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Old 07-26-2010, 02:48 PM   #1
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Lightbulb My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

I hope this post will be a big help to those of you suffering from this deficiency. I'll tell you my experience and some very useful information/research/sites I've found.

About Me: 27 year old female, healthy weight, sedentary job, moderate exercise 4 days a week, decent diet

I went to my GP in April with asthma like symptoms (continually having to take deep breaths and feeling like I couldn't get a deep enough breath). No history of asthma. GP gave me an adderall inhaler and Methlyprednisolone (oral steroid) and ordered a chest X-ray which came back normal. Inhaler helped a little, but steriods didn't seem to make much of a difference. I had a panic attack before my last day's dose of the steriods. That day, I went back to the doctor. My heart rate was up and as a precaution they did an EKG which was normal. I immediately stopped the steroids and was prescribed a low dose of Buspar for anxiety to take as needed. I tend to be anxious anyway (primarily situational).

A couple of weeks pass and after taking multivitamins regularly, my breathing seems to improve. However, I start having slight chest pains/sensations on my left side. This freaks me out, so I go back to the doctor. After describing the pains and my concerns that this could be caused by birth control pills (Yaz), which I've been on for several years now, the doctor reassurs me that my body should be adjusted to the pills since I've been taking them so long. Next, they decide to do a blood test to check my thyroid, potassium, B-vitamins, Vitamin D, Folate, Magnesium (I suggested that one after reading that a deficiency can cause shortness of breath), D-dimer (to rule out clotting) and some others that I can't remember.

Everything came back normal, except my Vitamin D level which was 10 (severely low). Without much explanation as to what caused this, I was precribed the little green Vitamin D pills. 50,000 units twice a week for 4 weeks, then 50,000 units once a week for 3 months after that. There was no mention of me coming back to get re-tested in a few months.

I start the precription Vit D pills and start feeling worse after a week. I'm very fatigued and week and having major emotional issues (crying spells). I feel sick like I have a fever, but don't. I'm getting plenty of sleep, but don't feel rested when I wake up. In tears, I call the doctor after feeling like such crap and am told to "hang in there".

In desperation, I start Googling Vitamin D deficiency and find sites. < edited >

From these sites, I learned some of the following:
-Prescription Vitamin D (known as D2) is plant based and is not easily absorbed by our body.
-Over the counter Vitamin D (known as D3) is a much more natural form and is more easily absorbed by our body. I also found an online article from the Journal of Endocrinology that D2 is far inferior to D3 as a supplement.
-Vitamin D depletes your Magnesium and also needs adequate amounts of Vitamin B6 to absorb.
-The nurse from easy-immune-health recommends taking a high quality multivitamin, which she sells on her website and Magnesium supplement (ideally 500 mg a day or slightly more). She does not recommend taking Calcium supplments because most people have Calcium rich diets (I try to drink more milk)
-Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by one or more of these, and others: lack of sunlight, overuse of sunscreen, malabsorbtion problems (Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and you need to be able to absorb fat and have some fat in your diet)
-Sunlight is probably the best way to get your Vitamin D levels up: only UVB rays enable your body to produce Vitamin D; these rays are active between 10am and 2 or 3pm; depnding on skin tone (longer for darker skinned) 15 to 20 minutes a day is sufficient (the Vitamin D council site has a good write up on this); the latitude of your location also plays a part; southern locations are best since they are closer to the equator
-Even foods that are considered Vitamin D rich cannot be relied upon to sustain blood levels
-The RDA of Vitamin D is way way way too low

What am I doing?
-10,000 units of D3 a day; I take 5,000 units on the days I get sun (after the initial 3 weeks of D2 50,000 units twice a week, I switched to D3) I've been on this regimen for 8 weeks now
-20 to 25 minutes of sunlight on Sat/Sun, since I work indoors from 8 to 5 during the week
-High quality multivitamin (mine is 3 large tablets taken in the morning); this vitamin supplies 250mg of Magnesium
-250mg of additional Magnesium as a separate supplement, taken in the afternoon (Buy Chelated Magnesium, which has the highest absorbtion)
-Buy your supplements from a Vitamin store or online, not Wal-Mart or some other retailers who don't sell high quality supplements

How am I feeling?
Much better than I did and better for the most part. I still have breathing trouble sometimes, which I think is brought on by anxiety. My anti-anxiety meds do help. I have more energy and no more weakness. Some days I feel like I need to take a nap in the afternoon. I'm usually tired by late afternoon/evening and start to feel out of it. I have had 2 infections over the last 3 mos. The first was a UTI and the second was sinus related. Low Vitamin D can affect so many things, from your mind, heart, bones and immune system. I've heard it takes months to get your level back to normal. I plan to have another blood test in the next month and a half or so and will post my results.

Last edited by hb-mod; 07-26-2010 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Please don't post unapproved websites, per Posting Policy. Thanks!

 
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:20 PM   #2
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Interesting post. It really looks like you've done your homework! My vit D was borderline low last time, so I take Vit D3 5000IU a day also, but I've been wondering if anyone has ever tried using a tanning booth to get their Vit D to proper levels? I know it's bad for your skin, but I was wondering if just going maybe 5 minutes a week would be helpful? I live in Alaska, and we have short days 9 months out of the year plus we're at high latitude so even when it's sunny we don't get the full blast of D that folks at more southern latitudes do. Plus, it's been overcast and raining for two months now (not kidding) and so getting any sun has been impossible.

 
Old 07-26-2010, 05:33 PM   #3
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Thanks for the response...from what I've read, regular tanning beds filter out most of the UVB rays and project UVA instead, which does not produce Vit D. There are specially made indoor sun lamps, similar to tanning beds that project the beneficial UVB rays that you need. I think they are several hundred dollars, but given your latitude it would be very beneficial. You could do an Internet search for "UVB sun lamps". It's also important to note that when your levels return to normal, you should be careful not to take high dose supplements in addition to sunlight/UVB lamps because it is possible to experience Vit D toxicity with supplements, not sunlight.

 
Old 07-26-2010, 06:24 PM   #4
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Thanks for the info on all the Vitamin D deficiency symptoms.

Be careful with a UV lamp and tanning beds. UVB rays do in fact convert cholesterol in your skin to Vitamin D; however, they are also the rays that burn you. Tanning beds have a lot more UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin (longer wavelength) and destroy the elasticity of the skin.

Definitely monitor time exposure if you are going to use a UV lamp with UVB rays.

By the way, you are correct in that Vitamin D cannot build up in the skin from the sun, but can from supplements. UVB rays actuate the production of Vitamin D, but the UVA rays degrade it, so any excess will be degraded readily.

 
Old 11-30-2010, 05:14 PM   #5
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Thank you! I thought I was going nuts. I have had several of the same side effects, not fun.
Thanks again!

 
Old 11-30-2010, 08:04 PM   #6
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

What makes you think that buying supplements from a health food shop or online guarantees better quality than a supermakret?

Walmart sell Centrum and One a Day, made by the worlds biggest pharmacutical houses, they are the gold standard for quality control.

Sugesting that health food shops have some sort of monopoly on purity is just a load of bunk.
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Last edited by jonnstar; 11-30-2010 at 08:14 PM.

 
Old 12-01-2010, 02:06 AM   #7
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnstar View Post
What makes you think that buying supplements from a health food shop or online guarantees better quality than a supermakret?
Walmart sell Centrum and One a Day, made by the worlds biggest pharmacutical houses, they are the gold standard for quality control. Sugesting that health food shops have some sort of monopoly on purity is just a load of bunk.
Big does not equate to better. Many of the cheaper brands of vitamins use a lot of fillers which are not good or useful for our system. If I'm ingesting something I want it to be of the highest quality, whether it be food or vitamins. This could include some of the less expensive brands, but I always check the products out
as thoroughly as I am able.

Jen

Last edited by jenj770; 12-01-2010 at 02:07 AM.

 
Old 12-01-2010, 04:32 AM   #8
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Centrum and One A Day may be the gold standard QC wise, but for absorption purposes I don't like them at all and don't take them. Chemically it makes no sense to mix a big variety of vitamins and minerals like those particular ones do and expect the body to absorb them. It can't happen. There are stability issues as well when mixing those that are in there. That's why I personally don't like multivitamins.

You're better off for Vitamin D, buying a D3 supplement that is USP certified. You can find them online.

 
Old 12-06-2010, 09:40 AM   #9
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaInKY View Post
I hope this post will be a big help to those of you suffering from this deficiency. I'll tell you my experience and some very useful information/research/sites I've found.

About Me: 27 year old female, healthy weight, sedentary job, moderate exercise 4 days a week, decent diet

I went to my GP in April with asthma like symptoms (continually having to take deep breaths and feeling like I couldn't get a deep enough breath). No history of asthma. GP gave me an adderall inhaler and Methlyprednisolone (oral steroid) and ordered a chest X-ray which came back normal. Inhaler helped a little, but steriods didn't seem to make much of a difference. I had a panic attack before my last day's dose of the steriods. That day, I went back to the doctor. My heart rate was up and as a precaution they did an EKG which was normal. I immediately stopped the steroids and was prescribed a low dose of Buspar for anxiety to take as needed. I tend to be anxious anyway (primarily situational).

A couple of weeks pass and after taking multivitamins regularly, my breathing seems to improve. However, I start having slight chest pains/sensations on my left side. This freaks me out, so I go back to the doctor. After describing the pains and my concerns that this could be caused by birth control pills (Yaz), which I've been on for several years now, the doctor reassurs me that my body should be adjusted to the pills since I've been taking them so long. Next, they decide to do a blood test to check my thyroid, potassium, B-vitamins, Vitamin D, Folate, Magnesium (I suggested that one after reading that a deficiency can cause shortness of breath), D-dimer (to rule out clotting) and some others that I can't remember.

Everything came back normal, except my Vitamin D level which was 10 (severely low). Without much explanation as to what caused this, I was precribed the little green Vitamin D pills. 50,000 units twice a week for 4 weeks, then 50,000 units once a week for 3 months after that. There was no mention of me coming back to get re-tested in a few months.

I start the precription Vit D pills and start feeling worse after a week. I'm very fatigued and week and having major emotional issues (crying spells). I feel sick like I have a fever, but don't. I'm getting plenty of sleep, but don't feel rested when I wake up. In tears, I call the doctor after feeling like such crap and am told to "hang in there".

In desperation, I start Googling Vitamin D deficiency and find sites. < edited >

From these sites, I learned some of the following:
-Prescription Vitamin D (known as D2) is plant based and is not easily absorbed by our body.
-Over the counter Vitamin D (known as D3) is a much more natural form and is more easily absorbed by our body. I also found an online article from the Journal of Endocrinology that D2 is far inferior to D3 as a supplement.
-Vitamin D depletes your Magnesium and also needs adequate amounts of Vitamin B6 to absorb.
-The nurse from easy-immune-health recommends taking a high quality multivitamin, which she sells on her website and Magnesium supplement (ideally 500 mg a day or slightly more). She does not recommend taking Calcium supplments because most people have Calcium rich diets (I try to drink more milk)
-Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by one or more of these, and others: lack of sunlight, overuse of sunscreen, malabsorbtion problems (Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and you need to be able to absorb fat and have some fat in your diet)
-Sunlight is probably the best way to get your Vitamin D levels up: only UVB rays enable your body to produce Vitamin D; these rays are active between 10am and 2 or 3pm; depnding on skin tone (longer for darker skinned) 15 to 20 minutes a day is sufficient (the Vitamin D council site has a good write up on this); the latitude of your location also plays a part; southern locations are best since they are closer to the equator
-Even foods that are considered Vitamin D rich cannot be relied upon to sustain blood levels
-The RDA of Vitamin D is way way way too low

What am I doing?
-10,000 units of D3 a day; I take 5,000 units on the days I get sun (after the initial 3 weeks of D2 50,000 units twice a week, I switched to D3) I've been on this regimen for 8 weeks now
-20 to 25 minutes of sunlight on Sat/Sun, since I work indoors from 8 to 5 during the week
-High quality multivitamin (mine is 3 large tablets taken in the morning); this vitamin supplies 250mg of Magnesium
-250mg of additional Magnesium as a separate supplement, taken in the afternoon (Buy Chelated Magnesium, which has the highest absorbtion)
-Buy your supplements from a Vitamin store or online, not Wal-Mart or some other retailers who don't sell high quality supplements

How am I feeling?
Much better than I did and better for the most part. I still have breathing trouble sometimes, which I think is brought on by anxiety. My anti-anxiety meds do help. I have more energy and no more weakness. Some days I feel like I need to take a nap in the afternoon. I'm usually tired by late afternoon/evening and start to feel out of it. I have had 2 infections over the last 3 mos. The first was a UTI and the second was sinus related. Low Vitamin D can affect so many things, from your mind, heart, bones and immune system. I've heard it takes months to get your level back to normal. I plan to have another blood test in the next month and a half or so and will post my results.

 
Old 12-06-2010, 09:42 AM   #10
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Could you tell me please if you tried light therapy that is used for SAD? Thank you.

 
Old 12-07-2010, 08:55 AM   #11
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenadell View Post
Could you tell me please if you tried light therapy that is used for SAD? Thank you.
I have not as I have no need for it, but I have two friends who use it and feel it helps during the Winter months.

Best,

Jen

 
Old 01-09-2011, 10:32 AM   #12
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

That sounds similar to my experience. I'm sensitive to sunlight - it makes me sleepy and weird. I take 2,000 mg of D-3 a day - a really good brand - and it makes a huge difference. I took two courses of prescription vitamin D and it did no good - in fact, my levels actually went down. Quality counts when you're buying a supplement.

 
Old 01-18-2011, 10:17 AM   #13
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Hello all-
I was recently tested for Vitamin D deficiency, and my score came back as a 43 -- within the reference 'range', although slightly low.

Do you think I should supplement or ? I've always thought I have a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and my mom suggested a Vitamin D test. However, my score was not extremely low. Do you think I should still supplement? Would having a bit higher score aid in my SAD symptoms, or not really?

Any ideas? I will be talking to my doctor about this on Friday.

 
Old 01-19-2011, 02:49 PM   #14
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

Latest finding suggest that 60-70 should be the safe zone.

Jesus

 
Old 01-20-2011, 04:30 AM   #15
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Re: My Experience with Vitamin D Deficiency

I would suggest supplementing. Just make sure it is D3 and not D2.

 
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