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.

Join Over 52,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Jackie
    Reply

    My doctor did some blood work on me and found out that I have A Vitamin D deficiency my hands and legs swell and I’m having A hard time sleeping, because of the severe pain that I have during the night. I would like to know does Vitamin D deficiency cause blood clots in the legs? I also found out that I have high BLOOD PRESSURE. Is their A correlation between high blood pressure and low Vitamin D levels?

  2. LDL
    Reply

    Has there been any studies indicating that these D deficiencies are made worse by use of sunscreen?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: SUNSCREEN PREVENTS THE SKIN FROM MAKING VITAMIN D. THERE IS AN AUSTRALIAN SURVEY SHOWING THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY ARE LESS LIKELY TO USE SUNSCREEN:
    Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jul;19(7):1784-9. Epub 2010 Jun 22.
    Knowledge and attitudes about Vitamin D and impact on sun protection practices among urban office workers in Brisbane, Australia.
    Vu LH, van der Pols JC, Whiteman DC, Kimlin MG, Neale RE.
    Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia.
    Abstract
    BACKGROUND: Sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D. Increasing scientific and media attention to the potential health benefits of sun exposure may lead to changes in sun exposure behaviors. METHODS: To provide data that might help frame public health messages, we conducted an online survey among office workers in Brisbane, Australia, to determine knowledge and attitudes about vitamin D and associations of these with sun protection practices. Of the 4,709 people invited to participate, 2,867 (61%) completed the questionnaire. This analysis included 1,971 (69%) participants who indicated that they had heard about vitamin D. RESULTS: Lack of knowledge about vitamin D was apparent. Eighteen percent of people were unaware of the bone benefits of vitamin D but 40% listed currently unconfirmed benefits. Over half of the participants indicated that more than 10 minutes in the sun was needed to attain enough vitamin D in summer, and 28% indicated more than 20 minutes in winter. This was significantly associated with increased time outdoors and decreased sunscreen use. People believing sun protection might cause vitamin D deficiency (11%) were less likely to be frequent sunscreen users (summer odds ratio, 0.63; 95% confidence interval, 0.52-0.75). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that there is some confusion about sun exposure and vitamin D, and that this may result in reduced sun-protective behavior. IMPACT: More information is needed about vitamin D production in the skin. In the interim, education campaigns need to specifically address the vitamin D issue to ensure that skin cancer incidence does not increase.

  3. REM
    Reply

    Tests were done on me and I had vitamin D deficiency. Been taking massive dose rx by my Dr. and my hair has stopped falling out. I think all women should be checked for this. Not getting D from sun due to using sun screens. It can cause a lot of problems including gums and hair falling out. I am a dental assistant.

  4. abigail
    Reply

    About Vit. D intake: Are there positive or negative interactions with other vitamins or minerals? Should Vit. D be taken with other vitamins, minerals or certain foods for best assimilation?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE USUAL UNDERSTANDING IS THAT VITAMIN D ASSISTS ABSORPTION OF CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM, BUT THAT IT DOES NOT NEED OTHER NUTRIENTS TO BE ABSORBED.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.