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DancingWithElves 03-04-2010 05:41 PM

Vitamin D FAQ :)
The sunshine vitamin is good stuff :tu
since we often have same questions about supplementing and natural production, I'm starting this thread :sillygrin

1. Production of Vitamin D--getting out in the sun :sun

--UVB rays cause vit. D production. Melanin will filter UVB. the darker the skin, the more time a person has to spend in the sun to produce necessary vit. D.

--This is a very nifty handy calculator that will tell you how long to stay outside, while accounting for skin color, time of day, geographical position, etc. This is an article that will help with use of the calculator.

--Antioxidant-rich diet will offer natural protection to your skin. Eat well and hang out with no sunblock for some time ;)

--If your skin turns a very very slight shade of pink, you can assume you have made all the vitamin D you will for that day. It will now take you up to 48 hrs to absorb it into the bloodstream. Avoid scrubbing, rubbing, soaping, and exfoliating.

2. What's vitamin D good for: :question

Currently we have scientific data to show that vit. D plays an important part in preventing and/or treating
-chronic pain
-cancer (breast, ovarian, colon, rectal, pancreatic and other)
-cardiovascular disease
-premature births
-insufficient strength/endurance of the uterus
-weak immune system
-high blood pressure
-postmenopausal weight gain
-tooth health
-mental health
-overall mortality reduction
:phew convinced yet?

What are the food sources of vitamin D? :brownies :lol

Cod liver oil is a natural source, highest in vit. D. other fatty fish, liver and egg yolk also contain it.
here is a table :)

4. Supplementing :chill

Tolerable upper intake levels (this is the highest level of intake considered safe for daily use, without risking toxicity or other adverse events) for vitamin D have been revised and are not being revised again b/c of studies being done. afaik, latest data is this:

Birth--1 yr old=25 micrograms (or 1,000 IU)
1 yr and up=50 micrograms (or 2,000 IU)

these numbers are produced by the same guys that come up with RDA's commonly referenced on the nutrition panel of our food packages, and in my opinion, they tend to be conservative.

Alternative medical advice:

Adults over 100 lbs--10,000 IU daily
Breastfeeding mothers--10,000 IU daily (emphasis mine :giggle)
Children over 2 yrs old and under 100 lbs--5,000 IU daily

HomeFirst flu/cold treatment: 1,000 IU per 1 lb for 7 days. (so, if you weigh 150 lbs, that's 150,000 IU for 7 days)

if you are scared by numbers, remember that a dressed caucasian adult will make 10,000 IU in 30 min of being outside, even without being in direct sunlight.

D2 (ergocalciferol) vs D3 (cholecalciferol)

Whenever I talk about vitamin D, what i mean is vit D3 :yes This is what gets formed when the sunlight comes in contact with your skin.
D2 is made by stuff like mushrooms and slugs under the sunlight :yuck :giggle
While today western medical community recognizes both D3 and D2 as appropriate for supplementation and use them interchangeably, alternative practitioners avoid vitD2 because:
-it is not found in human body except when consumed with, say, mushrooms, and even then in *tiny* amounts
-tends to be more toxic
-while little is known, there may be some metabolic issues :shrug3

Bottom line is, supplementation with D3 is a lot more desirable, b/c it is the natural form made in the human body.

4. Testing for blood levels

when getting blood work, the test needed is called:
25(OH)D3 aka 25D3 aka calcidiol aka 25-hydroxyvitamin D :phew try saying that really fast five times. those are all the same thing, just different ways to say it.

How to interpret the results:

western medicine
0-20 ng/ml -- deficient
30-60 ng/ml -- preferred
over 150 ng/ml -- toxicity

alternative medicine

under 50 -- deficient
50-80 -- preferred
over 150 --toxicity

If you are supplementing for significant health concerns, or have a history of one of the disorders mentioned above, it is recommended that you do test. Some people required much higher doses and continued testing to stay within healthy range. cute graphic

cobluegirl 03-04-2010 05:50 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
Great post thanks!!

DancingWithElves 03-04-2010 06:10 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
ok, i'm done editing for now. let me know if there is any other info you'd like to see, have any further questions, etc. :)

pirandellian 03-07-2010 12:35 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
Are there any brand/supplement suggestions? Michigan is awful for sunlight in the winter. I don't remember us having a single day of sunshine in Februray. I think supplementing would help me out a lot.

I was totally going to make a thread asking this too! i'm so glad it was already here!

SamRose 03-07-2010 12:44 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
Very nice, Irene :)
When DD2 was Vit D deficient w/ asymetrical bowing of her legs @ 10 mons (she was a VERY early walker), the endocrinologist had us put her on 2000iu per day supplement for 2 mons. That was 5x the recommended dosage for her age/size. I thought 400iu was the recommendation for kids?

---------- Post added at 01:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:43 PM ----------


Originally Posted by pirandellian (Post 2944944)
Are there any brand/supplement suggestions?

We used Carlson's for DD2 when she was Vit D deficient, and it worked wonderfully. It's supposed to be the best, I guess.

Marrae 03-07-2010 01:56 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)

I can take 10,000iu easily when I have the 5,000iu capsules but do you think I should take more than that, Irene? (I have MS.) Also, I make my ds take it because of the mother/son MS potential. How much should he take? He takes 4,000iu atm. He is not very heavy yet, just tall. LOL. Thanks!

ArmsOfLove 03-07-2010 02:05 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
If you are concerned about vitamin D levels please have them checked--if possible, by an endocrinologist or someone who can get you to one as soon as your levels are low. Too low can be critical. And menopause is NOT the primary sign for checking for parathyroid levels or osteopoenia.

I do not make vitamin D hardly at all. I have to be on extremely high supplemented levels under doctor supervision (100,000 iu's a week).

I had hyperparathyroid and osteopoenia at 37 :( I have not gone through menopause.

There is also a difference between D2 and D3 but I can't find a lot about it.

DancingWithElves 03-07-2010 03:01 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
Crystal, :hug i considered getting into all the parathyroid and osteopoenia issues, but figured it'd be a little to hairy for FAQ totally valid points though :yes and again, i totally agree that you will have a really extra fancy heavenly body :angel (off to add info on D3 vs D2)

Ruth, b/c of the MS, i would really look into getting tested. :) What you and your son are taking right now is good, yes. However, you may require a little or a lot more, or perhaps you are exactly where you need to be. One way or another, it'd be very valuable info to have b/c good vit. D levels are essential with this condition. (off to add info on testing)

Proverbs31 03-07-2010 03:27 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
Supplemental vitamin D needs to be an oil-based D3, *not* D2 and not in dry tablet form. Carlson Ddrops is a good brand (it raised my kids' and my levels well, verified by blood tests; I have no vested interest in them other than being a very satisfied customer :giggle).

Blood test for level should be the 25-hydroxy vitamin D. (Double-check the name of the test; there is another test called the 1,25 dihydroxy which is *not* good for assessing whether your vitamin D level is adequate.)

On the amount to supplement, medical literature shows that 10,000 IU/day is generally safe for adults. HOWEVER, as a breastfeeding mother up north, over a number of months 10,000 IU/day raised my blood levels to 141, which is too high. Right around 70-80 is probably the safest ideal blood level, based on current knowledge. Blood levels should not be lower than 50, or your body is most likely chronically starved for vitamin D and not storing any (conventional labs are behind and still consider as low as 30 to be ok--it's not).

The Vitamin D Council currently recommends:
-children under 1: 1000 IU/day (note: I disagree with this IF baby is breastfed AND the breastfeeding mother's levels are adequate/supplemented. I did not supplement my son directly until he was 2, and he had adequate blood levels from my milk and the sun. My own blood levels were adequate with supplementation.)
-children over 1: 1000IU/day per 25 lbs body weight
-adults: 5000 IU/day
All to be followed by a blood test a few months later.

It really is important to get your blood levels checked (and continue to do so at least twice a year) because everyone metabolizes vitamin D differently, as Crystal said. Factors which tend to reduce metabolization of vitamin D include obesity, age, and taking statins.

Katigre 03-07-2010 03:42 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
What do you know about the controversy about the accuracy of Vit D3 tests? I just read an article about that here and it gives me pause about trusting the test results to be accurate and whether it's even worth doing:

Quest Labs Acknowledges Errors in Vitamin D Tests


Originally Posted by Article Excerpt
Many laboratory tests, including Quest’s vitamin D test, do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The incident also raises questions about vitamin D testing, which has surged because studies have suggested that a deficiency of the nutrient raises the risk of bone weakness, cancer, heart attacks, autoimmune diseases and other illnesses. Quest and other laboratories have reported that in some cases test volumes had nearly doubled from one year to the next. Medicare pays about $40 for a vitamin D test, though doctors say some of their patients were billed as much as $200 for the Quest test.

But experts say that so far there is no standardization of the tests, meaning that results can differ considerably from one laboratory to another.

That can make it hard for doctors to decide on treatment and for experts to compare studies aimed at determining the optimal level of vitamin D in the blood. “If you get your vitamin D level measured in the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and the Timbuktu Clinic, it would be nice if it came out the same value,” said Dr. Neil C. Binkley, associate professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

Proverbs31 03-07-2010 03:47 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
That's the first I've heard of that issue. :-/ It makes me want to :hissyfit Thanks for the info.

Anecdotally, the first test I did was from ZRT; the next two were from my doctor's office. The results made sense (good level; high level; high level but significantly better--I'd stopped supplementing between the 2nd and 3rd tests).

Beyond that, :shrug

ArmsOfLove 03-07-2010 04:00 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
each lab, even those standardized, has their own levels they use for everything. The key is to look at their range and where you fall in that.

and I didn't think it would be good to put everything in the OP, but I wanted to mention it in the discussion so that it would be out there and those who wanted more info could start searching or asking :yes

---------- Post added at 03:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:00 PM ----------

also, is all oil based vitamin D D3?

DancingWithElves 03-07-2010 04:17 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
i see y'all been chatting while i've been updating.

according to the info i have ;) vit D3 is well absorbed from oil, pill or glycerin preparations. it is not well absorbed by persons on ultra low fat diets, those with radical weight-loss surgeries or other abdominal surgeries (much of the intestine is missing) or those on pills like Alli.

d2 or d3 can be in any form, but see OP for which is best :)

---------- Post added at 05:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:06 PM ----------

re testing controversy:
i don't believe there is any, quest sucks, plain and simple :duck
i have long been aware of their many shortcomings. quest is the walmart of american labs. they are big, they get away with a lot. but much of what they do works and is efficient.

i don't doubt that they messed up a number of vit D tests among many other mistakes they have made over the years. the fact that they are coming out and talking about it tells me that there's mucho $$$ involved. :shrug

also remember that you dr. or the hospital, or a home health nurse, or midwife may draw the blood. what also matters is what lab will process it. not all bloodwork collected by the hospitals and offices is processed on site. it may well go off to quest or another facility. just ask :)

as for me, i would still get a test and hope the results are helpful. :think if i were paying out of pocket anyway, i'd avoid quest though.

ArmsOfLove 03-07-2010 04:17 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)
there is new evidence that D2 can cause your bones to not just get "hard" but get "dense" and turn to stone.

I'm trying to find out how you can know if you're taking D2 or D3 if it doesn't specifically say.

DancingWithElves 03-07-2010 04:26 PM

Re: Vitamin D FAQ :)

Originally Posted by ArmsOfLove (Post 2945218)
there is new evidence that D2 can cause your bones to not just get "hard" but get "dense" and turn to stone.

I'm trying to find out how you can know if you're taking D2 or D3 if it doesn't specifically say.

what does it say? :think i may be able to help just based on the name of the product

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