Do I Need To Have My Vitamin D Blood Level Checked
Probably not. The AGS consensus statement says that testing vitamin D levels should be unnecessary in most older adults, unless some particular symptom or disease warrants it.
The idea is that if people take a daily vitamin D supplement as recommended above, theyll be highly unlikely to have a vitamin D level that is too low or too high.
On the other hand, if you have been diagnosed with a serious vitamin D deficiency, your doctor will likely recommend a higher dose of vitamin D supplementation. In this case, most experts recommend a repeat vitamin D blood test after 3-4 months of treatment. For most people, the test would be for the 25D level. People with certain conditions may require a different type of test.
I do end up checking vitamin D levels sometimes in my practice, because many of my patients have severe osteoporosis, or sometimes an abnormal blood calcium level.
I find that when I check vitamin D in an older patient who is not taking a supplement, they virtually always have a low level. Probably there are some elderly farmers out there who get enough sun to maintain a good level without taking a supplement. But it seems fairly common for older adults who dont take a supplement to have low levels.
Study 1 Biochemical Responses
Results of biochemical tests are presented in Figure . For those patients in whom biochemistry data were tested within 26 months after starting vitamin D, both doses increased 25D significantly, with higher levels in the higher vitamin D dose group than in the lower dose group. In both groups, statistically significant suppression of PTH was detected only after 6 months of supplementation. While mean PTH was slightly lower for the 100 mcg/day group, PTH was not significantly different between dose groups. There were no significant differences in serum total or plasma ionized calcium concentrations, either over time, or between groups. There were no significant differences or changes in 1,252D concentrations between groups, or over time. Information relevant to determining nutrient intake requirements for adults is indicated by the bottom whiskers for 25D concentration measured beyond 6 months: 15 mcg /day resulted in average 25D concentrations of 79 nmol/L with a minimum non-outlier value of 44 nmol/L 100 mcg /day resulted in average 25D concentrations of 112 nmol/L with a minimum non-outlier value of 69 nmol/L D levels should be lower than the summer/fall values presented for data > 6 mo beyond the start of treatment).
What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is unique in that it can be synthesized by the body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Too little vitamin D can cause calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood to decrease, leading to calcium being pulled out of the bones to help maintain stable blood levels. This can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in adults. However, too much vitamin D can cause too much calcium to be deposited in the body, which can lead to calcification of the kidney and other soft tissues including the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
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Vitamin D And Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes
The U.S. Institute of Medicine released its report on the review of the Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and calcium on November 30, 2010. The review was jointly commissioned and funded by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
The decision to commission the IOM review reflects the government’s goal of ensuring that Canadians benefit from the most up to date health and nutritional advice.
The IOM report states that there is no additional health benefit associated with vitamin D or calcium intakes above the level of the new Recommended Dietary Allowance . Health Canada reminds Canadians that total nutrient intake should remain below the level of the new Tolerable Upper Intake Level to avoid possible adverse effects.
How Much Vitamin D Should I Take For Specific Conditions
How much vitamin D should I take if Im deficient?
If a blood test has revealed that youre low in vitamin D, you can either take smaller doses for a long period of time to bring your level up, such as 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day, or a high dose administered over the course of several weeks. For adults with low vitamin D levels, the Endocrine Society recommends taking at least 1,5002,000 IU per day.
If youre taking a very high dose all at once, such as more than 40,000 IU, then its possible that side effects may occur due to vitamin D toxicity. The best thing to do is talk with your doctor about supplementing with higher doses of vitamin D if you are severely deficient or have a very low level according to a blood test.
How much vitamin D should I take for depression?
Theres some evidence that low vitamin D levels are linked with depression, although this doesnt mean that vitamin D deficiency causes depression. Rather, its speculated that people who dont spend much time outside or eat vitamin D foods may also be more likely to develop depression. The dosages of vitamin D used in studies that have focused on depression have varied, typically between 600 IU/day to 4,000 IU/day.
How much vitamin D should I take to lose weight?
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New Guidelines Suggest Higher Doses Of Vitamin D
Endocrine Society Says Vitamin D Deficiency May Be Common in U.S.
The guidelines, from the Endocrine Society, offer some contradictory advice. They say that virtually everyone in the U.S. should be taking vitamin D supplements, but that only those at risk for vitamin D deficiency should have their vitamin D blood levels checked.
Only those whose serum 25D blood levels are above 30 ng/mL are getting enough vitamin D. Lower levels are “insufficient,” and those with levels below 20 ng/mL are frankly deficient.
But much higher levels are better, says guideline committee chairman Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, director of the vitamin D skin and bone research lab at Boston University.
“The committee decided that 30 ng/mL is the minimum level, and recommended 40 to 60 ng/mL for both children and adults,” Holick said at an online news conference.
So who’s at risk of vitamin D deficiency? Quite a few of us:
- Children of all ages
- Anyone who has had bariatric surgery
- Anyone with osteoporosis, osteomalacia, or an elderly person who’s had a fall or fracture
- People with chronic kidney disease
- People taking antiseizure medications, glucocorticoids, AIDS drugs, or antifungal drugs
- People with granuloma-forming disorders such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis
Do You Need A Vitamin D Supplement
Because there are so many factors that can affect your vitamin D level, its important to talk to your doctor if you suspect youre deficient. They can perform a blood test to see if you may benefit from upping your intake of vitamin Drich foods like salmon, fortified milk, and eggs, or taking a vitamin D supplement, according to MedlinePlus. Again, if you live in a place where winters are cool and dark, you may benefit from a supplement.
Talking with your doctor before supplementing is even more important if youre managing a chronic condition. Not only are the benefits of vitamin D supplements unclear for certain health conditions but theres a chance the supplement may do more harm than good if youre taking a medication that interacts poorly with it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Food and Drug Administration doesnt regulate supplements like it does over-the-counter medication and prescription medication. Have a conversation with your doctor about their recommended brand and dose to maintain or improve your health.
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Vitamin D: Benefits Dosage Information And Warnings
Vitamin D3 provides a range of health benefits, from bone health to immunity support. Learn more about its benefits, dosage information, and warnings.
7 minute read
Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin that your skin produces in response to sunlight exposure. It can also be consumed through a variety of animal and plant-sourced foods. Vitamin D3 is known to support bone health, but it also supports the immune system to protect you from environmental and seasonal threats.
With increased concerns over sun exposure, there has been an increase in vitamin D3 deficiency, which can affect immune function. Taking supplements of vitamin D3 helps you maintain healthy levels to support immune function, bone health, and overall health.
Does The Intake Of Other Fat
It has been hypothesized that two other fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin K and vitamin A, may play important roles in vitamin D toxicity.
Vitamin K helps regulate where calcium ends up in the body, and high amounts of vitamin D may deplete the bodys stores of vitamin K (
Keep in mind that these are just hypotheses, but it may be wise to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients if you are going to supplement with vitamin D.
If you are supplementing with vitamin D, then it may be important to also ensure sufficient intake of vitamin A, vitamin K and magnesium. These may reduce the risk of adverse effects from a higher vitamin D intake.
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Factors That Might Affect Your Vitamin D Levels
Your vitamin D levels reflect many factors. For example:
Where you live. If you live in the northern states , you are at higher risk for a vitamin D deficiency because your skin may not be able to produce any vitamin D from sun exposure during the winter months.
Your age. Your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D drops with age. If you’re over age 65, you generate only one-fourth as much vitamin D as you did in your 20s.
Your skin color. People with darker skin typically have lower levels of vitamin D than lighter-skinned individuals. African Americans have, on average, about half as much vitamin D in their blood compared with white Americans.
Your weight. If you have a body mass index above 30, you may have low blood levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is stored in fat, so in people with obesity, less of the vitamin circulates in the blood, where it’s available for use by the body.
The foods you eat. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. The U.S. government started a vitamin D milk fortification program in the 1930s to combat rickets, a bone-weakening disease caused by vitamin D deficiency, which was a major public health problem at the time. Breakfast cereals and some types of orange juice may also be fortified, but this varies by brand. So, the amount of vitamin D you get from food depends on the food you eat and how much milk you drink.
Risks And Side Effects
What happens if you take too much vitamin D? Can you overdose on vitamin D?
Taking high doses of vitamin D causes your liver to produce a chemical called 25D, which makes calcium accumulate in your bloodstream. Youre most likely to experience symptoms of too much vitamin D when taking supplements in high doses for a long period of time. This can potentially cause side effects if levels of 25 in the blood become elevated.
Potential side effects can include high blood calcium levels exhaustion abdominal pain and digestive issues like nausea, constipation, diarrhea or loss of appetite increased thirst and dry mouth and possibly kidney stones. The best way to avoid experiencing vitamin D toxicity is to not take very high doses of vitamin D in supplement form, such as 10,000 IU per day for more than several days in a row. Instead, get the vitamin D you need from sunlight, a healthy diet and supplements in the recommended dosage range.
Boost Immunity With Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is much more than the sunshine vitamin. It also plays an important role in supporting immune function. Through specific mechanisms, vitamin D3 activates key peptides in the immune system that help defend against environmental threats. This peptide activity influences immune cell activity, to promote strong immune responses.
Reduced levels of vitamin D3, can affect your immune cells ability to protect against occasional environmental threats. In order for immune cells such as T cells to function efficiently, they must first encounter a seasonal or environmental threat. At this time, the T cells extend a special receptor that looks for vitamin D3. If the T cell cannot find the vitamin, it cannot be activated, nor can it become mobilized to protect you.
There is also a role for vitamin D3 involving overstimulation of the immune system. This is critical in helping to reduce occasional unnecessary immune responses. The knowledge of vitamin D3s activating role in the immune response can help researchers learn more about reducing these unwanted immune responses.
Your Value Is Between 40
In the view of vitamin D experts this level means you’re getting an adequate amount of vitamin D. Most people would produce this amount of vitamin D in their body if they were exposed to the sun completely naked all year at the equator. These levels are also achieved by hunter-gatherers in the bush in Africa who live a traditional way of life.
At this vitamin D level, the body can perfectly regulate calcium absorption via the adequate formation of parathyroid hormone. Breastfeeding mothers can sufficiently pass on vitamin D to their baby through breast milk.
Some studies suggest that these amounts of vitamin D are associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers and with better heart and circulation health. Research results also indicate that vitamin D levels in this range strengthen the immune system and support the body in fighting infection.
If your vitamin D blood level is e.g. 25 ng/ml or higher and you want to increase them, you can take the following amount of vitamin D :
To reach the mentioned value.. take this vitamin D Dose per day:
50 ng/ml ..900 IU 60 ng/ml ..3000 IU 70 ng/ml ..5700 IU
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What Is Your Current Vitamin D Status
If you are already at an optimum level for vitamin D, this personalized maintenance dose will keep you at optimum.
But if you are currently deficient in vitamin D, a maintenance dose is not really enough to overcome your deficiency. Eventually it would, but it might take between six months and a year before you would reach optimum vitamin D blood levels.
That is why we recommend that people who are vitamin D deficient should take a larger dose of vitamin D for 60 days, to quickly bring their vitamin D blood level to optimum. See vitamin D deficiency treatment.
The best way to know your vitamin D status is to take a vitamin D blood test. This is also the only way to be certain of your new vitamin D status once you start supplementing. We recommend a blood test three months after starting supplementation, and thereafter once a year.
If you dont take a blood test, you can estimate your vitamin D status, but because people vary in the way their bodies make and use vitamin D, your estimate may not be completely accurate.
Will Vitamin D Prevent Dementia Cancer And/or Premature Death
Several studies have identified an association between vitamin D deficiency and diagnoses such as Alzheimers disease and cancer. In other words, people with these conditions tend to have low vitamin D blood levels.
But an association isnt the same thing as causation, so its not yet known whether vitamin D deficiency causes these diseases. Its also not yet known whether taking vitamin D supplements will reduce ones chance of developing these diseases.
To date, most randomized studies of vitamin D to improve health outcomes have been negative.
Although its possible that low vitamin D levels might be a factor in developing certain diseases, its probably a small effect. Cancer and Alzheimers, after all, generally seem to be the result of lots of little factors genetics, epigenetics, stress, immune function, nutrition, inflammation, toxins interacting over time.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine concluded: This thorough review found that information about the health benefits of vitamin D supplementation beyond bone healthbenefits often reported in the mediawere from studies that provided often mixed and inconclusive results and could not be considered reliable.
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How Much Vitamin D Should I Take
A high percentage of adults, somewhere between 50 percent and upward of 90 percent depending on ethnicity and location, are believed to be at least somewhat deficient in vitamin D. It makes sense then that vitamin D is now one of the most widely consumed supplements, though you may wonder how much vitamin D should I take. Its a tricky question, but its important to get enough of this essential vitamin.
Deficiency in vitamin D is a real problem considering that this nutrient has been shown to promote health by helping with absorption of minerals like calcium, aiding in bone health, boosting immune function, supporting growth and development, and much more. If you spend little time outdoors in the sun, have dark skin, are over the age of 70 or live in northern regions of the world where theres less sunshine year-round, then youre more likely to experience vitamin D deficiency symptoms.
When it comes to reaping the many benefits of vitamin D, you may be wondering how much vitamin D should I take? The optimal amount of vitamin D to take in supplement form depends on a number of factors for example, if youre already deficient in vitamin D, your diet, age, health status, where you live and so on. As you can see, answering the question of how much vitamin D I should take isnt necessarily cut and dry.