Low Vitamin D

I have “Low Vitamin D” (that’s what physicians call it).  Who knew?  So low that I have to take a prescription pill (more on that later) for 12 weeks – one capsule a week – before getting re-tested and perhaps going on over-the-counter supplements.  My reading was “10” (nanograms per milliliter) and I’m told that the level should be over 32.

Well, it turns out that I’m not the only one.  You too, could have Low Vitamin D.  One recent article reports that “low vitamin D levels among adults are fast becoming a growing epidemic and could spell trouble for the future health of the nation…”  If you think that statement a bit dramatic, try this title on for size:  “Low Vitamin D Levels Pose Large Threat to Health; Overall 26 Percent Increased Risk of Death”.  Yikes!

Low Vitamin D seems to be the cause de jour for everything from osteomalacia and osteoporosis to cancer, heart disease, chronic, diffuse pain, depression and other health problems.  Given the dire predictions in the articles referenced above, and the anecdotal evidence of my physician, who tells me that only 5 out of 100 patients in her practice have “normal” levels of vitamin D, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more about this in the so-called mainstream media.  Or have I missed it.

p.s. I can’t end this post without relaying my insurance story for the prescribed vitamin D.  My prescription was for 12 weeks (12 pills), called in to my pharmacy of choice – Pharmaca. (I highly recommend the pharmacists at the Oakland branch.)  When I go to pick up the pills, I am told that my insurance only covers one month at a time – I will have to go back each month to refill the prescription.  No can do.  I’m leaving in two days for Canada for the summer.  My co-pay for the one-month’s worth of pills (4) is $10.  If I used my insurance to pay for the 12 pills a month at a time, it would cost me $30.  Instead, I paid $18.21 for the 12 pills without applying my insurance to the purchase.  For this I pay $507 per month?

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9 Responses to “Low Vitamin D”


  1. 1 Mike Barnes May 20, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Most now recommend that your level should be >50ngs/ml so you are way deficient. Take a look at http://www.vitaminD3world.com for a good summary of the data. This site also does a good newsletter and is offering free vitamin D for the customers children

  2. 2 yoomilee May 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the update Mike. Yes, I did read that the current thinking is that our levels should be higher. Seems to be a timely issue.

  3. 3 Fred Johnston May 20, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Saw your post about this on Facebook. I was diagnosed with ostiopoenia after having some rather nasty back problems. My doctor and orthopedist couldn’t figure out why, but they refered me to a endocrinologist to do a bunch of tests. Turns out that I had low vitamin D. Now I am on the weekly 50,000 unit dose.

  4. 4 yoomilee May 21, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Yup, that’s the dose I am on. But I haven’t had any other symptoms than what I would attribute to “getting older”…

    Are you getting any better Fred?

    • 5 Fred Johnston May 21, 2009 at 10:15 am

      Well, my back is good (knock on wood), but I’m not sure I can attribute that to the D supplement. I’ve got a follow-up with the endocrinologist soon, so I’ll let you know what she says.

  5. 6 Smita June 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    But Yoo-Mi,

    How can you have low vitamin D when you live in India half the year? It’s all sun all the time.

    -s

  6. 7 mike August 17, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    you can get a years supply of vitamin D3 are http://www.vitaminD3world.com for next to nothing and they also have it available in micropills that are very easy to swallow or you can just crunch them up in your mouth as they are so small and tasteless

  7. 8 Health Campus August 31, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Some good points raised in that post. Will be back to check for more.

    Cheers

  8. 9 rahul November 9, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Super late to the conversation, BUT-
    lactose-intolerance could make you deficient since you lose what is provided by (fortified) milk, and I’ve heard that even moderate soy consumption reduces your body’s capacity to absorb vitamin D. Given that Monsanto pretty much owns soy and its now in almost everything, I’m less surprised that only 5/100 Americans has the correct amount.


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