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August 02, 2011



I'm a little wary of jumping on the supplement wagon based on pure correlation studies. I don't doubt vitamin D levels have something to do with bone strength, but none of these studies show causation, and therefore it still seems a bit of a leap to conclude that supplementation will fix the problem. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but it could even make things worse, as we saw with hdl raising drugs, vitamin E, and many other so-called miracle supplements and drugs. It's entirely possible that sun produced vitamin D is dramatically different in effect than supplements. The military also is not looking at how much dairy and other animal products the recruits consume, and reverse correlations with bone fractures such as is seen in population studies. At least there, some causation is understood due to alkalinity and calcium leeching from bones.


I've raised mine to 76 over the past 3 years by taking 5,000 IU of D3 five days of the week. I'm going to talk with the doctor about the level of supplementation from here forward - it may be time to cut back. My immune system has improved and that's a big plus. Is it the D? Who knows


Do you take a Vitamin D supplement that's over the IOM recommendation of 600 IU/day?

Has anyone managed to boost their Vitamin D levels to 40 ng/mL or more?


A year or so ago much discussion on the bclist (breast cancer online support group) motivated me to add Vitamin D3 to my daily routine. Not D2. I was careful to buy D3.

I had been taking 2.000 to 3,000 somethings of Vitamin D3 daily for several months when I had my annual blood tests last October. My PCP was on vacation so a different doctor in the group, a young doctor with only a little experience since graduating from medical school, saw me. He ordered the tests and evaluated the results. I asked for a Vitamin D test to be included and told the doctor which test was the much better test for Vitamin D. (I’m not remembering those test details right now but I do remember that he was a tiny bit offended in a polite way and said he knew about Vitamin D and which test to use.) I told him I have followed a vegan diet since 2005.

The nurse called about my test results and told me that I was very deficient in Vitamin D! The doctor would call in a prescription for 50,000 somethings of Vitamin D, to be taken once a week for a month and then I was to return for another blood test.

I was stunned. How could I be so deficient? I’d been supplementing Vitamin D3 for several months and had been through a New Orleans summer, as well. I don’t get much sun in New Orleans’ heat but I had a light tan on my face and neck and most of my arm area.

I didn’t fill the prescription. I read a lot online about Vitamin D and was perplexed! It took several phone calls, more internet research, and getting my hands on a copy of my test results before I figured out what had happened.

I was leaving for Houston and my PCP was returning from vacation. Although I couldn’t see her in person, I wrote her a snail mail letter and asked her to review my test results.

Meanwhile I got a copy of my test results and realized that the substitute doctor probably had read only the first Vitamin D line, about Vitamin D2. Right, I had practically no Vitamin D2. The next line, though, was for Vitamin D3 and that was 40. Third line was for total Vitamin D and that was 40. 40 is supposed to be the low end of the acceptable range so 40 was all right. Or maybe he did read all of it but thought D2 was different from D3 and so thought I needed the big dose of D2 even though I had plenty of D3.

After my PCP returned and looked at my blood test results the nurse called again and said to immediately discontinue taking the 50,000 somethings of Vitamin D, that I had enough Vitamin D. By then I had learned that for myself. I was glad I hadn’t filled the prescription.

Since then I slowly increased the amount of Vitamin D3 I take. Most days I take 3,000 or 4,000 somethings of Vitamin D3. I expect I’ll have blood testing again at the end of October or in November and see then if I’ve raised my Vitamin D level. I’m aiming for 50 or slightly higher.

Also surprising and perplexing was a different result in my last October’s blood testing – my thyroid level changed significantly.

I’d been taking Synthroid for over thirty years, occasionally changing a strength level one way or the other. All those years ago I had Graves Disease and had been given radioactive iodine to close down my thyroid gland. I’d been taking the 1.25 level for the past several years and had been about the same weight and activity level during those years.

Now I was to immediately change to two levels weaker. Weaker, by two levels! To the 1.0 strength. I’d never needed to change by two strength levels before. Why had my need for thyroid supplementation changed so much? My doctors had no answer for this question.

I suspect that my taking Vitamin D3 affected how my thyroid supplement worked in my body, enhancing it, making it more effective. I thought of how eating grapefruit can make some medicines more effective, and I wondered if taking Vitamin D had done that to my synthroid. They say that Vitamin D is a hormone, not a vitamin. I think it strengthened the power of my synthroid. I haven’t seen this notion discussed anywhere. If you hear about anyone’s researching Vitamin D’s effect on taking other medications, especially synthroid, I hope you’ll let me know or write about it in your blog.


My last 25 Hydroxyvitd test in May showed 44.1 ng/mL. I am taking one weekly D3 cap from BioTech of 50,000 iu (avg 7,000/d) to bring my serum between 50 and 80 ng/mL. I will test myself again in January for sure, maybe before at the beginning of Winter (in Miami, HA!).


Vitamin D intake ,yes I put 2 drops of liquid Vitamin D by Carlson in my mouth every evening at bedtime. One drop is 2,000 iu
I have been doing this since my endo had my labs done and I was very low. Have been at 30 for two years now using the drops

Lynn Long

My ob-gyn was testing everyone. My level was 16--very low! I began taking 4,000 iu daily and last blood work showed a level of 38. My family doctor thinks I can back it off to 3,000 iu, but I still am taking the 4,000 most days. Love your blog!!

Christian Hottas (GP)

Here in Germany the medical guide-lines for patients with bone problems (pathological fractures) had been: 500-1000 IU calcium and 400-800 IU 25-OH-D3. Last fall the changed the guide-lines to: no calcium substitution, but 800-2000 IU 25-OH-D3 and we were told that it will be 800-4000 IU 25-OH-D3 from this fall.
I checked my own 25-OH-D3 level in May 2011 and was surprised that it was only 10 ng/ml! (I have no bone or other health problems and use to run about 100-150 marathons or longer events per year.)
I started taking 20000 IU 25-OH-D3 weekly (!). It's Dekristol 20000 capsules.
I will controll my blood level at the end of August...


I take 1000 IUs daily, and try to walk outside at noon for 10-15 minutes (no sunblock) when possible. Will try to get my levels tested at my next check-up. The noon walk also helps keep my internal clock set- have not used an alarm clock in years, unless I need to get up at 3:30 AM for some reason. Gets me out of the building into a park next door, stretching my legs, praying a bit, and breathing some outdoor air. The Memphis sun is quite strong this time of year. I seem to have a darker tan than usual, but that may be skin pigmentation from all the extra veggies we've eaten lately. It will be interesting to see what my levels are.


I am really confused by the vitamin D issue. How can it be that practically EVERYONE is deficient? Is there any other hormone/vitamin/whatever that we can say that about? If even people who spend plenty of time outdoors are deficient, then what in the world is going on?


How much vitamin D does your grandson get each day? I have a 4 month old son. She's giving him 400 IU per day. How much should an infant get per day?

The Healthy Librarian


Here's the link to the American Academy of Pediatrics says 400 IUs for infants--here's the link: Be sure to read it.
Is the baby breast-fed, or getting vitamin D from formula?


When I take even 400 iu of D3 for more than a couple of days, I start hearing a deep roaring sound all the time, mostly noticeable when I'm going to sleep. I tested low, so I take it now and again, but this is very annoying and makes me worried that something is wrong.


But I thought I'd read that there was no difference in taking either D2 (for vegans) or D3 - was it on this blog? I'm confused now.

The Healthy Librarian


Excellent memory. Dr. Michael Holick found that D2 will raise vitamin D levels in the body just as well as D3---which is good news for people who won't take D3 because it comes from animals. If you can take D3 (I am), it's preferred because it's not synthetic. Apparently, though there is now a vegan D3 on the market. Read more here:


Never heard that reaction--but I can see why you would want to avoid D if it's giving you a tinnitus-like reaction.


Oops. Thanks so much for your reply HL - not Anne at all! LOL - I wasn't concentrating!

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