Vitamin D - Mothering Forums
March 2012 > Vitamin D
JMJ's Avatar JMJ 08:15 PM 10-05-2011

I got my levels checked towards the beginning of my pregnancy, and the results came back very low.  I've been learning a lot over the past couple weeks culminating in a phone conversation with Dr. Cannell from the Vitamin D Council himself this morning, and I thought I'd share some of what I've been learning.

 

-The National Institute of Health rejects research showing that Vitamin D might be important for anything other than bone health and recommends that you only need levels of 20+ ng/mL, but getting their RDA both for food and sunlight, I was still deficient, even by their standards, though most people have enough serum Vitamin D levels by this standard.

 

-The NIH also recommends that we need to supplement all exclusively breastfed babies with 400IU D3 to prevent rickets because most mothers do not have levels high enough to prevent deficiency in exclusively breastfed babies.

 

-Most organizations recommend higher serum Vitamin D levels.  The standard is at least 30 ng/mL.

 

-The Vitamin D Council's recommendations are 50-80 ng/mL, on par or higher than most other organizations.  Their reasoning is that most people who work outside have serum D levels between 50 and 80 ng/mL, probably as humankind has done throughout most of history.

 

-With serum D levels higher than 50 ng/mL, a breastfeeding mother will provide enough Vitamin D to her child in her breast milk (another sign that this is a good level).

 

-Dr. Cannell recommends 5000IU D3/day for pregnant and 6000IU D3 for breastfeeding mothers (or alternately, 5000IU for the breastfeeding mother and another 1000IU for the child) and 5000IU for the father.

 

-Dr. Cannell's recommended amounts are higher than the NIH's 4000 IU Upper Limit recommendations.

 

-I have not been able to hunt down any studies showing harm from Vitamin D supplementation under 200,000 IU/day, but let me know if you do.

 

-A good rule of thumb: If your shadow is longer than you are, you're not making much vitamin D from the sun.

 

-Your skin could theoretically make about 10,000 IU/day if you had enough skin showing for long enough during the right part of the day.  Many factors influence how much you actually get from the sun, and the only way to tell if you are getting enough without supplements is to test your levels.

 

Please take this seriously.  I'm not a supplements person, but I do think that Vitamin D levels are important.  I think it's best to get enough from the sun, but as winter approaches, more and more of us may not be able to get enough from the sun, and I think supplements are better than going through the hell I've been through with my own DD's cavities, and I'm glad that's the worst we've had from our deficiency.  There are many other risks from too little vitamin D.  Do your own research and make your own decision on this, but I think it's something very important to be thinking about.



cameragirl's Avatar cameragirl 01:52 AM 10-06-2011
I tested at around 20 a few years ago when I was dealing with severe fatigue issues. It took awhile to get my serum levels back up to around 50, but I noticed a big difference in my health. Not only did I feel better in general, but I stopped catching every single bug that came through the office. I stopped getting ear infections. No more strep throat every year. Now I take cod liver oil, and supplement with extra D3 in the winter months. We live too far north to get enough vitamin D just from the sun from November-March, so adding the supplement helps.
treehugginhippie's Avatar treehugginhippie 08:29 AM 10-06-2011

JMJ-you should post this in the I'm Pregnant forum too so other mamas see it too.

 

Great info! Optimal Vit D is near and dear to my heart.

 

I did an experiment before I got pregnant for 4 months where I just supplemented w/ double dose of FCLO and then had my levels tested. Surely because I live in FL (sunshine capital) and I was taking double dose of FCLO and taking prenatal vitamins that I'd have optimal vit d level, right? NOOOOO! It was 32! Optimal is 50-80.

 

I'm taking 8000IU of vit d and taking FCLO. I need to be rechecked. I'm hoping that is enough. A great brand that is readily available at most health food stores is Carlson Vit D3 Drops. They come in various different IU amounts. My kids take Carlson vit D too.

 

NO ONE should assume they are getting enough vit d unless they get their vit d level tested via blood draw. There are many health implications from not having optimal vit d levels esp during pregnancy!  I think vit D should be a routine blood test when doing the initial blood work during pregnancy...that would be great! Here's just one article:

 

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/news-archive/2009/pregnancy-and-gestational-vitamin-d-deficiency/

 

Also, I found an awesome online company where you can order your own blood tests w/out a doctors order. You order online and then go to your local Lab Corp to have your blood drawn. They will post the results in your account and you can print it too. And they have sales on the vit d tests sometimes. Normal price is $59, I got it on sale for $39! $59 is still a great price to know if you're getting enough vit D.

 

Website is Direct Labs:  https://www.directlabs.com/Default.aspx   And make sure you get the Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy.

 

 

 


Bobbys's Avatar Bobbys 08:34 PM 10-07-2011

Vit D also can ward off depression. I read an interview where a doctor said the only supplement he takes (because he eats properly) is Vit. D. My midwives suggest 5,000iu when you're pregnant. I took that and elderberry and emergen-c and never got sick with DS. Huge fan of the D.


cameragirl's Avatar cameragirl 08:35 PM 10-07-2011
Any good recommendations for supplements a five year old can take?
treehugginhippie's Avatar treehugginhippie 05:16 AM 10-08-2011


Carlson vit d drops are great for kids! Suspended in coconut oil and there's almost no taste in 1 drop. I give my kids 1000 IU but they have 400 IU drops too.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cameragirl View Post

Any good recommendations for supplements a five year old can take?


 


cameragirl's Avatar cameragirl 11:19 AM 10-08-2011
I'll have to try those. She loves the lemon flavored cod liver oil by Carlson, but it doesn't have enough D in it for the cold months.
bluebutterfly's Avatar bluebutterfly 08:22 PM 10-14-2011

I have multiple sclerosis -- or at least that was the assumed diagnosis in 2006 after an attack in 2005.  I also had a LONG history of muscle aches/pains and fatigue.  When I got the MS diagnosis, I started doing research and realized that not only was Vitamin D deficiency connected to all of my health issues, but that my levels were rock-bottom.   I supplemented to get my levels in the 40-50 range (at least) and ALL of the muscle aches, pain and fatigue that had plagued me for years went away and have not come back.  In addition, so far (6+ years now!)I have not had a MS relapse.   I think low Vitamin D was the cause of most, if not all, of my health problems.

 

One thing I realized with supplementation though is that I needed *a lot* more than the RDI of 2,000 IU a day, even in the summer, even in the sun.  I think my body may just need more Vitamin D.     I had to take 4,000 to 5,000 IU a day.  My mom, however, taking 2,000 IU per day had above average levels.  Thus, I encourage anyone who supplements to get routine bloodwork done to make sure your levels are where you want them to be.

 

Overdosing is extremely difficult.

 

Oh, and Carlson drops are awesome for kids.  Highly recommended.  2,000 IU per day is safe for kids, as well.


hartfelt's Avatar hartfelt 07:36 AM 10-16-2011
My vit.d came back low from my bloodwork. I am supplementing and hope it's working. Thanks for this info!
treehugginhippie's Avatar treehugginhippie 12:20 PM 10-16-2011

Thank you for your experience bluebutterfly! I *just* got back from a lecture from a local holistic pediatrician. He explained the importance of vit d. He mentioned MS, fibromialgia and several other auto-immune type diseases that can be prevented/reversed w/ vit D. He even told his story that he had allergies in which he received shots until he was 30 yrs old. Then started supplementing w/ vit D (his level of vit d was 16 at the time). He did a diet elimination and found that it was corn he was sensitive too so bad he had a severe reaction when he reintroduced it. Then after a period of time of supplementing w/ D and avoiding the allergen, he was able to eat a trial bite and was fine! It's amazing how much our body needs vitamin d and how little we're actually getting of it.

 

I'm supplementing w/ 8000 IU (I'm 4 mo pregnant) and will get retested to make sure it's high enough. I've been taking that much for a few months so I feel that gives enough time to get an accurate result.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebutterfly View Post

I have multiple sclerosis -- or at least that was the assumed diagnosis in 2006 after an attack in 2005.  I also had a LONG history of muscle aches/pains and fatigue.  When I got the MS diagnosis, I started doing research and realized that not only was Vitamin D deficiency connected to all of my health issues, but that my levels were rock-bottom.   I supplemented to get my levels in the 40-50 range (at least) and ALL of the muscle aches, pain and fatigue that had plagued me for years went away and have not come back.  In addition, so far (6+ years now!)I have not had a MS relapse.   I think low Vitamin D was the cause of most, if not all, of my health problems.

 

One thing I realized with supplementation though is that I needed *a lot* more than the RDI of 2,000 IU a day, even in the summer, even in the sun.  I think my body may just need more Vitamin D.     I had to take 4,000 to 5,000 IU a day.  My mom, however, taking 2,000 IU per day had above average levels.  Thus, I encourage anyone who supplements to get routine bloodwork done to make sure your levels are where you want them to be.

 

Overdosing is extremely difficult.

 

Oh, and Carlson drops are awesome for kids.  Highly recommended.  2,000 IU per day is safe for kids, as well.



 


bluebutterfly's Avatar bluebutterfly 01:33 PM 10-16-2011

From experience, it can take a few months to get your levels up especially if you're starting out really low.   I've unfortunately let my levels get a little low again, due to forgetting to take my supplement, so I'm increasing my dose for a bit and will have my midwife/doc retest in a few months.   Best of luck.  I wish I'd known about the benefits long before I did but much of the research about Vitamin D has only recently come to light.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by treehugginhippie View Post

Thank you for your experience bluebutterfly! I *just* got back from a lecture from a local holistic pediatrician. He explained the importance of vit d. He mentioned MS, fibromialgia and several other auto-immune type diseases that can be prevented/reversed w/ vit D. He even told his story that he had allergies in which he received shots until he was 30 yrs old. Then started supplementing w/ vit D (his level of vit d was 16 at the time). He did a diet elimination and found that it was corn he was sensitive too so bad he had a severe reaction when he reintroduced it. Then after a period of time of supplementing w/ D and avoiding the allergen, he was able to eat a trial bite and was fine! It's amazing how much our body needs vitamin d and how little we're actually getting of it.

 

I'm supplementing w/ 8000 IU (I'm 4 mo pregnant) and will get retested to make sure it's high enough. I've been taking that much for a few months so I feel that gives enough time to get an accurate result. 

 



 


cameragirl's Avatar cameragirl 08:22 PM 10-16-2011
It did take a few months at 6,000 IU to get my serum levels up to "acceptable" levels. I think it was a good six-seven months after that to get into the ideal category. I need to ask to be retested again...I might ask my neurologist since they test me monthly for other things anyways.

I was seeing a holistic rheumatologist awhile back, and he said that many of the fibromylagia patients actually don't have fibromyalgia. They have a severe vitamin D deficiency. This is more common with fibromyalgia patients that have most of their pain in their legs. For me it didn't get rid of the fibromyalgia, but it did make a huge difference in how often I caught bugs and got sinus/ear infections.
cameragirl's Avatar cameragirl 08:25 PM 10-16-2011
Btw- does your body have an absorption limit for oral doses like with calcium?
JMJ's Avatar JMJ 09:54 AM 10-18-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by cameragirl View Post

Btw- does your body have an absorption limit for oral doses like with calcium?


No.  This is the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble nutrients.  There's absolutely no way to overdose from the sun, but there have been a few cases of people getting too much orally.  As I said in my first post, this happened from taking like 200,000 IU per day for a long time, and the result was hypercalcemia, the body building up calcium on organs, etc.  To my knowledge, everyone who has done this has survived.  In short, there is a limit to how much you can safely consume, but that limit is very high.  Still, I would recommend regular testing of levels since everyone's body responds differently.

 


bluebutterfly's Avatar bluebutterfly 04:15 AM 10-20-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ View Post

No.  This is the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble nutrients.  There's absolutely no way to overdose from the sun, but there have been a few cases of people getting too much orally.  As I said in my first post, this happened from taking like 200,000 IU per day for a long time, and the result was hypercalcemia, the body building up calcium on organs, etc.  To my knowledge, everyone who has done this has survived.  In short, there is a limit to how much you can safely consume, but that limit is very high.  Still, I would recommend regular testing of levels since everyone's body responds differently.

 



yeahthat.gif   From the research I've done, overdoses have pretty much been limited to errors in formulation or people misreading labels on supplements, etc and were all linked to insane amounts taken per day over time. Your body does absorb all of what you take orally but it is definitely not easy to overdose.   The RDI of 2,000 IU is ridiculously low and not high enough for some people (like me) to get levels in an ideal range.  The best thing to do is routine testing until you get to know how much you need.


cameragirl's Avatar cameragirl 12:09 PM 10-20-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ View Post

No.  This is the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble nutrients.  There's absolutely no way to overdose from the sun, but there have been a few cases of people getting too much orally.  As I said in my first post, this happened from taking like 200,000 IU per day for a long time, and the result was hypercalcemia, the body building up calcium on organs, etc.  To my knowledge, everyone who has done this has survived.  In short, there is a limit to how much you can safely consume, but that limit is very high.  Still, I would recommend regular testing of levels since everyone's body responds differently.

 


Ah you're right. I remember now reading that older adults with severe deficiencies are often give huge doses once or twice a month, and it is sufficient and safe. I think I saw it in Clean Eating magazine.
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