How Much Vitamin D Do You Need
In healthy people, the amount of vitamin D needed per day varies by age. The chart below shows the often-cited recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, now the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. It is important to know that these are general recommendations. If your doctor is checking your blood levels, he or she might recommend higher or lower doses based on your individual needs.
If you have osteoporosis, your doctor might suggest a blood test of your vitamin D levels. The amount of vitamin D supplement can be customized for each person, based on the results. For many older patients, a vitamin D supplement containing anywhere between 800 to 2000 IUs daily, which can be obtained without a prescription, can be both safe and beneficial. It is important to speak with your doctor about your individual needs.
|People by age|
*refers to adequate intake vs recommended dietary allowance of the other age groups.
Role In Sleep Disorders
Maintaining healthy vitamin D levels plays a role in your ability to get a good night’s sleep. One study, published in the “Journal of Sleep Research” in 2013, notes that people with vitamin D deficiency often face difficulty staying asleep at night. A vitamin D deficiency also increases your risk of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome — a disorder that causes you to wake up several times during the night — according to a study in the August 2013 issue of “Endocrine.” If you have a vitamin D deficiency affecting your ability to get to sleep or stay asleep throughout the night, you’re more likely to feel tired throughout the day.
Does Vitamin D Deficiency Make You Tired
Yes, if youre not getting enough vitamin D you will likely experience low energy and feel tired.
An observational study, this one in 200 female nurses, found that only 9.5% of them had normal vitamin D levels, while 89% were found to have vitamin D deficiency. The study results found a significant relationship between vitamin D levels and fatigue scores, leading the study authors to conclude that high prevalence of fatigue among nurses could be attributed to a vitamin D deficiency.
Even children with vitamin D deficiency are prone to sleep issues, with this study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine concluding that this deficiency was linked to decreased sleep duration, poorer sleep efficiency, and even delayed bedtimes. The authors suggested that future studies in children should examine whether vitamin D deficiency leads to sleep disturbance or whether it is the other way around.
This article from Healthline notes that several studies demonstrated the positive impact that raising vitamin D levels can have on reducing fatigue.
For instance, in this study published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, 77% of the 174 adults who presented with fatigue were also found to have low vitamin D levels. After receiving vitamin D treatment for 5 weeks, their fatigue symptoms improved significantly as indicated by the comparison results of their pre- and post-treatment fatigue assessment questionnaires.
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Vitamin D Deficiency Presenting As Fatigue
Jatinder Mokta1, Kiran Mokta2, Asha Ranjan3, Rahul Gupta4, Mehak Garg
1Professor, 2Assoc. Prof., 3Sr. Resident, 4Jr. Resident, Department of Medicine, IGMC, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a pandemic affecting about 1 billion people and knows no geographical boundaries with males and females of all ages and ethnic background equally affected. Severe vitamin D deficiency may cause severe fatigue and personality changes, depression like syndrome, chronic sleep disorder, intolerance, immune dysfunction and in long term- multi-system disease. Though, a common symptom in clinical setting , fatigue has reputation as a vague symptom. Most often, it is ignored by patients and health care providers.1
We had 5 patients who presented with fatigue as their only complaint . They had marked lack of energy, feeling of weakness and tiredness without apathy, excessive sleep and depressed mood. They did not have any adverse event in their lives. Except for low serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels, all other laboratory parameters including thyroid function, serum cortisol, complete hemogram were normal. They also lacked evidence of immunological, rheumatological and infectious diseases- clinically or laboratory. We treated them with oral cholecalciferol 60,000 IU weekly for 8 weeks followed by 60,000 IU monthly. All 5 patients improved completely with supplementation.
How Is Vitamin D Deficiency Treated
The goals of treatment and prevention are the sameto reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body. While you might consider eating more foods that contain vitamin D and getting a little bit of sunlight, you will likely be told to take vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. D2, also called ergocalciferol, comes from plants. D3, also called cholecalciferol, comes from animals. You need a prescription to get D2. D3, however, is available over the counter. It is more easily absorbed than D2 and lasts longer in the body dose-for-dose. Work with your doctor to find out if you need to take a vitamin supplement and how much to take if it is needed.
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Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms: Signs And Treatment
A person may not realize that they have a vitamin D deficiency, but there are some symptoms to look out for.
This article explores the signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, as well as possible complications, treatments, and when to see a doctor.
- helping with the absorption of calcium
- maintaining healthy bones
- preventing rickets and osteoporosis
- modulating the immune system
Vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods, and often in amounts too low to help a person meet their daily recommended intake. In response, manufacturers fortify several foods with the vitamin.
According to a 2020 review, 50% of the worldwide population has insufficient levels of vitamin D. In the United States, 35% of adults have the deficiency.
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is highest among older adults, people with obesity, and people in hospitals and other care facilities.
Many people with vitamin D deficiency have no symptoms. However, the deficiency can cause the following issues.
A Quick Vitamin D Primer
You walk in the sunshine every day . You eat right. You get enough sleep. But you still may be missing something even if youre doing all the right thingsvitamin D. Though rare, severely low levels of vitamin D can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to bone pain, and thin, brittle, or misshapen bones, according to the National Institutes of Health. But recent research has suggested a connection between even moderately low levels of vitamin D and a number of surprising health conditions, including diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer. There are a number of sneaky signs that can point to a vitamin D deficiency, so if youre suffering from any of them, talk with your healthcare provider, who will likely recommend a blood test. This is really the only way to accurately determine your vitamin D level. Then you can discuss ways to boost them, usually by taking an over-the-counter supplement.
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How Much Vitamin D Should You Take To Prevent Fatigue
Well, that depends. Each of you reading this article is dealing with a rather unique set of health circumstances. Different doses are required for different conditions.
For those of you dealing with fatigue, Id like to see your vitamin D levels above 100 nmol/L and below 200 nmol/L.
This is why Im such a strong advocate for testing. By testing, youll know exactly where your vitamin D levels are at. This tells you how much vitamin D you should be taking.
Heres a general guideline for vitamin D dosing I use in the clinic:
- Maintenance dose
- This shall be sourced first from sunlight. Supplement only when necessary.
Analysis Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D metabolites 25D2 and 25D3 were analysed as previously described. 25D2 and 25D3 were extracted from serum samples, following zinc sulfate protein precipitation, using Isolute C18 solid phase extraction cartridges. Potential interfering compounds were removed by initial elution with 50% methanol followed by elution of the vitamins using 10% tetrahydrofuran in acetonitrile. Dried extracts were reconstituted prior to injection into a high-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry in the multiple reaction mode. The multiple reaction mode transitions used were 413.2> 395.3, 401.1> 383.3and 407.5> 107.2 for 25D2 and 25D3, and hexadeuterated D3, respectively. The assay was validated against published acceptance criteria . Assay sensitivity was determined by the lower limit of quantification: 25D3=2.5nmol/L and 25D2=2.5nmol/L. Coefficients of variation for the assay were 10% across a working range of 2.5625nmol/L for both 25D2 and 25D3.
The LCMS/MS method used in the present study has previously been validated against other commercially available assays and is regarded as the most valid and reliable technique for the assessment of vitamin D metabolites including 25D2 and 25D3.
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What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is actually a prohormone, not a vitamin. That means its something the body makes and converts to a hormone. As you learned around age 13, hormones stimulate certain systems of the body into action. To oversimplify it: A surge of hormones gets things moving, while a dearth or imbalance of hormones can cause processes to slow or stop.
Vitamin D Deficiency Faqs
Q: Does vitamin D deficiency increase the likelihood of gaining weight?A: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to year-round weight gain and to difficulty losing weight. People with stable and sufficient levels of vitamin D for their age and body type find it easier to maintain a healthy weight and lose weight as desired. People who are putting on unwanted weight and/or struggling to lose weight despite an appropriate diet and exercise plan may be experiencing vitamin D deficiency and should consult a healthcare professional to learn if any supplements are needed.
Q: Is it possible to regrow hair in cases when hair loss is caused by vitamin D deficiency?A: Various studies have investigated the role of vitamin D in promoting hair growth and strength and have found a link between healthy hair and sufficient levels of vitamin D. Correspondingly, hypovitaminosis D can be a contributing factor to experiencing hair loss . However, if one experiences hair loss as a result of vitamin D deficiency, it is likely that one will need specific treatments which are designed to promote hair re-growth to replace the lost hair.
The process of replacing hair, that has been lost due to vitamin D deficiency, may involve specialised medications and/or surgery. Ensuring that oneâs vitamin D intake is suitable will help to promote the effectiveness of any treatments for hair loss which a person undergoes and will help to prevent further hair loss.
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Complications Of Vitamin D Deficiency In Children
Rickets, a condition involving the softening of the bones, so that the skeleton develops deformities is a very common condition related to vitamin D deficiency and affects children worldwide.
In children, vitamin D deficiency primarily causes skeletal diseases because the growth of the skeleton demands certain levels of calcium, and lacking vitamin D impairs the bodyâs uptake of calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can therefore cause hypocalcemia , which in turn can cause rickets and osteoporosis.
Children experiencing hypocalcemia as a result of vitamin D deficiency may exhibit additional symptoms and health problems, such as seizures or tetany . If you are concerned that your child, or a child you know, may be affected by vitamin D deficiency, get a free symptom assessment by downloading the Ada app.
How Can I Raise My Vitamin D Levels
There are three ways to boost your vitamin D levels:
- Get more sunshine You should get 20-60 minutes of sun every day, depending on your skin tone and latitude. The more skin exposed, the more vitamin D your body produces.
- Dietary sources Be sure to include salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and egg yolks in your diet. Wild-caught fish have higher levels of vitamin D, as do the eggs of free-range chickens.
- Supplements Opt for vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2, as D3 is twice as effective at boosting vitamin D levels in the body. Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is best taken in an oil-based soft gel capsule or with a meal that includes fat.
Current mainstream dosage guidelines for vitamin D are based solely on maintaining proper bone density and not on preventing chronic health conditions. For autoimmune management, doses of vitamin D can range from 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day. It is best to test your levels every three to six months to ensure you are taking the proper amount of vitamin D.
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Role In Other Diseases
Low vitamin D levels can also contribute to other fatigue-inducing diseases, making you want to sleep more than usual. Vitamin D levels worsen the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. This can contribute to severe fatigue, feeling tired even after a good night’s rest, as well as irritability and moodiness. Low vitamin D levels also correlate with symptoms of depression, according to a study published in the November 2013 issue of “The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.” Depression can affect your sleep cycle and make you want to sleep longer hours.
Complications Of Vitamin D Deficiency In Pregnancy And Infancy
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a range of possible complications relating to pregnancy and the health of the pregnant person and the newborn.Complications which may arise for a pregnant person experiencing vitamin D deficiency include:
- Gestational diabetes and less efficient metabolism of glucose
- Increased likelihood of skeletal fractures
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How To Get Enough Vitamin D
Clearly, vitamin D is an important vitamin, and inadequate levels can take effect on several systems throughout the body. The good news is, determining your vitamin D levels only takes a simple blood test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The measurement is nanograms per milliliter, and its generally recommended to keep your levels between 30 and 60 ng/ml.
Although you can find vitamin D in fatty fish, fortified orange juice and milk, sunlight is the strongest natural source for vitamin D. At a minimum, you need to spend about 15 minutes in the sun exposing the face, arms, and legs several times per week without sunscreen, since sunscreen limits vitamin D production.
Nevertheless, health experts recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more when youre out in the sun for more than a few minutes. So alternatively, those with low vitamin D levels may also choose to supplement vitamin D into their diet.
Can Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Headaches
Research is finding an association, if not yet a cause and effect, between low levels of vitamin D and an increased risk for headaches.
A piece in Health.com reported on a study out of Finland in middle-aged men that found those with low-serum vitamin D were at greater risk for frequent headaches in comparison to those with higher vitamin D levels.
In fact, the article reported that men with the lowest levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to have headaches at least once a week in comparison to those with the highest levels.
Only 9.6% of the study population reported chronic headaches however, on average, those had lower levels of vitamin D compared to those without headaches . D are reported in both nanomoles per liter and nanograms per milliliter . One nmol/L is equal to 0.4 ng/mL, and 1 ng/mL is equal to 2.5 nmol/L.)
The study itself references numerous other studies with beneficial associations between vitamin D and headaches, although the study authors point out further research is needed.
This article from verywellhealth.com details three studies on vitamin D deficiency and the relation to headaches. The first study says the prevalence of migraine and tension headaches increased the closer to the North and South Poles and farther away from the equatorwith the sun being the presumed differentiator.
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What Does Your Diet Have To Do With Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D doesnt occur naturally in many foods. Thats why certain foods have added vitamin D. In fact, newer food nutrition labels show the amount of vitamin D contained in a particular food item.
It may be difficult, especially for vegans or people who are lactose-intolerant, to get enough vitamin D from their diets, which is why some people may choose to take supplements. It is always important to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups. The vitamin content of various foods is shown in the following table.
Vitamin D content of various foods
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6|
It is important to check product labels, as the amount of added vitamin D varies when it is artificially added to products such as orange juice, yogurt and margarine.
When To See A Doctor
Most people do not realize that theyre vitamin D deficient, as symptoms are generally subtle. You may not recognize them easily, even if theyre significantly affecting your quality of life.
As a rule of thumb, you may consider asking your doctor to check for vitamin D deficiency if you notice any possible symptoms and have any risk factors. They can check your vitamin D levels with a blood test.
Your doctor may also help rule out other causes behind some of the symptoms youre experiencing.
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