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Vitamin D Supplements: Our Informed Visitors Add Their Welcome Voice

The subject of vitamin D supplements is no stranger to our site visitors. Most are carrying out an osteoporosis treatment program that includes this important vitamin.

This page has a compilation of comments from our well-informed audience that has generously spoken out from personal experience.

You'll discover helpful information that ranges from recommended intakes to where to buy and get the best deal.

Pregnant? Well, someone has something to say about that too.

If you would like to add to the discussion, feel free to contact us with your comments.

Vitamin D Deficient in Arizona?

Several of my Arizona friends report that they are chronically vitamin D deficient. I wonder if they are getting less sun than they think due to enthusiastic use of sunscreen and avoidance of the outdoors during the hot summer...

Recommended Intake Of Vitamin D

I understand that the RDA for vitamin D was to be updated by June, 2010... and that Canada and the USA were working on new guidelines. What is happening with that?

The information listed on food labels is highly mis-leading because it is based on 400 IU a day. I was taking 2,000 IU daily and my blood test showed that I was below the acceptable range. That is not good news when trying to prevent osteoporosis.

Vitamin D Deficient With 2,000 IU daily

I was shocked when my latest blood test showed that I was vitamin D deficient despite taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily... in addition to drinking fortified milk. I have now switched to a 5,000 IU gel tab in the hopes of attaining a healthier blood level.

Vitamin D Important During Pregnancy

Vitamin D insufficiency has been seen in up to 60 per cent of Caucasian women, with higher rates estimated for those with darker skin, researchers say.

In the February 13, 2012 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, Australian researchers reported that mothers who had the lowest vitamin D levels during their second trimester had almost double the risk of their babies developing language problems.

The study focused on 743 Caucasian children who were measured on behaviour checklists starting at age two and scored on vocabulary tests starting at age five. Just over half the children, 412, were followed to age 17.

Buying Vitamin D Online Is Best For Canadians

The Puritan's Pride 5,000 IU gel tabs are fabulous for Canadian winters and I have had no trouble importing a year's supply. I am hoping to keep my blood levels above 120nmols in the winter so that I am less vulnerable to the flu.

Vitamin D And Calcium Absorption

Vitamin D can increase calcium absorption by as much as 80 percent. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reports one study that found a 43% decrease in hip fractures among older people who took 800 IU of Vitamin D along with some extra calcium.

Osteoporosis Canada recommends that women over fifty take 800-2000IU of vitamin D while the Vitamin D Council suggests that 5,000IU may be needed during the winter in northern regions.

High Dose Vitamin D

It is hard to understand the motivation behind some research and even harder to understand who would fund such silliness.

The 2010 study "Annual High-Dose Oral Vitamin D and Falls and Fractures in Older Women" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showed that a single large dose of vitamin D (500,000 IU) given once yearly to a group of elderly patients, actually increased their risk of falls and fractures. What were the researchers thinking?!!

The study recruited 2258 women, average age of 76 years, who were at increased risk of falling, and randomly assigned them to receive either a single dose of 500,000 IU of vitamin D (ten 50,000 IU tablets taken in a single day) or placebo, once a year for 3 to 5 years. Studies using small, more frequent doses of vitamin D (averaging 700-800 IU/day with adequate calcium intake) have shown fracture and fall prevention.

There is a lot of research suggesting that humans can absorb only 10,000 IU of vitamin D at one time, so why on earth would anyone waste precious research dollars blasting people with 500,000 IUs? There are so many better ways to spend research money-that would provide much needed guidance on vitamin D use.

When Should You Test for Vitamin D?

A vitamin D blood test will show very different results depending on what time of year it is taken. Tests in September will generally indicate the maximum or peak level. A test in March will measure the lowest level or trough. The challenge is to maintain adequate levels throughout the year which experts suggest is 125 nmol (50 ng) rather than the bottom of the range which is 75 nmol (30 ng). In northern regions (north of Boston) this necessitates supplements as high as 5,000 IU daily during the winter months.

Vitamin D Blood Test. Pay The $50... But Just Once.

Ontario Health Care (OHIP) will no longer pay for vitamin D blood tests except under extraordinary circumstances. Osteoporosis and osteopenia apparently are not included in the exceptions despite the importance of vitamin D for calcium absorption.

The blood test costs about $50 and is well worth the investment... if you are using it to evaluate your supplement program. Most people living in the northern regions of North America are deficient in the winter, so there is no reason to take a test to prove that you are part of the crowd.

So here is how to maximize your investment and save your time and money:

  • Get at least 15 minutes of sun each day in the summer to build up your reserves.
  • Begin taking 5,000 IU daily in October.
  • Take your vitamin D test in late February or March when blood levels are usually the lowest.
  • Ask the doctor for your results and write them down!

The acceptable range is 75-200nmol (30-80ng/ml). You really don't want to be at the bottom of that range. The Vitamin D Council suggests maintaining a level of 125 nmol/L (50 ng/ml).

If you have succeeded in maintaining that level throughout the winter, you know you are taking the right amount of supplements. Paying for further tests should not be necessary... unless the doctor suggests otherwise.

Institute Of Medicine Recommendations On Vitamin D

On November 30, 2010 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) updated its Vitamin D recommendations to 600 IU/day for people below age 71 and 800 IU for those over 71. What are they thinking!

People living north of Boston, Rome and Beijing experience a vitamin D winter (when sunlight is too weak to produce vitamin D) for 4-6 months. As vitamin D is stored for approximately 2 months, without adequate supplements many people are deficient by December or January.

I was taking 2,000 IU daily and my blood test showed that I was below the acceptable range by January. Is the IOM challenging the accepted ranges used by laboratories across North America?

New Guidelines For Vitamin D Are Misleading

Recommending one dosage of vitamin D for everyone is an anachronism. We need the same system we use with hypothyroid. Test your vitamin D level and then adjust the amount of oral vitamin D until you reach your target. (The Vitamin D Council recommends blood levels of 50 ng or 125 nmols.) Just suggesting a blanket dose for everyone of a certain age, is B.S.

Sunshine And Vitamin D In The Winter

A friend challenged me recently that he is getting vitamin D in the winter because he gets a sunburn when he skis. So I did some research on vitamin D produced from the sunshine.

It seems there are at least 3 kinds of ultraviolet rays. You can indeed get sunburned from UVA while skiing in the winter... but still not produce any vitamin D. We need UVB to produce vitamin D and that is not strong enough in the winter months to produce the vitamin. Interesting!

"This latter assumption is based on the work of Webb et al. (53) who showed that from November to February there was insufficient solar UVB to synthesize vitamin D3 in Boston."

Furosemide (Frusemide) Can Cause Osteoporosis

Furosemide (Frusemide) prescribed for congestive heart failure and edema can cause Osteoporosis

For some 10 years, I have been taking Frusemide to drain water from my system. I now have osteo in my wrists but I've just read that Frusemide leeches calcium from bones. Also as I'm now 'getting on' I've discovered my height of 6 feet has shrunk much more than normal. Hence I've been on the Net looking into vitamins.

I need to replace Frusemide with a suitable alternative if there is one and start taking calcium,vit D, magnesium and vitamin K. As I'm in the UK I'll need to start looking locally for tabs but thought you might find my story useful.

(Note by editor: As with many diuretics, Frusemide can cause a loss of potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium which may lead to osteoporosis.)

Tolerable Upper Limit Of Vitamin D Is 4,000 IU

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) raised the safe upper limit of vitamin D from 2000 IU to 4000 IU per day for individuals older than 9 years.

Many people are now using 4,000 IU in the winter after discovering that 2,000 IU is insufficient to maintain their blood level within the acceptable range (75nmol/30ng)... much less the levels of 100-150 nmol (40-60 ng) recommended by a panel of 41 vitamin D researchers and medical practitioners.

Have your vitamin D blood level tested and then supplement to reach an optimal level. How difficult is that?!

Vitamin D And MS

Should We Keep Waiting For More Research?

Research reported in the December (2011) edition of The Annals of Neurology points again to the link between vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis.

Oxford University researchers, along with Canadian colleagues at the University of Ottawa, University of British Columbia and McGill University, set out to look for rare genetic changes that could explain strong clustering of MS cases in some families in an existing Canadian study.

Prof George Ebers, lead study author at Oxford University, says the odds are overwhelming. "All 35 children inheriting the variant is like flipping a coin 35 times and getting 35 heads, entailing odds of 32 billion to one against."

He added: "This type of finding has not been seen in any complex disease. The uniform transmission of a variant to offspring with MS is without precedent but there will have been interaction with other factors."

Prof Ebers believes that this new evidence adds to previous observational studies which have suggested that sunshine levels around the globe – the body needs sunshine to generate vitamin D – are linked to MS. He maintained that there was now enough evidence to carry out large-scale studies of vitamin D supplements for preventing multiple sclerosis.

Says Ebers, "It would be important particularly in countries like Scotland and the rest of the UK where sunshine levels are low for large parts of the year. Scotland has the greatest incidence of multiple sclerosis of any country in the world."

Dr Doug Brown, head of biomedical research at the MS Society, called it an important development. "This shines more light on the potential role of vitamin D deficiency on increasing the risk of developing MS."

If you would like to add to this discussion on vitamin D supplements, feel free to contact us with your comments.