Q. After years of frightening, rapidly increasing bone pain and weakening muscles, I read about the effects of Vitamin D deficiency. I had the grown-up version of rickets.
A daily 1,000 IU dose of D helped within a week, but to get rid of all of the pain and weakness, I ended up taking more than 10,000 IU daily with no toxicity for about two years. I gradually lowered the dose to 6,000 IU daily. It’s wonderful to be able to move without pain, climb stairs without pulling on the handrail, and walk on uneven ground without fear of falling. My grandchildren think I’m getting younger.

A. A daily dose of 10,000 IU vitamin D could be excessive. To find the correct dose, a person should ask the doctor for a vitamin D test.

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  1. DCM

    It sounds like you are starting to feel better. I’m wondering what your doctor meant when he recommended natural A, but I hope he meant beta carotene, the naturally occurring form found in carrots. I have read that the beta carotene form of Vitamin A is safe, because it is the precursor form, and the body only activates the amount it needs. However, if you take high amounts of Vitamin A in the activated form (retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinoic acid, Vitamin A palmitate), this may cause problems.
    Retinol and other forms of activated Vitamin A in high amounts may worsen a Vitamin D deficiency. Cod liver oil and some multivitamins contain an excessive amount of activated Vitamin A.
    excellent article:
    Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A Toxicity, Frequent Respiratory Infections, and the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic
    (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2008;117:864-870.)

  2. Father William

    Texas Survivor,
    I am currently dealing with a junior version of the situation you describe. In my case my doctor is convinced that my vitamin D level of 92 is outrageous and that I should cut my 15,000 IUs per day in half. Problem is that every time I try to reduce the dose my blood pressure starts going up toward its prior 190 level. So I let my doctor know that I take what he recommends very seriously but have to make my own decision. That works for me but I am not making any sort of recommendation.
    The anecdotal information passed on by the two doctors is apparently their understanding of what evidence based medicine is about. It is altogether possible that some of the people with serious health problems are able to extend their lives by taking high doses of vitamin D. And there is substantial research to back up that possibility.
    In 2008 medical researchers discovered that the small intestine produces two critically important T cells, and they have been shown to impact a huge range of diseases — in a positive way if one has a high level of vitamin D, and in a negative way with vitamin D deficiency.

  3. Texas Survivor

    Please keep in mind that the quoted Vitamin D Council does not include medical oncologists, though for the most part, they have done extensive research and they provide valuable background information.
    Toxicity is not the problem. Here is the “no brainer”: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) just released newest recommendations for vitamin D3; these include the following
    – Acceptable upper limits of daily D3 intake are 4,000 IUs
    – The panel has seen higher death rates for pancreatic, prostate cancer and other causes in men whose blood level was above 50 ng/ml.

  4. Father William

    Let me get this straight. You are taking an average of abut 7,000 IUs of vitamin D3 a day and you wonder if reducing this to 1,000 a day would bring down the amount of vitamin D3 in your blood.
    Sorry, but this seems like a “no brainer” to me. I think that the real issue has to do with why your doctor wants you to reduce your D3 intake. The amount recommended is about what is needed to maintain bone health. If that is what the two of you are trying to achieve then you should follow that recommendation and forget about the level in your blood. If you have a different objective then you need to deal with that with your doctor. The link below provides research findings relative to the toxicity of vitamin D3.

  5. Father William

    Joy K,
    There is ample research showing that vitamin D is effective in reducing pain. The Mayo clinic has a little report about five elderly men who were wheel chair bound because of back and leg pain. With daily vitamin D intake they were back on their feet within a few weeks.
    I am 85. and a year ago had a range of vitamin D deficiency symptoms, such as high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and loss of teeth. I kept raising the dosage until things began to improve, and that took me to 15,000 IUs of vitamin D a day. While this is certainly a very high level, it seems to be what my body wants, since when I’ve cut down to 10,000 my blood pressure starts to go back up. I also am taking 3,500 mg of curcumin a day, which has reversed the wet AMD condition I had going last year. Curcumin also has a well recognized anti-inflammatory effect. There have been several studies that demonstrated that it reduces arthritic symptoms, including the reduction of pain.

  6. Father William

    I have been taking 15,000 IU units for about a year, and my vitamin D measures at 92 and my motivation was because I had deficiency symptoms, such as high blood pressure and losing teeth and autoimmune attacks. I am also taking 3,000 mg of curcumin as well. Which should reduce the incidence of inflammation in general. My guess is that your body is using up vitamin D at a pretty good clip, which might account for why your vitamin D level isn’t higher.

    As it happens, curcumin contains retinoid, so I figure that my body is getting what it needs from that source. By the way, my blood pressure has dropped about forty points, the autoimmune problem is history, but no regrowth of teeth so far.

  7. sak

    I had been taking vitamin D 50,000 units weekly for one year. My level is now 48.6 on a scale of 32-100. My GP told me to take 1000 units daily now. Will that maintain my level or increase it?

  8. sc

    I have low estrogen and vitamin d. I went off my estrogen for one year and have pain in the back of both calves. Could this pain in the back of both calves be caused by low estrogen and vitamin d?

  9. R.G.D.

    I find this very helpful—– BECAUSE, I might have the same thing !!!! I have to use the handrail to pull myself up & I use a walker, BECAUSE I fear falling. Also every time I take I have pain in JOINTS & and in my muscles!!! THANK YOU MUCH!!!
    P.S. Please send all information you can!! Thank you again!!

  10. LF

    I really hope this person is being monitored and not self-medicating. I have routinely been tested and have gotten my vitamin D levels from 23 to 55. I take 2000 i.u. a day under a doctor’s care.

  11. fbl

    I have been trying to get my vitamin D level up for almost ten years. I started out at about 20. I am up to 43 but only after gradually increasing to about 12,000 D a day. My Dr has been working with me on this and he just sent me an email a few weeks ago that he’d just read about taking vitamin A with the D. He told me to start with 50,000 units of natural A and that we would test again in a few months. During the summer I exposed my body to the sun for 20 minutes 3X a week and 43 is the best reading I’ve had with the D AND the sun!
    I’ve recently been treated for cervical cancer and I really believe that I got it because of a lifetime of low D and an acid body. My pH started at 5 and is now only 6.2 to 6.4. I can’t seem to get it higher.
    Another factor that may or may not have anything to do with the above is that I am Mosaic Turner’s Syndrome. About 1/3 of my chromosomes are single X and I am missing one chromosome entirely!
    Any suggestion and/or ideas will be gratefully accepted.

  12. Joy K.

    My husband is 81. His psychiatrist died about 14 years ago and he doesn’t want to go to another. He also has diabetes and bad knees. His primary doctor renews his Thorazine.
    I know how important exercise is for the diabetes and knees–the doctors encourage me to make him. But he just does what he wants, which is sit around most of the day. He doesn’t want me to get out of his sight.
    I think it’s dangerous for the doctor to renew his medication. To me, it seems as if he had a lobotomy or something.
    I’m 77 and am responsible for both of our diets. I exercise most days. When he does walk, with a walker, he can’t go 100 feet. It is so slow that it doesn’t do me much good and I have to take an extra hour out of the day to do it right for me.

  13. WB

    The vitamin D test should be taken before ANY supplementary dosages are taken.
    There are conflicting stories about higher D levels increasing cancer risks (including breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancer). What information is available for these risks?

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