Vitamin D Affects Genes for Cancer, Autoimmune Diseases

Lene Andersen Health Guide July 19, 2011
  • A study has linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for cancer and autoimmune diseases like MS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).   Vitamin D deficiency is connected with conditions such as rickets, which causes softness or weakening of the bones. However, this recent study by le...

78 Comments
  • Merely Me
    Health Guide
    Jul. 19, 2011

    Hiyah Lene

     

    Well...I have a Vitamin D deficiency (or I did) and I have MS.  Is there a link?  Vitamin D has really been in the media lately and I have to say that the more I read...the more confused I am about it.

     

    In some ways people are abusing the confusion to promote unsafe activities such as using tanning beds.  There are many...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hiyah Lene

     

    Well...I have a Vitamin D deficiency (or I did) and I have MS.  Is there a link?  Vitamin D has really been in the media lately and I have to say that the more I read...the more confused I am about it.

     

    In some ways people are abusing the confusion to promote unsafe activities such as using tanning beds.  There are many articles on SkinCancerConnection about the Vitamin D Controversy including:

     

    Vitamin D Deficiency Concerns and Skin Cancer

     

    Tanning Salons and Vitamin D Hype

     

    and the one I wrote is Confused about Vitamin D and Sun Exposure?  A Patient's Dilemma

     

    I do take a supplement and I have chosen not to get a lot of sun exposure.  I do need to get my levels checked soon. 

     

    Thanks for bringing this important topic to light.  I am very curious to hear if other members with autoimmune diseases are Vitamin D deficient as well.

     

     

     

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 19, 2011

      thanks for adding the links - they'll be very helpful!

    • Anonymous
      Lynn
      Jul. 25, 2011

      I have MS and about 1 1/2 years ago my doctor staring testing/tracking my Vitamin D levels. They were very low-- and over time, I am now 'holding' a good range by taking a 50,000. IU (RX strength) Vitamin D twice a week. In June I had a follow-up appointment and they have continued the Vitamin D @ 100,000. IU's per week.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      do you feel better when your vitamin D levels are up?

       

    • Anonymous
      MzJ
      Jul. 29, 2011

      Hello there I know you were asking the person above if they felt better, but I'd like to share. I do not have MS or lupus though it does run through our family, but I battled constant tiredness, really bad dry skin and a few other symptoms. My vitamin D levels were a 4 I was told anything below 17 was deficient. I took a high does of Vit D for a while had my...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hello there I know you were asking the person above if they felt better, but I'd like to share. I do not have MS or lupus though it does run through our family, but I battled constant tiredness, really bad dry skin and a few other symptoms. My vitamin D levels were a 4 I was told anything below 17 was deficient. I took a high does of Vit D for a while had my blood rechecked it was still low but no where near where it was,and still maintain a low dose of Vit D to take every day, I can say I am no longer tired, I am more active, lost weight and 95% of my dry skin cleared, I feel amazing.  I do believe, now that my levels are good, that this is part of why I felt the way I did. My opinion is to get the levels checked and see what you doctor says maybe it will help :) Good luck to all!

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      MzJ - thanks for sharing your story. I keep hearing the same from others who have experienced something similar. Their vitamin D levels go up and they feel better.

    • Jamie M
      Jul. 27, 2011

      My daughter (13) and I (36) both have auto-immune health issues and we are both severly Vit. D deficient. Even with taking supplements (RX strength) we are still low. The Rheumatologist keeps increasing our doses. I have had melanoma removed from my back, so I am very diligent with my sunblock. The thought of 15 mins everyday in the sun without sunblock scares...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      My daughter (13) and I (36) both have auto-immune health issues and we are both severly Vit. D deficient. Even with taking supplements (RX strength) we are still low. The Rheumatologist keeps increasing our doses. I have had melanoma removed from my back, so I am very diligent with my sunblock. The thought of 15 mins everyday in the sun without sunblock scares me (I lost my dad to melanoma and he was only 54).  Anyway, it seems Vit. D deficiency is a common condition of people with auto-immune issues. 

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      Hi Jamie,

       

      the more I read about vitamin D and the more I talk to people with autoimmune issues, it sure seems you're right. It's a very common factor. You're right to not expose yourself to the sun - when you have had a previous experience with melanoma, massive sunblock is definitely recommended and vitamin D through other means.

       

      thank you so...

      RHMLucky777

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      Hi Jamie,

       

      the more I read about vitamin D and the more I talk to people with autoimmune issues, it sure seems you're right. It's a very common factor. You're right to not expose yourself to the sun - when you have had a previous experience with melanoma, massive sunblock is definitely recommended and vitamin D through other means.

       

      thank you so much for your comment!

    • Anonymous
      Anglhrt
      Jul. 28, 2011

      This is my bible when it comes to vitamin D3  http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      thanks for the link, Anglhrt!

    • Anonymous
      joe
      Aug. 02, 2011

      Is it true that levythyroxine and similar medications for hypothyroidism hinders the body's absorption of vitamin D3, so if one takes such medication, one should take vitamin D2 instead of D3?

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 02, 2011

      Hi Joe,

       

      I did find an article about the importance of vitamin D in people who have issues with their thyroid. However, this kind of question is best answered by a pharmacist or your doctor. Those of us who answer questions here are not medical professionals, but answer based on own experience and one of them knowledge we've managed to pick up. Certain...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Joe,

       

      I did find an article about the importance of vitamin D in people who have issues with their thyroid. However, this kind of question is best answered by a pharmacist or your doctor. Those of us who answer questions here are not medical professionals, but answer based on own experience and one of them knowledge we've managed to pick up. Certain questions, such as those related to specifics about medications, should be directed to someone with expert knowledge in these matters. Check with your pharmacist next time you're in the drugstore.

       

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Su
      Su
      Jul. 28, 2011

      I have had JRA since I was 3 years old. Just recently my rhuematologist tested my vitamin D levels and it was extremely low. He put me on high doses of vitamin D for a 2 months and within weeks I began to feel better. Unfortunatly, I have been taking over the counter supplements for about a month now and my symptoms are reappearing. I am waiting for the results...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I have had JRA since I was 3 years old. Just recently my rhuematologist tested my vitamin D levels and it was extremely low. He put me on high doses of vitamin D for a 2 months and within weeks I began to feel better. Unfortunatly, I have been taking over the counter supplements for about a month now and my symptoms are reappearing. I am waiting for the results of another test now. My rhuematologist does not believe that my vitamin D defency affects my JRA but based on how I felt on high doses of the vitamin, I disagree.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      Su - that sure sounds like there might be a connection. There are so many times where doctors don't quite believe our experiences, only too late on have what we say confirmed by studies. The good news is that your doctor is treating you for vitamin D deficiency, so that's something.

    • LDPOPINION
      Aug. 02, 2011

      Not all  OTC Vitamin D supplements are the same.  I use Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 Liquid.  1 drop is 1,000 i.u so you can really control the dosage you take. 

       

      Make sure you are taking your Vitamin D with meal, not on an empty, as a healthy fat helps the absorption.  Don't take it with juice or water, it does...

      RHMLucky777

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      Not all  OTC Vitamin D supplements are the same.  I use Pure Encapsulations Vitamin D3 Liquid.  1 drop is 1,000 i.u so you can really control the dosage you take. 

       

      Make sure you are taking your Vitamin D with meal, not on an empty, as a healthy fat helps the absorption.  Don't take it with juice or water, it does nothing for the absorption. 

       

      Also, make sure you are using D3 (Cholecalciferol ) not D2(ergocalciferol) . Vitamin D2 is a synthetic drug that drug companies made so they could make more money off of you. Our bodies have a much harder time properly utilizing it.

       

      Please make sure you are taking a decent multi-vitamin as Vitamin D also need magnesium, zinc, Vit A, Vit K for absorption. 

  • MJ
    MJ
    Aug. 06, 2011

    It was about 36 weeks ago when my new Rheumatologist checked my Vitamin D level. The results were very low, I had so much pain everywhere muscles,joints, difficult to stand up straight and depression, just a magnitude of problems. My Rheumy put me on high doses of Vit D and I have remained on them for 36 weeks and will be filling another 12 week perscription...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    It was about 36 weeks ago when my new Rheumatologist checked my Vitamin D level. The results were very low, I had so much pain everywhere muscles,joints, difficult to stand up straight and depression, just a magnitude of problems. My Rheumy put me on high doses of Vit D and I have remained on them for 36 weeks and will be filling another 12 week perscription today because after 36 weeks my Vit D level is still not where it should be. I do not know when this became a problem. before finding this out I was put on high doses of pain medication, muscle relaxers, anti=inflammatorys, anti depressants, steroids as needed and a breathing machine, I had osteoporosis. I believed my doctor when she told me I would probably start feeling better but it would take time. I am religious with my Vit D. It has been a long road my numbers have come up by only 12 but the difference in my life has been remarkable. I take a gel cap once a week and have Vit D levels checked every 12 weeks. Easy to take and no side effects noticed. Something worth looking into. I also have fibromyalgia. There has been a big improvement in the way I feel and move through this world. Sept 27,11 I am scheduled to have both of my knees replaced at the same time Without raising my Vit D levels This would probably not be happening, I wouldn't have been strong enough to do the rehab.I'm ready, I'm able and I am grateful!!  

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 09, 2011

      welcome to our community! I look forward to get to know you better and hearing more about your life with RA.

       

      your story is very interesting - I've talked to a lot of people as a result of this article and everyone who has low vitamin D levels and have had raised are telling the same story. About how they have been improved feeling of well-being, less...

      RHMLucky777

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      welcome to our community! I look forward to get to know you better and hearing more about your life with RA.

       

      your story is very interesting - I've talked to a lot of people as a result of this article and everyone who has low vitamin D levels and have had raised are telling the same story. About how they have been improved feeling of well-being, less pain, more strength, etc. I'm glad that you're strong enough to get your knees replaced - hopefully, it will help your situation significantly.

       

      When you feel more comfortable in the site, would you consider writing a SharePost introducing yourself to our community? I'm sure your experience with vitamin D would be very helpful to other users here.

       

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Ili
      Ili
      Aug. 09, 2011

      Lene,

      I love this site and your posts. I came across your post by searching for the Spoon Theory. What a wonderful analogy!!! I feel like I'm no longer alone with my "invisible" RA. It's been a long journey (12 yrs), but in comparison to other RAers here, it's "almost" nothing...

      I was very lucky to find a rheumy who wanted to treat me more aggressively than...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Lene,

      I love this site and your posts. I came across your post by searching for the Spoon Theory. What a wonderful analogy!!! I feel like I'm no longer alone with my "invisible" RA. It's been a long journey (12 yrs), but in comparison to other RAers here, it's "almost" nothing...

      I was very lucky to find a rheumy who wanted to treat me more aggressively than others. Thanks to him, I was in remission for more than 10 yrs. My next dr's appointment is on Monday, so I will definitely ask him to check my vit. D levels (if he hasn't yet done it).

      Thank you again for your post.

      P.S. As soon as I get my break from a bad flare up or find "an extra spoon in my pocket," I will share my story. Maybe it will be beneficial too.Smile

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 09, 2011

      welcome to the MyRACentral family! We're very glad that you have joined us.

       

      Finding others in the same situation as yourself can be such an essential part of coping. Being alone makes everything harder and one of the great aspects of this community is that we are no longer alone.

       

      I look forward to get to know you better!

    • Ili
      Ili
      Aug. 17, 2011

      Hi Lene,

       

      Yes, it's official, I have D deficiency. To be honest, I'm not really surprised. This winter I was really bad to myself. I was lethargic and almost in state of "hibernation" leaving my house to work only, not really willing to go outside due to my problems with ankles and knees. I spend almost all my evenings and weekends...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Lene,

       

      Yes, it's official, I have D deficiency. To be honest, I'm not really surprised. This winter I was really bad to myself. I was lethargic and almost in state of "hibernation" leaving my house to work only, not really willing to go outside due to my problems with ankles and knees. I spend almost all my evenings and weekends sitting in my favorite armchair and feeling sorry for myself instead of looking for help. Of course, I'm guilty of pushing myself to limits and then regretting it, and now finally asking myself "why I waited so long"? But, it's never too late for that... 

      On the other hand, it is so strange though...During my son's annual checkup last week, his doctor advised us that now every kid needs to be tested for vit. D level. I was nicely surpised and glad at the same time that it was her initiative and not mine. I guess, some practitioners believe this is necessary and others don't.

      I got my prescription filled out today, Vitamin D2 1.25mg (50000 Units) once a week. I wonder now why it's D2 and not D3 for example. I'm really new to it. I'll wait for my son's results and outcome before I ask more questions. Surprised I'm one of those who always ask thousand of questions :)

      I haven't noticed anyone yet stating that they feel better when their vitamin D levels are up. I wonder how long I will need to wait to be considered at "normal" level.

      Thank you again for looking out for us. Great information is a key to get better if not great!!!

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 18, 2011

      it's all a learning experience. Every time you ask yourself why you waited that long means you'll ask for help sooner next time. I've been there, we all have.

       

      as a result of writing this article, I talked quite a bit to other people who have been seriously vitamin D deficient and they have all said that they felt better once there levels closer to normal....

      RHMLucky777

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      it's all a learning experience. Every time you ask yourself why you waited that long means you'll ask for help sooner next time. I've been there, we all have.

       

      as a result of writing this article, I talked quite a bit to other people who have been seriously vitamin D deficient and they have all said that they felt better once there levels closer to normal. I do get the impression that it can take several months before your vitamin D levels improve enough for that, though.

       

      Keep us posted, please? I'd be very interested to hear more about how your son does and the policy to check kids for vitamin D. Is that your doctors initiative or is it public policy in your area?

  • lonelyone
    Aug. 04, 2011

    I was Vit D insuffecient and have been taking it for a year plus my Dr added more so my level is now normal.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 04, 2011

      that's great! Do you feel a difference between then and now?

  • Trisha
    Aug. 02, 2011

    What about Vitamin 'D' and sarcoidosis?  Sarcoidosis and lupus are very closely related.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 02, 2011

      Hi Trisha,

       

      To be honest, I don't know and that has a lot to do with the fact that I have to look up the condition to know what it was. None of the people who answer questions here are doctors, so we don't have that specialized kind of knowledge. However, from what I learned just from briefly looking into it, it's quite possible you're right. It is an...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Trisha,

       

      To be honest, I don't know and that has a lot to do with the fact that I have to look up the condition to know what it was. None of the people who answer questions here are doctors, so we don't have that specialized kind of knowledge. However, from what I learned just from briefly looking into it, it's quite possible you're right. It is an inflammatory response and it's very possible that vitamin D may play a role. I'd recommend that you talk to your doctor about this in some more detail and potentially get your vitamin D levels tested. Even if vitamin D isn't specifically link to this condition, from my research, getting your levels to a normal range seems to only be good for you.

       

      Thank you for your comment!

  • Anonymous
    rjoylo
    Jul. 31, 2011

    Last year, my wife at 46 years of age was diagnosed with a rare form of Cancer (tumor) on her Pancreas. She underwent surgery, the only advisable treatment, to have it removed and is now doing well. With my wife being from Asian decent - she is like a vampire when it comes to sun exposure which most likely explains her low D levels.

     

    Post surgery...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Last year, my wife at 46 years of age was diagnosed with a rare form of Cancer (tumor) on her Pancreas. She underwent surgery, the only advisable treatment, to have it removed and is now doing well. With my wife being from Asian decent - she is like a vampire when it comes to sun exposure which most likely explains her low D levels.

     

    Post surgery she is not currently on any prescription medications. But, the first thing her medical team advised were high, daily doses of vitamin C and vitamin D. She is now taking 5,000 IU of D3 a day. Also, she walks 1 1/2 miles 5x a week. Her surgery was quite extensive - 8 days recovery in the hospital.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 31, 2011

      wow - that many days in the hospital these days means major recovery. I'm glad she's back home! It's interesting that the team recommended D3! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Anonymous
      rjoylo
      Jul. 31, 2011

      Thanks. Yes, it was a tuff time.

       

       One of the doctors explained something to the effect that some recent studies have showed evidence that Vitamin D acts more like a hormone in the body and plays a far more important role than it was believed to have in the past? We were told that the D combined with the Vitamin...

      RHMLucky777

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      Thanks. Yes, it was a tuff time.

       

       One of the doctors explained something to the effect that some recent studies have showed evidence that Vitamin D acts more like a hormone in the body and plays a far more important role than it was believed to have in the past? We were told that the D combined with the Vitamin C is in place to boost her immune system.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 02, 2011

      I've read that, as well, about vitamin D acting like hormone. It's good to see that your wife's doctors are open to new information. Best wishes to both of you.

  • Becky
    Jul. 30, 2011

    Hello - Very interesting information.  My husband was diagnosed in Jan. 2011 with a rather rare form of vasculitis, called lymphocytic vasculitis.  He too has low vitamin D.  Osteoporosis runs in the family which is purely Eastern European in origin.  He was tested for most of the afflictions you have all mentioned.  It took one year...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hello - Very interesting information.  My husband was diagnosed in Jan. 2011 with a rather rare form of vasculitis, called lymphocytic vasculitis.  He too has low vitamin D.  Osteoporosis runs in the family which is purely Eastern European in origin.  He was tested for most of the afflictions you have all mentioned.  It took one year for him to finally get a diagnosis! The autoimmune system has attacked his brain causing a white mass to form on the right side of his brain. This resulted in a CVA (cardiovascular accident or stroke) Feb. 2010 followed by four TIA's (transient ischemic attack) later that summer.  I would be interested in any information any of you here would have to offer.  My husbands neurologist could only find limited information on google for lymphocytic vasculitis.

    Thank you all.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 02, 2011

      I wish I could help you, but if your husband's specialist could only find limited information in Google, the chances of me finding better information are very slim. None of the people who answer questions here are doctors - we answer based on only experience and whatever knowledge we've managed to pick up. I did find a general page on vasculitis here on the...

      RHMLucky777

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      I wish I could help you, but if your husband's specialist could only find limited information in Google, the chances of me finding better information are very slim. None of the people who answer questions here are doctors - we answer based on only experience and whatever knowledge we've managed to pick up. I did find a general page on vasculitis here on the HealthCentral website and there are some more links (enter vasculitis in the our site-specific search field to see them), but if you're dealing with something rare, your best source of information is your specialist. Or possibly another specialist, so you could talk to your doctor about getting a referral to someone else. You may want to try to get a referral to someone at a teaching hospital, as they tend to have more access to information and knowledge about rare medical conditions than your regular specialist.

       

      sorry I couldn't be of more help. Good luck and please keep us posted?

  • Diane Louise
    Jul. 28, 2011

    A cursory glance at this article would give the initial impression that taking Vitamin D could be harmful rather than helpful.  It's not well written because it's necessary to carefully read the whole thing in order to realize the author is promoting Vitamin D intake.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      I appreciate you taking the time to leave this comment. you should know that I do not choose the titles for my articles (my editor does), but if you check again, you'll see that the first sentence of the article states that "A study has linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for cancer and autoimmune diseases like MS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis...

      RHMLucky777

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      I appreciate you taking the time to leave this comment. you should know that I do not choose the titles for my articles (my editor does), but if you check again, you'll see that the first sentence of the article states that "A study has linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for cancer and autoimmune diseases like MS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)." I believe this indicates that the factor that may put one at risk is low levels of vitamin D.

       

       

  • Jamie M
    Jul. 27, 2011

    I wanted to also add that Medicaid has stopped paying for not only my Vit D tests but my Vit D prescription AND my prescription iron..I suffer from chronic anemia. The ironic thing is that they are paying for my visits to the Hematologist because my deficiency is so bad and will probably end up covering my Iron IV's they are planning to give me. Medicine/Health...

    RHMLucky777

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    I wanted to also add that Medicaid has stopped paying for not only my Vit D tests but my Vit D prescription AND my prescription iron..I suffer from chronic anemia. The ironic thing is that they are paying for my visits to the Hematologist because my deficiency is so bad and will probably end up covering my Iron IV's they are planning to give me. Medicine/Health Coverage should be preventative, not reactive once conditions have developed because people can't get coverage for the medicines/treatments that keep them well.. Sorry I know it's a rant but coverage changed recently and I don't have the $50/month for the iron prescription or the lab work. 

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      talk to your hematologist about it - they may know some sort of administrative work around that would get this covered for you. If there's anything I've learned is that when there's a rule, there's usually an exception to the rule.

  • sapodilla
    Jul. 26, 2011

    One could also conclude that it is not simply a lack of vitamin D that causes disease but a host of environmental contaminates that actually cause the disease and the lack of nutrition simply makes a person a good host for the disease to take root.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 26, 2011

      good nutrition is always essential to stay healthy, but even the healthiest person can end up with autoimmune diseases or cancer,. I think it's definitely one of the  factors in the environmental part of the equation, but not the whole picture.

       

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Anonymous
    joeshuren
    Jul. 25, 2011

    As well as autoimmune diseases, the hormone Vitamin D has been associated with reduction in extrapulmonary tuberculosis.  This should be considered when studying the evolution of humans in high-latitude abodes where TB was a major killer.  (It is interesting that the recessive blue eye mutation spread in the same population but is now diminished,...

    RHMLucky777

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    As well as autoimmune diseases, the hormone Vitamin D has been associated with reduction in extrapulmonary tuberculosis.  This should be considered when studying the evolution of humans in high-latitude abodes where TB was a major killer.  (It is interesting that the recessive blue eye mutation spread in the same population but is now diminished, does that mean a difference in Vitamin D effect, is it sexual selection or natural selection with some health benefit of blue eyes?)

     

    In spite of these studies, in my opinion it is premature for a patient by herself to self=prescribe Vitamin D at whatever dosage.   Please consider volunteering at http://www.vitalstudy.org .

     

    • BillZ
      Jul. 26, 2011
      Also note there are no toxic effects from "overdosing" with vitamin D. Certainly testing is important for those at particularly high risk but to take a 5000 iu sup of vit d3 every day will cover most deficiencies. Lots of good videos on YouTube. Check them out.
    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 26, 2011

      thanks BillZ - a good reminder.

    • Delacourt
      Jul. 26, 2011

      Any substance can be toxic at high doses and vitamin D is no exception.  Hypervitaminosis D can cause abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood, leading to damage to bones, soft tissues and kidneys.  It is almost always caused by misuse of the high dose forms of the vitamin available by prescription, not the drugstore variety  (Source: ...

      RHMLucky777

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      Any substance can be toxic at high doses and vitamin D is no exception.  Hypervitaminosis D can cause abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood, leading to damage to bones, soft tissues and kidneys.  It is almost always caused by misuse of the high dose forms of the vitamin available by prescription, not the drugstore variety  (Source:  PubMed health)

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 26, 2011

      Thanks, Delacourt! Good reminder to not superdose with D without speaking to a doctor.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 26, 2011

      very interesting info, joeshuren - thanks for commenting!

  • Delacourt
    Jul. 25, 2011

    Tests to discover why I had joint pain led to finding my Vitamin D levels were low.  The pills the Dr. proscribed were to be taken once weekly and were very expensive.  The actual cause of the pain was later found to be side effects of Lipitor and went away when I discontinue that medication.  But I took the vitamin D pills that were proscribed....

    RHMLucky777

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    Tests to discover why I had joint pain led to finding my Vitamin D levels were low.  The pills the Dr. proscribed were to be taken once weekly and were very expensive.  The actual cause of the pain was later found to be side effects of Lipitor and went away when I discontinue that medication.  But I took the vitamin D pills that were proscribed. I later started taking Vitamin D3 pills on a daily basis during the winter when I was not outside much.  They were inexpensive and from the local drugstore.  Vitamin D3 is derived from lanolin from sheep.  So it is organic but some vegetarians object to it as an animal product (no more so than wearing leather, and not harmful to the sheep).  Vitamin D2 is also available.  Both of these vitamins can be very potent and are actually used as rat poison in high doses.  High doses of vitamins are not a good idea without a doctor's advice or at least personal research and sources like this site.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 26, 2011

      if people object to lanolin, I guess they'd objected knitting with a wool, too? I believe it comes from the sheared wool of the sheep and you don't have to kill them for it.

       

       anyway! Thank you for the reminder that there can be many reasons why you're hurting and one of them may be this medications you're already taking. And you're absolutely right...

      RHMLucky777

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      if people object to lanolin, I guess they'd objected knitting with a wool, too? I believe it comes from the sheared wool of the sheep and you don't have to kill them for it.

       

       anyway! Thank you for the reminder that there can be many reasons why you're hurting and one of them may be this medications you're already taking. And you're absolutely right - superhigh doses of vitamin D should only be takenin consultation with a doctor.

  • Anonymous
    chelsun
    Jul. 25, 2011

    As many of you won't find surprising, I am a 48yr old female with Grave's Disease and have low levels of Vitamin D. Until recently did not understand or even know the connection of having this disease and being deficient in Vitamin D. However, my PCP has put me on 2,000 units and wants me to get 20 minutes of sun exposure daily. When I do follow this regiment...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    As many of you won't find surprising, I am a 48yr old female with Grave's Disease and have low levels of Vitamin D. Until recently did not understand or even know the connection of having this disease and being deficient in Vitamin D. However, my PCP has put me on 2,000 units and wants me to get 20 minutes of sun exposure daily. When I do follow this regiment I must admit that I feel better. I have read some info that those with autoaumoine diseases do not asborb Vitamin D well or the body doesn't process it well, does anyone know if this is true and if so what advice can you give?

     

    Thanks

    • Anonymous
      Gi-
      Jul. 25, 2011

      I'd like to know more on that also....curious to know whether my Lupus can benefir from Vitamin D but also want to know if my body has a hard time absobing it or producing it!

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      I'm not sure about the answer to this, but I will add it to my list of things to research and post something about it in the next month or so. Thank you for  asking this important question!

  • Anonymous
    lz
    Jul. 25, 2011

    I have a nephew who is severly physically challenged. Since age 3 his doctor has recommended a very large dose of vitamin d. Although his legs have fallen to atrophy, he has NEVER had a severe cold, much less the flu. I can only think of maybe a half dozen of so times he's been sick at all and he's now 18 years old. I have to say, all things being equal, it...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I have a nephew who is severly physically challenged. Since age 3 his doctor has recommended a very large dose of vitamin d. Although his legs have fallen to atrophy, he has NEVER had a severe cold, much less the flu. I can only think of maybe a half dozen of so times he's been sick at all and he's now 18 years old. I have to say, all things being equal, it has to be the vitamin d. My wife is a school teacher and ever since she started taking higher does of vitamin d, she also has rarely been sick due to colds/flu. As for myself, I am have a high risk of getting colon cancer (polyps found when I was in my early thirties) and I'm not wating to see any definitive studies about the prevention of these types of cancers; I'm mega-dosing right now and will continue until we're all told that too much d can kill you!

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      thanks for mentioning the - we have a lot of users who are immunosuppressed as treatment for their RA and worry about getting sick with colds and flu's. I'll mention this to them in future.

  • Anonymous
    GAC
    Jul. 25, 2011

    Hi Ms Anderson, Your article caught my eye while reading our local paper online.

    I enjoyed the article and comments made by other readers. I too was Vit D deficient as the result of Thyroid Cancer. My TSH levels were just about normal, yet I still had all the symptoms of Hyperthyroidsm remaining almost a year after my surgery. I am 59 yoa...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Ms Anderson, Your article caught my eye while reading our local paper online.

    I enjoyed the article and comments made by other readers. I too was Vit D deficient as the result of Thyroid Cancer. My TSH levels were just about normal, yet I still had all the symptoms of Hyperthyroidsm remaining almost a year after my surgery. I am 59 yoa and have other medical conditions as a result of a leg amputation as a child. My PCP & Endocrinologist were baffled as to why I was still so fatigued, camping, unable to sleep and pain through my body, etc, etc, the list goes on. They went on the hunt and my Endo checked my Vit D levels. Wow! I had none.  What puzzled him was that I take calcium(1200mg) w/Vit D (600mg X3 daily) for over a year and I had no Vit D. He started me on 50,000 units  a week in addition to what I was already taking. I had blood work 2 weeks ago after having  my 2nd. iodine scan for remaining cancer and my PCP said my test were all normal. My TSH levels and Vit D are good, ProTime, CBC and other blood work all normal. Still the symptoms prevail. I see my Endo this week and hopefully he has some answers. Both my Drs. have shared with me that genetics and enviornmental factors possibly contribution to my current condition. I'm crashing and burning and really need to know what's going on.

    Thank you for the informative article I'm going to the share it with Them.

     

     

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      thank you for your comment. Your body has been through a lot, which may be why you're having a bit of a crash. I'm going to throw something out there and I want you to keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, so I may be completely out in left field, but take a look at the information and if it rings a bell, talk to your doctor about it.

       

      Sometimes, being...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      thank you for your comment. Your body has been through a lot, which may be why you're having a bit of a crash. I'm going to throw something out there and I want you to keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, so I may be completely out in left field, but take a look at the information and if it rings a bell, talk to your doctor about it.

       

      Sometimes, being through a lot can also be a contributing factor to fibromyalgia - symptoms can include pain throughout the body, sleeplessness, etc. We have a couple of posts they can tell you more about that condition and like I said, to start ringing bells, it may be worth looking into. Our Chronic Pain Community Leader interviewed me about living with RA and fibromyalgia and I interviewed her about fibromyalgia (part one and part two). You may also want to check out a post about conditions commonly mistaken for fibromyalgia which may also give you some suggestions.

       

      also, about the cramping - is that primarily overnight and in your legs? try drinking more water - sometimes, leg cramps can happen if you're not hydrated enough. You may also want to try to take a dose of the supplement magnesium before going to bed. It's a natural muscle relaxant and may help you sleep.

       

      Good luck! Please keep us posted on your progress?

    • Anonymous
      Tom
      Jul. 27, 2011

      do check on potassium , look  it up but as many are low on this as the d's one major sign is muscle cramping ....... don't ignore this as your heart is an important muscle to and you don;t want it to have a cramp...........

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 29, 2011

      I definitely will, Tom! thanks for your comment.

  • Alexan
    Jul. 23, 2011

    You write: "Access to getting the test may become an issue, though. Due to vitamin D deficiency increasingly being implicated in many health conditions and the subsequent popularity of the test, Medicare has proposed vitamin D testing restrictions."

     

    I find this bureaucratic logic sickening, incredible, and incredibly sick.  I am outraged. ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    You write: "Access to getting the test may become an issue, though. Due to vitamin D deficiency increasingly being implicated in many health conditions and the subsequent popularity of the test, Medicare has proposed vitamin D testing restrictions."

     

    I find this bureaucratic logic sickening, incredible, and incredibly sick.  I am outraged.  Yu should be outraged, too.

     

    I have melanoma.  I have a history of severe sunburns.  I have the genetics for melanoma.  I slather sunscreens on my skin, and I keep my skin otherwise covered to the extent practical and comfortable.   I am outdoors a lot almost every day.  I bicycle every other day, at least, for about two hours/day.  I am 76.  I fell two years and broke my rib.  The fall was trivial.  A blood test showed that I had a vitamin D deficiency.  I had been taking 2000 units of D(sub3) for two years.  I am now supplementing my supplement with sunlight, 15 to 25 minutes/day and, against the advice of my doctor, 4000 units of D/day.

     

    My monthly income is $525/months plus unemloyment insurance which will end next February.  I should not have to pay for a blood test that might result in treatments that could protect me from premature death from diseases that seem to require vitamin deficiency, and, by keepin me alive and well, thereby save the state many tens of thousands of dollars while trying to keep me alive after I fall ill to a disease that I could, with sufficient information, avoid.

     

     

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      you're absolutely right, but alas, they often don't take the long view in terms of prevention. It's sad and, as you said, completely outrageous!

       

      Thanks for commenting!

  • yogimom
    Jul. 22, 2011

    Hi Leah! Awesome article. I've been researching this for over 10 years, and it has been hard to convince others of my findings. It's always more readily accepted from third party sources, and I say.."It's all about the message, not the messenger!" I wanted to add something to the article. The amount prescribed of 15-20 minutes, if for blond blue eyed to very...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Leah! Awesome article. I've been researching this for over 10 years, and it has been hard to convince others of my findings. It's always more readily accepted from third party sources, and I say.."It's all about the message, not the messenger!" I wanted to add something to the article. The amount prescribed of 15-20 minutes, if for blond blue eyed to very fair skin people. This is because they either do not produce melanin (a natural sunblock) or too little therefore their skin absorbs the vitamin D3 in record time! After the 20 minutes, they should use clothing to protect them from the rays instead of sunblock. If you have melanin, Brown/Black hair, and brown eyes with creme to expresso brown skin, then you need at least an hour a day of direct sunlight because it takes longer for the skin to absorb the vitamin D3 (there are 2 forms D2 and D3). Also the proper time to be outside is between the hours of 9am-3pm. This information is important because darker skin people will follow the 20 minute rule and miss out on getting the right amount of vitamin D3. I'm still in shock over the number of illnesses associated by this deficiency. I am happy to hear France is doing something about pregnant women and children because this will cut postpartum depression and a host of other disorders that pregnancy seem to accelerate. Again, thank you for putting on the spotlight!

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      And thank you for sharing this infomation!

  • Anonymous
    fred
    Jul. 22, 2011

    After years of fun in the sun (and to many sunburns) I decided to cut back on my sun exposure, especially after reading so much about skin cancer. Then my dad had and died from skin cancer. I stopped going in the sun completely (helped along by working inside for too many hours a day). Avoiding the sun turned out to be a stupid thing to do. Five years...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    After years of fun in the sun (and to many sunburns) I decided to cut back on my sun exposure, especially after reading so much about skin cancer. Then my dad had and died from skin cancer. I stopped going in the sun completely (helped along by working inside for too many hours a day). Avoiding the sun turned out to be a stupid thing to do. Five years ago I was diagnosed with MS and test showed I had a huge Vitamin D deficiency. My MS doctor said I need to get out in the sun more. Thanks.  So to hell with skin cancer, I am going out more. However, one question I have never seen addressed in the Vitiamin D defeicincy debateis this: How much skin needs to be exposed? Just your face for 20 minutes? Or do you need to get down to a bathing suit ?? That's not working in NYC in January !!

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      perhaps a bathingsuit should be avoided - aside from the frsotbite issue, you might get a fair bit of weird looks! Wink

       

      I remember reading somewhere that uncovered arms and legs for 15min ought to do it. Did some googling and found this website that seems to confirm it, but am not sure how reputable it is. On the other hand, they cite the table from the...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      perhaps a bathingsuit should be avoided - aside from the frsotbite issue, you might get a fair bit of weird looks! Wink

       

      I remember reading somewhere that uncovered arms and legs for 15min ought to do it. Did some googling and found this website that seems to confirm it, but am not sure how reputable it is. On the other hand, they cite the table from the New England Journal of Medicine, so that's pretty reputable..

       

      Alright. I'm a geek. I went looking, found the journal article and it says "Exposure of arms and legs for 5 to 30 minutes (depending on time of day, season, latitude, and skin pigmentation) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. twice a week is often adequate."

    • Anonymous
      fred
      Jul. 25, 2011

      Thanks for the update. My wife tells me she saw Dr. Oz, Montel Williams, Dr. so&so talking about this, but they never say how much skin needs to be exposed. I haven't found it in writing, but I'll look it up where you found it. Thanks.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 25, 2011

      you're welcome! It's been nice meeting you!

  • PowerGuy
    Jul. 21, 2011

    In the following sentence from this fine article, I believe the word "deficiency" should follow "vitamin D"

     

    "These illnesses are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and vitamin D (deficiency) appears to be a major environmental factor in increasing the risk of developing such disorders."

  • gerard
    Jul. 21, 2011

    After a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, I was Vitamin D deficient. Could have been from the chemo, from being indoors for about 6 months. Doctor put me on a script of 50k Vitamin D for three months, and then on 800 mg a day. I take it with a calcium chew and my D levels are normal now.

  • Barb
    Jul. 20, 2011

    I am in my 50's, I had a much needed hystrecomy at 41.  I cannot take HRT due to blood clots when I was younger.  The doctor decided to test my bone density and found some bone loss and started me on Fosamax.  I could only take it for about 2 years and had to quit.  It was awhile before I saw my doctor and I explained that I had stopped...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I am in my 50's, I had a much needed hystrecomy at 41.  I cannot take HRT due to blood clots when I was younger.  The doctor decided to test my bone density and found some bone loss and started me on Fosamax.  I could only take it for about 2 years and had to quit.  It was awhile before I saw my doctor and I explained that I had stopped taking it and why.  She had me do another bone density test and it had barely changed if at all.  She decided to check my Vit D levels which were well below normal.  I was on prescription Vit D 50,000 units a week for about 6 months before my level was above normal.  One thing I noticed is my overall demeaner, I was much happier and didn't feel so stressed.  I now take 2,000 mg everyday to maintain. I haven't been in for another bone density test but it will be interesting to see how it comes out as I have also increased my calcuim.

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 20, 2011

      it's so interesting - I hear more and more people mention how much better they feel in so many different ways by increasing the vitamin D. It really seems to be a bit of a miracle vitamin

    • Anonymous
      Lisa
      Jul. 27, 2011

      Here is another reason to take Vitamin D.

       

      "Vitamin K Prevents Vitamin D from Promoting Heart Disease"

       

      Why Might Vitamin K2 be so Beneficial for Your Heart?

      Vitamin K engages in a delicate dance with vitamin D; whereas vitamin D provides improved bone development by helping you absorb calcium, there is new evidence that vitamin...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Here is another reason to take Vitamin D.

       

      "Vitamin K Prevents Vitamin D from Promoting Heart Disease"

       

      Why Might Vitamin K2 be so Beneficial for Your Heart?

      Vitamin K engages in a delicate dance with vitamin D; whereas vitamin D provides improved bone development by helping you absorb calcium, there is new evidence that vitamin K2 directs the calcium to your skeleton, while preventing it from being deposited where you don't want it -- i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term "hardening of the arteries."

      Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries. In other words, without the help of vitamin K2, the calcium that your vitamin D so effectively lets in might be working AGAINST you -- by building up your coronary arteries rather than your bones.

      This is why if you take calcium and vitamin D but are deficient in vitamin K, you could be worse off than if you were not taking those supplements at all, as demonstrated by a recent meta-analysis linking calcium supplements to heart attacks.

      This meta-analysis looked at studies involving people taking calcium in isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K, which help keep your body in balance. In the absence of those other important cofactors, calcium CAN have adverse effects, such as building up in coronary arteries and causing heart attacks, which is really what this analysis detected. So if you are going to take calcium, you need to be sure you have balanced it out with vitamin D and vitamin K.

      articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/07/16/fatsoluble-vitamin-shown-to-reduce-coronary-calcification.aspx?e_cid=20110724_SNL_MC_1
    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Aug. 02, 2011

      Thanks for the information, Lisa!

  • Pam Flores
    Health Guide
    Jul. 20, 2011

    Hi Lene, thanks so much for a wonderful article on vitamin D.  Unfortunately we have so many medical disorders that are caused or worsened by D deficiency that we really all need to have our levels tested.  The other problem is some practitioners don't believe this is necessary because they think we get enough D from our diet, which is really hard...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Lene, thanks so much for a wonderful article on vitamin D.  Unfortunately we have so many medical disorders that are caused or worsened by D deficiency that we really all need to have our levels tested.  The other problem is some practitioners don't believe this is necessary because they think we get enough D from our diet, which is really hard to do, since vitamin D is not in many foods.  We can get D from the sun, fortified foods and juices, milk, egg yolks and fatty fish.  Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, we need to take it with our highest fat meal of the day.

     

    For those of your readers who are uninsured or underinsured, below are options for mail order and local labs that don't require a doctors prescription, for a 25 OH D test, and the prices are very good.  I've used ZRT, and compared the results to my local lab and the scores were within a point or two different so this is very accurate.  The blood spot mail order test is really easy to do, as well.  To complete the test you just follow the instructions and mail it off.  When the test is completed you get a full print out, in the mail, explaining your score.  Below are some of the popular mail order testing companies.

     

    Direct Labs online lab tests  (order test online or go to over 3000 locations nationwide) Monthly specials as low as $39.99 for 25 OH D, no prescription needed. 

     

    ZRT Labs  (mail order and local blood spot testing)  $65.00 or less with monthly specials.

     

    GrassrootsHealth  Testing price with membership $60.00 or $65.00 

     

    Thanks again Lene, for a very informative post!

     

    • Pam Flores
      Health Guide
      Jul. 20, 2011

      Hey Lene, I forgot...Thanks for including the links to my articles and interview on D from HealthCentrals' OsteoporosisConnection.com!

       

      Take Care...

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 20, 2011

      thanks for the tips on the labs and on when to take your vitamin D!

    • Anonymous
      TAmmy
      Jul. 23, 2011

      I have Sarcoidosis, primarily in my chest cavitiy.  Keeping my Vit D levels low is key to not having recurrences.  But this past year my levels were so low they were barely detectable, so I had to take RX strength.  And withing 3 months the lymph nodes in my chest cavity were the size of lemons again.  Damned if you do damned if you don't!...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I have Sarcoidosis, primarily in my chest cavitiy.  Keeping my Vit D levels low is key to not having recurrences.  But this past year my levels were so low they were barely detectable, so I had to take RX strength.  And withing 3 months the lymph nodes in my chest cavity were the size of lemons again.  Damned if you do damned if you don't!

       

       

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 24, 2011

      Wow, Tammy - you really are caught in a catch-22! I had no idea vitamin Dcould act this way - thanks for sharing your story!

  • V
    V
    Health Guide
    Jul. 20, 2011

    Hi, Lene,

     

    The first thing my PCP did when I started complaining of muscle pain was test my Vitamin D.  Of course, it was really low. I took mega amounts of Mega D-3 for three weeks.  Now I take 10,000 units twice a week.  My PCP does not want me taking anything but Mega D-3.  She says the other supplements are not regulated re:...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi, Lene,

     

    The first thing my PCP did when I started complaining of muscle pain was test my Vitamin D.  Of course, it was really low. I took mega amounts of Mega D-3 for three weeks.  Now I take 10,000 units twice a week.  My PCP does not want me taking anything but Mega D-3.  She says the other supplements are not regulated re: strength and she needs to know exactly how much Vit D I am getting so that she can adjust my dosage depending on my blood tests.  She does order a blood test every three months.  I think it would be interesting to take a poll here on HC to determine how many of our members are Vitmain D deficient. I hope those who have never had their Vit D levels checked will see your post and ask for the test. 

     

    V

    • Lene  Andersen
      Health Guide
      Jul. 20, 2011

      I wonder if the number would be higher than 70% given that we all have an autoimmune disease?

    • V
      V
      Health Guide
      Jul. 21, 2011

      If I had to guess, I would say 85% of us here have low Vit D.  I am constantly amazed at how many people with autoimmune issues have never had their D levels tested.  I would have thought that would be standard operating procedure by now.