Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Here's a calculator you may like to try to see if you are getting enough natural Vitamin D.

If you are not getting enough, and let's face it we haven't had it in abundance this winter, or last summer for that matter, you may like to get your levels checked and if necessary take some replacement Vitamin D.

Jane x

32 Replies

  • I have been put on Vit D supplements as my count is 47, range 50-120.

    It was requested 3 times before the lab actually did the test, refused as not enough clinical detail on the form, so the last time it was requested, the doc wrote what looked like a chapter of War and Peace!!!! lol

    Ann xx

  • According to that i should be getting 28min i get a minimum of 45min a day i wouldnt been able to say if that means that my vit d levels are right though as they have never been tested

  • Well us 'naked apes' need it, and as there's no sunshine here 'up north' I take drops, and avoided carpal & cubital tunnel surgery to boot. got mine tested here (as GP refused)

    I'm worth £25! J :D x

  • My level was 12 about 18 months ago - not surprised as I didn't go anywhere near the sun whilst ill with hypo for 6 years.

    I buy my own vitamin D3 (MAKE SURE IT IS D3 IF YOU BUY IT YOURSELF!)

    I didn't want to take Adcal that my GP prescribed - I cannot see that there was a problem with my calcium. I don't want to supplement with calcium when I don't need it.

    I must remember to have my vitamin D level checked when I have bloods re-tested in March.

    I feel better for taking Vitamin D3 and B12 and other supplements. Ah that has reminded me, I must buy some selenium, keep forgetting.


  • I live in sunny Gibraltar but still my D levels are bottom of the range. Taking vit D3 see if levels go up.

  • Hi Yes lots of people in UK need vit D. However it is not safe to take it unless calcium is in range. It pushes calcium up. Should also be increased with more blood tests. I used to have a huge amount of D on a script, then my calcium started to rise ( in spite of a drug that indirectly lowers it), first I had to reduce the dose , finally stopping Now ,although D very low, I have osetomalacia from low D, it is adult rickets and nasty! Calcium out of range is very dangerous to heart, kidneys and can cause stones. If high it may be due to parathyroid or even cancer.


  • Vitamin D ENABLES a higher calcium absorption it doesn't force anyone to consume too much calcium.

    It is excess calcium from supplements that is the problem when there is insufficient magnesium available. It's partly a problem with modern farming, plant breeding, fertilizer use that has resulted in plants spending less time in the ground and having less magnesium as a result. Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker and counterbalances the actions of calcium. Vitamin k is also a part of the story as that keeps calcium in it's place (bones) and helps prevent it building up in arteries.

    Kidney Stones NOT caused by vitamin D. Calcium is best used when absorbed from food rather than supplements. We should limit supplemental calcium to 600mg/daily.

    The natural level for Vitamin D3 is 125nmol/l or 50ng/ml as at that level human milk is vitamin d replete and it's most effective as an anti inflammatory agent.

    This chart enables you to work out how much extra vitamin d you require to reach the point of natural vitamin D equilibrium.

  • Ted,

    How I wish this was correct! Incidentally my arteries are fine, I have had 3 angiograms. I also have many kidney stones, gall bladder, all of which are analysed and are calcium. as is usually the case.My vitamin D , from on a script ,caused my calcium to rise, no question of that. i am fortunate that I have exceptional consultants including my endo.The D can increase the calcium in the blood, nothing to do with consuming it.I take no supplements containing calcium, nor dairy products I never have.My magnesium is checked weekly as it must be kept in its small range.I think you may have misunderstood, perhaps I was not clear. Taking vit D ,only can cause the calcium to rise, it is a good thing so long as calcium is watched with blood tests.I do not oppose what other people say, that is not in my nature, I am just pointing out that the consequences may be serious without a calcium test.

  • For most readers here it is the case that not taking calcium in supplemental form but relying only on food/water sources of calcium. (using an only calcium checker to ensure the total 800mg daily calcium intake is maintained) will enable optimum calcium absorption

    Whats a Vitamin D Deficiency?

    PROVIDING 25(OH)D is kept above 80nmol/l and ideally at the level humans naturally attain and maintain Vitamin D equilibrium.

    I place my trust in what happened as a result of human evolution over 3 million years in Africa with 12 hr full body sun exposure.

    Traditionally living populations in East Africa have a mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of 115 nmol/l.

    There are Vitamin D cofactors that also need to be checked

    Whose absence may result in problems,

    Magnesium is typically the problem.

    Testing for magnesium may confuse as much as it helps as the range in circulation has to be maintained very strictly, this should happen automatically with magnesium (and perhaps calcium) being trafficked from bones if insufficient in diet.

    Bit like burning structural timbers from roof to keep warm at night but replacing those timbers during the day.

    Far better to ensure your daily intake is sufficient and stored reserves stay in place. Hence the need for magnesium Vitamins A and K and other cofactors. I think maybe we are also going to have to consider a-Lipoic acid in this story as well.

    Because magnesium should be stored in bones and not continually being recycled through our plasma simply looking a plasma levels can lead people to becoming magnesium deficient because the reserves are being constantly depleted.

    Imagine your bank shifted money from your deposit accounts to your current account without telling you. So you always thought you had cash in hand and you only discovered your life savings were being raided on a daily basis when your whole entire life savings were gone and cheques started bouncing.

    Unless there arises a newly evolved subspecies of humanity evolved with genes to survive in Vitamin D deficient environments (which inevitably is going to happen over time) it should be absolutely safe to attain and maintain the 25(OH)D levels typically found in peoples who live naked outdoor lives. (around 125nmol/l at which level human milk is a complete food for human babies)

    The only proviso is we should all be eating REAL FOODS supplying the appropriate amounts of vitamin D cofactors, With magnesium that may be a problem if you live in a soft water area as food sources are not as good as they were 50yrs ago hence the need for supplemental magnesium with vitamin D3.

    It's not like it's expensive or difficult to get 25(OH)D tested by post and so be certain your 25(OH)D is set at the natural point of evolutionary vitamin d equilibrium.

    It's most important we understand the need to increasie magnesium intake while reducing supplemental calcium.

    More detail here

    May it's the form of Vitamin D2 from on a script that's the root of your problem?

    Meta-analysis looks at efficacy of D2 vs D3

  • Ted, there is a better blood test for magnesium , not just in the Plasma but it can also be tested for in the bones (When mine is too low, it is dangerous to the Potassium level too) then it causes cardiac arrests, this is normally one of the causes of sudden death at any age. It is due to the electrolytes, mainly potassium, Calcium, sodium and magnesium They all must be in range.. This is well known from all the research and the best pathologists and cardiologists understand this When I take magnesium as I do on a script, my Magnesium is then in range. It is perfectly true that a lot of people also need to take calcium but only if below range. Personally I have the advice of the best of the medical profession, a lot of doctors are useless! it is also backed up by very detailed research. I do not take part in arguments. I am just pointing out this so that intelligent people as on the site can be well informed and make up there own mind. I am not interested in arguments.If I had known this ,I would have avoided 4 cardiac arrests and numerous other heart problems.I always believe it is important to have all the relevant information.I shall not be replying to you again.


  • I know my vit D is low, its been tested (last aug) I spent nearly 4 months chasing the results which the surgery said they never got (I dont actually believe this I think they lost them because when I mentioned it to the nurse doing bloods back in Nov she said she had seen them). Since they got them again I've spent aq couple of months asking for them only to be refused and told someone would get back to me, which they never did, until I got a letter on Friday telling me I had to make an appointment as it was important to get my deficiency treated straight away!!! Like it was my fault theyve ignored it for months!

    I suspect it must be quite low, however my B12 is right on the bottom of the range and they wont increase it because it is "normal" , but I have read here and other places that this needs to be brought up first, so I will yet again been marked down as refusing treatment.

    Its my guess that the low vit D levels will be half my problems with bone/joint pain and poor teeth.

  • Cityassays (Birmingham NHS path lab) do postal Vitamin D BLOOD SPOT TESTS for just £25 or £20 if you buy 10 packs and share them with family, friends and colleagues at work.

    Starting with 5000iu vitamin d3 supplements (less than £8.99 for 365 from Amazon) daily for 3 months then get 25(OH)D postal test to see how that works out for you. The increase daily intake by 1000iu/day for each 25nmol/l still under the 125nmol/l target. or reduce by the same amount if more than 25nmol/l over the target.

    What are currently NORMAL vitamin d levels in the UK are DEFICIENCY levels if we compare with the levels humans evolved to naturally attain and maintain. Just because health professionals are 20years behind recent research isn't any reason for you to remain vitamin d deficient. It's very cheap to buy effective strength vitamin D3 and getting your own tests ensure you get the results by email and you can work out just how much extra vitamin D3 your body requires to stay around the 125nmol/l 50ng/ml point of natural vitamin d homoeostasis.

  • Ted,

    Thanks for some really useful information. Once you're in range is there a recommended maintenance dose of D3? Is it possible to overdose? I'm currently at 170 nmol/l.


  • The charts here may be useful.

    I think you should be fine sticking at 170nmol/l

    For people without a cancer diagnosis I see no benefit in levels higher than would be reached naturally given regular full body warm sun exposure. Humans, example Life guards at swimming pools nearer the equator than UK, naturally go up to around 200nmol/l without supplements, similar levels have been measured in pregnant women living as hunter gatherers in East Africa.

    It could be useful if you had cancer as at that level Vitamin D3 itself can act as the active hormonal form.

    But for people without a cancer diagnosis I don't see the benefit of raising 25(OH)D higher than the level typically found in those living as human DNA evolved. Around the 125nmol/l ~ 150nmol/l

    If you use the chart and see how much extra vitamin D per LB or per KG is required to move from 125~175 and reduce rather than increase daily intake by that amount, over time your level should drop. but while your vit d stays in the natural range, proving you have good magnesium vitamin K and vitamin A sources there should be no problem.

    Vitamin D toxicity

  • Thanks, Ted, very helpful!


  • I have s

  • Hi, Hope you can get some answers and support from your meeting with the GP. However if not there is somewhere that checks Vit D levels at a very reasonable cost. I'm afraid I can't remember where exactly and my contact is out of the country at the moment. Maybe someone else on here will know however, and if they don't respond to this in the next few days it might be worth asking the question on here again.

    Jane x

  • I havn't made an appointment, my GP is completely unsupportive, unsympathetic and arrogant, and I'm just not up to facing her at all at the moment. Its probably been low for years so a few more months wont make a difference! I'm more bothered about the Vit B which she wont treat because its in range, albeit right at the bottom, despite the fact that I have obvious symptoms of B12 deficiency, and pernicious anaemia being rife in the family :/

  • I don't see you need your GP's support to correct vitamin D deficiency.

    Amazon UK have 5000iu vitamin D3 at £8.99 for 365 a years supply for most people.

    CityAssays offer postal 25(OH)D blood spot tests so after 3 months you can check for £25 if that's an adequate intake for your body.

    Same with the B12.

    It's not like it's difficult to get an effective B12 supplement.

    There is another forum thread here with some useful links and information

    It's your body and you should have the right to keep it running as best you can and setting Vitamin D3 and Vitamin B12 within the NATURAL range (rather than current NORMAL ranges) is only like running your car according to the makers original specifications.

    Improving gut bacteria with probiotics, prebiotics and lots of fermented foods will help restore your gut microbiome's ability to create, absorb and utilise Vitamin B12 and it's extrinsic factors

  • Do be aware the calculator only works out the sun exposure required to obtain 1000iu of vitamin d3.

    We all need a lot more than 1000iu vitamin d daily. Full body non burning midday sun exposure (or when shadow length is shorter than body height) produces 10,000iu plus.

    The charts at this link give more precise estimates of typical requirements to reach natural vitamin d equilibrium.

    Humans evolved in East Africa over 3 million years getting FULL BODY (not 10%) sun exposure 12hrs daily. and naturally people living this way attain and maintain 25(OH)D levels around 115nmol/l or 46ng/ml with levels naturally RISING when pregnant or breastfeeding and also with age.

    Those people who use sufficient vitamin d from supplements to attain and maintain 25(OH)D levels equivalent to the point of natural vitamin d equilibrium find they have less pain, less inflammation, fewer infections. There is now so much new research being published on the benefits of vitamin D it's hard to keep up with it all.

    However some kind people at Vitamin d wiki are doing just that.

    It may also be worth pointing out that the 12hrs day and 12hrs night living near the equator without electriciy also produces more MELATONIN and many of the actions of Vitamin D3 are matched by those of MELATONIN. So improving bright light exposure during the day and ensuring subdued lighting in evening and total darkness at night also improve anti inflammatory reserves and improves immune function.

  • Hi Ted, Do you have any information for people who are unable to tolerate vitamin D supplements (of any sort), but who are not sunshine intolerant?

  • One thing we all tend to forget is that we are 90% microbes and 10% human.

    When we take vitamin D orally it changes the make-up of our gut flora even before it is absorbed through the gut wall. So the ability of some of the pathogenic bacterial forms and their ability to communicate with the rest of the microbiome is altered and this may cause a temporary dysbiosis. Same sort of thing happens when people drink green tea for the first time and don't persist until the gut flora adapts to the changes.

    It's possible to use UVB tanning tubes to raise vitamin d3 on the surface of the skin but you also need to improve the quality of your skin texture so reduce the chance of the skin getting damaged. You can get smaller UVB lights and providing you aim for a different section of the body each time and take it in turns to expose front, back top and bottom in rotation the aim is NOT to tan but to produce vitamin D3.

    It will still be necessary to check 25(OH)D levels from time to time to make sure this is having an effect. Vitamin D is created by the action of UVB on the 7 DEHYDROCHOLESTEROL molecules near skin surface. 7 dehydroCHOLESTEROL is the precursor molecule for cholesterol and many people are trying to reduce cholesterol and inevitably are also reducing their capacity to produce vitamin D3. People with higher cholesterol levels are better able to make Vitamin D from sunshine and as people age the cholesterol level in skin declines (skin gets thinner) and so the potential for vitamin d production also declines. (One reason why when you are over 65 raising total cholesterol increases longevity)

    Here are a couple of links for suggestions of how to do this. .

    Reducing omega 6 intake is as important and increasing omega 3 intake as the omega 6 negates the benefit of omega 3. Corn, soy, sunflower oils and intensively produced meats are the main sources of excess omega 6.


    Although there hasn't been much research to support the idea Vitamin D3 is made just under the skin surface so applying the contents of oilbased gel vitamin d capsules, or adding vitamin d drops to an edible massage oil should enable people to raise 25(OH)D without digestive distress. (People using vitamin D cremes for skin conditions have to be careful not to overdo it as daily full body application can result in high 25(OH)D)

    Those who suspect they are likely to have trouble using oral supplements may want to try making their own yoghurt from a live bioyoghurt starter culture and adding to the warmed milk the contents of a vitamin d capsule or some Vitamin D3 drops. When the yoghurt is finished fermenting only Vitamin D3 adjusted bacteria will be present and these good/friendly vit d adapted gut flora will be better placed to thrive in your digestive tract and displace the pathogenic forms.

  • Thank you for the comprehensive response. Yes, tried transdermal route very early on in my quest to figure this out. Whilst it worked well in terms of raising D level, it gives the same symptoms as taking supplements any other way. Symptoms of weakness, fatigue and brain fog set in rapidly with as little as a supplement of 400iu daily. This happens by the third day of 400iu. Over the last few years, I've tried every brand, type and method of supplementing, all with the same result.

    GP doesn't believe this intolerance is possible. On my request he tested for calcium / parathyroid issues and lyme disease in case any of these were the underlying problem, but all ok. So he's ignoring the problem even though I'm deficient at this time of year.

    I'm unable to consume fermented foods including dairy, due it it triggering flare-ups of another disorder I have, so the yoghurt idea is out :(

    Regular holidays to sunny climes are out for various reasons, so it looks as if I will have to find a suitable UVB source. Cholesterol level was around 6 this time last year. Not too low to make D via the skin I hope!

    If you come across any further info relevant to people with D supplement intolerance, I would be very keen to hear about it. I know I'm a bit of a rarity, but there are others in the same situation and it seems to largely be being ignored in all the vitamin D research.

  • Have you ever tried vitamin D injections?

    It's not a route I normally suggest but if your GP could obtain Cholecalciferol ampoules for monthly injections that may solve the problem.

    This link downloads a manufacturers specification PDF

    [PDF] D3-Vicotrat

    1 ampoule with 1 ml of injection solution for intramuscular injection contains: 2.5 mg cholecalciferol corresponding to 100,000 IU of vitamin D3. Other ingredients: Sorbitol solution 70%

    It could be you are allergic to to the carrier oils.

    Dekristol for example which often used as the prescription form of CHOLECALCIFEROL (as distinct from ERGOCACIFEROL VITAMIN d2) used peanut oil as the carrier.

    Others commonly use soy oil which is a potential allergen.

    I prefer olive oil or MCT as the carrier oils least likely to upset people.

    But if you've not yet tried UVB exposure this is simple enough to do and it's easy to test to see if it raises 25(OH)D.

    Your cholesterol level is sufficient to enable vitamin D production.

    A Total Cholesterol level of 6 = 232 mg/dl

    If you are curious to see how that affects your mortality risk the link here may cheer you up.

    "Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid?"

    With older people raising cholesterol level each 1-mmol/L increase in total cholesterol was associated with an approximately 12% lower risk of noncardiovascular mortality

    Association between serum cholesterol and noncardiovascular mortality in older age

  • Thanks Ted,

    My GP doesn't believe I'm intolerant to supplements, and doesn't prescribe them either (we get told to buy our own). So I know he won't entertain the injection idea. Besides, knowing how badly the low dose supplements affect me, I'd be terrified to try a large dose via injection.

    I've tried both D3 and D2 in tablet form, plus a sublingual that include vit K to avoid all possible problems associated with oil.

    I'm not worried about my cholesterol :)

    UVB exposure via lamp (as opposed to sunshine) is not something I've tried yet as there are no local salons with the UVB sun beds and I can't accommodate a bed in my home. The smaller lamps were ridiculously priced last time I looked! If you happen to know of a sensibly priced small lamp from a reputable seller, I'd very much appreciate details (via PM please).

  • Have you tried looking for a Lightbox. Amazon sell them. I have used one for years for SAD, but it seems it's all connected. Also use daylight bulbs indoors.

  • Thanks for this Ted. When I checked for my location it came back with a reading of 24 hours needed per day at the moment!! That's because we've had wall to wall cloud for 99% of the past 3 months in my neck of the woods.

    Just thought it would be a good exercise to make people think about their D3 status.

    Jane x

  • Wow Ted that is really informative, thank you so much.

    I'm vitamin D deficient and taking supplements. I'm very fair skinned and use sunscreen but even so there's not much sunlight here in the UK anyway

    Interestingly my mother is also vitamin D deficient and she lives in sunny Florida!

  • A lot of people in USA are overweight. Fat cells produce proinflammatory cytokines and the body uses up vitamin d trying to resolve chronic inflammation. People who are overweight are almost invariably Vitamin D3 (and magnesium) deficient.

    A lot of places in the USA (and under UK flight paths) suffer from atmospheric pollution. UVB has to pass through that pollution to reach ground level and in urban environments and in areas subject to constant overflying so not only are people under flight paths less able to make vitamin d from sunlight they are also subject to increased levels of chronic inflammation as a result of the levels of jet fuel pollutants they cannot avoid breathing in. Chronic inflammation uses up vitamin d resources.

    Unfortunately it becomes a viscous circle as many people take corticosteroids to deal with the asthma the pollution causes and Corticosteroids (which also can produce weight gain) also depelet vitamin d status and prolonged use creates vitamin d deficiency.

    There are other medications that deplete vitamin d and Americans tend to use more medications than currently used in UK though our reliance on pharmaceuticals is increasing.

    There is also a tendency for people with air conditioning to spend more time indoors where it's cooler.

    Another point we overlook is excessive sunscreen use. Some cosmetics and face creams contain UV blockers so reduce vitamin d production even though they are not sold as Sunscreens.

    We also forget that UVB doesn't pass through glass/plastic BUT UVA does. The reason we don't get vitamin d overdose from sun exposure is that the UVB processes newly made vitamin D into suprasterols if it remains on or near the skin surface. If however you spend all day by an office window, glass/plastic roofed conservatory or covered shopping mall or well lit office space you skin could be getting Vitamin D depletion throughout the day from UVA exposure as happens if you've a long car commute with evening sunlight through car (lorry,coach) windows acting on your skin depleting the vitamin D and causing UVA damage to dna via iron released from your blood as a result of inflammation (UVA sunburn)

  • Ted,

    Thanks for taking the trouble to share so much useful information!

  • Hi Ted, you are a mine of information, only one disparity, I think that I am 100% microbe !!!

    I have read some of your articles/blogs before and they are very informative. Where/how did you accumulate it all, was it just picked up over time or have you made a deliberate study of it?

  • I went to the nadir site Jane originally posted - I put in my exact longitude and latitude - 25 miles north of Edinburgh. It said I needed 0.57 hours of cloudy sun exposure a day. Half an hour of light that means you have to have the 'big' lights on in doors! We have up to a month at a time when we need car headlights int he day time. I can't believe this level of sunlight requirement can possibly be correct. I have previously spent 30 years on the south coast of the UK. The difference is horrific.

You may also like...