extra Vitamin D but maybe 500 mg...I think I would feel a bit strange with taking 1,000 mgs as I do worry about taking too much.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
11,294 posts, read 17,082,031 times
Reputation: 16619
You actually can absorb some vitamin D from the sun even if you use sunscreen. Not as much as if you didn't have sunscreen on, but if you're outside your house, for at least a half hour, some time between 10AM and 3PM, you'll get what you need from the sun. Unless you're like, wearing sunBLOCK...and long sleeved shirt made of tightly-woven material, and a scarf around your neck, and carrying a parasol.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:33 PM
 
2,457 posts, read 2,991,177 times
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How about when there are a few feet of snow on the ground and there is nothing but clouds in the sky? I have to supplement with Vita D. Also, MG's is a whole different story then IU's. Different measurements. Can't the doctors even get that one right? MG stands for milligrams and IU stands for international units.
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