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Vitamin D 'insufficiency' - low enough to cause symptoms?

(14 Posts)
EllenRipley Tue 09-Jul-19 11:38:29

Wondering if anyone can relate or has knowledge... My vitD level has been tested and is 27ng, classed as 'adequate' or, depending on which research and which country's guidelines you read, is 'insufficient' (not optimal, or a 'sub clinical' deficiency) - American Vitamin D council and Endocrine Society classes under 40ng as actually deficient. Generally, a recognised deficiency is under 20ng.

I had my levels tested because I have joint and muscle pain, classic low Vit D symptoms (among others). I know that because I'm in peri-meno, this is also definitely a factor but I'm not convinced it accounts for all my symptoms. So im wondering if anyone who's had their levels tested and found to be in the 'insufficient' range (20-30ng), did you have deficiency symptoms, and did they improve with supplementation? Or am I just barking up the wrong tree 🤔 Thanks!

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Clara62 Tue 09-Jul-19 13:26:15

Vit D is an essential vitamin the body needs to absorb calcium. It’s derived from the sun. Sun exposure for 30 minuets a day 3 times a week is sufficient to produce the required amount of vit D. Do you use sunscreen on your face?
You say you are peri menopause, try turmeric for your joints either supplements or sprinkle on scrambled eggs.
Eat more protein to increase muscle mass and get walking.. 20 minuets a day will take care of vit D requirements.

timeforakinderworld Tue 09-Jul-19 13:33:58

I have similar symptoms and my level is 22 which my dr thinks is just fine! I have started taking a supplement but don't know if it's made a difference yet.

Clara62 Tue 09-Jul-19 13:44:05

I would be surprised if you have a vit D deficiency unless you live in the dark. As you are hitting the dreaded menopause (l haven’t had a period since 2003) there will be other issues you will have to deal with. The most important is making sure you get exorcise, for me it’s walking, and a must is a muscular workout 3-4 times a week

Hecateh Tue 09-Jul-19 14:12:41

The UK sufficient range is just high enough to prevent rickets.
The vitamin D council don't make money from supplements, they are not trying to sell you something you don't need.
Since taking regular vitamin D, my level was just below 20 so it was indicated, I have had less joint pain, stronger nails and my dentist even commented my teeth were better.
However you raise it I suspect you will see some improvement if you do.

EllenRipley Tue 09-Jul-19 14:23:28

@timeforakinderworld that is a very borderline deficiency, I would be surprised if it wasn't causing symptoms! The ranges are considerably different when you look at American guidelines. I'd be tempted to do a bit of research about what you would need to supplement with to get your levels up. I've been advised 6000iu p/d for two weeks, then a maintenance dose of 3000iu - and then also advised that this is a very cautious protocol! I think the optimal ng level is about 50 - some
research says higher.

@Clara62, thanks for info - I'm afraid I beg to differ (as does current research) - you don't need to live in the dark to become deficient. Climate/latitude and sunscreen are just two reasons your levels can drop! Low or deficient levels are more common that you would think. Mine is sub-optimal, whatever guidelines they're measured against and I know several people who have been diagnosed with deficiencies - and they don't live in the dark or spend all their lives indoors. Once they reach a certain level, supplementing with sunshine is insufficient to get them back up and you need to take D3 (that's not anecdotal).

I'm generally a very active person, I work out and spend sufficient time outdoors (when weather allows - not much sun where I live). I've no doubt that many of my symptoms are affected by my declining oestrogen levels but they've suddenly become extreme and have coincided with what I know to be low (if not deficient) vitamin D levels. So my question was to anyone who has similar levels/symptoms, because the guidelines and research is often quite inconclusive in terms of what levels can produce symptoms.

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EllenRipley Tue 09-Jul-19 14:26:52

@Hecateh thank you, I've found the vitamin D council page pretty useful. Glad you've seen a difference. My feet are so achey i can hardly walk in the mornings, so even a slight improvement would be welcome!
@timeforakinderworld, google vitamin d council and read up on what they advise for supplementation!

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Clara62 Tue 09-Jul-19 14:35:01

I’m 57 next month, l walk 5-8 km a day and weight training 5 times a week. My mother and grandmother both had osteoporosis ending with them bent double and using walking sticks. My fitness program is for the prevention of osteoporosis, and to keep my bones strong. My vit D levels are normal.
We all have our cross to bear, good luck with the supplements.

EllenRipley Tue 09-Jul-19 14:50:47

That's amazing @Clara62, I'm really impressed. I've no doubt your walking is keeping your levels up. The constant cloud and rain here is a bit off-putting for long walks! Osteoporosis is a worry. I've been doing HIIT, functional exercise and weight training for years, for the same reason, though am struggling to maintain it at the moment. I generally believe exercise and diet are key to good health, but if a supplement gives me a necessary boost, I'm all for that too!

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Charley50 Tue 09-Jul-19 14:59:21

I never usually take supplements.. my joints were massively painful when waking (osteoarthritis diagnosis years ago), my legs also hurt at night. Blood tests suggested I take Vitamin D. I bought osteocare ones and it's made a massive difference. Joint pain now minimal, leg pain doesn't keep me awake... and my nails have grown! Maybe it's a coincidence as it's also summer, but I think it's the supplements tbh.

Clara62 Tue 09-Jul-19 15:23:05

You are absolutely right Ellen diet and exorcise.. its all about health.
Collagen supplements are also superb.

Charley50 Tue 09-Jul-19 23:02:52

Just to add, I also walk a lot and play sports, but recently I was walking less and slower, not going up stairs etc, and couldn't play my sport. Since taking the Vitamin D I've started to get more active again, due to less pain.

Bettertobehealthy Wed 10-Jul-19 15:26:51

I wonder if there has been some confusion on this thread. ? I am probably wrong , but I was wondering why there is a lot of mention of American notation of levels of vitamin d.

Are all the posters here from the USA. ? The reason I ask , is that for instance, mention of 22 or 27 ng means levels of 55 and 67.5 nmol/L respectively in UK notation.( nanomol perLitre of blood ) The ng notation is American , and refers to nanograms of vitamin D per millilitre of blood.

Just in case other readers of this thread don't realise. Whenever a UK lab measures your blood level of Vitamin D , the result will be in nmol/Litre. SO ....

20 ng (American ) is the same as 50 nmol/L . (British )

So IF you have a vitamin D reading of 27 from a UK lab , it means 27 nmol/L . Which is roughly half of the level of 20 ng.

SO.... lets say the Vitamin D council ( American ) state that 40 ng/ml is sufficient. That is equivalent to saying 100 nmol/L , in UK measurements is sufficient.

In the UK , it is common for the NHS to say that levels between 50 and 200 nmol/L are "adequate". Between 30 and 50 is often defined as "Insufficient" , and below 30 nmol/L is defined as "deficient" Sometimes the boundary between deficient and insufficient is placed at 25 nmol/L , depending upon your NHS region. Some regions or sectors have recently been changing their definition of adequacy to above 75 nmol/L , as a result of more recent research into Vitamin D.

Well, I apologise if you all realise this. But I thought it might be useful to any subsequent readers of this thread.

If you live in the UK, particularly the North , Scotland etc , then you will have less opportunity to build Vit D reserves. Sunlight is weak in the UK , the UVB radiation which creates Vit D in the skin is absent from sunlight from November till March . It is also absent in the summer months , whenever the elevation of the sun is below 45 degrees. That means before 11 am and after 3 pm. Outside of those hours , even in Summer , you cannot make Vit D in the skin. That is just basic physics.

If you need any more info , just get back to me .

best of luck ,


EllenRipley Wed 10-Jul-19 15:55:10

Must look into collagen @Clara62!
Thanks @Charley50, that is good to know. Creaky fingers Xed that I'll see an improvement and be able to exercise again.

@Bettertobehealthy, thankyou for that. I was measured at 67.9nmol and converted it myself to 27.16ng! I've been in touch with a couple of research organisations and they are saying I should be 40-60ng. I think UK & US guidelines are catching up to research, as you say. The science /research community in the US are definitely advocates of higher levels.

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