question to those on vitamin D supplements

I have been told by my doctor to take vitamin D supplements during the winter (more precisely, from October to April), but is the idea not that the sun will then provide you with enough vit D during the remaining months? What about summers when you hardly see the sun for days or even weeks on end, as is often the case in this part of Europe...would it be a good idea to take vit D supplements all year, or could it build up (to possibly toxic levels?) in the body, being a fat-soluble vitamin unlike vits B and C which, as far as I know, you can never over consume...?

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  • I wonder about this too. What if there is wall to wall sunshine but someone works all day indoors and seldom gets sun exposure? What about people who slap on sun cream with SPF before even going out in the sun or children you see covered in body suits on the beach complete with sunhat?

    I think the only reliable way to get it right is periodic testing. I should think at the end of winter, say April, and at the end of summer, September or October. That way you can tailor when you need to supplement. The nhs reference ranges are too low. Dr. Mercola has some good information on ranges.

  • Yes, I think that was the idea the doctor had, you should be able to get sufficient Vit D during the summer months.

    20 minutes or so in the sun (without sunscreen) will provide you with around 10,000 iu of Vitamin D. Anything over that will make you burn (depending on your skin type) and provide no extra benefit. You can actually get sunburn on a cloudy day, and I can stand witness to that on a beach in the south of France, cloudy day, severe sunburn - awful!!

    Although most people are not much inclined to be out of doors in the winter, you can still steal some Vitamin D when the sun is out.

    I would personally take some Mg with my Vitamin D. It helps to convert Vit D to its active form.

  • OK, thanks! It's not always easy to remember which supplements to take always take vit C with iron supplements...

  • What thyroid level is considered under active Please? My TSH level is 1.77 mlU/L & my T4 level is 9.80pmol/L

    Thank you in advance for any info.

  • There are two answers to that question:

    The first one is: whenever your TSH is in range (most labs, at least where I live, use 0.2-4.0 or 0.4-5.0). So, most doctors would most likely say that your thyroid is working properly based on this result.

    Then, many hypothyroid patients and more enlightened doctors have discovered that a lower TSH makes many feel better. I think it is generally accepted by this category that a TSH above 2 is a sign the adrenal gland is beginning to struggle. Some doctors want a really low TSH (<0.5 or even lower) in patients with autoimmune hypothyroidism, to calm antibody activity down.

    An elevated TSH and low free T3 and T4 levels are indicative of hypothyroidism. But already a TSH close to the upper normal range (4 or 5) and free T3 and free T4 close to the normal lower range could be a sign of a potential problem. You don't go from perfectly healthy to hypothyroid overnight, but it's a gradual process with a grey zone where you could be told by doctors there is nothing wrong with you, although your metabolism is no longer working properly.

    Sorry, that is more than you asked for!

    Do you have reason to believe you have low thyroid function, since you had your TSH level tested...? And could you please provide your lab's reference ranges for TSH and T4?

  • If you are severely deficient or were on the bottom half of the range of insufficient when tested you should be taking vitamin D supplements all year round while you live in the UK regardless of whether it's summer or winter.

    This is because your lifestyle, environment and/or your biology mean you cannot make enough vitamin D through your skin. Lots of doctors also seem unaware that for those who live in large towns and cities, smog means that they will not make enough vitamin D even if they go out into the sun as suggested.

    Yes vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so you can take to much but this is why the recommended maintenance dose is around 2,000IU per day once you reach the optimal level. Ideally you should get tested every year but the NHS won't pay for this so you need to do it yourself.

    Finally you cannot make vitamin D in the winter in the UK as the sun is too low to produce enough UVB rays. So you can be out all day in winter but you won't make any vitamin D.

  • Yes, no D from the sun in the winter in the UK. And if you spend the day in the office or the house during summer you won't be getting any either, only on the weekends if you go outside in the middle of the day on a clear day. With reduced clothing, ideally. Those wearing veils etc for religious reasons need to take Vit D all year round, and to be tested, especially if pregnancy is possible. Adolescent boys spending all weekend in front of the computer... in the UK even in summer you have to work at getting the D you need and you could top on on rainy weeks, I do.

    Although too much D is dangerous, in fact you can take a lot without danger, and 2,000 daily is well within the safe limit. The NCIH I think (haven't checked this in the last two years) gives 5,000 iu daily as the maximum limit - for those who are not D deficient, of course - and the Vitamin D council puts it higher still on the basis of good research.

    These levels all relate to adults, not children.

  • You need to have a good cholesterol level too! If it's too low the rays from the sun won't synthesize the cholesterol in your skin cells into vitamin D. Another reason not to have a low fat diet. :-)

  • And another reason not to take statins!

  • Yes, that was another reason why I stopped them. No wonder I was deficient!

  • The only time I felt really, really bad more generally, was when I followed a low-fat seemed to do something to my body that I could not understand, having been told all my life that fat was bad and carbs were good for me...the very idea of having actually eaten margarine at one point in time, believing butter was a health hazard and margarine was healthy....!

  • I first tested severely deficient in vitamin D soon after a two-week holiday in the sun. I think the doctor thought I was lying.

    I take supplements all year round, and am on loading doses yet again after testing deficient. I still make an effort to be out in the sun during the warmer months, but definitely need to increase my supplements during the winter.

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