vitamin d

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Hi I recently had full bloods done after some horrible symptoms. They have come back with vitamin D at 19.6! I live in the UK, My go has put this as normal but from what I have read on the subject, it is far from normal can anyone help!

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  • Posted

    See another GP and ask the question!

    However, it does depend on the units used - 20-50 ng/ml (the units usually used in the USA) is considered "adequate" by many people so he could justify 19.6 ng/ml being OK. 20ng/ml is the same as 50 nmol/litre, the units often used in the UK, so if your result is in nmol/litre you need to ask about the units and maybe point out the difference.

    In the UK, the Gateshead Health Trust decided some years ago that 75 nmol/litre was a better starting level for "acceptable" - so either way, more up-to-date opinion is that you are on the low side. As far as I can gather, much of the UK is now aiming for that sort of level.

    If your GP won't help you are well within the levels that become risky (above 150 nmol/litre is too high) so there is no reason why you can't go to H&B or Boots and buy yourself some of their high dose vit D3. It doesn't cost much more than a prescription charge. Here where I live in northern Italy we are told to take at least 2000 IU per day during the winter - even here about 80% of the population are deficient!

    Different experts recommend different levels and different amounts. According to the vitamin D council you would need about 5000 IU per day to boost your current level - the amount you need does depend on the amount you are in the sun at midday (you need at least 15 mins with no sunscreen or makeup and face, shoulders and arms exposed. Others say 2000 IU. 

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    • Posted

      Hi thank you for your reply. The reading is in nmol/l which is why I thought gp was wrong to say it was normal
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    • Posted

      He's obviously working on very old recommendations - there are still a lot of dinosaurs when it comes to vitamin D! I mentioned it because there are US contributors on here too, not just British.

      20 nmol/l is taken as deficient/borderline severe deficiency these days - so yes, I'd agree with you and be down at the chemist buying my own and aiming for 5000 IU/day for the next few months. The recommendation to replenish such low levels is 60,000 IU per week for 8-10 weeks. The high dose stuff you get from the doctor is 20,000 IU tablets so it is up to you how you want to split it: all at once or 3 x 20,000 IU on different days. Same applies if you get your own supply - and then there is no-one to argue with you!

      If the horrid symptoms don't go after 3 months on that sort of level of vit D then you should be insisting on further investigations - just in case. People I know say they felt better (not well, but better) within a few weeks. In fact - if your GP says it isn't the vit D level, what is he putting your symptoms down to?

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    • Posted

      How old are you? What are your symptoms? Vit D deficiency can be very similar to polymyalgia rheumatica too but that does tend to be in older patients (over 50 usually but plenty of people in their 40s have it). I assume he did an ESR and CRP? They are usually high in PMR (although they are normal in 1 in 5 patients) but normal in fibromyalgia.
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    • Posted

      Hi I am 49, symptoms are:

      Extreme fatigue

      Every part of my body hurts

      Can't find my words

      Memory problems

      Keep stumbling

      Really painful feet

      Muscle weakness

      My ear was raised

      My esr sorry

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    • Posted

      Hi, they have come on over time but got gradually worse when I started my new job doing 12 hour shifts. People were commenting on how I was walking funny and half way through shift I just wanted to go to sleep and each day was getting worse.
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    • Posted

      Do you have stiffness, especially of your shoulders and hips? It certainly does sound as if you have an autoimmune problems of some sort so I hope your GP is prepared to refer you to rheumatology fairly soon. If your ESR is raised then it is less likely to be fibromyalgia so don't let him fob you off with that.
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    • Posted

      Hi EileenH thank you for your comments, I definitely won't be letting him fob me off. Normally I would just say ok but I feel so ill and everything just seems like a massive effort. It can't be normal to feel this way x
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    • Posted

      Hi Arlene, 

      All those symptoms are very typical of vit D deficiency, especially the osteomalacia - bone softening, causing joint pain, particularly in the feet which take a lot of weight. Some muscle wasting, especially in the glutes and thighs, is also part of osteomalacia, which can cause sufferers to be more likely to stumble - I know I did. I went through this last year. It has taken about a year to recover. I can more or less walk, and think, in straight lines now, but it took a good twelved months of high dose supplements for me. All best wishes. :-)

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    • Posted

      Thank you jaybelle, good to hear you are on the mend its awful isn't it! My gp has put my result as normal though so will be arguing that with him at next appointment as can't go on feeling like this.

      Take care x

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    • Posted

      Although I would never counsel anyone to ignore their GP, I found mine (and the two or three before him) absolutely useless. They either failed to identify the vit D issues, or when eventually pinpointed, made light of the symptoms and condition in general, considering the matter dealt with and over once vit D was prescribed. It's been a long and very lonely push. As Eileen H says, if you get no joy from the doctor, at least you know you can buy vit D over the counter! 
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    • Posted

      Hi, yes I will do that. But it would be much better if Drs recognised it and treated it don't you think? I can't believe that lack of 1 vitamin could make you feel so rough! do you mind me asking what your levels were at?
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    • Posted

      Can't even remember the numbers, now, but they were very low as I recall. I recommend the books and lectures of Professor Michael Holick (available on Youtube), who is a world leader in Vit D research and treatment. I found them very helpful at a time when I wondered if I was going mad and feared I might never be right again. 
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    • Posted

      You're quite right  - but this is a chicken and the egg situation at present. Low vit D is commonly found alongside many autoimmune disorders but it isn't known whether it is cause or effect - and it just so happens that low vit D and whatever it is often have very similar symptoms. Sometimes replensihing the vit D helps a lot - sometimes it doesn't. If in doubt - make sure the patient is vit D replete and see if it resolves. If it doesn't - keep looking.
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