Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vitamin D...are you deficient?

After an annual checkup, my doctor called to tell me I'm Vitamin D deficient. So she prescribed very large doses for 8 weeks, then large doses for 8 more.

Why do we need Vitamin D? I'm not a doctor, nor have I played one on TV (yet?), but wanted to find out before I took the prescription. I knew one reason had to do with staving off osteoporosis, but didn't know that Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption. Or that Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) has been linked to all kinds of ailments, from heart disease to certain kinds of cancer (including breast cancer).

How much is enough? National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements recommendations can be found here.

Drink a lot of milk and eating dairy products hasn't helped. And my doctor says the best source of Vitamin D is the sun. As many of us do these days to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, I try to stay out of the sun. Not only that, when I am outside (like last November on vacation in very sunny Puerto Rico) I use sunscreen. Which, according to Wikipedia, inhibits 95% of skin production of Vitamin D.

I read that VDD is hard to detect without a test. The variety of annoying symptoms, including fatigue, difficulties sleeping and symptoms of depression can also be symptoms of many other things...even stress.

Apparently many Americans are Vitaman D deficient. Maybe you should get tested, too.

Learn more about Vitamin D:

Women to Women


Scientific American

University of Michigan Health System


Maureen McGowan said...

I've never been tested... but I try to take a Vitamin D supplement every day -- especially in the winter.

Among the other health benefits, I'm convinced it helps my mood.

Morgan Mandel said...

I've heard that too much vitamin D is dangerous also. I take my calcium with Vitamin D, but that's all. It's so hard to figure these things out.

Morgan Mandel

Jacqueline said...

I am pretty sure I am showing slight signs of vitamin D deficiency and plan to be tested. From the women to women link you have, it appears that a safe upper limit for D is "2000 IU per day. On balance, the point here is that vitamin D at doses far higher than today’s daily intake values (DRI’s) appears to be safe, to promote optimal health, to reduce the risk of many serious diseases, and even to speed healing for serious health concerns." It seems to be one of those things you will really to talk about indepth with your doctor. Here's the link:
vitamin d deficiency

Kelli Estes said...

Very interesting post, Ruth! I was diagnosed with VDD last November and have been taking a supplement ever since, though I found out last week I wasn't taking a high enough dose. Over the last few months I've also been going to numerous doctors trying to figure out what's wrong with me (a whole list of symptoms, many of which were listed in the articles you linked) and no one can find anything wrong. Starting tomorrow I'm going to up my vit. D dose and hope that helps me feel better! Thanks for the information! I hope you're feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?