Got D?

vitamin_D.jpg

At a recent checkup with my family doctor I had my vitamin D level checked and I was a bit shocked with the result. I have read in the popular press that some doctors have been expounding the values of vitamin D so I decided to investigate. You might want to get yours checked as well.

I found that my vitamin D level was at 12 ng/mL in a reference range of 20-100. Definitely deficient. This led me to the internet and it didn’t take long to find that Crohn’s patients are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially if they have had bowel resections. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and Crohn’s patients have a tendency for fat malabsorption, therefore are less able to absorb vitamin D. This is the most obvious answer for me as I match the Crohn’s/resection profile. I have to wonder though if other factors are at play as well. I don’t get much sun and I don’t have much vitamin D in my diet through fortified foods like milk and grain products.

Note that it is apparently possible to take too much vitamin D. A quick search will show you that there is disagreement about what constitutes vitamin D toxicity. However, it is clear that vitamin D toxicity over an extended period of time carries significant and serious consequences.

It should also be noted that vitamin D supplements have potential to interact with some medications. As always, consult with your doctor.


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10 Responses to “Got D?”


  1. 1 nepeht December 29, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Interesting about Vita D and the possibility of toxicity. I too have Crohn’s (30 years) as well as Celiac. Thanks for your post. I will look into that.
    Also, I have a blog at http://www.glutenfreesimplicity.wordpress.com
    Good luck and keep on blogging.
    William

  2. 2 L Timney December 31, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I believe there has been some research done recently about Vit D and that if you get enough sun (i.e. go easy on the sunblock), your body should make adequate for what you need. Also, apparently if you should get a skin cancer/melanoma of some sort, you may have a greater risk of dying from it, if your Vit D levels are inadequate. The stay out of the sun message in our country (we have one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world) has been really hammered via TV ads, etc, and it looks now, as if we’ve all been putting ourselves at unnecessary risk. See the article at the bottom of this page of Investigate Magazine. http://www.investigatemagazine.com/tgif3oct08.pdf

  3. 3 paul stocker January 2, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the info Timney. It seems that the more I read and learn the less I can count on what I read. “Sun is bad!” “Sun is good!” It’s frustrating.

    -Paul

  4. 4 Alaina January 5, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Visit your local tanning salon 3 to 4 times a week to get your vitamin D levels up. A tanning bed causes the same vitamin D production as outdoor sun exposure. It is the UVB that causes the vitamin D production. Learn more at tanningtruth.com it is a really informative and helpful website. It is good to know that we can get plenty of vitamin D without ever having to take a supplement 🙂

  5. 5 Paul Stocker January 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Alaina,

    I cannot comment on the veracity of your statement, but I presume that the website tanningtruth.com is an organization of the 2.8 billion dollar tanning salon industry and therefore should be treated with some measure of skepticism – you’ll notice the banner at the top of their pages helping you find a tanning salon close to you.

    I personally would not recommend artificial tanning.

    Aside from the possible health risks, lets examine the math in a comparison of salon tanning versus vitamin D supplements.

    Salon tanning 3.5 times per week:
    $25 and 18 hours per month (not including travel time).
    = $300 and 216 hours per year. 216 hours = 9 days.

    Taking 2000IU vitamin D supplement daily:
    $4 and 15 minutes per month.
    = $48 and 3 hours per year.

    Summary:
    Salon tanning is 600% more expensive than a vitamin D supplement.
    Salon tanning takes 7200% more time than a vitamin D supplement.

    -Paul

  6. 6 Alaina January 6, 2009 at 9:59 am

    And the vitamin D made from UVB light (indoor tanning or outdoor sun exposure) is one million times more natural and more easily used by your body than a supplement(not a scientific number :)). Most supplements and vitamins taken in a pill form are not readily used by the body. You are right though supplements are cheap.. but is cheap always good?

    I just wanted to post the tanning truth website because it has a nice variety of easy to read info about vitamin D in regards to UVB exposure. You can find alot of just vitamin D websites that promote UVB exposure and are not linked to the indoor tanning industry. They are also very informative.

    The possible health risks of tanning are related to either burning or not getting enough UV exposure (which probably links to the lack of vitamin D) moderate UV exposure indoors or out has been proven to not be linked to melanoma (the deadly form of skin cancer) Remember that all of our cells have vitamin D receptors on them, so if each cell does not have its vitamin D than mutations can occur which is why a lack of vitamin D can lead to an increase in many different types of cancer.

    I am so glad the vitamin D subject has been mentioned because it is so important for everyones health, and especially the health of people with malabsorption problems.

    Experts are recommending 15 minutes or more of UV exposure a day in a sunny climate, or during summer months for us norther people. People who do want to go to an indoor tanning salon during fall and winter months can average going about 3 days a week and doing 10 minute sessions (2 hours a month). *To spend 18 hours a month tanning in a salon is impossible you would have to tan 54 times in 30 days). 10 minutes in a tanning bed will produce 20,000 IU vitamin D with no risk of toxicity because you can not overdose on UV produced vitamin D.

    We all need to remember that we need to look outside the box sometimes. That is how we all found the SCD isn’t it? How many of us have been told that diet cannot help our condition, I know that I have heard that. . many times. So I have chosen to always do my own research and come up with the most natural and effective way to help myself be healthier. Just because our doctors tell us an extra vitamin D supplement will be enough does not mean we should believe that without question.

    Paul thanks so much for responding! The vitamin D subject is so important!!! Please check out those other sites you will be really interested in all the great info that is out there! Please let me know if you have any questions I would be happy to help 🙂 I am a little obsessed with my health. . if you couldn’t already tell!

  7. 7 Paul Stocker January 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Alaina,

    Thanks for your reply. I agree about looking outside the box – after all it’s what brought me to the SCD.

    My primary concern with salon tanning is that I just can’t believe that the radiation from the tanning booths is the same as what comes from the sun. I guess you could call me somewhat cynical, but I bet anyone on the SCD has some measure of that.

    I prefer to get my D in this order:
    1. Sun.
    2. Food (fatty fish like salmon).
    3. Supplements.

    I can’t get enough sun throughout the year and I’m concerned about eating as much fatty fish as I’d like due to the mercury so I’m giving vitamin D pills a try. It seems like the greatest risk of a moderate amount of D supplementation is that they simply pass through, doing nothing.

    I consider it an experiment, much like when I started the SCD and in a couple of months I’ll have my blood checked for D again and see if the D supplement did any good. I’ll try to remember to post that result.

    -Paul

  8. 8 Alaina January 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Paul,

    A 5% UVB lamp in a tanning bed is the same as outdoor sun exposure. It is a myth that tanning beds are stronger than the sun, or different in any way (Some people even think a tanning bed can cook their insides if they stay in too long. Totally false!). It is an accurate statement that going in a tanning bed is a reliable way for the body to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. I am a bit of an expert on this 🙂 It is of couse up to all of us how we decide to best get our levels of vitamin D up. Anyway it would be very interesting to see if your levels increase. Keep us posted! And this should inspire the rest of us to get our levels checked as well.

    -Alaina
    PS- Great web site! It is very helpful and informative!

  9. 9 Heather August 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Hi. Just wondering if you ever had your vitamin D level checked after taking supplements? I was also wondering if you use SCD friendly vitamin D supplements (if so, what brand) or do you just use any supplement. So far the ones I have found have had some prenty unfriendly ingrediants listed.

    Hope you are doing well. I really enjoy your website.

    Heather

    • 10 Paul Stocker August 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm

      Heather,

      I will have my D3 checked in a few months. That will be the first check since starting D3 supplements.

      I’ve looked for some legal D3 locally, but had similar results.

      There are a few sources for supplements that come to mind:
      GI ProHealth
      Lucy’s Kitchen Shop
      and
      Digestive Wellness.

      You can find Freeda SCD legal multi-vitamins on Lucy’s Kitchen Shop and Digestive Wellness and a legal D3 supplement on GI ProHealth.

      The multivitamins have much lower doses of D3 than the GI ProHealth D3, however.

      I hope you’re doing well and I’m glad you enjoy my blog. Thank you.

      -Paul


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