Vitamin D: At the weekend I read an... - British Heart Fou...

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Vitamin D

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star
56 Replies

At the weekend I read an article that said that 42% of people were Vitamin D deficient. As one source of Vitamin D is sunshine and I have only had about two hours exposure in the last three months I spoke with the doctor here. I had a blood test for Vitamin D today and have been started started on a loading dose. If my blood test comes back showing a deficiency I will will continue on tablets for the time being otherwise they will be stopped.

Has anybody else been checked for Vitamin D?

56 Replies
stillaboveground profile image

Hi Michael. I have coeliac and don't store vitamin D so I have to take a prescription supplement called Calci-D so I can absorb the calcium, I will have to take this for life I am afraid, I just add it to everything else I take. Keep safe and take care. Ruth

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to stillaboveground

Holy Moly - people with Coeliac Disease don't store Vitamin D?! My husband was diagnosed several years ago and no-one has ever mentioned that to us! We take a daily Vitamin D3 (10ug) and thought we were doing well on that.

I'll find out more now, thank-you VERY much for the heads-up!

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to Sunnie2day

People with an IBD is another group who can't absorb VitD, I've had ulcerative colitis for 50 years yet was never told about vits and mineral deficiencies, unfortunately many of us can't process or metabolise supplements either so no win situation 😕

Hily profile image
Hily in reply to bantam12

I had Ulcerative Colitis but had the cure, removal of large bowel and Ileo Anal pouch created (something my current GP's have never heard of so no reference to it at all!), so no chance of Vit D deficiency would be recognised by them.

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to Hily

My Gastro Con has always said don't bother talking IBD with GPs because they have very little experience or knowledge of treating it, even in a very large practice they may only one person with it, if any at all !

Hily profile image
Hily in reply to bantam12

My head of practice openly said she had never heard of it and what was it. I explained but she still didn't know. I don't think she nor her fellow practice members have had the courtesy to look it up and look after me. Their care is appalling.

stillaboveground profile image
stillaboveground in reply to Sunnie2day

Hi I am not sure if every Coeliac is the same I wouldn't like to say it's like this in every case, I know that both my son and myself have to take Calci-D tablets for this he is coeliac also. we both have thinning of the bones due to the Coeliac. Take care keep safe Ruth

Sunnie2day profile image
Sunnie2day in reply to stillaboveground

Everyone is different, agreed:) I think I need to chase this up with the GP for my husband's sake just to be clear what may need up-ticking in the things to watch for department. We live in NE Scotland so Vitamin D has always been a daily year-round thing but I think we should have been advised about potential Vitamin D deficiency as a consequence of the condition.

Again, thank-you for the heads-up. Coeliac is not the easiest condition to manage and hidden gluten so hard to discover I've given up and cook from scratch - we never eat out now unless the cafe/restaurant is well-known to be GF friendly.

stillaboveground profile image
stillaboveground in reply to Sunnie2day

Hi Sunnie2day, Thank you for your reply, like I said I am not sure if it is a Coeliac thing or just me and my son, please let me know how you get on with your investigations. I hope I am wrong and every thing is okay with your husband. Take care and keep safe. Ruth

Thanksnhs profile image

Hi even though I was in hospital for seven weeks during the summer, nobody mentioned vitamin d, although I have thought about it, I take a multi vit every day, char

Maisie2014 profile image

I had a blood test last week to check my parathyroid and vitamin D levels. I am being treated for hyperparathyroidism. Apparently the consultant wrote to my GP to update the tests. The vitamin D levels were low so I have been asked to buy supplements and take them for the rest of my life so I have started taking them. However I have a problem as hyperparathyroidism can cause calcium build up and possible heart attack so I have an appointment to discuss with GP.

Old age is crap. 😟

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to Maisie2014

Please watch your calcium level as many doctors don't understand hyperparathyroidism so think giving high doses of VitD will sort it but that isn't the case if you have a parathyroid adenoma, only way too treat that is with surgery or if surgery is not an option then there is a drug which can control levels. If your calcium is very high VitD will increase it more.

AnneMargaretMary profile image
AnneMargaretMary in reply to bantam12

Very good advice. I had a parathyroidectomy in February. It was by chance that it was discovered that I had high calcium levels. It was very difficult to locate the parathyroid adenoma. My local hospital couldn’t find it so I was referred to a London teaching hospital who did!

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to AnneMargaretMary

My surgery was also challenging, the surgeon thought he had taken my last parathyroid because he couldn't locate any others and my calcium level crashed afterwards. Previous thyroid op and scar tissue made it all very difficult but luckily he is a clever man !

My VitD remains deficient and I cannot tolerate supplements but it doesn't cause me any problems and seem it's where my body want it to be.

I hope you are doing well after your surgery 🙂

AnneMargaretMary profile image
AnneMargaretMary in reply to bantam12

Thank you - the operation was fine and my recovery uneventful. The real problem was the months and months of waiting until things were finally dealt with. This involved putting up with quite a lot of dodgy symptoms.

I’m glad you’re coping. It’s a pity you can’t get enough Vitamin D from sunlight in this country!

Bicyclist profile image
Bicyclist in reply to Maisie2014

I take vit K2 with my D as it directs the calcium away from the soft tissue and into the bones. Look it up there is quite a bit of info on it.

Knitclaire profile image
Knitclaire in reply to Maisie2014

Hi I have Coeliac disease, osteoporosis and am due to have a parathyroid adenoma removed on 30th October! My endocrinologist put me on vitamin D in February when they found the high pth level, high calcium. I had an Angiogram a couple of weeks ago as they think I have angina, all ok, so a diagnosis of possible microvascular angina. Seeing a few of you here in a similar position with parathyroid problems, I'm curious as to whether the high calcium (9years they think looking at previous blood results) could be contributing to the heart issues? I've struggled to find much information linking these issues.

bantam12 profile image
bantam12 in reply to Knitclaire

Long term hypercalcemia and hyperparathyroidism does cause heart problems. Have you had a dexa scan to check for osteopenia or osteoporosis as that's another issue. Although I'm not a fan of the USA pth site it does give a lot of info

Knitclaire profile image
Knitclaire in reply to bantam12

Hi bantam12, yes i have had regular dexa scans due to Coeliac disease. I have osteoporosis, my bones deteriorated quickly after menopause. An offhand comment by the osteoporosis specialist nurse about my high calcium levels led to me having the parathyroid blood tests. Looking back through my notes the endocrinologist says the calcium levels have been high for 9 years.

I joined this site for information regarding angina, it has been very helpful, I was surprised to see the discussion regarding vitamin D and parathyroid! More useful information for which I'm very grateful, I will check the link you have suggested, thanks.

Cruger profile image

Don’t know about vitamin D Michael, but Vitamin C is Spanish for vitamin yes.

I'll get me coat........ 😃

Gladwyn profile image
Gladwyn in reply to Cruger


Prada47 profile image
Prada47 in reply to Cruger

Took me about 30 seconds to get that, must be slowing up lol

Hands Face Space

Kazzie68 profile image

Hi Michael, I have to take vitamin D indefinitely now due to a melanoma in 2018, never actually been checked for a deficiency but as I have to wear sunblock March to October and avoid sun generally (especially between 11am and 3pm) it’s kind of a given it’d be low otherwise. I hope your recovery is going well still x

Fluffybee profile image

I also have coeliac disease and have vitamin D meds for years now and the best result the Dr has put is insufficient!!!! 🙄

Celtic profile image

Hi Michael - good subject as we go into winter. Yes, I have been checked for Vit D levels, the first time some 10 years ago when my levels were found to be deficient at 39. I was advised to take 1,000iu Vit D3 (Colecalciferol) daily but for only the 3 or so winter months annually. After that first course, my levels were re-tested and found to have increased to within the normal range at 89 (normal considered to be anywhere between 75 and 200 or so. My supplementary dose is restricted to just a few months annually by my nephrologist (I have just a sole kidney with a total function of around 40% at the last check). Whilst my rheumatologist would like me now to take the supplement throughout the year following a diagnosis of osteoporosis, the nephrologist prefers not to rock the boat as taking a supplement could result in too much calcium being absorbed into the body and this could be detrimental to my remaining kidney function. Too much calcium build-up in the body can also lead to calcium crystals or stones forming.

Apologies for a bit of a long post but just wanted to offer a note of caution that one size doesn’t fit all - everyone should check their individual needs.

I do hope things are continuing to go well for you.

Sanpedro2019 profile image

Good morning Michael .I had a blood test some weeks ago and was deficient in vitaim D .I have a tablet called amordome for my condition. I cannot go into the sun without a 50 % sun cream . I have bin taking seven seas cod liver oil tablets for some time now and will keep an eye on it

IDPJ profile image

Everyone should take a vit D supplement. It helps keep immune system strong

Scout2017 profile image

I’ve taken vitamin D every winter for a few years, really helps with winter blues. That might be placebo but I’ll take that! 🤪

benjijen profile image

Never been tested but take it regularly during the winter months.

Janeylane profile image

Hi Michael, I take a vitamin D daily, off my own back since reading about it in connection to heart health. I also take vitamin C with Zinc and selenium to support my immune system.

MichaelJH profile image
MichaelJHHeart Star in reply to Janeylane

Vitamin C also reduces irritation often a precursor to plaque formation. Its effect on blood vessels was noted centuries ago when sailors developed scurvy which was prevented by lime juice - hence "limeys".

Prada47 profile image
Prada47 in reply to MichaelJH

Salt Tablet washed down with Lime Juice was still a Daily Dose even in the 1960s for RN personnel in the Far East.

Hands Face Space

tunybgur profile image

Before you start taking Vit D you should know whether you are deficient or not.

Most GP's are not geared up for regular testing and going to take a blood test is a bit of a pain, however you can buy a simple blood test kit and do your own check at home, I use 'One Step' which can be bought on Amazon for about £7.50

Be careful about taking high doses of D3 as it can increase calcification in the arteries. Vit K2 is often taken together with D3 to reduce this, but K2 will reduce your INR value if you are taking anticoagulants as many of us affibers are!

Make sure you get half hour of midday sunshine without sunscreen in the UK from mid April to late August when the UVB rays are penetrating the atmosphere, protect your face though. Generally avoid too much sun but we do need this little bit.

This should give most of us sufficient Vit D in the summer, but don't wash all the oils off your skin with soap after sun exposure, these oils are a necessary part of the process of creating Vit D, just use water, restrict soap to the pits and crevices, soap is bad for the skin anyway.

As a rule of thumb, if your shadow is shorter than your height you will be getting UVB from the sun (sun needs to be 50+ degrees above the horizon for UVB to penetrate the atmosphere).

You may need a supplement in the winter months, but in the summer let the sun do its work.

Good luck.

Bicyclist profile image
Bicyclist in reply to tunybgur

Is the uvb a good thing or not?

tunybgur profile image
tunybgur in reply to Bicyclist

UVB is the part of the sun's spectrum that creates Vit D in our bodies so it is essential to our health, but too much will still burn you the same as the UVA which we get all year round from the sun.

Little and often is the key. So much damage is done to our skin by lying for hours in the sun with no protection, it causes skin cancer and ages the skin much faster.

Recommendation is half hour a day in high summer, that should be plenty for Vit D production, but walking around in shorts and sleeveless clothes is probably enough.

MelB51 profile image

I have never been checked for vitamin D levels but I have known for a long time that sunshine is the single best way of boosting levels. I have taken a supplement for years now but generally only in winter as we spend summer at our place in France where we get lots of sun.

I do think that vitamin D deficiency should be included in routine tests more often and/or that more people are encouraged to take a vitamin D supplement.

Gingercats profile image

I had a blood test which flagged up a lack of vitamin D and my doctor told me to just buy some from the health store. She said it would help with joint pain and it has been taking them ever since. I have regular blood test and never been told to stop. Just another thing to add to my drug cocktail ☹️ It all keeping me going though 👍🏻

DD13 profile image

Hi Michael, I have to take it due to my sjrogrens, as it gives me photosensitivity. But my last blood test showed a problem with my liver. And they were going to put me on it? Told them I was already taking it.

Regards Dee.

Jay777 profile image

Hi, yes I believe that is the general % for the Northern hemisphere. I was prescribed vitamin D supplements by my dermatologist after being tested as deficient, however recently found this paper online - by the American Heart Association. I was planning to raise with my cardiac consultant as don’t want to mess up my new valve - so for now I am sticking with sunshine (when I can get it) mushrooms, salmon & eggs etc..

valezio profile image

I haven’t been checked but I take the recommended dose of Vit D tablet and have felt so much better. I have been taking 1 a day since March this year.

valezio profile image

Ps Michael I hope things go well for you xx

Tippytwo profile image

My Doctors won’t do it , said it’s to expensive, 😡

45sue profile image

A couple of people have mentioned being advised by their GP to buy a supplement of Vit D. This is because GP's can now only give supplements on prescription if it is a therapeutic ( not simply supplementary ) dose. I was originally told to buy my own but after blood tests have been given them on prescription. So someone with a medical condition such as hyperparathyroidism should not be having to buy their own.

Jay777 profile image
Jay777 in reply to 45sue

If you have to pay for prescriptions it’s probably cheaper to get from supermarket or chemist - usually 3 for 2 offers

Goldfish7 profile image

I live in the North East of England so am aware that apart from summer (if its a decent one) that I and the rest of the North East population will not be getting enough vit D from sunlight even if we walk around naked during daylight hours. I take vit D supplements pretty much year round.

Have not noticed any problem with it.

bantam12 profile image

Maisie many people with hyperparathyroidism are a lot younger, I was early 50s when I had surgery. My late husband and I started a parathyroid forum and we had lots of members in their 20s 30s and upwards. Unfortunately most doctors know very little or nothing about hyperparathyroidism and this is why it can take years to get a diagnosis !

Are you happy with just monitoring your problem ? It won't get better on its own and the longer it goes on the more damage happens, the only way to improve is to have the adenoma removed by a very experienced surgeon. If surgery isn't an option then the drug Cinacalet can help control levels.

gladliz profile image

Become Naturists, exposing the whole body for even a short time to daylight in winter is better than nothing. Many years ago I developed Solar Urticaria and came out in itchy red weals in the sun. I thought this would impact horribly on my Sun worshiping life and as my Dr couldn't help except with Sun block I went private. The Dermatologist I saw knew exactly what it was, and said that It could go as quickly as it started? He recommended increasing exposure, so every day it wasn't raining I stood out by the Patio door naked and slowly turned in a circle, increasing my time daily so by the time summer came round I had no more problems and have been fine ever since.

dunestar profile image

I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency a while back. I take a daily supplement all through the year. Even in summer I'm not one for sunbathing so I'm happy taking the supplement.

PeterGabriel profile image

I started taking a multivitamin that contains Vitamin D. Six months later I had a full blood test that showed my Creatinine levels were abnormally high, which they hadn't been in previous recent blood tests. Creatinine can cause kidney damage, and can be raised by too much Vitamin D. I also eat a lot of oily fish, salmon. sardines, that have lots of Vitamin D. So I've stopped the supplement.

I have now stopped taking all supplements....many have interactions with prescription drugs, and they can worsen health problems....Glucosamine I found sent my heart into irregularity. So I just rely on a healthy diet.....perhaps the doctors were right all along.

shopman profile image

My OH has to take Vit D. I did suggest to her we go to sunnier climes particularly for the winter months. Unfortunately GP felt he was unable to comply with our requests for prescriptions for flights to Malaga.

Qualipop profile image

Yes I was checked 3 years ago and my Vit D level was so low it couldn't be recorded at all. I was given a big loading dose hen very strong tablets for a year. Since then it' s been ok. This year it was at the bottom end of normal and I was just told to buy over the counter tablets

1AnneMcC profile image

Yes. I'm waiting for bone strengthening treatment as part of my breast cancer regime. My count came back at 34 and Dr said had to be at least 50. Took tablets daily for 2 weeks. Just have to wait now as I don't know where I am now. It seems a very common issue. I did ask in vit D deficiency was common for cancer patients but was told they couldn't say. As Muslim women who wear burkha etc are also vit D deficient due to lack of sun then that might affect results. Stay safe everyone

ILowe profile image

Does too much Vitamin D promote atherosclerosis? That, in my view, is old science, though the debate may still be continuing. See for instance:

1/ Vitamin D exerts protective effects on atherosclerosis through multiple mechanisms. D exerts protective effects against atherosclerosis by protecting against,resistance%2C dyslipidemia%2C and hypertension.

2/ High doses of vitamin D rapidly reduce arterial stiffness in overweight/obese, vitamin-deficient African-Americans

3/ High blood levels of vitamin D counteract atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes

Photographymad profile image

Hi Michael. I've been taking Vitamon D3 for a few years now, not because of any medical condition but simply because we in the Northern Hemisphere do't get enough sunlight during winter and are not outside enough to benefit from wahtever sun there is. I now take 1,000 iu per day, however, there are foods that are rich in Vitamin D - eggs, oily fish, mushrooms. If you allow mushroom to get some sunlight it increases their vit D content. There are many other sources, check with Dr Google:-)

Kimkat profile image

I too take VitD3 with K2 supplement in an oral spray form after having a VitD blood test, which I paid for privately. I am also on the thyroid site on here as I am hypothyroid after having radio active iodine, to kill my thyroid off. It costs £19 and you do it yourself at home then post back and get the results via email. I would say it was £19 worth spending.

Ridwanchy01 profile image

i need to take them regularly too!

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