vitamin D defiency - help!

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hi all, I'm a 45 year old woman and have been feeling generally unwell for probably over a year; extreme fatigue, aching shoulders, feeling low, unsteady, brain fog and a strange uneasiness/ slow feeling sometimes particularly in supermarkets for some reason. The symptoms sometimes make me feel anxious and low; tearful as I can't seem to find a way to function normally. I have just had to take time off work as I just can not cope with everyday tasks, particularly not being able to focus or concentrate well and interaction with people I find exhausting. After a few visits to the doctor I was diagnosed with vitamin D defiency - level 12. After struggling to find the best way of supplementing I've settled on 3000 iu twice per day as a spray. I'm only one month into the treatment and sometimes the symptoms seem to get worse particularly a week before my monthly period and I notice sometimes a surge or buzz in my brain after eating food sometimes. I've read that if you take high doses of vitamin D that it can sap and Drain your magnesium stores and then become defiencient in magnesium. I'm getting very confused and feel in the dark about what to do for the best to feel better, l feel like I'm flying an areoplane with one engine blindly not knowing quite what I'm doing. The doctors don't seem to know very much at all and don't give much help or guidance on the matter! Anyone with helpful guidance or advice will be much appreciated!...:-) ps I tried magnesium spray and it seemed to completely knock me out!

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    You doctor should have given you very high dose vit D supplements - you need something like 60,000 IU per week for 2 or 3 months with a level like that. You can get both vit D and magnesium as tablets - it may be something as the propellant in the spray that causes the problems.

    If your symptoms do not improve then ask your doctor to look for other reasons for your symptoms - at least ask for ESR (sed rate) and CRP blood tests to see if there is any inflammation present in your body - the symptoms you describe fit a whole range of things, one is polymyalgia rheumatica and most people have raised levels of those tests.

  • Posted

    Hi There, 

    Don't panic, EmeraldAngel, you are not alone! I could second all your symptoms - and there is a cause of all of them. 

    One of the consequences of severe vit D deficiency is the development of osteomalacia, a weakening of the bones due to calcium not being replaced in the collagen matrix. This results in soft, tender bones and joints that are painful on being firmly squeezed - or stood on, or all the other structural jobs bones have to do. The resulting low serum calcium level also causes muscle tics, weakness and wasting, particularly in the thighs and glutes, which makes sufferers unstable on their feet and causes characteristic difficulty in squatting and getting up again. 

    GPs have recently been told that many people are at risk of vitamin D deficiency and to begin widespread blood testing for it in patients - but they clearly haven't quite caught up with the disease conditions they are likely to encounter and need to treat resulting from deficiency. It's a relatively new field, and it seems clear from the experiences of many of us that general practitioners have little experience as yet of treating the range of conditions caused by D defieciency. 

    If your doctor hasn't used this term, you might want to ask him/her directly 'is this vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia?'  I had to do that, as my GP (who is lovely, but overworked) didn't see the need to share it with me until I insisted on a diagnosis. (I have also had to be very firm in denying that I was having a mental breakdown, by the way, as my brain fog, confusion and inability to cope any more through sheer exhaustion had led him to believe that I was suicidal. Far from it - I was trying desperately to live!)

    The NHS guidance on dosing for deficiency is 50,000IU Vit D/wk, and your dose is only 42,000IU. You may wish to address this with your doctor.

    The recognised expert on vitamin D deficiency and resulting health problems is Dr Michael Holick. He has an informative website, has published several books for lay people as well as much peer reviewed academic research. There are a couple of his lecures on YouTube if you care to look. 

    Now for the timescale - isn't that what we all want to know, whether we'll ever feel right again? GPs are being told that the skeleton can remineralise and recover from osteomalacia in 3 to 6 months with aggressive vitamin D supplementation. Dr Holick's advice is that it is more likely to take a year and perhaps more. 

    I can't advise you on what to take as I am not a medical professional, but I am taking a calcium and magnesium supplement as well as some additional vitamin K as all of these are important for bone building and maintenance. The magnesium may make you feel very relaxed - lots of people take it near to bed time because of this. 

    I am only 7 weeks in to treatment myself, and trying to adjust to having a condition that is not going to go away in a week with some pills. I don't feel any better, and am clinging to my reduced hours job by my finger tips. So you are very much not alone - we're all flying by the seat of our pants, here!

    TAke care. All best wishes.  

    • Posted

      P.S. I also have a worsening of my symptoms pre/during menstruation, when deprived of sleep and when suffering from even the mildest of viral infections. 
  • Posted

    I'm so happy that I've found someone the same as me, I can't offer any advice other than to say lean on those close to you. My husband has been my rock. I'm really struggling too so joining this forum tonight is good for me as I'm driving my husband round the twist.

    also I would say don't accept what the medical staff are telling you; by that I mean if you think they are fobbing you off ask for your diagnosis, ask about anything you're unsure or unhappy about. 


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