So one vitamin in chronic pain that has been greatly looked at more and more in recent years has been Vitamin D and both Dr’s Andrew and Craig here at the office somewhat keep up on the research around Vitamin D for several reasons, but most of all relating well with some of our patients and athletes.
On Doctorbase.com, the question appeared, “How much more Vitamin D should I take?” and myself, Dr. Craig Evans, could not help myself from throwing my hat in the ring for an answer. One of the first things that popped up as peculiar to me is that the patient states they are taking Vitamin D2, this is not a good sign to start things off. Vitamin D2 is not the optimized form for human consumption, Vitamin D3 is far more “similar” to what your body produces when you stand in the sun and this is important.
So we know a few things here at this point. To find out if your are low in Vitamin D, you want to have your blood tested by your doctor. We know that you get Vitamin D by either exposing your bare skin to sunlight or you need to take some form of supplementation to get Vitamin D. Most nutrition minded people agree that it is VERY difficult to get the amount of Vitmain D your body needs simply from food alone, so it’s best to get some from the sun and some from your diet or supplementation.
Vitamin D is very important in bone production and often times packaged with Calcium. If you are not calcium deficient, you need to speak with your doctor about what type of supplement you need to be taking because simply taking calcium and Vitamin D together for bone health are not always the best idea, you may need one and not the other.
Ok, getting back on track here, when you get your Vitamin D from the sun, it basically depends on where in the world you live (the closer you are to the equator, the closer to the sun you are, so the stronger your exposure should be in theory). In most cases, a good rule is that you need at least 30 – 60 minutes of sun a day to get a healthy dose of Vitamin D produced and you can do this in invtervals of as little as 10-15 minutes.
Now, if you know you are lacking on your sunlight exposure, you will want to support with at least some Vitamin D3, you want to take a supplement or a vitamin with the form D3 because it is more easily converted and absorbed. In a nutshell, avoid Vitamin D2 and take Vitamin D3 unless a specialist looks at your blood work and tells you differently.
How much Vitamin D should I take?
That is a terribly tough question to answer. In the case of someone who frequently runs outside, works outside versus someone who never lets the sun touch their skin will most likely need different levels of supplementation. You also have to think about where someone lives when you try to answer this question because simply put, most people in Florida or Southern California usually get more sun than the inhabitants of Minnesota and Wisconsin. To further complicate things, different medical organizations will recommend slightly different amounts of Vitamin D to take. I really like the levels discussed on the link at The Vitamin D Council Organization and find them generally good for most.
*** NOTE *** Most people can take vitamin D supplements with no problems or adverse side effects. However, if you have certain health problems or take certain medicines, you may need to take extra care. *** NOTE ***
To be sure, you need to speak with a medical professional about testing and recommended dosages before taking any form of Vitamin D!
A great website to learn some awesome facts about Vitamin D is at: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
*** PLEASE NOTE: You need to speak with a medical professional before starting or stopping any forms of vitamin or mineral supplementation and this post is simply a learning and discussion tool.
Now with all that said, get outside and get your Vitamin D!