Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Letter of the Day: is Vitamin D

The hype around certain deficiencies and in intolerances is usually something to take note of with a grain of salt. The big thing now is celiac disease, and while a good number of people have it, I'm sure doctors are seeing a rash of people who believe they or their children have it as well.

So when this whole Vitamin D deficiency thing came out, I had to say I was skeptical. I'm using skeptical in the most serious way because I think that it's too loose a word. To say that I didn't believe it for a minute would be more accurate. But some bloggers I respected urged on about it, so I figured it couldn't be too bad.

But then I read some of the facts and symptoms. It's not a chronic condition (necessarily), but a deficiency that can be aided and even eliminated.

So, even though I was skeptical, I went out and bought some.

I have been taking the supplement regularly (or at least fairly regularly) for about three weeks now. At first I thought I noticed drastic changes, but over time those faded. (The changes included less fatigue, greater strength and less muscle weakness. ) But I have noticed some benefits that have lasted. For a time, I was a little less moody (when aided by my Prozac which I missed for over a week because of a lapse in prescription) . The fatigue thing faded some. I don't think it's a cure all, but I think it did help in this area.

So have any of you tried a vitamin D supplement? What were your results? Am I just making up benefits that weren't really there?


Meggan said...

So, as someone who did their Ph.D. dissertation work on Vitamin D and it's anti-breast cancer properties, I feel like I should chime in :) First off, the "international units" system for measuring vitamins says that you should get 400 IUs of Vitamin D daily for safety. But, getting 10-15 minutes of sun a day on unexposed (ie: no sunblock) skin per day can generate up to 20,000 IUs naturally. My advice: supplements=very expensive urine. Get 10-15 min. of sun a day (lunchtime is a great time to do so) and your body will naturally make all the vitamin D it needs. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of illnesses - including diabetes. I wouldn't call it a miracle drug, but I'd certainly say our sedentary 21st century lifestyle and diet have led to many, many people being vitamin D deficient. I mean - for chrissakes - rickets is making a comeback! Drink some friggin milk people! If you want more info on D, I can probably dig up a few papers that are reader-friendly.

Hygeian said...

I had always taken the approach that supplementing meant "expensive urine" (btw, I did find that phrase pretty amusing) and that eating intelligently was probably a better and cheaper way to get your nutrients. But after over a year of fighting a lyme infection (no sunshine for the doxy-full) and then three years of chronic diarrhea, when my bloodwork for a nutritional panel came back with a shockingly low D level, I started supplementing with some rather high doses at my doctor's insistence.

I didn't notice dramatic improvements, but there have been some. I don't get wiped out as easily and I'm less achy. I can't say it was just D though because while my D was the lowest, it wasn't the only low value in the results (and consequently not the only supplement I started taking).

Not everyone can get sun exposure. People on certain antibiotics or with some autoimmune conditions, for example, need to be sure to stay OUT of the sun. For the non-clinical population though, yes I suppose the "drink some friggin milk" advice is sound.

For the rest of us, supplementing is probably a good idea.

Tiffany said...

my doctor was concerned about severe deficiency for me. he had me taking 4,000 IUs daily. after 10 months my levels did not increase at all. now i take a prescription vitamin D dose, plus sun exposure. it concerns me, because Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and there is osteoporosis in my family. i hope my levels start coming up.

good luck with the supplements/sunshine.

Chronic Chick said...

Hi there,

I wrote about my experiences with being vitamin D defienct, I was critical,

http://" Lupus and vitiman D