Winter Vitamin D Alert!
In the past few years I have had my blood work tested routinely. In early October of 2012 my vitamin D3 level was 60 ng/mL. The normal range is 40-100 ng/mL.
I take 2 Stemkine (and have been for 2 years) capsules every day which combined contain 2000 units of vitamin D3. My vitamin D3 level on January 18th, 2013 was only 27 in spite of the supplementation. I received those test results today.
In the past few months I have been having problems with dry skin including a few episodes of massive spontaneous, itchy exfoliation. Arthritis in my knees has also been increasing over the past 6 weeks. I had attributed this to a vigorous exercise program but now suspect the lower vitamin D3 may have something to do with both the skin and arthritis problems.
Regarding the itchy desquamation problem, I found the following article which chronicles cases of similar skin problems being associated with low vitamin D levels and resolution of symptoms in 70% of the cases with vitamin D supplementation—50,000 units once weekly and daily supplementation:
“Idiopathic itch, rash, and urticaria/angioedema merit serum vitamin D evaluation: a descriptive case series. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21322467
Regarding the knee arthritis, there is a plethora of articles on autoimmune disease and vitamin D deficiency—and my knee pain has some rheumatic features although there is certainly underlying osteoarthritis. I found this article which described a 92.9% incidence of vitamin D deficiency in primary knee osteoarthritis patients: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22024977
There is a clinical trial that started in August of 2012 in Australia that is testing to see if a weekly dose of 50,000 units of vitamin D3 will “reduce loss of knee cartilage volume, prevent the progression of other knee structural abnormalities, reduce knee pain and strengthen lower limb muscle strength, thus modify disease progression in knee OA.” Pubmed citation found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22867111
Just off the press is a study in JAMA that showed 2000 units per day of vitamin D3 did NOT help knee pain or reduce cartilage loss. Of note, the endpoint serum level was only 36 ng/ml. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23299607?dopt=Abstract
It will be interesting to see if the Australian study of 50,000 vitamin D3 units per week with have a different outcome as the blood levels will likely be much higher than in the JAMA study.
Given that your body can produce tens of thousands of units of vitamin D3 per day if your skin is exposed to sunlight, I am starting a regimen of 50,000 units once per week and continue on the 2000 units per day I’ve been taking. Will let you know if there are any improvements. I will get out in the sun more also, weather permitting.
Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in depression and other mental disorders as well. If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere this winter, and if you’re not banging on all eight cylinders, you may want to get your vitamin D level checked.
Great resource on vitamin D: