Q. I had severe leg pain during the night and day for about four months. My doctor did blood work and found that my vitamin D level was 8. She prescribed me 50,000 IUs per week for twelve weeks and now my leg pain is almost non-existent.
A. Doctors are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of checking vitamin D levels. A surprisingly large proportion of the population has less than optimal levels of this important vitamin. Lower than 20 nanograms per milliliter indicates deficiency. Some experts believe that optimal levels should be at least 30.
Replenishing vitamin D stores can reduce muscle pain. It may also lower the risk of such varied problems as depression, diabetes and heart disease (Dowd & Stafford, The Vitamin D Cure).
Many readers are frightened by the idea of 50,000 IU at a time, but since this dose is usually taken just once a week it comes to about 7,000 IU a day. This is a common prescription dose for correcting a severe vitamin D deficiency like yours.