UK/US Vit D Facts

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Our Australian friend made these new comments on Vit D3.

The US uses a different measurement scale.

In the US the measure is ng/ml ie nanograms per millilitre.

In the UK and most other countries is nmol/Litre.

The reason for the difference is that nmol/Litre is a "proper" chemical measure for labs in that it takes into account the molecular weight the molecule "25 hydroxy vitaminD"

As pointed out the conversion factor is approx 2.5

So 50nmol/L = 20ng/ml

AS you say UK and many other countries deem 50nmol/L to be sufficient. They do this for two reasons:

1. the "statistical normal level" of serum vitaminD is around 50nmol/L

2. the IOM (US:institute of medicine) says it is 20ng/ml (50nmol/L)

Is this right or is it wrong? what is an "optimal" level for health and disease prevention.

We know that Africans who are without upper body clothing average out at about 45ng/ml (112nmol/L)

We know that there are no known adverse events up to dosage of 20,000iu

We know that 5000iu daily pushes most peoples levels up to about 40ng/ml (100nmol/L)

We know that to get that from sun exposure would require around 20mins full body exposure in summer sun daily. Or around 30mins of upper body exposure daily.

These figures tell us that the average person gets no where near this sort of dosage (from the sun). Should they? History says that people get less sun exposure because of three things:



fear (of getting cancer or wrinkled skin)

So we can assume that the "statistically normal" person is getting too little vitamin D from the sun. So the IOM is wrong, UK is wrong.

In addtion when a "normal" survey is done measuring people's vitamin D level it will include some people with disease that is not disclosed or even diagnosed. This will lower the average for the following resons:

We know that when a person has an infection or an inflammatory disease or cancer their levels decrease. No one knows why but it could be that it is being converted to the active form far faster to help deal with the disease. We do not measure the active form, we measure the precursor floating around in the blood.

So if you have an inflammatory based illness then the IOM 's figure does not apply at all.

Both the Endocrinological Society and the Vitamin D council recommend 4000iu to 5000iu respectively.

Again to get this sort of dosage from the sun just ain't gonna happen in the average person. So supplementation is advisable for EVERYONE and definitely for the sick.

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  • Posted

    The rest of "his" information:

    I don't know why the UK sticks to the none sense figure of 50nmol/L. In New Zealand, which is exposed to higher levels of UV than most other countries (because of the ozone hole) the main reason is cancer avoidance. However this does not explain their reluctance to advise supplementation, in fact they oppose supplementation by limiting the purchase or importation of vitamin D to 1000iu doses. They appear to be stubborn in this regard.

    It is known that long and high exposure to UV causes carcinomas. But what is too long and what is too high?

    Is 20 minutes daily too long? No! Is 30mins too long, could be if you have no tan at all and your vitamin D levels are low and you have a white skin.

    It has never been proven that melanoma is caused by excessive UV. It is more complicated than simple exposure. Melanoma could well be partly caused by low vitamin D levels. The fear of getting cancer from the sun is present because:

    We have got into a very bad habit of no-sun for most of the time followed by too much rarely (people overdose in the sun because of occupational activity (take the kids to the beach on holidays and overdo it with little or no exposure between times).

    So the simplest answer is to supplement, at least over the winter months and some countries that means 6 months to 8 months of the year than when the sun is around get 20-30 mins sensible exposure on upper body (covered face) daily. Even that regime of sun exposure is not easy to do.

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    • Posted

      Interestingly enough - I have been treated for 'brown spots' on my body and was told that these could turn into cancer and that it's caused by overexposure to sun.  Guess what -  I did not show this doctor the spots on skin that never has seen sunlight at all.  What to think?
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    • Posted

      I was a sunworshipper all my life until about 53 or so when I could not tolerate the sun I came in from the sun.....and I can only say all those years in the sun kept my D levels good.... then the levels started to drop and depression was settling in, turned out to be HypoT and very low Vit D.

      Sun is the happy vitamin no doubt. But if we can't be in the sun anymore, Vit D3 and K2 are the next best things.

      I have freckles but not huge brown spots but some, my mom had a lot as she aged, she was NEVER in the I'm sure her D was in the tank most of her life....

      Grape Seed Extract does HELP to fade the brown spots....considering all the years in the sun my skin is pretty good. 19 yrs of grape seed extract has been a great helper. Talk to bed.. Sleep is my healer.

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    • Posted

      Again, I think that the medical world does not know all about the effects of the sun.  Of course we don't have to let ourselves burn to a crisp either of course.  Sun, however, is important for our well being.  Thanks Joy for bringing this to the forefront.
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  • Posted

    Thanks for this important post.  I supplement with 6,000 iu's daily and sunbathed for 20-30 min. several times/wk this summer, yet my most recent test came back only at 66 nm/ml.  I am a white female (128lbs, 5'7").  I have several autoimmune disorders so I actually would like my levels higher--75-80 nm/ml would be preferable, I believe, when one has cancer or autoimmune disorders.  I think that vitamin D may be the most important supplement that we take!  There is much good research that refutes the hysteria that says that vitamin D is readily toxic, and the opposite is actually more supported by research--that not having sufficient vitamin D is very dangerous in many ways to our health.  I like the "vitamin D counsel" for information on this topic.  Thanks again for this post!  --Suzanne
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    • Posted

      You do know latest research tells us that K2 is needed for best D absorption. And D3 is preferred over D2...

      I know this one, I had my levels at 80 pre hip replacement and my level dropped to 40, 40pt drop....I knew this could happen and it did. So now I work to get my levels up again...Most days I take 4K iu's some days 8K iu's...and I do take K2.

      WHen I think of ALL the people who are not tested and not treated for this dreaded deficiency. It's maddening.

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    • Posted

      Right! It is very concerning how little most people know about vitamin D, and when authorities conspire to be poorly informed it's unforgivable!  I had my son's pediatrician tell me that she didn't believe all the stories being told of what vitamin D could help (I had told her that we had very few respiratory infections and no asthma since adding vitamin D)--and she was openly hostile toward us about adding vitamin D!  I'm glad that I chose to do my own research and not depend on my son's doctor!!!

      Yes, I know that there is an important relationship between K2, D3, magnesium, and calcium--all are necessary to lay down bone where it's supposed to go (and not in the blood vessels), for example.  I got some k2 supplements, but I don't do well with soy and felt bad when I took it once, so I'm hoping that the grass-fed ghee that I eat has enough to help me without the supplement.  What do you do? 

      I take 6,000 iu's each day of D3 and now I am adding an extra 5,000 cap on a few extra days a week because I want my levels a little higher than 66.   I will retest in a few months.  I have several autoimmune disorders (celiac, hashimotos now in remission, LS, etc., as well as predictive autoantibodies for CREST syndrome--which I do not want to manifest.  Actually, just read research suggesting that those with the lowest D levels are the most likely to manifest that disorder.  Had some Lupus (anti-Smith) antibodies that went away this last blood test two weeks ago--yay!  Vitamin D is so helpful!

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    • Posted

      Hi again, I don't know about ghee instead of K2, the K2 (MK-7) I take is free of soy, wheat , eggs, peanuts etc...

      Don't know the CREST syndrome and I've dealt with Hashi and think I'm pretty good with the thyroid....long story on that issue, thanks to convenitonal are preaching to the choir....

      MD's have a place but prevention-wise, leave much to be desired...I see only an integrative MD here in santa monica, ca

      I'm quite healthy, thanks to my supplements, but a nasty mess since hip replacement 4 yrs ago...long crazy saga there....

      Grape seed extract has been my biggest salvation and taking it 19 yrs now. And aging is no fun but it's to you later. J

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    • Posted

      As we age, we collect those things we did not ask for.  Aging is not for sissies, someone said.  I start to believe that.  Hold on to courage everybody.  And may the supplements allow us to age gracefully.
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    • Posted

      What do you use the grape seed extract for?  I've bought some in the past but haven't used consistently--curious what you think.  

      Regarding the K2 supplement--my understanding is that the supplements usually are derived from natto (soy)(MK-7)--though maybe they are so concentrated or processed as to not be a problem to most people who are sensitive to soy.  If I'm remembering correctly, ghee from pastured cows (or butter or meat) contains MK-4 (who have already done the conversion for us from plant sources of K).  There's some discussion online about the relative benefits of both types of K2.  I think that we're still trying to learn more about it.  I read a book about it last year that was pretty interesting and have followed some of the health bloggers as they look into this newly discovered vitamin.  I still have a lot to learn about it all. 

      So sorry to hear about the mess up with your hip replacement and curious too about the long story with the thyroid.  

      I live pretty close by in Eugene, OR.  

      Take care!  --Suzanne

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    • Posted

      Suzanne if you go to the website got mag org and look for testing is key to hormone-D there is some information and a video that explains how to take it correctly or who should take it. It is also suggested to take fermented cod liver oil instead of D3.
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    • Posted

      Back in 1995 I attended a lecture on Pycnogenol as it was arriving in the US from France...we were told by the panel that it MAY prevent cancer....that was music to my ears so I got on it and the first t hing to leave my body was allergy and sinus issues, that took a couple weeks thinking back...I was in shock and suprise....I had struggled with allergies all my life prior, I was 57 when I got on Pycnogenol....then after a year I found grape seed ex and now I combine them, taking mostly grape seed extract now for 19 yrs..... I'm banking on it for the prevent cancer comment..

      Cancer research hospitals now use both of these in their of hope, mayo, and more.

      I hear you about the soy, but some things I have to ignore,,,,can't control it all. I take natto for elevated fibrinogen levels.....

      See my integrative MD next week for my annual and we will do some new labs on some of the lipid issues....

      My dear friend from santa monica moved to portland a few years ago for the "trees" and she has struggled up there but happy about the NO FLUORIDE in Portland. Santa monica sold out in 2008 to the fluoride pigs...she and I were activist buddies....pig is a gentle word for the "F" pushers....a great fraud upon the people... I'll talk about the thyroid later....gotta eat some breakfast soup I make.

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    • Posted

      I'll look into some of the recommendations you made--thanks for the tips. Not familiar with Pycnogenol but will look it up since it sounds like it's been helpful to you.  

      Yes, I'm glad for no flouride in the water and no sales tax.  Not so keen on all the rain, though it's been beautiful for weeks until today.

      I just did all of that new lipid testing.  Now just have to figure out what it all means!  

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    • Posted

      While fermented cod liver oil is very good and contains a useful amount of vitamin A it's not necessarily an adequate source of vitamin D3.

      1 tsp FCLO contains roughly 10,000 IUs vitamin A and 1,000-2,000 IUs vitamin D

      While that is an adequate amount of Vit A it isn't an adequate amount of vitamin D3. Most people in UK require in the region of 35iu vit d daily per 1lb weight. So 2000iu is about enough for a kid 57lbs (4 stone) weight adults will need at least double that amount in winter maybe 3 times and taking 3 teaspoons of Fermented Cod Liver Oil would overload your Vitamin A levels.

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    • Posted

      Thats interesting Ted I have been going by instructions from the Magnesium advocacy group on FB where the page owner says nobody should be taking Vit D3 without the proper testing, same with calcium do you not agree with this ? I by the way take neither D3 or calcium I'm just curious.
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    • Posted

      Perhaps you should ask the FB page owner if people should be tested before going outside on a sunny day?

      UVB from sunshine acting on the 7 dehydrocholesterol molecules near the surface of your skin creates 10,000~20,000iu of Cholecalciferol in a relatively short time. This only happens in the UK when your shadow is shorter than your height so unless it's around midday and particulalry sunny and you live in the very South of England you'll have to wait till March next year (or have a winter sun holday nearer the Equator or in the Southern Hemisphere. )

      I don't think any reasonable person would suggest it was necessary or desirable to get 25(OH)D tested before sun exposure so I can't see any justification for requiring it before the use of cholecalciferol supplements at intake 1/2 > 1/4 those your skin would naturally create given the chance.

      However as the research shows most people have lower than optimal vitamin D levels I think it is sensible for EVERYONE to get a postal 25(OH)D test done. Birmingham NHS Path lab offer them quite reasonaby and there are other sources about the same price. Knowing your current 25(OH)D levels better enables you to work out how much extra Vitamin D3 daily is required to reach optimal levels. Humans living now as human DNA evolved generally have levels around 115nmol/l though these levels naturally rise during prenancy/lactation (maybe up to 250 nmol/l) The advantage of having daily vitamin D3 and a reasonable 25(OH)D level 125nmol/l means that at all times your body is able to produce it's own natural antimicrobial peptides that are able to deal with infection. Vitamin D3 also works best at resolving inflammation when 25(OH)D is 125nmol/l or above.

      When you take EFFECTIVE (35iu for each 1lb you weigh) amounts of Vitamin D3 you open the floodgates to calcium absorption. If you regularly consume dairy products, vegetables fish meats nuts and drink hard water your diet will supply all the calcium your body requires and there should be no need for most people to take supplemental calcium. Human bodies use Calcium much better when it comes from dietary sources.

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    • Posted

      I should perhaps have mentioned that vitamin d3 has a number of cofactors than enable it's actions. Magnesium is a major Vitamin D3 cofactor and most people don't get anywhere near the official magnesium RDA which like the RDA for Vitamin D is set too low. IMO if most people took 100mg magnesium with each meal and before bedtime (total 400mg/d) we would see a general reduction in blood pressure and improvemet of inflammatory condtions. Improving magnesium intake will not only increase 25(OH)D levels but also help vitamin D convert to it's circulating and active hormonal forms more efficiently.

       Vitamin K Zinc Boron Vitamin A are other Vitamin D cofactors we should double check our intake of and increase if we are not sure we are meeting the RDA.

      The OMEGA 3 DHA also helps Vitamin D3 as does Curcumin, these are both Vitamin D receptor ligands and although their action is weak because they are also helpful in other ways in their own right there are many people here who would find them helpful.

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    • Posted

      I understand all about D3 from sun exposure, that wasn't my question. My question was taking D3 as a supplement these are the tests he recommends before supplementing D3:  Magnesium RBC, Vitamin D, 1, 25-dihydroxy, Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy and Calcium, Ionized . And recommends calcium should come from food not supplements.

      There are people in this group that have supplemented with Vit D3 and become very sick. 

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    • Posted

      Sorry I just noticed this other bit. I take magnesium but about 700mg per day but with boron, bicarb and b6 complex as its cofactors. I also take Zinc, Vit K and Vit A and omega 3. I believe since taking these supplements I feel 100 times better. Thank you for your input.
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