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Vitamin D Update

Robyn Openshaw - Mar 26, 2010 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

So I told you last summer I was doing a Vitamin D experiment and that I’d report back. After a summer in the sun playing tennis and running, I was tanned and probably as high in Vitamin D as I would get in a year.

I get a moderate amount of sun (while trying to avoid being burned) because (a) I love playing sports outside and (b) I think the sun helps us avoid cancer, have strong bones, and a strong immune system, among other things. I took the high-accuracy Vitamin D blood test and scored quite high, a 79. I asked my LNP who interprets these test results for a grade like you’d get in school, for that score, since I can’t find a chart. She gave me a B+. She said many people have extremely low scores, like 5 or 10.

So the next part of my experiment was to take Vita D (pill form) through the winter. I was out of the sun the entire 8 months except for a few sunny days in Peru, and a day or two of spring skiing lately. I had never taken Vita D in my life, and I hadn’t taken a vitamin supplement of any kind for years.

So I took 3,000 IU Vitamin D daily, for 8 months (a very conservative amount). My score was a 61 when I went back for the test last week.

So my Vitamin D level fell–a lot–because the synthetic version does not help me anywhere near as well (if at all) as the natural way (sunshine) does.

This is certainly in keeping with my assumption, that natural ways to get vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, enzymes–are superior and are utilized much more efficiently and effectively by the body.

I wonder about lots of things. First, should I take 5,000 IU instead? (Was my dose too low?) I can’t answer that based on this experiment, and you can overdose on Vita D. I’m going to take 5,000 IU next winter. Second, how do I know that my level of 61 isn’t the exact same it would be if I didn’t supplement? I can’t know that.

What I do know is that the sun gave me a close-to-optimal amount of Vita D.

Posted in: Supplements

18 thoughts on “Vitamin D Update”

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  1. What kind of vitamin D were you taking? D2 or D3? What was the source?

    When I was tested a month ago, my endogenous vitamin D production was so low as to not even register; exogenous level was 6. So I’m taking 10,000IU of vitamin D3. I’m also taking cod liver oil which provides about 1000IU a day of vitamin D3. I’m light-skinned, I live in California, and I am outside as much as I can manage, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for my vitamin D level. I’m generally unsupportive of supplements but I take this very seriously. I’m happy to be getting vitamin D from a natural source (cod liver oil) as well as sunlight, but I’m also grateful for the supplement and I hope to see a major difference when I’m tested again in a few weeks.

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Cod liver oil is likely a better source than D-3 pills. (That’s the answer, by the way, I was taking D-3, from Source Naturals. Don’t everyone run out and buy that because I’m not recommending it–I don’t, in fact, know that to be a better brand!)

      No, I don’t have a baseline for the year before–wish I did. So the whole thing is pretty scientifically limited!

      I’m going to take 6,000 IU daily next winter. And maybe spring for $80 to get tested again then!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’ve seen recent research saying that supplementing with up to 10,000 iu / daily is not unsafe, though I don’t think I’d want to take that much.. so I think you’d be perfectly safe at 5 or 6000 IU. My naturopath sells two strengths of D3- the 1.000 IU and the 5,000 IU. I was on 2,000 IU/ daily but got tons of colds this winter- I’ve upped it to 5 or 6,000/ daily and am feeling better. Hope this helps.. !!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a few questions… do you know what your D level was the previous winter? Perhaps it was even lower than 69. I think it might be unfair to compare summer results where you are getting over 10,000 UI a day naturally compared to 3,000 synthesised in the winter. Don’t get me wrong, I think the natural D3 is superior, but in the winter where I live you can’t go outside and have much skin exposed without suffering exposer quickly. So synthetic D3 is the best alternative I can come up with. I do know, however, if you want to raise your D3 levels the only way to do it is 5,000 UI a day minimum. And you won’t overdose till you are consistantly taking over 10,000 UI a day or more synthetically. has a lot of good info and links for D3 info, or the vitamin D cousel has lots of good info too.

    I am interested to see and hear about more results.

  4. I’m taking D3 Serum by PRLabs, via Gabriel Cousens’ dispensary (I phone their Patagonia, AZ clinic and they mail it to me…$10 or so, I believe.) I was a 20…and I’m slowly working my way up…under MD supervision.

  5. Oh…P.S…

    And it’s a natural, live version of D3…

  6. Cod liver oil may not be the best choice for supplementing Vitamin D based on the latest research available. Here is a link to an article explaining in detail why.



  7. Anonymous says:

    I recently ordered some vitamin D spray from Dr. Mercola but I don’t know where to get my vitamin D tested at. I’d rather be out in the sun but I guess I’ll supplement whenever I’m in all day.

  8. Very interesting, I’ve heard a lot about this issue lately.

  9. Mercola is always selling something, so I find it hard to take him seriously. In any case, here’s a rebuttal from the WAPF re: CLO.

  10. I work (massage) in an office with a couple of NDs, & our new receptionist tested at 4 when she came on board in Jan (fair, & winter in Oregon!!) so she’s on the high dose – 50,000 once a week for awhile, then re-test. I take 5000 through the winter, & also got a good cod-liver oil supp thru our office (carson labs?).

    I agree natural sunlight is prob the best source, (but our winter sun’s at the wrong angle to help here) & have rarely used sunscreen, always leary of it.

    Since rediscovering coconut oil last year, I use it on my skin & internally. Good ol’ Adele Davis warned that much of the synthesis of Vit takes place in the outer skin layers, so DON’T WASH IT OFF! ie: DON’T go out in the sun, then immediately come in & take a hot shower 🙂 & DO oil your skin – coconut oil is great for that! It helps the skin adjust to sunlight – so you can be out longer without damage. Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial & anti-viral as well – gotta love it!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Mercola did a good article recently on how your Vita D absorption goes up if you don’t wash it off.

      Thanks for the tips Dia!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I just had my vitamin D checked last month and it was a whopping 87.3. I supplement with 4,000 IU/day as well as a vegan diet.

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Wow, that’s great! (I wonder if it’s the same test. Probably.)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I found this article interesting about taking supplement D3 with your biggest meal to increase absorption.

  13. I would not worry too much about the supposed Vitamin D toxicity that the medical mainstream drones on about. There is consistent and strong evidence that, in natural form, vitamin D is a very non-toxic compound. In any case, the human body happily produces 50,000iu after sustained exposure to sunlight.

    In regards to supplements, I would recommend to always take the D3 form.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for answering my question. Somehow I missed this post until today.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And what test did you use? I’d love to test my family. I’m super paranoid of my kids getting type 1 diabetes because their aunt has it, and a lot of people way vitamin d deficiency increases the risk.

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