Vitamin D3 Update
If you are not taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 in a capsule daily, especially if you rarely get sun exposure, you may not have enough Vitamin D3 in your body to prevent disease. For instance, without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen and in the Health Professionals Follow Up Study (Walter Willett, Principal Investigator, Meir Stampfer, and colleagues, 1989) men who were deficient in vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack as men who had adequate levels of vitamin D and there is evidence that vitamin D plays a role in controlling blood pressure and preventing artery damage.
I recently learned about a simple blood test for Vitamin D (a "25 Hydroxyvitamin D blood test") that everyone should ask for when they see their doctor. I learned about it when I attended a Hormone’s for Health Seminar July 9th and 10th, 2008.
Because I’ve been taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily for a year and wanted to be sure I wasn’t taking too much, after the seminar I made an appointment with my Primary Doctor at Kaiser Permenante and requested a 25 Hydroxyvitamin D blood test. A week after I had my blood drawn at the lab on July 25th, the results arrived in the mail and I was relieved to learn I am not taking too much. My Vitamin D level is only 62 ng/mL (the normal range is 30 to 100 ng/mL). (I thought it would be much higher since I live in the San Francisco East Bay area where there is no shortage of sunshine.)
At the seminar we were advised to question our doctor about Vitamin D3 and if he or she is not keeping up with the research on it (if he or she is still recommending 400 IU to 800 IU of Vitamin D daily, for instance), we were urged to either change doctors or at least read for ourselves the published articles on Vitamin D3 and ask our doctor to order a 25 Hydroxyvitamin D blood test.
A good example of doctors not keeping up-to-date on the Vitamin D research is my experience last year at Kaiser. In July 2007 Kaiser’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine or "DO" recommended that I take between 400 IU and 800 IU of Vitamin D3 (adequate calcium and exercise was also recommended) to prevent osteoporosis in my spine, when I was already taking 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily and my bone density test showed that I have osteopenia, which is a pre-osteoporosis condition, in my lumbar spine. His recommendation came by mail after I had a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Hologic machine test or "bone density test."
I believe he should have recommended that I take 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily and ordered the 25 Hydroxyvitamin D blood test to be done then and another one a month later for comparison. (On my own I increased my intake of Vitamin D3 from 2,000 IU to 10,000 IU because of published articles I read at the time.)
Some informed doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area are recommending 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily temporarily for their patients who have low amounts of Vitamin D3 in their blood. The patients are tested again in a month to see if there is an improvement.
Learning about asking my doctor for a 25 Hydroxyvitamin D blood test was worth the attendance fee for the seminar ($1,000) because seeing the blood test results put to rest any concern I had about taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily.
Have you had a bone density test lately?
If not, ask your doctor for a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Hologic machine test and a 25 Hydroxyvitamin D blood test also. When you see the results you will know if you are getting enough Vitamin D.
PS I plan to request another bone density test at Kaiser next year to see if I’m any closer to my goal of reversing the osteopenia in my lumbar spine by continuing to take 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily (along with calcium and excercise).