I've been taking NOW 5000IU Vitamin D3 daily (although I have missed taking it a couple of days, and also did not take it for a week when I went on vacation to a sunny place) since Fall began.
I've just had blood work done the last week and my vitamin D level came back as 36 ng/mL. Although the lab considers this normal, I consider this low from the research I've done. I would like to get it to around at least 50 ng/ml.
I'm not sure why this supplement hasn't given me better results than this and I guess the problem may be absorption. I usually take it with breakfast (high-fat obviously; and the pill itself is covered in olive oil). However I also take these supplements at the same time: An iron-free multimineral, CoQ10, Vitamin K2, and a high dose B/C vitamin supplement. Now from what I minimally read, I couldn't find any antagonistic relationship between Vitamin D and any of these supplements but it is quite possible that I've missed something as I did not research every component of the multimineral.
Should I be taking Vitamin D at a separate time? Should I take a higher dose? Getting UV rays is totally not an option right now since it is winter and I refuse to go to a tanning salon.
You aren't taking enough.
The Vitamin D Council recommends 1000 IUs of D per 25 lbs of body weight for maintenance. Also, if you level was very low to begin with, it can take 3-6 months to get sufficient.
No problem with when you are taking it or the other supplements.
I'd double or triple your dose for 3 months & retest.
Actually, the 5000 IU per day you have been taking may have been giving you very good results.
The thing is, unless you know what your serum 25ohD was before you started supplementing you cannot tell how effective the 5000 IU per day has been.
Your initial Vit D levels may have been very low & are now climbing nicely. You can always 'up' your Vit D supplement to get to the level you want quicker. Once there you will need to back off a bit (test blood to find out what works for you).
Everybody is different, by way of an example, here are a few of my blood tests results & D3 supplement levels;
85 ng/nl on 7,000 IU per day
79 ng/nl on 6,000 IU per day
80 ng/ml on 4,000 IU per day
65 ng/ml on 1,000 IU per day
To add some perspective, i weigh around 140 lbs & about 10 % body fat (male with fine bone structure).
I am not supplementing at the moment as it is currently summer (where i am) and i am happy with my 25ohD level. I do not have any illnesses & like to be somewhere in the 50-70 ng/ml range. I use this chart as a quick reference for myself (opinions will vary on the ranges);
Edit: for anyone interested there's a new (Feb 27, 2012) article from the Vit D council: Body weight and vitamin D blood levels http://blog.vitamindcouncil.org/2012/02/27/body-weight-and-vitamin-d-blood-levels/ Where they pose the question:
Q. Who needs more vitamin D, a 250lb fit man who has 12 percent total body fat or a 250lb obese man who has 50 percent total body fat?
& the answer they give: A. They both need the same amount
See the article for their reasoning, where they reference a recent (Jan 19, 2012) Vit D study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22262154
You may be deficient in a co-factor of D such as magnesium, the most important one, according to the Vit. D Council. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-cofactors/magnesium/
see also a google search on the topic which yields articles such as this one: http://www.goodhealthwellnessblog.com/186/vitamin-d3-deficiency-magnesium-connection/
You probably aren't taking enough. My doctor has me on 25,000 daily and I'm also using the Now brand. It took me several months to get to 70 ng/ml, but it would have taken forever just taking 5,000. Just note that when taking that much you don't want to skip a day because it will make you feel physically ill. You need to gradually step up to that dose, then gradually down. You can buy home test kits from the vitamin D council that are just as accurate as your local lab. These may cost more than going to your doctor but they are more convenient if you ask me.
You may need to target 10,000 daily. Getting your levels close to 80 ng/ml is a good idea to fight/prevent most chronic diseases. http://crohnsdad.com/2012/02/02/vitamin-d-and-crohns-disease/
Body fat level makes a huge difference. I hit 85ng/mL with your same brand and dose. Serum levels shoot up when the adipose storage depots are repleted. This is why it's a bit dangerous for anyone to take 10K IU blindly for years since they'll eventually max out storage (sooner if they're losing weight) and then begin to exceed the 4K IU or so that we use per day.
What's your vitamin A intake? Mine was very high and I started to get issues with it.
Travis is totally right. I'd take 10k IU if you can do a blood test within 3 months, but if you don't know what you're doing, I suggest you use a vitamin D spray too.
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