Bulletproof Your Sleep with Vitamin D

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Vitamin D deficiencies lead to sleep disorders. And to correct vitamin D-related sleep disorders, you have to be careful about the amount of vitamin D you take and when you take it.Take 1000 IUs of Vitamin D-3 per 25 pounds of body weight, but not more than 10,000 IU’s.

  • Get a blood test to make sure this amount of vitamin D is sufficient for you.  Just as too little vitamin D is bad, so is too much.
  • Take it in the morning. Vitamin D temporarily pauses the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, so don’t take it at night.
  • Sufficient vitamin D can also help reduce pain and control inflammation, among an assortment of other health benefits.

Although subtle, more than half of the world population is vitamin D deficient! (1)

This is a big problem because sleep disorders are an epidemic due to vitamin D deficiency. (2) This hurts the amount of sleep you get, the quality of your sleep, and your mood upon waking up.

We have this deficiency because of the way we live. We work inside, wear clothes, and use sunscreen. These are all realities of modern life, and they all take away from our vitamin D synthesis.

This is important to note, because you do not soak up D from the sun, per se. Rather, the interaction with UVB light and a cholesterol derivative in the skin causes D to be synthesized in the body.

While many of us wish we could quit our jobs and move to the Bahamas to soak in the rays we need, that is not realistic for most. As biohackers, it is our job to find a solution.

Eating foods rich in vitamin D, and supplementing with D3 is a necessary part of life to maintain adequate D levels. D3 supplements can be found here.

However, simply taking a ton of vitamin D is not the complete answer in the long run for preventing vitamin D deficiency. Too much or too little can have side effects, including reducing the quality of your sleep. The amount of International Units (IU) you take and time of day are important aspects in upgrading the amount and quality of your sleep.

Your Daily Dosage of Vitamin D

According to the Vitamin D Council, 1000 IU’s per 25lbs are recommended each day, although using a blood test is the best way to know your ideal dose. A healthy human body utilizes about 3000-5000 IU of vitamin D per day. (6)

These amounts are adjusted according to your age, weight, absorption, skin color and normal sun exposure. So when you are outside with adequate sun exposure, use no sunscreen but put on a shirt or a hat if you start to get burned, and leave the Vitamin D supplements at home. More is not always better.

Too much vitamin D can cause headaches and inflammation in the body. The US Government’s upper intake level (UL) for vitamin D is set at 4,000 IU per day.  Other experts disagree, the current consensus states it should be 10,000 IU. (7,8,9) This is the amount your skin would naturally produce from maximum exposure from the sun. (10)  An even better way to figure out what your optimal vitamin D levels are, is through testing your body’s responses.

As more research is being done on D, we are just beginning to find out the importance of the dosage of vitamin D. Additionally with the amount you take, the time you take vitamin D is a crucial factor in upgrading your sleep.

When to Take Vitamin D

Are You Taking Vitamin D at the Right Time?

Vitamin D is inversely related to melatonin, your sleep hormone, so it makes sense that taking it at night disrupts sleep. I’ve noticed this effect personally. For this reason, there is no reason to take vitamin D at night.

An n=1 experiment done by gwern.net also concludes that taking vitamin D in the morning is best. Using a ZEO, his morning dose of D increased REM, deep sleep, and number of hours increased. He looked at taking the same dosage at night, and his sleep quality plummeted. (11)

My biohacking experiments have similar results.  When I’ve taken D in the morning I had my usual great sleep.  When I’ve taken D at night, I had a restless night.

In our busy worlds, healthy sleep is gold.  If we do not receive the right amounts of vitamin D, sleep suffers. If you live a stressful life, sleep is even more important.

There are other reasons to take it too. In a study with chronic pain patients, vitamin D helped reduce pain, improve quality of life, and increase sleep.(4) Having adequate levels of D may protect against cancer, control inflammationheart diseasepoor mood, and may help regulate the immune system. Most people are vitamin D deficient, and do not know how it can help improve their lives.

Start hacking your performance and life with Vitamin D

If you are unsure of where to start, there are a few options.  You might go to your doctor and find out where your vitamin D levels are right now. Better yet, use WellnessFX for testing and advice.  You can search online for other self testing labs.

If your level is below 30 ng/ml then you are vitamin D deficient. Increasing intake will help sleep and other health parameters, including bone health and decreased depression.

Getting a better night’s rest is an upgraded away.

What are some of the ways that you hack your sleep?  Do you have a vitamin D story?  Share it in the comments!


Click to read the complete list of references.

  1. Prentice, A. Vitamin D deficiency: a global perspective. Nutr Rev. 2008 Oct; 66 (10 Suppl 2): S153-64.
  2. Gominak SC, Stumpf WE. The world epidemic of sleep disorders is linked to vitamin D deficiency. Med Hypotheses. 2012 Aug;79(2):132-5. Epub 2012 May 13. PubMed PMID: 22583560.
  3. Relationships among dietary nutrients and subjective sleep, objective sleep, and napping in women. JO Sleep Medicine. VL  – 11. IS  – 2.SP  – 180 184 2010/2// Grandner, Michael A. Kripke, Daniel F. Naidoo, Nirinjini Langer, Robert D. 1389-9457 doi: 0.1016/j.sleep.2009.07.014
  4. Huang W, Shah S, Long Q, Crankshaw AK, Tangpricha V. Improvement of Pain, Sleep, and Quality of Life in Chronic Pain Patients With Vitamin D Supplementation. Clin J Pain. 2012 Jun 13. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22699141.
  5. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h2
  6. “Vitamin D Council.” Vitamin D Council. N.p., n.d. Web. Aug. 2012. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-supplementation/
  7. Heaney, R. P. The Vitamin D requirement in health and disease. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Oct; 97 (1-2): 13-9.
  8. Vieth, R. Critique of the considerations for establishing the tolerable upper intake level for vitamin D: critical need for revision upwards. J Nutr. 2006 Apr; 136 (4): 1117-22.
  9. Vieth, R. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and safety. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May; 69 (5): 842-56.
  10. Vieth, R. Vitamin D toxicity, policy, and science. J Bone Miner Res. 2007 Dec; 22 Suppl 2V64-8.
  11. Branwen, Gwern. “Zeo Sleep Experiments.” Gwern.net. N.p., n.d. Web. Aug. 2012. <http://www.gwern.net/Zeo>.
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By Dave Asprey

  • pB

    Hi Dave, I’m a shift worker living in an area of NZ that has relatively low sunshine hours, having moved here some years back from the town that had the record highest sunshine hours. This past winter I started taking 2000 IU of D3 4-5 times a week. If I felt particularly run down I’d take an extra 500-1000.

    All in all I’d say it is pretty good, In my case I do take them at night – when I’m working a night shift – I call them my ‘sunshine tabs’ or in the morning before a day shift.

    Sometimes if I have had a hard day (or night) at work I will take a couple of magnesium tablets before bed. I also experimented with eating more seaweed for the iodine.

    • Natedizzle

      I work a lot of nights too, I wonder if taking vitamin D when I first wake up before night shift is the best! Wonder what Dave thinks?

    • Marlene Gold

      People need micro amounts of iodine, too much and your thyroid function is adversely affected.

  • Sean

    Dave, how about hypersensitivity to vitamin D3?

    If one sleeps very poorly following a 2kIU or 5kIU dose of various types of D3 supplements, what would you suspect is the problem?

    I sleep poorly following such a morning dose of D3… not only for 1 night, but the next night as well… Unless I take 1mg or so of melatonin at bedtime.

    • crl826

      Hi Sean, I had the same problem 5K IU of D3 was killing my sleep. I posted about it in the forums. Hope it helps. http://forum.bulletproofexec.com/index.php?/topic/775-vitamin-d-and-sleep/

      • josex

        I am curious as to how you got that deep sleep data?

        Also, it seems your ideal deep sleep was when blood levels were around 50ng/mL. That is the goal! The amount of supplement you take depends on many factors and is only a guide. However, it does look suspicious that your blood level varied so much when you went from 4K/day to 5K/day. Like others commenting there, I suspect there is some other piece of missing information.

        I wonder if you increased your intake of vitamin A (final-form, not beta-carotene) since that competes with D for access to cells. Something else you did around the red line might have led to less vitamin d uptake even if you were swallowing a larger dose.

      • josex

        Too much vit d messes up sleep. Too little messes up sleep. See youtube watch?v=qeb3PtkCd_c

  • just got my blood tested after taking 15k IU daily for about 3 months, previously took 5K/day, came in at 74.2 ng/ml. I haven’t noticed an increase in sleep or mental performance, but the HUGE benefit I got was my eczema that wouldn’t go away (even eating 100% bulletproof / auto-immune paleo) this seems to have solved it

    • josex

      Vitamin D is used by many cells to perform their function (at the DNA level). If the d in the blood is in a good range or if you aren’t sick, you won’t notice physical effects as the levels vary. Where it is noticeable is when you are very deficient and the cells cannot regularly do their work and also when you are nursing some sort of problem and the body gobbles up (or would like to gobble up) vitamin d trying to fight the issue. That has been my experience with my body and agrees with recent online videos/research I have come across. Feed it a lot when you are sick and it really helps. Otherwise, keep the levels safe. Consider going back down to 5K/day and see what happens. 15K might be fine anyway.. I at one point averaged over 70K/day. If you exercise a lot or have other chronic issues, you may prefer the higher dosage.]

      [Side note: I don’t think you want to have lots of vitamin d and lots of calcium if you are doing exercise or otherwise have strong bones. The calcium will pain your bones when you pressure them and may start to penetrate soft tissue like muscles. Also, if you have very low blood d and take a large d supplement dosage, you *may* feel sharp nerve pains in the chest area a few times. That disappears as the blood level improves and is preferred to the other types of chest discomfort and other problems (like skipped heart beats) that last longer and exist at low blood d.]

      • nancics

        I take 5k of Vit D oil capsules in the morning. I was deficient in the past so just have kept taking it. And I take 1200 to 200 mg of Calcium Citrate at night with 250mg of magnesium. The calcium because i have no thyroid and take thyroid meds and magnesium because I read it helps with the pain in legs often caused by thyroid issues. I do have pain in my legs/hips when I lay on my side…..pressure pain….it feels very deep…hard to pinpoint and hard to explain…..very weird feeling. So do you think it may be because of taking both high dose of Vit D and high dose of calcium???

        • Dave Asprey

          Get your levels tested with a doctor! If you’re on D and calcium, you MUST look at your K2 levels. K2 keeps the calcium where it belongs. ?

        • RainbowPrincess

          This was my recent Vitamin D count >>>

        • josex

          You have low D. 10 is low. Experts say you should try to get to 40.

        • RainbowPrincess

          Yeah,I know,I’ve been taking a vitamin D +calcium supplement lately,trying to get it up.TY 🙂

        • Suman

          Are you fine now?
          I too am suffering from low Vitamin d,mine is 7.
          Can you let me know how long it might take to recover

        • misscatholic

          My levels were so low , the doc prescribed 50,000 mg a week for 4 weeks. After that it was 2000 a day for a month that I’m on now. Then they will test again. The scale they use is 20 being lowest and 50 highest. I was a 22 and felt miserable, but now I’m at 44 and feel better but the 2000 makes me tired. vitD absorbs into your fat so it sticks around a while, I”m wondering why it makes me sleepy. The first round of 50,000 knocked me out and i had to take the day off work, but it got better after. Maybe just an adjustment? I will say you are really LOW. The prescription helped but it doesn’t really kick in until that last week, in some cases he told me it can be prescribed for 6 weeks . Get your blood drawn and get a really high prescription from your doc to get you back up, then you can start taking over the counter. You will never be able to get that 7 up just using over the counter vit d. 🙂

          Reply Like (0)

        • Marty Rosenberg

          That is not true. I got mine from 7 to 26 using otc. I took about 2500 a day. It took about a year.

        • Tessa Rei

          magnesium and k2 need to be taken with D3. Low mag will cause you to be sleep as I am dealing with the SAME issue now.

        • Cynthia McHargue

          Mine was 7. I’m now up to 10. Increased mine from 2000iu to 5000iu. We’ll see what it is when I go back next month.

        • Marlene Gold

          Optimal is 60-80 ng/dl
          40 is ok

        • Rodney Moore

          You testestosterone is 25? low test is 300 or under. I’m assuming that you’re lowering your test levels on purpose?

        • RainbowPrincess

          At my last check-up it was 9.99 ng/dl, which is right where it should be. 🙂

        • Rodney Moore

          if you don’t mind me asking, are you genetically female? the test is showing the male range so that made me assume you were male.

        • RainbowPrincess

          XXY, which is why I’m having to take steps to correct my levels to a genetic females range.

        • Rodney Moore

          Is there a way to private message via disqus? I looked but didn’t see a way…….

        • RainbowPrincess

          No, but here is my alternate FB profile; I don’t want a bunch of Disqus warriors getting my real name and info, lol. >>> https://www.facebook.com/Dancing.Crow26

        • Rodney Moore

          check your spam box (other folder) 😉 btw if you like the walking dead, they shoot that near the house and I take pictures. So check out my photo albums. You’ll have to wade thru a bunch of stuff but i have walking dead photos and dragoncon photos that you might like.

        • Alyssa Ludeman

          That TSH is too high.. I finally got mine lower by going on Naturethroid and now taking 2.5 grains of that. When your thryoid doesnt do well the Vit D levels wont either. Your testosterone is also affected by thyroid.. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis in 2011… had to do lots of research.. I would definitely take 10,000 IU of Vit D and I also take Vit K.

        • Daniel Bejarano

          How did you get the diagnosis of Hashimotos? Did your doctor alone discover it or was it a combination of your telling him and he confirming? I’m wondering because I will be seeing an Endo soon, and I’ve done research like you, but I’m not sure that he will agree to the idea, or if he will even care to confirm it. Did you have to mention it in order for him to consider it? Because as I’m sure you know, most doctors don’t like being told what we think, at least from my experience.

        • Erik Crossley

          I too have hashimotos & it took an actual endocrinologist to make the diagnosis.

          My general practitioner tested my TSH in routine labs & then began using as he saw fit. After months of me complaining about still not feeling well, he basically said I was within the acceptable range & should get over it.

          I found an Endo who did expanded labs to also look for the specific antibodies that confirm an underlying autoimmune disorder, which I believe is a telltale sign of Hashimotos. She also ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid.

          I’ve been seeing her ever since & feel a ton better now that she got my TSH down where she believes it should be for my condition.

        • Marlene Gold

          Optimal TSH
          0.2 – 2.0
          Doctors, for some reason, don’t test Free T3 or Free T4 or Reverse T3.
          These are just as important.
          Free T3 and Free T4 should be in upper end of normal range and RT3 should be low.

        • Rebecca Zerillo

          you need to have Thyroid Antibodies tested to diagnose Hashimoto. it is more common in women.

        • josex

          Cheese can help you get K2 (I have cheese if I take calcium pill), especially Gouda. I don’t see much benefit to taking calcium pills ..for me (I get calcium in foods and never felt a need for more). I have tried them but overall don’t notice significant gains; however, I get serious pressure pain if I don’t also eat things like parsley and lots of it. I think it’s to balance blood acidity (alkaline producing foods to balance acid forming foods i eat). Do get K2 and eat foods like [from vega-raw-diet com googled]:

          > Highly Alkaline Forming Foods

          > Lemons, limes, watermelon, Cantaloupe, Baking soda, sea salt, pumpkin seed, sprouted lentils, seaweed, kelp, sea vegetables, onion, taro root, lotus root, sweet potato, nectarine, persimmon, dates, figs, mango, papaya, parsley,raspberry, tangerine, and pineapple, celery, seedless grapes (sweet), watercress. These are the best alkaline foods

        • Troybruce

          So weird about that …..pressure pain……when laying down on my sides…my hips hurt deep too….like when I get a night with out pain that feeling really stands out more than the nights with pain….how does one get so used to the pain,,, that if its not hurting ,you feel like something is wrong,,,,,,, but no way at all do I like to hurt ..,.especially when I want to sleep……

        • scott

          First you need to stretch.Learn ALL of the types to get dialed in. you need someone to show you what the end ranges should be. Do the shin box switch. It is like the 90/90. You need to be able to get both sit bones flat on the floor then rotate. Yt= hip mobility / flow. foam roll and tennis ball. Most gyms can teach you how to foam roll, trigger point therapy/ neuromuscular massage therapist/ gabapentin start with 100 mg

        • Barbie Molina

          Take Vitamin K2, in the MK-7 form, so all that calcium doesn’t get into your arteries, muscles but instead, your bones. That thyroid issue you have may get better as well with that combo: Vitamin D, plus Vitamin K2 (MK-7), A good brand would be Jarrow per say 🙂

        • Leslie Anne Rubin Stepherson

          Hello Nancics,
          Your description of your leg pain (“weird”) caught my eye. My son has had inexplicable leg pain for over 8 years. We’ve exhausted all possible avenues; I won’t even begin to list the physicians and remedies he’s tried. Can you try to explain your pain? My son feels, what he describes as, what it would feel like when you are twisting a washcloth to get the water out; it’s behind his knees and radiates up and down. It started only at night, but progressed to 24/7. It doesn’t matter what position he is in. He’s severely sleep deprived and depressed along with other mental health issues. He now refuses to seek help because the doctors “failed him” and he had his hopes dashed so many times after each thing we tried that did not work. Please write back. Thank you.
          –Leslie S.

        • april

          @Leslie, If you are close enough to Cherry Hill, NJ you should absolutely make an appointment at the Magaziner Center for Wellness, Dr. Greenberg is amazing! They can help find out what the cause is of your son’s pain and then start healing his body. His pain sounds very similar to the pain I had in my knees and legs for 5 years and yes i saw every type of doctor possible. I am now receiving PRP injections which have helped immensely and will be receiving stem cell (your own) therapy to heal the damage in my knees and legs.

        • scott

          Here are some things you can try. A tight IT band could be the problem. It’s called IT band syndrome or external snapping hip. Foam rolling,Tennis ball, lacross ball,thumb,Thumper pro 2, IT band stretches and trigger point therapy. You can visit a Neuromuscular massage therapist N.M.T.I have the book trigger point therapy workbook by Clair Davies.This teaches you how to perform specific pressure and techniques to get the knots, adhesions to release. I’m sure you already tried ALL of the electrolytes Potassium, sodium,magnesium,calcium. For sleep Gabapentin really knocks me out and helps relax nerves. I can only take 100 mg. The 300 mg make me too lethargic throughout the next day. I’m suffering from an accident that twisted my sacrum. So now my entire pelvis is whacked. Exercise and stretching seem futile because the nerves are confused. The doctors have failed me too and made it worse with the wrong modality of physical therapy. For mood. It’s tough because of constant pain. Choline/inositol, lecithin, nervine herbs, tryptophan,tyrosine,5htp. No caffeine, lower CORTISOL with theanine,seriphos,relora,holy basil. Testing at canary club. Read up on pregnenolone steal,

        • caasicam

          research compartment syndrome

        • SewMaggieSew

          Hello, Leslie! Your son’s description of his leg pain is exactly how mine felt a few weeks ago. I am recovering from a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage, and am working with my doc on getting things where they are supposed to be. Anyway, I currently take 50k IU’s of D3 every other week, because of a deficiency. I’ve been home from the hospital for 7 months now, and started having those crazy painful wrenching leg spasms and was talking to my sister about it. She mentioned that her Endocrinologist suggested Magnesium for leg cramping, and it is somehow tied to the D3 issue. It’s all way over my head, but it’s all in line with Dr. Gominak’s findings and what has been published here. At any rate, in desperation I took some OTC Magnesium supplements for just two days in a row and the leg cramping/wrenching stopped. It also helped improve my sleep. Well, which came first, the improved sleep helped my body correct the leg cramping, or the leg cramping ceasing, helping in turn me be able to sleep better, who knows? According to Gominak, getting better sleep is the key. Whichever, I am most grateful. Hope this helps you some in your quest to find a solution for your son.

        • Marlene Gold

          Magnesium glycinate best
          Magnesium relaxes tissues, stopped leg spasms during the night. Take in the evening about an hour before bedtime.

    • Ray

      I had eczema on my fingers. 1 week after I started sunbathing for about 10min every day my stubborn 10 year old eczema of my hands vanished in one week! Wow!

  • Robert Palmer

    Do you take your vitamin D with food? I thought that vitamin D needed to be taken in conjunction with fat in order to be absorbed. So are you eating breakfast? Has anyone noticed a difference between taking vitamin D with or without food?

    • Dave Asprey

      With bulletproof coffee!

      Sent from my nobile phone. You understand…

      • mariah

        Please help. I have been taking 10,000IU Vit D3 for a couple of years bc I know I am deficient. Latest tests show I am still deficient (I follow a BPC diet including organ meats). MD has prescribed 1.25 (50,000 Unit) of Vit D2 to help my body absorb the D3.
        What is your opinion?
        Thank you in advance,

        • Lisa T

          Taking vitamin D alone is not advisable due to promoting soft tissue calcification. Rather, I would look into taking a natural sources of vitamin D, such as fermented cod liver oil along with high vitamin butter oil. Also, look into increasing your sulphur intake. Stephanie Seneff has written some great papers about sulphur and vitamin D.

    • Mike Orlando SEO Consulting PP

      I have been on a vitamin D2 regimen of 4000 IU for a week now, was deficient as per lab physical. After just a week, I notice higher engergy level, more alert, more focused, and wayyyyy better sleeping, I cannot even remember turning over in my bed in the last week, it is as if I am in deep sleep for longer time, ven better is that I wake up completely refreshed, it is th eonly thing I have startted to take so…time will tell but i feel better indeed, i know my body real well,….also, was on a prostate supplement because of BPH symptoms, quit taking that since I started the vitamin D and I can tell you…I go like a healthy 20 year old at 46 so definately a BIG difference noticed here

      • Eddie Garza

        Supplement with Vitamin D3 not D2.

        • Janet

          My doc put me on D2 about 2 years ago as my level was a 4 – yeah, i was D-deficient! I just had a holistic doc check my levels and I was at 35. He said I was low and wanted me to go on D3. I told him I was on D2 for 2+ years. So I was wondering if I can take both at the same time. I have a D2 prescription for 50,000 IU once a week and thought about adding 1,000 – 2,000 IU of D3 a day. Is that OK or should I go off the D2 and beef up the D3?

        • Eddie Garza

          I would stop taking the D2 and only take D3. If your levels are low I would take 5000 IU’s daily and get 20 to 30 minutes of sun daily as well. Check your levels in 2-3 months and once you get it between 60-80 ng/mL you are at optimal levels. Like I mentioned before, Vitamin D is a hormone that benefits the body’s hormones. It’s like energy for your hormones. Best of health to you.

        • Marlene Gold

          No D2, just take Vitamin D3.

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  • Chris

    I heard that it goes to better use when you have it in big doses, so I started taking 45,000 IU every Saturday instead of 5,000 IU every day. I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference. Does anyone know more about this?

  • John Lushefski

    I have actually noticed neutral or even negative effects of vitamin D supplementation (two years ago), but it could be due to a created imbalance. Without supplements, my winter blood level is 50-60ng/ml, so supplements don’t seem necessary. I am testing again this weekend to see how the summer affected it.

    • josex

      Make sure it is D3 (no no D2) and try not to go above 80ng/ml. Your “Winter” range is a good one to have always.

    • Marlene Gold

      Test near the end of winter when you normally would be at your lowest level of Vitamin D.

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  • Tyi

    As silly as it sound and as bad for you as it is. When I fry myself in a tanning bed I sleep better at night I keep my self to a every 2-3 session and no more than 2-3 times per week but when I do them I sleep a helluva lot better those night.

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  • Graeme

    Curious what anyone has to say about these result findings. Recommended daily intake in Canada (factoring northern latitude, sun exposure etc). Shows Canadians, on average are not overly Vit-D deficient and the recommended dose is only 600IU per day. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php

    • Marlene Gold

      In Canada, it was 2000 IU before and now bumped up to 4000 IU.

  • Graeme

    So, how is it you (BPE) can recommend 1000IU per 25p body weight?

    • josex

      Most people (eg, near 150 pounds) would to well around 5K/day. If you are worried, go to 4K, but you may have some ailment that would best be served at 15K/day or more.. for a few weeks to say a year. If you take a lot, have your blood levels checked. Short-term you are probably OK taking a lot. 5K/day is a good level for long term (if you are much heavier, you should take more).

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  • Chris Parsons

    Dave, have you ever tried a full-spectrum light for UVB exposure & “natural” d3 production? I’ve read that these lights can produce the same results as sunlight. What are your thoughts?

    • Chris, I saw this post late, and I hope you are still following the comments.

      You are definitely on the right track when it comes to full-spectrum exposure. Just by substituting normal lightning will full spectrum lamps in, e.g. an office, will give a good amount of vitamin D.

      This is however hard to accomplish in today’s UV-scared society.

      That is why vitamin D sunbeds, with relatively strong UV-output might be a better alternative.

      See here: Indoor tanning for Vitamin D

    • josex

      Some researchers feel that it’s best to focus on UVB and get much smaller UVA. This would be consistent with getting vitamin d and avoiding some of the skin cancer risks. However, many people that regularly come out in the sun getting “farmer’s tan” appear to be healthy towards bad skin cancers. UVA in small doses over a prolonged period (and especially in body parts that normally would get sun anyway and likely have extra evolutionary protections) seems to neutralize the skin cancer risks. I’m not sure, but do consider looking into short term tanning with a UVB-focused lamp that matches the sun’s output of UVB as an alternative to “full spectrum”.

  • Lisa

    I take 5000 IU per day…and i feel great.And i use it with my breakfast in the morning.I also use Omega 3 Fish oils,and Borage oil.I get all my supplements including these on iherb.Com ,and you can get $10 discount on your first order when you use coupon code ZQL811 at checkouts,and $5 off for every next order!You can save lots of money!Check it out!

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  • lopkiol

    I do have a vitamin D story. It’s about 4 years I can’t sleep more than 4 hours because of chest pains that wake me in the middle of the night. Last year I was found vitamin D deficient. It’s now about a year I take 1,000 IU/day. I am not deficient anymore but I still sleep the same way and I get the same pains.
    I fear that vitamin D deficiency in my case is only an effect. If you don’t sleep, your body is not producing it in the right amount for some reason. Taking supplements will not solve the issue. You’re just messing up your system even more making it believe that everything is ok while it is not.

    • Mariel Thomson

      Hope you see this. You are magnesium deficient, which can cause angina, sleeplessness, and much more [diabetes, depression, asthma, sudden heart failure, preecampsia, etc.]. D is good BUT it uses up magnesium. Almost everyone already deficient and it’s hard to get enough in your food. Right away take baths with a good amount of Epsom salts [magnesium sulfate] and get magnesium chloride [so called magnesium oil] for a longer acting effect. Read Dr. Sircus on magnesium. You can get the Mg oil cheaper from Swanson. You rub it on skin, let it soak in. You might need an ounce a day to begin restoring your Mg. I
      t happened to me, I increased my sun exposure, then had adrenal exhaustion symptoms which were relieved quickly by Mg.

    • josex

      I became more and more unable to sleep, mostly with chest pains and skipped heart beats but also pains in my head and extra difficulty breathing at times.

      The first time I experienced this was around the time I got a heel injury and it coincided with the end of Winter (March). Only months later did I try vitamin d. That solved my problem, but I used much higher doses than you have been using. A few thousand IU per day initially got rid of the pain, but I also had a foot injury that consumed a huge amount of D whenever I pressed on the bone trying to walk (vs walking less or walking on the forefoot only). It was obvious the walking on the heel drained my body of something that would lead to the chest pains and sleep problems repeatedly until I added enough D to counter it.

      I also note that I had almost completely stopped going out into the high-sun sunlight prior to the first episodes. My work is at night or otherwise at the computer in the house, and I begun almost entirely avoiding the mid day sun.

      Regardless of magnesium, without enough vitamin d, your body cannot heal itself. Vitamin d is used by many cells for DNA action to enable other processes to take place, and it is consumed in the process. It’s like a ticket needed to play. Also, the body has alternative mechanisms that consume less D, but they are inefficient. Also, if you have a sickness or injury, you will need extra beyond 5K/day. If you work at home and don’t venture out much during mid day, especially if you don’t live close to the equator (and I even live in Florida), then you will probably suffer from that as I did. Vitamin D solved it, but you will need a lot more than 1000/day. Also, being as deficient as you are, you will probably feel some short term sharper chest pains early on if you take more than 1000 IU at a time. That pain disappears and I think has to do with the onrush of vitamin d into the chest area after it leaves the gut+liver. Nerves touching both the chest area and other body parts have part of the nerve at very low d and the other part all of a sudden enriched with lots of d. But this effect leaves (along with the chest stuffiness and sleep problems) as your levels rise over days or a few weeks). Also, eat the vitamin d with a large meal to slow down that effect. Or have the D in smaller increments several times a day (but with some food).

      And remember, if you have an injury or illness, you may have to take high levels of d for a few weeks (I went over 50K/day for a few weeks). OTOH, if you don’t have other problems, you should be fine with 10K for a few weeks and then drop to 5K afterward.

      At least take the supplement during Winter. I certainly did notice a major difference in my body and it was not with only 1000/day. The research is suggesting harm to people who stay at low levels for a long time.

      • Edwin Medder

        Good reply. I’ve found similar results with my own bio hacking 🙂

      • Suman

        nice reply.Thanks.
        I am deficient in d with leve of 7.
        How long it might take to recover..any idea??
        I am taking 10000IU per day from 6 weeks…still no relief..

        • Marlene Gold

          Fat soluble vitimins take a long time to run low, and a long time to return them to optimal levels.
          40 ng/dl is a low normal, 65-80 is considered optimal.

    • LisaG

      Hi There!! Have you been tested for sleep apnea?? You may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) so I recommend that you get tested to rule that out. If you haven’t had a sleep test before, talk with your physician and have him refer you to a sleep MD. It’s a very underdiagnosed condition ( just like vit. D deficiency is) and it doubles your risk of heart attack and stroke if you have it and don’t treat it.

      • josex

        Nose stuffiness (eg, wake up when stop breathing and have to raise my head/chest.. like many older folks), head aches (sharp pain), and other issues that make it difficult for me to sleep (or feel horrible when I wake up) improve dramatically when I take the D pills (5,000 -10,000). It’s not that bad any longer, but I still “leak” D from a foot injury I suffered. I think many people with sleep apnea are D deficient. I think you fight heart attacks, stroke, and cancer (among other problems) by raising D levels to near 50 ng/mL (125 mmol/L). I feel the difference daily (heart irregularity, stomache aches, etc.. end), so I’m not just talking what I google (which I do). google The-Overlooked-Importance-of-Vitamin-D-Receptors.

        • Marlene Gold

          I know that high blood sugar can affect sleep quality also.
          Doctors may say your levels of Vitamin D3 are ” fine” but I believe within the normal range is an optimal range.
          For Vitamin D3, that is the upper quadrant of “normal”.

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  • Precious1mk

    Omg I found this out the hard way! I took 5,000 ius after dinner and could not fall asleep all night long! Never again. I will either take it at breakfast or not at all. Thank you for this article!

    • josex

      Did you get sharp chest pains also? That would leave eventually. You probably had very low blood d. You can take d and sleep as your blood d reaches a healthy level, but d pill (or even lots of sun)+sleep is a bad combination while your blood d is low.

      • Nick, Ireland

        Oh wow! The chest pain! Now it figures. My terrible insomnia that began two years ago coincided with daytime chest pain. Yet each summer I got more energetic and the sleep improved a bit and the chest pain went. It feels like anxiety pain without the anxiety and occurs randomly throughout the day. Pretty regular benign heart pounding too. Soooo I began messing with D. 1000 one day, 3000 another. I note now that since I started the chest pain is back in the morning and late evening. I have actually hit it with 5000 d3 at a time and for an hour or two the pain goes – as does my sinus allergy. Weird. I guess I am really, really low d3 and I am spiking my serum level with oral doses enough to temporarily cancel the deficiency chest pain. Right now I am 10K a day. I live in N Ireland and our weather is dark in winter. Even the summers can be wet and windy – which is why so many of migrate to our Celtic cousins in France and Spain for a few weeks or months. My test is this Wednesday. I bet my doc I am under 20 and I bet him double he has no patient in the practise

        • Marlene Gold

          We have the same issue with insufficient sun during long, long winters in Canada too.

  • Janet

    I learned that vit D has lanolin as one of the ingredients. I am mildly allergic to lanolin but also short on vit D. do you know of any vit D made without lanolin?

  • Searchin4Truth

    My fiancée has asthma, COPD and allergies.

    For 34 years she has had to call an ambulance twice a year, spring and fall, to bring OXYGEN and take her to the hospital with life threatening asthma attacks. She would get sick with flu or bronchitis most winters too. We’d be worried about pneumonia!

    In 2007, I read of Dr. Cannell’s research with vitamin D and we both started on 2,000iu a day. (Now we take 10,000iu a day to get our scores over 60ng/mL with a full meal to increase absorbency.

    Since 2007 and our first 2,000iu dosing per day 7 YEARS AGO, my fiancée has not been sick at all and she has not had a severe asthma attack since taking 2,000iu a day. She does not use her nebulizer at ALL and does not need Advair (at over $200 a month) (used to be 24/7/365 and she STILL went to the hospital!) and only uses her rescue inhaler even now (Central Virginia – boonies – high allergens!) occasionally.

    Don’t even hesitate to dose with 4,500iu a day.

    Better yet, get TESTED and dose to get over 60ng/mL (at least).

    At 75-80ng/mL most all cancers, cardiovascular diseases, cognitive decline etc. will be a thing of the past for us.

    Go to VitaminDCouncil.org for up to date medical research on vitamin D and LEF.org for everything else including vitamin D research studies.

    • josex

      Those strong contrasts in health experiences are consistent with what I have read and have experienced personally. Thanks for the “data point”.

    • Marlene Gold

      I have read that a level of between 65-80 ng/ml is optimal.

  • Aanel

    Excellent article, thanks.

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  • matsab

    My level was 13, and my doc started me off
    on D2, 50,000 IUs once a week. My level seems to be going up, but has not
    helped my sleep. Reading some of the links above, it seems D3 and NOT D2 is the
    way to go. My endocrinologist does not think it makes a difference. Also
    recommended dosage based on my online research is 5000 IUs once a day as
    supposed to the 50,000 once a week. . Any suggestions?

    • Eddie Garza

      Yes, Vitamin D3 (which is not really a vitamin, but a hormone) is the way to go. The body produces and uses D3. Go to youtube and search Dr. Stasha Gominak. She is a neurologist that “thinks outside the bun” if you will. She really is a big proponent of Vitamin D3 and making sure her patients are not deficient.

  • Al Koholic

    if you ever took propecia, you better test your vitamin D and all hormone levels

  • Lala

    This is such a life changer. I am an asthmatic that had severe insomnia and depression. A recent blood test revealed that my levels of vit d was about 30- defeciency. I’m from an island who move to the mountains in north of US and after only 2 days of 2500iu daily; My asthma symptoms have dminished and I sleeping like a baby, falling asleep at the same time and waking up the same time feeling rested…

    • Neha Shah

      do you take D at night or in the day? other posts say it induces sleeplessness if taken bedtime..i awoke every hour when i took at night

    • lorimav

      Same with both me and my mother’s friend. I was developing asthma until I started taking D3 in 2012. I finally had my D levels measured after I increased to 5000 almost daily for a couple years and I was still under 30. When developing asthma I must have been very low!

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  • WestOzGirl

    I prefer to obtain my vitamin D naturally i.e. from the sun, and before I catch some rays I make sure I have applied some type of oil or fat to my skin – either coconut/olive/tallow. This is to increase the oil content of my skin and encourage maximum synthesis of oil-soluble vitamin D. I also do not wash my skin for a day or so after exposure; only wash my pits, privates and feet every day.The reason for this, it takes a couple of days for vitamin D synthesised in your skin to be absorbed and transported into the body. I also prefer to shower in the mornings so any oils and vitamin D produced during the day is not washed off in the evening. In addition, I like to keep up my levels of sulphur, naturally of course, by eating sulphur-rich foods.

    This is from Dr Mercola –
    “However, the vitamin D3 that is formed is on the surface of your skin
    does not immediately penetrate into your bloodstream. It actually needs
    to be absorbed from the surface of your skin into your bloodstream. The
    critical question then is: how long does it take the vitamin D3 to
    penetrate your skin and reach your bloodstream? If you’re thinking about
    an hour or two, like I did until recently, you’re wrong. Because new
    evidence shows it takes up to 48 hours before you absorb the majority of
    the vitamin D that was generated by exposing your skin to the sun!
    Therefore, if you shower with soap, you will simply wash away much
    of the vitamin D3 your skin generated, and decrease the benefits of your
    sun exposure. So to optimize your vitamin D level, you need to delay
    washing your body with soap for about two full days after sun exposure.
    Now, few are not going to bathe for two full days. However you really
    only need to use soap underneath your arms and your groin area, so this
    is not a major hygiene issue. You’ll just want to avoid soaping up the
    larger areas of your body that were exposed to the sun.”

    Another great article I’ve read on this topic by, Stephanie Seneff, PhD –


    • WestOzGirl

      And if I need to supplement – during winter – it is with fermented cod liver oil.

      • josex

        Keep in mind that vitamin A competes with vitamin d for access to cells. You want to take A probably in 1K/day IU or around there while take D in amounts a few times as large as that.

        • Please God Why

          not really A and D are synergistic not competitive. they need to be taken together. here is a place to start. http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/update-on-vitamins-a-and-d/

        • josex

          I know A is needed, but I suspect that high vit A foods like kale, which at one point I began to eat frequently, require I take more D to get the same effect. And I have seen presentations where it was mentioned that D and A use similar receptors. I’m not sure.

          From an article at needs com:

          > ..there are still a lot of unanswered questions and resulting controversial opinions.

          > Vitamin A & D may compete for absorption; although each has its own receptor in cells, they also share one particular receptor called RXR. Some experts believe that because of this overlapping receptor, taking an excess of one vitamin will impede the uptake of the other one. On the other hand, some experts believe that the body will absorb only what it needs of both vitamin D3 and pro-vitamin A (carotenoids) and creates balance on its own.

      • lorimav

        There is a big fermented cod oil scandal. Respected people have broken off from the Weston Price Foundation and formed a new group over it. I am playing it safe and avoiding the fermented stuff in the meantime. Research the cheeseslave blog and Dr. Kayla Daniel for the other side of the story.

  • kremit

    no no no no . If you use provigil, D fights for the same spot as provigil and will cancel each other out. I experienced this when I realized my provigil started becomming a sugar pill. B vitamins is where it’s at. You want some D? Go stand out in the sun for 10 minutes a day.

    • qlad

      Sun? What is this “sun” you speak of?
      The only thing I can ever stand in is rain.

  • Pierre Robert

    hi guys’i have suicidal attempts when my vitamin D3 is low, have SMDD, PTSD, Manic, OCD, Lupus, menieres. Since may 2010 i have been on a daily 10,000 units of D3/5000. but they have me take 1 in am with no food and one in pm. opposite of what you are saying.. i keep bile salt diareah and IBS from morning dose. dont sleep til birds chirp and no sleep meds work but they say sleep disorder. first i have ever heard of not taking at night. i cannot do real sun with my lupus. Bloodwork done ever 2 months. if i am in limit and ever go ever other day on my vitamins i drop out of range, thanks for your ideas. Les Hanna Harper .

  • Tlaxcalli

    Um, my blood test nearly a month ago came back 30 from 30-100 range. I’ve been eating a lot of Vitamin K2 as well as calcium, which supposedly increases need for D3. I’ve also been having a host of ridiculous health problems. I don’t get much sunlight, especially now that it’s getting cold. My doctors seem to think I’m crazy, yesterday I asked my doc if I should take D because I suspected a deficiency based on my experience… though it’s hard to tell with all these overlapping symptoms. But one of the only conditions I found that could explain my extreme bone sensitivity is D deficiency. Doc doesn’t want me to take any supplements unless I’m seriously deficient, but I dunno… that test was before my horrid health problems, and K2 builds up in the system. I’ve started taking a supplement of 10,000IU Vitamin A + 400IU Vitamin D, and then another supplement of Vitamin K2 MK-4 (safer K2) + 1000IU Vitamin D, and I stopped eating cheese and MK-7, and FINALLY was starting to feel better. The first supplement only seemed to help a little bit with bones, if at all, and I was afraid the A was too much and am trying not to take that one. But I am pretty sure I felt better right after taking 2 MK-4 supplements with 1000IU D within a few hours … then today I started feeling worse again for unknown reason, I haven’t taken that supplement today yet… I wonder if the 1000IU just really helped but wasn’t enough. It’s frustrating because doctors I see aren’t experts on these vitamins, and I at first assumed the problem was my iron supplements they told me to take, so now they’re afraid to prescribe me supplements. But I am thinking about going and buying another Vitamin D3 supplement that is just the D3 by itself because I seem to be feeling a little worse than I did before I took the D3. Now I’m not sure but it seems like eating calcium/cheese makes me feel worse, so I will try more of taking the D3 with calcium-rich meals, but avoid eating a ton of calcium. I did notice mouth felt more gross today than the last 2-3 days, and I don’t know why… did my D3 just get depleted even more?! How much do I need???

    • Diane

      You asked, “How much do I need?” If you read the article above, it gives good guidelines. I’m taking 10,000 IU of D per day on the advice of my functional medicine doctor. I have some health challenges and don’t get much (if any) sun. I feel so much better with my D, and without it I get depressed and have insomnia.
      I noticed that in your story above, the only time you say you were “FINALLY starting to feel better” was when your D intake was highest. However, I think if you keep researching, you’ll find you need even more. From the video link someone posted, it would seem that 30 is NOT a healthy blood level.


    • Marlene Gold

      From the literature I read it is better to get your Vitamin A (fat soluble too) from a food source. Organic beef liver is the richest source of the right kind of Vitamin A that doesn’t need to be converted in the body.
      There is an increased risk of toxicity from supplemental Vitamin A.

  • dantonsdog

    was taking a D/Zinc/Ca/Mg supplement and in two weeks my eczema totally disappeared after dealing with it with steroid topicals for two years. I had to d/c use though because I was sleeping horribly…wide awake, though not feeling too bad the next morning. This clears it up…I’ll take the full supplement in the morning rather than through the day.

  • mosaicinmotion

    It is also now known that Vitamin D3, available over the counter, works much better than D2 (which is the 50,000 iu megadose most often prescribed by physicians) it is important to take vitamin K2 along with the D3, as well, because without it, you risk formation of calcium build up in your arteries…it acts as a director to send the D to your bones instead of soft tissue like arteries. K2 is found in high amounts in foods such as brie cheese, goose liver pate and Natto, a japanese soy cultured food is extremely high in it.

    • Marlene Gold

      Yes, and magnesium glycinate

  • kat

    I have a curious case. I have narcolepsy and am not currently treating with rx. I also am naturally geared to get sleepy as the sun comes up. When I need to force sleep at night I have to take vitamin d and a b vitamin combo an hour before ii lay down. I can take melatonin, valerian etc… or even b vits alone. but without that vitamin d… I am unable to fall asleep. I have a malabsorption disorder which was the main reason I started d’s. But I don’t understand what makes me prone to its relaxing effect. It also helps me sleep during the day if I take it in the morning. I’m pretty sure it’s not a psychosomatic reaction, but only because my husband had given me a beverage that had d in it(higher than in milk) unbeknownst to me… and again I got extra sleepy. any idea guys?

  • disqus_n1QnBQDDNu

    Is it valid to take liquid D3 in butter coffee? Or does the coffee/caffeine prevent vitamin absorption?

    • Marlene Gold

      The “hot”coffee may render it useless.
      Take it 5 – 10 minutes before.
      My opinion.

  • Gilbert

    Cool vitamins d 3 is good because I just read and so I have sleep medical problems so when I go to bed I don’t have a ounce of sleep so with this vitamin that iam taking that is d3 I have been feeling more sleepy at night and no wonder it is helping

  • Dave, what do you think of the use of melatonin? Historically, I have not been able to sleep more than 4 hours (I am 36).

    I recently started taking melatonin and I am comfortably sleeping more and better. I have more energy than I have ever had.

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  • Christina

    My mom had a vitamin D deficiency and she told me to start taking D3 supplements. I started with 2000IUs because that is what her doctor recommended, I then tried some supplements from Smoothie king called “sunny mood” which had 8000IUs of D3. The sunny mood pills were like a hack to life, everything was beautiful and I was the happiest I have ever been, but once I ran out, my mood plummeted. I started taking 4000IUs which feel more normal, I slept well, I could focus way better than I have in my whole school career. All of a sudden my law school classes made even more sense. I’ve always made decent grades but my grades in law school raised whole average points. Then I finally decided to get my blood tested and my doctor told me to just take 2000IUs. I listened and for months now have suffered with focus and sleeping. I’m going back to 4000IUs. It’s sometimes better to listen more to your own body than a doctor who recommends the average dose per person.

    • Sharyn Hanover

      When will people (not you, in general) realize that doctors know about medicines/drugs and not much about health and supplements.. When will the ‘people’ start researching health and take it into their own hands.. I have and am probably alive because of it.

      • Norrie Muir

        ….would you mind elaborating?

      • Russell Cunningham

        I agree. Fortunately I’ve found an excellent doctor who understands a balanced approach.
        So while an increasing number of doctors are learning more about diet, exercise and complimentary medicine, blindly following someone who’s primary education is funded and controlled by pharmaceutical companies is probably risky to say the least.
        Taking the NSAIDS that my first doctor prescribed for my back injury lead to stomach, duodenal ulcers and bowel problems. The medication for the ulcers caused headaches, kidney problems and worsened the bowel issues. The next medication I was prescribed included liver problems in the side effects! So I took self responsibility and started focusing in improving my diet, exercise and mental state. that was the best thing I ever did.

    • Ron W

      He lives dangerously who trusts, his money to a banker, his rights to a lawyer, his health to a doctor or his soul to a preacher.” –anonymous

      • A

        Love that!! So very true!!

        • Alphonsus_Jr

          Not really. It all depends on who exactly is the banker, the lawyer, the doctor, and the preacher.

        • Alex James

          It’s a metaphor for self-determination. Literalism puts the blinders on.

    • HarryJohnsonthe3rd

      Doctors sign an oath to not even be allowed to push vitamins at all. Only death causing prescriptions.

      • Shannon

        That is one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever heard. Without eating healthy, taking supplements recommended by my doctors after EVALUATING A MORE EXTENSIVE ORDER OF BLOOD WORK I’VE EVER SEEN, – &, in fact reducing the number of supplements I had decided on my own to take, including getting rid of a multi-vitamin- and following the prescribed doses of prescription medications – 2 of which assist- along with extensive self-education, mindfulness, self-love, constant introspection and self-awareness and individual and group therapies- prevent me from wanting to kill myself with every breath or blink of my eyes, hating myself and the world around me, help me to not want to destroy every rude, ignorant or breathing human being; 2 others that allow me to reduce the level of pain just enough so I can stand getting out of Bed every day, enough that I can handle sitting up, standing up and sometimes even allow me to do the simplest things like fold my laundry or take a shower or on good days adventure out into the world and enjoy doing things like taking my niece to the park or sit through a movie with my nephew or carry in groceries, even allow me to participate in strength training so I can increase my stamina and continue to extend the list of things I can do without passing out from the pain I feel on a constant basis from being internally decapitated and breaking my neck and ankle and shattering my hip NINE YEARS AGO… and never mind the doctors who have prescribed medications to cancer patients who are only alive because of those prescriptions, or those with severe allergies who are only alive because they have an Epi pen with them at all times, or the autistic children who can finally stand hugging their desperate and loving parents because of some doctor who found the right blend of PRESCRIPTIONS and therapies to help them, or the men who “feel like men” again because of a doctor who found them depleted of testosterone and PRESCRIBED them medications to ‘renew’ their ‘manhood,’ or the children with asthma who are PRESCRIBED inhalers by these terrible doctors who don’t want them to keel over DEAD because they want to play soccer or be gymnasts or smell a flower, or my 30 year old brother who suffered 3 strokes in 4 days and now takes medication PRESCRIBED by his doctor so he can live to see his 3 young children not only make it through the 2nd grade but continue on to high school, college, walk his daughter down the aisle and someday experience the joy of becoming a grandfather. But I’m not a doctor, so maybe your right and all these people, myself included, should just take bottles of pills from the grocery store that say ‘all natural’ and are sold over the counter to anyone with the money to purchase them, without medical examination, history work-ups and extensive blood work to measure chemical makeup and specific levels indicating what that specific body is deficient in and thorough evaluations of actual needs… you’re right, we should all just head to the nearest store, buy every one of the 100’s of vitamins and supplements & take them blindly each day. I bet you even buy your supplements based on the lowest price or because your friend is selling them in the side so she can buy better shoes, without researching that brand’s quality and absorption levels and capabilities, meaning you may be swallowing 1000 mgs of something but absorbing a small percentage of what you’re putting in your body. We should all just diagnose ourselves and take a multi-vitamin for cancer, heart disease, debilitating migraines, schizophrenia and skeletal degeneration and I’m sure we’ll all be healed!!! I bet the universal life expectancy would skyrocket to 150 years old!!! Smart thinking!

  • Manon K.

    In Canada, the recommended level of Vitamin D3 is 2000 IU’s. I am deficient in the summer when I take that amount. My doctor doesn’t want me to take more in the fall, winter, and spring because she doesn’t know if it’s safe. I am following the instructions of a naturopath.

    • Diane

      There’s information all over the Internet and other places, from reputable sources, saying that more is safe. If you are deficient, why not take more and fix it? The article above should give enough guidance.

      Your naturopath has access to information that should tell her all she needs to know. If we can find it, surely she can. There’s no reason to continue in ignorance. If it helps at all, I’m following the advice of a functional medicine doctor who has me on 10,000 IU and I do very well on that. If I run out and stop taking it for a while, the insomnia and depression are horrible…and I live in Florida! I don’t get much sun, though…it’s either too hot to be outside or I’m too busy to think about it.

    • Marlene Gold

      In Canada, the medically accepted amount has been raised to 4000 IU from 2000 IU.
      It is not as safe if you take it alone.
      You need to take Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 and magnesium glycinate (best absorbed) in order for the Vitamin D3 to work.
      The best time of year to test levels:
      Early Spring (Feb – April) as that is when your levels are lowest.

  • sue

    should you take Vit D with food?

    • Torg

      Take it with a meal with protein or fat. It’s fat soluble.

  • Nitzerette

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago. Pain all over, especially in the joints, insomnia, low energy levels. I was taking oral doses of Vitamin D, about 2000iui/day. Not sure it was doing much. But a couple months ago, I got an injection of 200 000units. Wow, increased energy right away! I think it only lasted for about 3 weeks though. My insomnia is pretty much gone, but not sure if that was the vitamin D, another new medication I went on at same time, or a combination of both.

  • Vikas

    I had recent blood test and my Vitamin D level to be around 8 ng/mL. Which is way lower than the numbers people mentioned in the post. I guess this explains my lethargic feeling all day. I even forgot when last I felt fresh and full of energy. I am just 30 and felt envious of other people full of energy and wondered what is wrong with me, I guess now I know the reason. I fail to sleep on time at nights and find it hard to wake up in the morning. I just started yesterday with 5,000 IU/day of Vitamin D3(with meals). I believe it is too soon to see any effects however after taking the supplement each time I experienced Heart Palpitation. Has anyone experienced that? If yes what is the solution? I was thinking of trying 1,000 IU/day to see if that helps.

    • Ive

      You might need to take Vitamin K. if you’re having problems with vitamin D you might be deficient in K.

      • Vikas

        Thanks Ive, finally somebody replied to my post. 🙂 I am pretty sure I am not Vitamin K deficient after looking up the symptoms and also my daily diet includes enough Vitamin K. In the mean time I switched from 5,000 IU/day to 1,000 IU/day and gradually tested and found out I was fine with 3,000 IU/day. Even with 4,000 IU/day I had similar heart racing feeling but not as bad as it was with 5,000. Unfortunately I have not seen much difference in my energy levels yet. But I was diagnosed with H.Pylori infection too. I tried to treat it myself natural way not sure if it is gone or not. But my doctor didn’t suggest to do anything with it. Not sure if this is causing Vitamin D deficiency. I would really appreciate if you have any more suggestions.

        • pb

          You will need a prescription from your doctor for 10,000 mg a week for 12 weeks, get retested may need to do it again for 12 weeks, myself and two sisters are under 30ng/mL, can run in families and we live in the north.

        • raisinbread

          The 10,000 iu that doctor’s prescribe is D2. That is not the type you want. You must use D3.

        • Dru

          Vikas, H. Pylori must be treated with antibiotic! It also requires other meds to protect the stomach lining. I am an RN. My son had it when he was 12. He was in so much chest pain…unbelievable…even had heart tests ran on him. H.Pylori is a precursor to stomach cancer which is deadly rather quickly. I have a friend who I helped get her pain diagnosed and she had H. Pylori. However, she began treatment too late, and died with stomach cancer only a couple months afterward.Please get a new doctor and get treated!

        • Marlene Gold

          My doctor rolled her eyes when I asked for H. Pylori testing.
          “What for?” Was what she said.

          It is not considered by doctors to be a serious issue. I read that H. Pylori is becoming resistant to treatment with antibiotics.

        • Marlene Gold

          Vitamin K2 is from meat sources
          Vitamin K1 is from plant sources

          An H. Pylori infection (bacterial) will interfer with your ability to absorb nutrients, from food and supplements.

      • lorimav

        Vitamin K 2 specifically

    • Suman

      Hi Vikas,
      I was diagnosed with Vitamin D Lvel of 7 last month.
      Taking 10000IU/day from past 6 weeks,still see no improvement in symptoms?
      Can you reply how long it took you to recover?

      • Marlene Gold

        Vitamin K2 and magnesium glycinate along with Vitamin D3.

    • lorimav

      Heart palpitations are often a symptom of electrolyte imbalance. Since D3 uses up magnesium, one of the important electrolytes and most people are deficient in magnesium, it is likely that your symptoms were caused by magnesium deficiency. Also take K2 with D3. That would not have to do with palpitations but you need K2 to put the calcium that adequate D3 has put in the bloodstream in the right places such as the bones and not the arteries. See Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox.

    • Marlene Gold

      In addition to
      Vitamin D3
      Vitamin K2
      Magnesium Glycinate
      rule out any thyroid disease issues:
      like hypothyroidism.
      People with hypothyroidism are often found to be low in certain nutrients.
      TSH (optimal). 0.2 – 2.0
      Check Free T3 & Free T4 too, both should be in upper portion of normal range.

  • Mark

    Looking into this it seems that vitamin D would act to decrease parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone is associated with elevated interleukin 6, which is typically elevated in insomnia. Elevated calcium intake would probably do the trick as well at least to some degree. I’m sure there are other factors and like anything it requires balance.

    I would imagine people who don’t follow a bulletproof diet can get away with less vitamin D.

    Here is an interesting arcticle on parathryoid: http://butternutrition.com/insomnia-calcium-stress-hormones/

    • Neha Kaul

      I’ve adrenal fatigue-related insomnia for years now and I’ve been taking 4000 IU of Vit D first thing in the morning (I’m 108 lbs) and have been having restless nights(more so than usual). how then do you explain the worsening of the insomnia with the vit D intake?

      • lorimav

        Low magnesium levels. D3 uses magnesium. If you are already low in Magnesium as most people are, you may get the classic symptoms of magnesium deficiency such as insomnia. Also take K2 with D3.

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  • Ferdinand Cadu

    You need to mention a very important factor, that you cannot take vitamin D without Magnesium, and the vice versa. I won’t say much about it because I need to go, but google it out, magnesium and vitamin D synergy, and see for yourself how important and crucial is to take them together!!

  • Not Convinced

    My hematologist diagnosed me as being deficient in vitamin D and prescribed 1,000 units per day in addition to the 1,000 already in my multi-vitamin. Within one week I was suffering from alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation. In addition, my entire body itched. Not very helpful for a good night’s sleep. I suffered through this for 3 weeks (thinking I had some sort of stomach virus) before researching side effects from taking vitamin D supplements. All three of my symptoms were on the list. I stopped taking it yesterday — including the multi-vitamin to see if the additional vitamin D really is what’s causing these intolerable issues.

  • Bill C

    Quoting the article, “According to the Vitamin D Council, 1000 IUs per 25lbs.” Actually, that’s the Vitamin D Council’s recommendation for children. For adults, it is 5000IU/day.

    • lorimav

      It definitely depends on weight. I was taking 5000 a day and had no idea that I was deficient. Most doctors today are willing to measure D levels and there are even home ordered tests that you send off which aren’t terribly expensive.

      • Marlene Gold

        Where we live, all doctors no longer test Vitamin D3.

  • Corio

    I take 10k IU daily in winter months. If you don’t think it’s safe, take this into consideration. In mid-day summer sun in a bathing suit you will manufacture about 25k IU of Vitamin D3 in about 20 minutes. It’s safe guys.

  • Rocco

    A lot of great information on this blog post, but nobody really discusses sources of good supplements. Recently looking on amazon I came across a review that stated the following:
    “Cholecalciferol is a synthetic source of vitamin D3, were it has been produced by irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from lanolin found in sheep’s wool. Since this is a synthetic form of vitamin D3, it causes elevated calcium levels in the blood. I have heart disease and I have had A-Fib, so I have had cardiac arrhythmias. I did learn that the heart needs the correct balance of magnesium, potassium and calcium. I also learned that if the calcium levels are too high it can cause a heart attack or stroke. So, already having heart disease I would not chance taking Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) in case it did elevate my calcium and caused me more heart problems.”

    Is this true and are there “better” D3 supplements?

    • lorimav

      Good information found in Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox. The author mentioned what is important when taking D3 and why. I am not sure if she mentions magnesium or not but my daughter cannot take D3 without magnesium.

    • Marlene Gold

      I read that a recent long term study found that taking calcium in supplement form increased the rate of heart disease, plaques, stroke, heart attacks.
      Calcium from plants sources and dairy (if tolerated) is best.

  • davea0511

    Wrong … 10,000UI is *not* what results from maximum sun level, but from casual sun exposure a few minutes per day. Most American, for example, don’t get hardly any sun exposure. Also the sun does’t give you vitamin D, it helps you synthesize it from dehydrocholesterol, which you don’t have much of so you can’t overdose on sun-sythesized vitamin D. Just get outside and walk for 10 minutes in full sun everyday.

  • Navin Kumar Kardam

    I havent checked my vit d levels but taking 5000iu daily morning for maintainance sake after reading the enormous benefits. Any comments??

  • teapot21

    Taking VitD really upset my stomach, so I took it at nght when I was less likely to notice and also my supplement load was less at night. I had no idea it was not good to take at night. I had even asked my functional med doctor if night time was ok or not and he said it was fine. Now I know it should be taken in the morning, but how do I avoid the really upset stomach? Taking it on a full stomach didn’t seem to help, either.

    • Lil Chick

      It’s not good or bad to take it at night. If it’s not affecting your sleep at night then keep doing what you’re doing.

  • George

    Hi guys, so I want to start taking vitamin D without going through all of the testing, I weigh around 140 pounds and don’t spend anything more than the average amount of time in the sun (also I live in the UK so during the winter months there isn’t much sun anyway), should I go for 2000 or the 5000?

    • Marlene Gold

      In Canada, the revised recommended “safe” dosage is 4000 IU, up from 2000 IU.

  • Corio

    In fall/winter here in Quebec, Canada I take 10,000 iu daily

    • Marlene Gold

      In Alberta, doctors no longer are allowed to test Vitamin D levels.
      I believe they know everyone is deficient.
      Frustrating, though…

  • JHoffman

    Hello, I know this question is very late, but I just came across this article and I’m hoping someone can help me figure this out. I am B12 deficient (111 six months ago to 377 in December 2015). I take 1000 mcg of sublingual methylcobalamin a day per endo orders. However, I have to take it at night because it knocks me out cold. (That part I do NOT understand because I thought B12 was supposed to give you energy). Hasnt happened yet. Regardless, I continue to take it to get my level back up to the high end of normal. My december bloodwork revealed a vitamin D deficiency as well. My level was 19. Endo says take 5,000 x 2 a day. I ordered sublingual D3 and am waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out the best dosing schedule? Most of you are saying that the D provides energy, has anyone experienced the opposite? I’m concerned if I take the D in the morning it will do the same as the B12 does. Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated.

    • xanton

      Yes, i’ve experienced d3 making me tired before. The reason is that either your brand doesn’t contain d3 as it’s stated or your level of d3 in your blood is devastatingly low. I can not yet recommend you a brand with 5k ius yet. Because i use multiple d3 low dose of 2k tablets from body science which works. I would personally choose dry capsules/tablets or softgels with mct oil. If you choose with oil soluble form, it has to be mct oil to avoid the product from going rancid.

    • Marlene Gold

      Endocrinology problems like Hypothyroidism, uncontrolled Type 2 or Type 1 Diabetes can make you feel perpetuslly tired. Check if your levels are optimal.
      TSH (optimal)
      0.2 – 2.0
      Free T3 should be in upper end of normal range, as should Free T4.

      Optimal fasting blood glucose
      of adults, non obese, non pregnant:
      4.6 mmol/l
      83 mg/dl (USA)

  • Jonathan Karlsruhe

    I suffered undiagnosed acute vit. D deficiency for years and it almost destroyed me. It shows up in different ways: killer headaches (more like migrains), poor sleep, reduced focus, excessive daytime sleepiness, really bad mood, super-delayed exercise recovery, you name it. Now I take between 5k IU and 15K IU in d morning, depending on the season — i.e. more with approaching winter. Also found that the only thing worse than loading up on vit. D at nighttime is going to bed with low serum vit. D. I take 400 IU in late afternoon, no matter my morning dose. Right now, I feel in heaven, killer brain power, and enough buzz and efficiency to rivak any ant. Phew!

    • Suman

      Hi Jonathan,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I was diagnosed with severe Vit D Deficieny with level of 7.
      I took 10000UI/Day for 6 weeks,still no relief or recovery from symptoms like you told along with joint pain,knee pain etc.
      My life is destroying.
      How long it took for you to recover?

      • Diane Owen

        A Little over a year ago, I had my level checked and I was at an eight. It has taken me over a year of taking 5000 a day to get to a 38. I am starting to notice a difference finally! Right after I asked to have my vitamin D level checked the first time, I was also diagnosed with MS a month later. I wish someone had thought to check my level before it got that low and caused these problems.

        • Marlene Gold

          People with autoimmune disease are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D (3).
          Canada has one of the highest rates of MS and researchers believe there is a correlation.

      • Marlene Gold

        Hypothyroidism can cause joint pain, knee pain etc.

  • Luke Campbell

    “Vitamin D is inversely related to melatonin, your sleep hormone, so it makes sense that taking it at night disrupts sleep.” Any studies showing this to be true? Obviously it seems a logical conclusion, nonetheless have you seen anything concrete?

    • Marlene Gold

      It makes sense for the same reason you need to get sunshine in the morning to reboot your circadian rhythm. This applies especially to people with S.A.D.

  • anil boddupally

    iam suffering with insomnia from last 15 years plz help me

  • HarryJohnsonthe3rd

    Proven fact that over taking vitamin D causes pancreas to fail. Good luck Davey

    • Mel Pratt

      Are you a medical professional who can cite peer reviewed research in professional journals? No well-educated medical professional will ever use the words, “proven fact.” So, you must have come up with your statement from your Holy Bible of Mythological Tales.

      • Marlene Gold

        Agree. Most newly diagnosed Diabetics are found to be deficient in Vitamin D (3), magnesium and other nutrients.

    • Dexter Mathorphan

      Drinking too much alcohol will cause your pancreas to fail.

  • misscatholic

    My levels were so low , the doc prescribed 50,000 mg a week for 4 weeks. After that it was 2000 a day for a month that I’m on now. Then they will test again. The deficiency scale they use is 20 being lowest and 50 highest. I was a 22 and felt miserable, but now I’m at 44 and feel better but the 2000 makes me tired. vitD absorbs into your fat so it sticks around a while, I”m wondering why it makes me sleepy. The first round of 50,000 knocked me out and i had to take the day off work, but it got better after. Maybe just an adjustment?

    Reply Like (0)

    • Your sleepiness is not caused by Vitamin D, it’s caused by the conversion process of D by the body which uses a lot of Magnesium. I’d say that you are probably deficient in magnesium.

      Vitamin D should always be taken with Magnesium and Vitamin K which will help get the Vitamin D into your bones where it should instead of remaining only in your fat.

      • Patrice McClure

        Can you take K if you have a history of multiple TIAs and are taking aspirin81 and nattokinase, E, ginkgo, and garlic, w/o any Rxs? I was taking K until I started having TIAsx 5, then added aspirin and NATO to my regimen. I also have to take immune suppressants rest of life.

        • Marlene Gold

          You need Vitamin K2, not Vitamin K1.
          Check with your doctor.

      • Martin351

        This is exactly why you see many Vitamin D supplements that also include magnesium. Also in some instances, these same supplements contain zinc (as it goes well with magnesium), and copper, which helps balance zinc.

      • Marlene Gold

        You are right.
        Vitamin K2 and magnesium glycinate (very absorbable), not magnesium oxide, a laxative form.

    • Joanne Fusco DeStefano

      I’m an 11 :/

  • Murtaza Ahmadi

    I have been drinking milk and taking vitamin d tablets every morning for half a year should i continue or stop?

    • Dexter Mathorphan

      That’s a good combo, eating something with the vitamin D is better.

    • Lil Chick

      Dont drink milk while you’re trying to fix anything. If you want calcium eat almonds or brocolli
      Milk is inflammatory. If you really MUST have milk because you’re addicted to it (usually a sign you’re addicted to the adrenaline response it gives the body) then atleast have pure A2 milk only

    • Marlene Gold

      I believe manufacturers enrich milk with Vitamin D2, not Vitamin D3 (D3 absorbs better).
      You need to take Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K2 and magnesium (not magnesium oxide, which is a laxative)
      and not alone.

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  • Russell Cunningham

    Yes, Explore information from all sources then filter it with your own wisdom, experience and intuition.

  • Nikiforos Chatzidakis

    For how long continuasly can i take 5000IU vitamin d3 supplement?
    Do i have to pause from time to time for some weeks or months to avoid any harm to my kidneys or elsewhere?
    Thank you.

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  • Sharon Kistner

    I have just been diagnosed with Vit D deficiency. For YEARS I have been telling my doctors about all the symptoms of generally feeling like I had the flu all the time. I was even sent to a oncologist/blood disorder Dr because my white blood cell count was so high. I am finally taking a supplement and ibam also going to start going to the tanning salon again once a week and utilizing it for light therapy like I used to tell my clients to do when I was a Salon Director. I hope I will get the relief I have been desperately seeking for years.

  • doctorsh

    Interesting. I have been using VitD at bedtime for over 10 years.
    Not only do I get great sleep using it at night, but I fall asleep faster, dream more and deeper and wake up more refereshed.
    There must be a U-shaped curve for sleep effects based on the timing of D.

  • Thomas Lavoie

    Same with me. I need 50 000 IU 2x per week and 5000IU 5x per week. 125 000IU per week.

  • lorimav

    D3 needs K2 specifically. Vitamin K could mean K1 or K2.

  • lorimav

    The poster below mentioned vitamin K. K2 is the specific form of K you would need, not K 1.

  • lorimav

    Just noticed that the last two nights. I often took D3 with K2 at night but with the addition of magnesium bysglycinate/malate I had refreshing sleep with fewer apnea episodes.

  • Janet Stone

    Thanks, great information. I recently did this blood test-last week-and the Dr. called right away to advise: #1 My Vit D level is 19 [Range 30-100] so she prescribed Rx Vitamin D supplement #2 My Potassium is 6.0 [Range 3.7-5.4] so discontinue my bananas, tomato soup and pumpkin pie {I eat one of these every day} and probably drink more water to help the kidneys dispense of the potassium. I also will retest as occasionally due to blood draw this can be faulty and retesting is needed to confirm.

    • blueberre

      From what I understand, the prescription D that a doctor provides is D2. I takes more D2 to raise blood Vitamin D than D3. I take over the counter D3 at 2000 per day and my blood Vitamin D stays about 50. My weight is around 135. I had increased to 5000 per day, and the tests went up to 70, which is still within range, but felt more comfortable at 50. I sleep well and take in the AM.

  • GreY tZu

    hi. just a question about taking vitamin d and k. if we are to take these supplements in the morning, and we are to take vitamin d and k with food, how does that work when i am just drinking bulletproof coffee in the morning? do i take the vitamins just with the fat in the coffee? or do i need to wait for lunch? thank you!

    • Connie Taylor


    • Marlene Gold

      You are supposed to take Vitamin D3 + Vitamin K2 and magnesium glycinate (best absorbed) with fat.
      Your bulletproof coffee has coconut oil and butter both sources of fat. You don’t need food.

  • Dexter Mathorphan

    Wrong, you need to take calcium with vitamin K. Taking calcium with magnesium is also a good idea. It doesn’t matter what you take vitamin D with but you will absorb more with a fatty meal.

    • Kathleen Williams

      Do your research Dexter, KD is right. Lots of great research done and reports by doctors of the need for K2 while taking Vitamin D3 or you will have problems with calcium depositing in arteries and soft tissues instead of teeth and bone, where it belongs.

    • Martin351

      No, they are right. Calcium is regulated in an extremely narrow range in the body. Calcium supplementation needs to be at beyond epic levels to cause a problem.

      On the flip side, calcium and magnesium should not be taken together, they compete for absorption, meaning the less nutrient in the body’s view is cancelled out. In this case it’s magnesium, calcium takes the front seat.

      K2 is like a traffic cop for Vitamin D. D pulls calcium into the blood to get it ready for absorption in the system. K2 is what directs it where it needs to go (bones and teeth). K2 also pulls it from areas it shouldn’t be (arteries, kidney stones, gallstones).

      While technically speaking, the 2 might not need to be taken right together at the same time, they should still be supplemented together within the same day.

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  • Lisa O’Brien

    Hi having been deficient in Vitamin D I was prescribed 6000 iu per day, for 12 weeks. I started sleeping terribly, waking up aching and uncomfortable multiple times per night plus constipation. I then discovered I should have been taking extra magnesium, despite having an already magnesium rich diet. I got a lot of relief with using Better You magnesium spray oil on my skin, but still very tired and achey and my Fit Bit showed on average 15-20 periods of restless rep per night. I found this article and as I was taking half the vitamin D dose at night, I switched it all to the mornings, but only a slight improvement. I was moved on to a 2000 iu dose of vitamin D fir the rest of the winter as my levels were good, but still lots of restless sleep, tiredness, aches. By this time I had implemented every sleep hygiene strategy I could to no avail. Then a few weeks ago I ran out of the tablet form and started using Better You Vitamin D mouth spray which is absorbed directly through the skin tissues into the bloodstream?. Within a few days my restless sleep has decreased significantly and my joint and muscle aches have improved considerably. I can’t see why it would make this difference, but would highly recommend it to anyone having problems with tablet form of vitamin D.

    • Lil Chick

      oral (sprays) absorb much faster than tablets which I believe go through your intestines /kidneys (I haven’t read up how it gets absorbed exactly) but I do know that people who use b12 spray and feel great over taking it in a tablet form (they can’t absorb it this way)

  • Dominique Lardi

    I just starte D3 & K2 spray in the morning and was exhausted the whole day. Tried @night & slept well. But the second night had disrupted sleep. Not sure when to take it. I have osteopenia

  • Dana Mallard

    I hear a lot about the doctors prescribing Vitamin D to their patients in this column which really surprises me. I thought most doctors didn’t believe or want to believe in vitamins and mineral supplements. They usually want to prescribe drugs that take care of the symptoms only.

  • armand

    Bingo, take it first thing in the morning

  • blueberre

    This article doesn’t mention the difference between D2 and D3. When a doctor prescribes 50,000IU’s of Vitamin D to correct deficiencies, it is usually in the D2 form. Lower recommended doses of 2,000 to 5,000 a day usually mean over the counter D3, although D2 can be purchased over the counter also.

  • Trudi Warn

    D3 k2 and magnesium taken with a healthy fat content meal as d3 and k2 are fat soluble vitamins

  • Marlene Gold

    Hypothyroidism can also cause these muscle and joint pains. Get tested. Hypothyroidism raises your triglyceride and LDL levels. That may be the cause of your elevated cholesterol.
    TSH optimal level:
    0.2 – 2.0
    Test Free T3 also.
    Ideally it should be in upper half of normal range.
    For full testing, ask for a thyroid panel.

  • Marlene Gold

    Insomnia can caused by a variety of reasons.

  • Marlene Gold

    Would you say get your calcium from dietary sources instead?