What’s Your Level?

Vitamin D does a body good. So, what’s your level?

I’ll bet that neither you nor your doctor know.

Most people associate Vitamin D with bone health. Soft bones are one of the most well-known effects of Vitamin D deficiency. What I found out yesterday at my doctor appointment was that the medical community is still learning how important this vitamin is.

Before I go any further, I will state this: While I have found some articles supporting what my doctor (who is the executive director for the Women’s Health Center at Texas Tech) told me, I am linking no direct sources. I believe the information to be too new and I am hesitant to link information when I don’t have the medical training needed to be sure what I link is accurate. That being said, I trust what she told me because it makes sense.

You see, besides being linked to soft bones and bone loss (I’ve lost about an inch and a half in height) vitamin D deficiency is linked to low energy, depression and muscle weakness. Um… check, check and check! Apparently about 78% of the people in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient to some degree. The best source of vitamin D is soaking up the sunlight, so it’s not surprising that in a society with 9-5 (or later) jobs and appealing indoor activities for the weekend, that we as a people are primarily deficient.

Of course, when your doctor cringes at your reserve level (7 ng/L, in my case) and says, “While a lot of people are deficient, few are critically low like you are,” you start to worry. You see, one of the articles I read implied that reserve levels at 46 ng/L are healthy, and depressed subjects were at 37 ng/L. You don’t have to be brilliant at math to realize that 9 ng/L makes a difference and I’m 30 ng/L below depressed. Yikes! No wonder I’ve been struggling with depression, energy and subsequently weight gain for the last 10+ years!

The trouble? Most doctors don’t check your vitamin D level, unless they’re concerned about possible bone loss. The medical community is still learning how important this vitamin is to our daily lives. Most multi-vitamins don’t even give you enough per day to maintain a healthy level. If your reserves are as depleted as mine, it will take some serious medical intervention. It never hurts to ask your doctor to add your Vitamin D levels to his/her lab work request.  You can’t fix it if you don’t know.

So, here’s the lowdown on what my doctor and I are doing to fix my severe deficiency. The minimum that most agree on to maintain your Vitamin D levels is 800 IU (International Units)/day, assuming of course that you already have appropriate reserves. Many doctors are questioning that number (mine included) suggesting that we need up to 2,000 IU/day. Since I have such low reserves, I’m on a 1,000 IU/day supplement as well as a 50,000 IU weekly prescription. That is an awful lot of Vitamin D, folks. But apparently I really need a lot!

Here’s to looking forward to increased energy and happy thoughts!

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vidyala
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 10:03:49

    Wow, Fyn! That’s mind-boggling. I know that Vitamin D comes from sunlight (and also milk/other fortified dairy products) but my doctor told me that at northern hemispheres (way up in Canada-land) you could strip naked and stand outside and still not get enough because the rays are too weak especially in the winter. She recommended Vitamin D for pretty much anyone living where I do. I’m glad you’re getting the supplements you need – I hope you find it makes a difference in your energy and mood!

    Reply

  2. fynralyl
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 10:13:00

    Yeah, I asked my doctor about getting some Vitamin D from food, and she said that it comes naturally in cod liver oil, liver and salmon. I said that we’d had salmon a couple of times recently and she said I would need 5 serving of salmon a day to reach the minimum! Also, gallons of milk/day! It’s insane, but it also feels good to start understanding what my body is lacking and how to fix it. 🙂

    Reply

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  4. Disciplinary Action
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 10:39:09

    So really, what you have here is the best excuse ever to take a Caribbean vacation.

    Reply

  5. Cynwise
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 11:21:48

    It’s really good that the doctor was able to find this out. I’ve struggled with solar PLEs for the last few years, and Vitamin D deficiency has been one of the side effects I’ve been struggling with as I’ve been avoiding the sun.

    This is great information to have. Thanks, Fyn!

    *adds another thing to talk to the doctor about*

    Reply

    • fynralyl
      Oct 26, 2010 @ 11:51:12

      Ok, I looked it up, but didn’t couldn’t find it. What are solar PLEs?

      I had no idea until yesterday how important Vitamin D was or how deficient you could get. Knew I needed to share what I found out in case others out there are dangerously low too.

      Reply

  6. Aoirselvar
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 13:52:43

    Oh wow, I often times don’t see the light of day. My office is practically a closet, sometimes I get here when its dark then leave when its dark. And yes – low energy, muscle weakness, depression (at times) check check check.

    Reply

  7. Raylene
    Oct 27, 2010 @ 08:28:43

    Jen I have been on 5,000 daily for 6 months now and I still can’t get it up I am only at 10ng/l. I alraedy did the 50,000 prescription. it is crazy that you can get that low and not realize it.

    Reply

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