Saturday, September 1, 2012

How I raised my vitamin D levels

Photo courtesy of GNC Livewell 

 I have had low vitamin D levels for a very long time. I decided About 8 weeks ago that I would work to get those numbers up. This post is about how I got my numbers up and is meant to be something to consider and not a suggestion as to how everyone should go about it. I came about the decision to experiment with how to raise my numbers from reading many different articles.  Yada Yada, I'm not a doctor so don't blame me if you screw yourself up.  Said with a nice tone of course!

 One vitamin D camp thinks that sun exposure is best. I agree although living in Iowa means that at this latitude, we are not exposed to the rays all that often throughout the year  that our skin uses to make D. I also think that moderation is key. For the most part I want to protect my skin. I don't want to burn, so I wear a hat.

I have read that the torso and legs make the most amount of D. The face and backs of hands make very little. They also wrinkle and I don't want anymore of those!  Hence the hat.

I set my timer on my phone for 15-30 minutes and press play on a Pandora station. It's ok to get a bit pink but not burn. The pink should fade within a couple hours or less.

Since there is controversy about whether the sun is evil or beneficial, I decided to have my skin checked out for good measure. I had two ugly moles cut off, both of which we knew were benign but just ugly, and two frozen off both of which also looked unalarming. I was given the all clear to sunbathe with moderation and that my spots looked to be from age and nothing of concern.

I also decided that I wanted to get my numbers up quickly and it was less important to know whether doing so by sun exposure or by supplementation worked best so I did both. It would have been great to do a real trial to see what my numbers showed having just sunbathed but my numbers are up and my skin looks good so I'll take that for now.  I also wanted to get out of the depressive funk, which I have since come out of and I attribute to higher D numbers.

When I was at the health food store buying supplements, I asked the naturopath/dietician that works there, what she thought of me taking 15,000 iu of vitamin D3 separated into three times a day accompanied by a magnessium supplement (I use Magnesium Calm) and lots of kale and celery for vitamin K ,which is critical for utilization of the vitamin D. She didn't bat an eye and instead smiled and said it sounded great and also agreed with the sun exposure.

As an asside, vitamin D is actually a hormone and not s vitamin but it is widely accepted to be called a vitamin, so that's what I refer to it as.

I took the supplements and choked down kale or celery everyday for 6 weeks as well as sunbathe 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes each, and went from a very low 13 to 85. I had the 25-hydroxy D2 blood test done to get the numbers from my neurologist, although any practitioner can order the blood test. My neurologist has a scale of between 30 and 100 being normal and he wants to see at least 50 in his patients. I have read that for disease prevention, over 75 is optimal.

  I noticed that the first week I had loose stools.   This is how I knew right away to separate the 15,000 iu into 5,000 iu doses.  Even after the separation I still had a detox reaction which sorted itself out at about the 2 week mark.  It made me nervous at first but then researched and was reassured that its normal to have that kind of reaction for a couple of weeks.  I also notice that I get lower leg aches if I skip my magnesium.   I get plenty of calcium and potassium in my diet already but have them both on hand to manage imbalances. (the imbalances are specific and something I have learned to recognize.  They have to do with hearth palpitations and leg aches.  It has been trial and error to figure out what I need)

I will have my numbers checked again in November when I see my neurologist again. My plan is to continue to get sun on the clear days and take 5,000 iu daily as well as eat plenty of vitamin K rich foods and continue to take magnesium daily.  I am also choking down huge amounts of vegetables and kale being a staple.  I make it sound tedious but I really do like it!

I found this article to be very helpful

Feel free to ask any questions of me you might have about my experience.  I probably forgot to mention something!

Angie Bee


  1. Thanks Angie- I learner a lot from this. I have never checked my levels but probably should! I do take a D3 daily.

  2. Wow, 15k IU, that's a ton! While it's OK, physiologically, to take for a short amount of time, it certainly wouldn't be over a longer period. The actual "optimal level" is a large range, there are studies that show 25-OH D ranges from 45-60 are typically better for light-skinned populations, whereas under/over can have deleterious effects. Higher counts would be necessitated in darker-skinned populations because, by nature, darker skin actually reflects more UVB and thus, has a lowered ability to naturally synthesize and produce D3 in the body.

    And since it's a fat-soluble vitamin, you have to be careful with intake because any excess is stored in your body and over time, can lead to hypervitamintosis with very negative effects.

    Higher intakes of supplements and/or vitamins naturally higher in vitamin D should be done during seasons where there's less sunlight around, and during late spring/summer, you should try and go outside for at least 15 minutes every few days. A good sunbathing session creates enough D3 for a few days (the exact amount of which is unknown since different bodies manufacture it at different rates). Plus, sunlight is free.

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