Vitamin D Deficiency Alternative Treatments

Every few months something hits the news as the “it” vitamin that will “cure all”.  Vitamin D seems to be having its moment in the sun.  Which is great, unless you are a patient with vitamin D deficiency that can’t get enough!

Holding the sun © by Thairms

I’ve only ever received 2 “worried” phone calls from a Dr.  The first was when my potassium level was so low he gave me 24hrs to “raise it” or “head to the ER”.  (No pressure there!)  The second call happened about a year ago.  I was waiting for some really big test results, the kind that are game changers.  So when he called sounding funny (which means he went from normally monotone to having a personality, I knew something was wrong).
“I am calling because your tests are back”.
“What were they?”  I asked. (Why do they make you ask?  Did I miss another topic we could discuss?)
“Your vitamin D is very low”.
“Okay, ” I said, dismissing this trivial news to get to the bigger guns. “How about all the other tests?”
“Oh, they aren’t back yet” he said quickly, now dismissing what I said.
“Okay, so…” my brain tried to catch up. He was calling on a Friday, after hours, from a world renowned hospital because my vitamin D was low?!
“Your vitamin D is very, very low” he says.  (The second “very” had more personality, that couldn’t be good). It’s crucial we raise your level.  We would like you to start 2,000 IU a day”.
I laughed. “As I told the other Dr (his boss), I reacted to 400 IU, now she wants me to take 2,000?!”

In disbelief that I was apparently making up this mirage of a vitamin D reaction, he & I had a 25 minute discussion on vitamin D.  He ended by insisting once again, that while 400 made me sick, somehow 1,000 would be okay because it was a prescription but he would see if she would lower the dose & send the script. (Note: the pharmacists I later talked to said that isn’t true, prescription vitamin D would be no better tolerated). A few days later 2 scripts arrived: one for 2,000 IU a day (I guess the discussion with his boss didn’t go well) & another for 50,000 (yes, 50,ooo!) IU of D3 once a week. Under “# of refills” it read: “For life”. I laughed out loud.  That was new even for me.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Autoimmune diseases

In spite of the hype, vitamin D really is a big deal.  It actually lowers inflammation, one of the hallmarks of an autoimmune illness & is being looked into as an indicator of how sick you are in most major illnesses.

Dr. Mercola says: Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels & vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the body.  Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role?

Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency: exhaustion, bone pain, muscle weakness, chronic gum disease or swelling (something a lot of patients get), depression (many people that battle depression are put on vitamin D along with other therapies, especially if they live in areas that don’t get enough sunlight).

Dr. Holick from Boston Medical Center: “Multivitamins usually have D2 which comes from yeast, but it’s probably only 20-40% as effective as D3,”

Dr. Hollick believes that D3 is better and longer lasting since it’s the one we should get from the sun.  Note: my Dr put me on both D2 & D3.

Down with vitamin D deficiency! Try these Alternative Treatments

Show a little skin!

If you think, like I did, you can go sit outside in the sun exposing your arms & face & absorb (at least a fair amount) of the vitamin D you need, it appears we might both be wrong.  Dr. Mercola says you need close to 40% of your skin exposed with no sunscreen & on top of that you may need to sit there any where from 20 min if you are extremely fair skin to 4-6x that if you have darker skin.
This poses a dilemma if you develop rashes from the sun like I do.  The best way I have found is to wear a hat, sunglasses & to cover anywhere that gets a rash in a high strength suntan lotion.  It’s not the spf that matters to me as much as it’s a thick white cream that actually covers for a long time & has helped me tremendously with the rash issue.  (I use Neutrogena Sensitive Skin spf 60, it’s not chemical free but it never bothers me even on my face & it helps prevent the dreaded rashes). I make sure I don’t have lotion on any other part of my body that is showing so I do absorb the vitamin D.

Eat up!

  • One patient reported they greatly increased their level by drinking milk fortified w vitamin D.
  • Dole’s Portabella mushrooms are grown in ultra violet light as opposed to the usual dark, infusing the mushrooms with 400-500 IU of vitamin D!
  • Cod liver oil is one of the best bangs for your vitamin D buck. At 1300 IU for 1 tablespoon, you can’t go wrong.  But go slow, fish oils can cause stomach issues for some people.

Stick your tongue out & say Ahhh…

 
Vitamin D tablets or gel capsules are swallowed & absorbed out of the intestines from the gut.  Which means if you have problems with digestion, reacting to some drugs/supplements  with nausea & diarrhea or take medications that can interfere w the absorption of vitamin D, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.  With sublingual vitamin D the capillaries under your tongue bypass the middle man (your gut & intestines) & absorb the vitamin D right into your blood stream, sometimes in as little as 10- 15 minutes.  This is the best chance of your gut & body not reacting to it, although they do cost more than the pills.

In a Pub Med study, they showed there is no difference in absorption levels of vitamins whether they were taken sublingual or swallowed as a pill.  Very high doses of vitamin D can be toxic, so consult with your Doctor to see what dose you need with how low your level is.

Do you have a Vitamin D deficiency? Have you tried any of these alternative therapies?

  • http://www.facebook.com/murielhykes Muriel Hykes

    What bad reaction do you get to Vit. D? I get muscle cramps, bone pain and muscle pain. My son gets seizures from it. Our levels are low but I don’t know anyone else who understands that the pills make us sick.

  • drmom5

    What bad reaction do you get to Vit. D? I get muscle cramps, bone pain and muscle pain. My son gets seizures from it. Our levels are low but I don’t know anyone else who understands that the pills make us sick.

  • http://blog.healclick.com/ Cari Lea

    Great q. I got severe diarrhea & intestinal issues. I am trying the sublingual drops but am wondering if even that is bothering me. I have heard of a lot of patients feeling incredibly sick while taking it but had never heard of seizures. I have violent reactions to most supplements & vitamins too so I am not really surprised. Was it from Vit D pills?

  • http://blog.healclick.com/ Cari Lea

    Great q. I got severe diarrhea & intestinal issues. I am trying the sublingual drops but am wondering if even that is bothering me. I have heard of a lot of patients feeling incredibly sick while taking it but had never heard of seizures. I have violent reactions to most supplements & vitamins too so I am not really surprised. Was it from Vit D pills?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583270934 Corinne Segura

    I’m very low on D too. thanks for the tip on sublingual. very helpful. the drops upset my stomach sometimes.

    • http://blog.healclick.com/ Cari Lea

      Hi Corinne. I recently changed how I take the drops & I think it’s helping. I make sure I just ate food just to be safe & I spread the drops out throughout the day. So 1 drop in the morning, 1 at night & I make sure to increase painfully slow. I bought the children’s vit d drops (only 400 IU) in organic olive oil. Also make sure to hold the drop under your tongue so the vitamin d is really absorbed sublingual & not really swallowed into your stomach (I was doing that too quickly too I think). That might help a little anyway!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=583270934 Corinne Segura

    I’m very low on D too. thanks for the tip on sublingual. very helpful. the drops upset my stomach sometimes.

    • http://blog.healclick.com/ Cari Lea

      Hi Corinne. I recently changed how I take the drops & I think it’s helping. I make sure I just ate food just to be safe & I spread the drops out throughout the day. So 1 drop in the morning, 1 at night & I make sure to increase painfully slow. I bought the children’s vit d drops (only 400 IU) in organic olive oil. Also make sure to hold the drop under your tongue so the vitamin d is really absorbed sublingual & not really swallowed into your stomach (I was doing that too quickly too I think). That might help a little anyway!

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