E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b
5

Are vitamin D supplements overrated?

by (25)
Updated about 7 hours ago
Created November 15, 2012 at 1:19 AM

So many in the paleo/low carb community advocate taking megadoses of vitamin D capsules. That always struck me as odd for a group that otherwise embraces not consuming anything that is not "natural". So I was very interested to read Todd Becker's recent blog post (http://gettingstronger.org/2012/11/why-i-dont-take-vitamin-d-supplements/) challenging the need to supplement with vitamin D.

What do you think about it -- is he on to something?

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921
4991 · March 05, 2014 at 6:06 PM

I find this fascinating. I have noticed that my asthma symptoms are much less in very sunny weather - especially if a I am in shorts / T shirt a lot. I hadn't made the link with D3 and the asthma though! I supplement in the winter - 5000iU most days - it obviously is not enough. I shall try increasing that and see if I get back to sunshine levels of asthma symptom free-ness!

B8b574088bbdaf83439ecd3dc89a32ef
0 · January 15, 2014 at 1:15 AM

Also worth noting is the follow-up post describing what you can do in place of supplementation: http://gettingstronger.org/2013/02/an-alternative-to-vitamin-d-supplements/

B8b574088bbdaf83439ecd3dc89a32ef
0 · January 15, 2014 at 1:13 AM

It looks like most of the responses here failed to read the post you mentioned, which has a lot of good information that makes me rethink the benefits of vitamin D supplements, particularly in large doses. I encourage everyone to give the post a read! It reminds me in many ways about the hype surrounding "evil" cholesterol.

E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b
25 · February 05, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Dragonfly, where did Becker say that "Vitamin D supplements are useless?" That's a straw man attack. If you go back, I think he acknowledged that vitamin D is useful as a short term intervention for various conditions. The question is whether or not the case has been made that healthy people should be taking vitamin D capsules every day for the rest of their life.

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
1211 · November 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I thought one difference between sun and pill vitamin D is too much can be taken from a pill, where the body can regulate it from the sun.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41548 · November 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I've seen mention of the whole importance of sulfur, with a lot of chemistry absent. Always seems to be Mercola references involved, which always puts up red flags. I'm not convinced there's a massive sulfate deficiency pandemic.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
10919 · November 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I'm not saying don't take it at all, but people who rely entirely on a single component of a very complex nutrient, are kidding themselves.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

*While we are sure Stephanie Seneff has the best of intentions, it’s important to be careful in what is publicly recommended. Since there hasn’t been a peer-reviewed paper published on vitamin D sulfate since 1995, it’s probably not necessary to stir the pot on this subject. -The Vitamin D Council*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM

*While we are sure Stephanie Seneff has the best of intentions, it’s important to be careful in what is publicly recommended. Since there hasn’t been a peer-reviewed paper published on vitamin D sulfate since 1995, it’s probably not necessary to stir the pot on this subject. -The Vitamin D Council*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

*Another study came out that found 4,000 IU of vitamin D/day for a year reduced mortality five-fold in patients with cystic fibrosis. Are vitamin D supplements useless to cystic fibrosis patients? No. In fact, they might even be life saving.*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

*Announcing that, “…vitamin D supplements are useless” is misleading and a disservice to the public. How do we know? By the countless randomized controlled trials that have found benefits in supplementing with vitamin D. Just this past winter, researchers discovered that 3,000 IU of vitamin D/day during the wintertime reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Are vitamin D supplements useless to a hypertensive patient? No.*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

*Again, moderate, sensible but frequent sun exposure is ideal for many reasons (including vitamin D production), but to date, there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin D from a pill is any different than vitamin D from sun exposure. There have been studies, however, that have found beneficial effects of sun exposure independent of vitamin D. One such study found that sun exposure was independently protective against multiple sclerosis; though we know vitamin D is protective against MS, too.*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

*While we agree, sun exposure is the best source to get your vitamin D, this idea that vitamin D sulfate is more important than just plain old vitamin D has little scientific backing. In fact, researchers in the 1980s looked for vitamin D sulfate in human breast milk and didn’t find any (Hollis et al 1981). Some of the biggest researchers in the field looked into the issue of vitamin D vs vitamin D sulfate in the 80s and dropped the topic moving forward, probably for good reason.*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

While we agree, sun exposure is the best source to get your vitamin D, this idea that vitamin D sulfate is more important than just plain old vitamin D has little scientific backing. In fact, researchers in the 1980s looked for vitamin D sulfate in human breast milk and didn’t find any (Hollis et al 1981). Some of the biggest researchers in the field looked into the issue of vitamin D vs vitamin D sulfate in the 80s and dropped the topic moving forward, probably for good reason.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Ashly, did you read this comment on the article from the Vitamin D Council?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · November 15, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Didn't read the link, did ya?

  • Total Views
    3.4K
  • Recent Activity
    Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf
  • Last Activity
    94D AGO
  • Followers
    2

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

8 Answers

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd
6
189 · November 15, 2012 at 1:26 AM

If he runs around in the sun all day without a shirt he probably won't be vitamin D deficient as the body can synthesize vitamin D in the skin. For many of us in Northern climates who work indoors during the short days of winter, especially susceptible persons of N. European ancestry, Vitamin D can indeed become low and may require supplementation. Seasonal affective disorder and other disorders are linked to low Vitamin D levels.

Also, the FDA guidance of 400 IU per day is barely enough to ward off rickets and is considered outdated even by many traditional practitioners. A Harvard study shows that toxicity is generally not a concern for dosages of 10,000 IU or less per day, which is about what the skin can generate when exposed to ample sunlight.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · November 15, 2012 at 1:33 AM

Didn't read the link, did ya?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
3
12702 · November 15, 2012 at 2:20 AM

This is an interesting idea, thanks for sharing this article.

I do think he's on to something. I've seen some of this evidence before and while it's a bit preliminary, I think vitamin D supplementation could carry risks if you have impaired conversion of the supplementary form to the active form of vitamin D.

This conversion ability probably varies depending on the person, but one of the main factors affecting this is magnesium deficiency, which runs rampant in countries like the U.S.

This may be yet another example of the fact that no nutrient works in a vacuum. There are frequently risks incurred from massive supplementation of otherwise highly beneficial nutrients without regard for the other nutrients which play an important role in its regulation. For example, Chris Materjohn has written a lot about the interplay between vitamins A, D, and K(2) and how they help mitigate the toxicity of each other.

We're dealing with a lot of speculation, but I'm hedging my bet on even fairly large doses of vitamin D posing very little danger to a person replete in vitamin A, vitamin K(2), and magnesium. This is obviously a niche highly unlikely to be represented in your average vitamin D supplement study drawing from the population at large, but more likely among the paleo and WAPF eaters.

And I still think there's lots of research supporting vitamin D levels as a casual factor in reducing disease risk, although the idea that D might be low as a consequence rather than a cause of disease is an interesting one that may be true in some cases.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf
3
649 · November 15, 2012 at 1:33 AM

I think he's on to something. So is this guy ------> http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2012/11/health-exercise-quickie-vitamin-d.html http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2011/10/vitamin-d3-fat-synthesizer-rodent-study.html http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2012/09/stronger-leaner-or-fatter-less-muscular.html http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2012/05/hypothesis-does-vitamin-d-deficiency.html http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2012/10/low-vitamin-d-insulin-resistance.html

I think that mega dosing Vitamin D is immmuno suppresive, so can beneft those with autoimmune issues. Many in the Paleosphere have autoimmune issues so perhaps that is where the megadosing comes from?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
2
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I take 6,000 Ius of D3 to keep my asthma at bay. I need to keep my blood level at about 80 ng/ml to avoid any symptoms.

So far, so good. The only time my asthma symptoms have come back in the last 3 years was when I did an experiment & relied on sun exposure only for 3 months.

I live in Santa Fe, NM and got an hour in a bikini a day between 11 am and 1 pm. Not so great for the skin, but I am Type IV complexion on the Fitzpatrick scale and need that amount of exposure to get enough sun.

I tested after those 3 months and was at 57 ng/ml--definitely in the "optimal" physiologic range, but not sufficient to deal with the inflammation that causes my asthma.

So I think the choice to use supplements may depend on any health conditions you may have and on how much sun exposure you are willing/able to get.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921
4991 · March 05, 2014 at 6:06 PM

I find this fascinating. I have noticed that my asthma symptoms are much less in very sunny weather - especially if a I am in shorts / T shirt a lot. I hadn't made the link with D3 and the asthma though! I supplement in the winter - 5000iU most days - it obviously is not enough. I shall try increasing that and see if I get back to sunshine levels of asthma symptom free-ness!

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
1
10919 · November 15, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Mommypotamus has a great article on this subject. It completely changed my view on vitamin D. I still take some but I really don't rely on it for keeping myself healthy. Gotta have daily exposure, even in the winter and really focus on getting those stores up during the spring and summer. The vitamin D manufactured in your skin is a totally different animal. Not to mention there are so many different kinds of vitamin D and probably other nutrients and compounds we haven't even discovered yet from sunshine exposure. You just can't replace a healthy lifestyle with a pill. It'll always catch up with you. http://www.mommypotamus.com/why-vitamin-d-supplements-cant-replace-sunshine/

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM

*While we are sure Stephanie Seneff has the best of intentions, it’s important to be careful in what is publicly recommended. Since there hasn’t been a peer-reviewed paper published on vitamin D sulfate since 1995, it’s probably not necessary to stir the pot on this subject. -The Vitamin D Council*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

*While we are sure Stephanie Seneff has the best of intentions, it’s important to be careful in what is publicly recommended. Since there hasn’t been a peer-reviewed paper published on vitamin D sulfate since 1995, it’s probably not necessary to stir the pot on this subject. -The Vitamin D Council*

Cbdc8318738324492f2d5918868ce4c9
1211 · November 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I thought one difference between sun and pill vitamin D is too much can be taken from a pill, where the body can regulate it from the sun.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

*Announcing that, “…vitamin D supplements are useless” is misleading and a disservice to the public. How do we know? By the countless randomized controlled trials that have found benefits in supplementing with vitamin D. Just this past winter, researchers discovered that 3,000 IU of vitamin D/day during the wintertime reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Are vitamin D supplements useless to a hypertensive patient? No.*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

*While we agree, sun exposure is the best source to get your vitamin D, this idea that vitamin D sulfate is more important than just plain old vitamin D has little scientific backing. In fact, researchers in the 1980s looked for vitamin D sulfate in human breast milk and didn’t find any (Hollis et al 1981). Some of the biggest researchers in the field looked into the issue of vitamin D vs vitamin D sulfate in the 80s and dropped the topic moving forward, probably for good reason.*

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

*Again, moderate, sensible but frequent sun exposure is ideal for many reasons (including vitamin D production), but to date, there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin D from a pill is any different than vitamin D from sun exposure. There have been studies, however, that have found beneficial effects of sun exposure independent of vitamin D. One such study found that sun exposure was independently protective against multiple sclerosis; though we know vitamin D is protective against MS, too.*

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
10919 · November 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I'm not saying don't take it at all, but people who rely entirely on a single component of a very complex nutrient, are kidding themselves.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

While we agree, sun exposure is the best source to get your vitamin D, this idea that vitamin D sulfate is more important than just plain old vitamin D has little scientific backing. In fact, researchers in the 1980s looked for vitamin D sulfate in human breast milk and didn’t find any (Hollis et al 1981). Some of the biggest researchers in the field looked into the issue of vitamin D vs vitamin D sulfate in the 80s and dropped the topic moving forward, probably for good reason.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Ashly, did you read this comment on the article from the Vitamin D Council?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41548 · November 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I've seen mention of the whole importance of sulfur, with a lot of chemistry absent. Always seems to be Mercola references involved, which always puts up red flags. I'm not convinced there's a massive sulfate deficiency pandemic.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab
32518 · November 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

*Another study came out that found 4,000 IU of vitamin D/day for a year reduced mortality five-fold in patients with cystic fibrosis. Are vitamin D supplements useless to cystic fibrosis patients? No. In fact, they might even be life saving.*

E7f09005fda1f3ac29ad3718ff4ada3b
25 · February 05, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Dragonfly, where did Becker say that "Vitamin D supplements are useless?" That's a straw man attack. If you go back, I think he acknowledged that vitamin D is useful as a short term intervention for various conditions. The question is whether or not the case has been made that healthy people should be taking vitamin D capsules every day for the rest of their life.

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059
1
1040 · November 15, 2012 at 2:11 AM

I live up north and it takes 5000 IU just to have normal levels. Even if I ran around with my shirt off I still wouldn't make enough to store what's needed for the winter.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
1
5775 · November 15, 2012 at 1:34 AM

I take between 20-30,000 iu's every 7-10 days. I don't supplement in-between. I've been doing this for about 8 months. My latest levels were around 65. Before I started, they were in the high 30's. Obviously anecdotal, but it HAS shown some benefit by supplementing this way. I much prefer this one dose instead of a few thousand iu's each day. I take way too many other supplements and micromanage many other things to worry about it when one huge dose can work just as well.

B396a0ecd39520e322143a3f871a5939
0
0 · March 05, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Hmmm, interesting article. However, she basically contradicts herself by saying that supplements are no good, then recommending supplements. There are also Vitamin D supplements from fish oil, but there is no difference in Vitamin D levels from lanolin and fish oil. And almost all of the positive studies on vitamin D have been done on lanolin supplements. So if Vitamin D supplements don't work, why are there so many positive studies on them? Humans also evolved eating Vitamin D from fish. So if you get a fish based supplement, making sure you get all the cofactors, it should be the same

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account

Get Free Paleo Recipes