how fast do vitamins build up in your body?

Well, according to my most recent blood test, I am deficient in vitamin D. Since I know that even if I try I probably won’t get enough direct sunlight, I got myself a bottle of vitamin D pills. How long will it take to build up a good supply in my body? Will taking a lot of them at once help, or just give me a stomachache?

Please do NOT start gobbling handfuls of vitamin D pills - high amounts are toxic.

The person who gave you your blood test - did this person not discuss this with you?

Seriously - you need to do some research and talk to your doctor or a nutritionist.

Fact sheet on Vit. D

Fat soluble vitamins (A and D and E) build up in, I think, your fat.

Water soluble vitamins (B and C), don’t – they get excreted on a daily basis.

This link says you need 15 minutes of sun exposure twice a week. Is that truly unlikely for you?

That’s to maintain normal levels, assuming one already has them.

When one starts significantly deficient, (and the number of people who are deficient is surprisingly high, perhaps up to a third or more of people who live in more northerly climates) one needs more than that.

I’ll generally prescribe 50,000 U of vitamin D2 3 x a week for 6 to 12 weeks, then switch them over to 1000 U of D3 daily after that.

But my patient population sees less sunlight than many folks.

I’d imagine your patients get a less varied diet, and less fresh food, than many folks. Do you find many with vitamin or mineral deficiencies?

At COMMON intake levels, this happens. You can overdose on even water soluble vitamins.

I’ve had a gastric bypass, which creates 2 problems. The first is the shortened small intestine means I absorb just about half the nutrients a normal person does. The second is that my stomach is no longer in the circuit, so the surfactants the stomach introduces into the digestive process are not there.

Addressing these problems, I take a general maximum strength vitamin daily, which provides everything except B12, because a surfactant is necessary for B12 to be absorbed in the duodenum, which is bypassed. I take an additional shot of a liquid B complex sublingually, because that will absorb through the mucous membranes in the mouth.

So, my regular physician sends me to an endocrinologist, who has me take Slow Niacin on top of the vitamins I take already; I was consuming about 5 times the RDA of all B subtypes and peeing the most strange shade of orange I’ve ever seen from my bladder. After about 6 months, my PCP ran an all purpose liver panel on me, and two enzymes were way high, and two other elevated but not in the ozone like the first two.

The indication was vitamin B overdose. I stopped the Slow Niacin immediately, and it took about a year for the liver panel to come back to earth.

Foods are not a good source of vitamin D. It is meant to be gotten from sunshine. Milk is, of course, fortified with vitamin D, but only to the tune of 100 u/8 oz. Dairy products otherwise lack vitamin D, unless they’re fortified with it specifically.

400 U/day was thought to be a healthy supplemental level for those who did not get adequate sun (i.e. most of the US in the winter, the angle of sunlight is very important in production of vitamin D also). But recent studies are tending to show that 1000 to 2000 U/day may be preferable.

Further data and references available (in powerpoint format) upon request.

(I presented a whole damn talk about Vitamin D to about 40 physicians and allied health professionals earlier this year).

BTW, vitamin D is really not a vitamin. It’s a steroid hormone which regulates how well calcium is absorbed from the gut. Not enough of it, and less than 15% of dietary calcium will be absorbed. Adequate amounts will result in over 30% being absorbed, and in pregnant or lactating women, over 80% may be absorbed.

And no, we really don’t see other vitamin or mineral deficiencies in most of our otherwise healthy patients, even in prison.

My nutritionist recommended I read The Vitamin D Cure. He said that at least 40% of the population is D deficient. He had me on very large doses for 10 weeks and now at 1000 IU daily.

I did find it helped with some with my energy levels and it is my opinion that I am having less bouts of depression since I have started taking it.

Good luck!

And also be careful about popping those Elmo vitamins, as discussed at about 1 minute in.

While I’m generally quite the skeptic about these sorts of claims about various vitamins, minerals and foods, I must say that after researching the issue fairly extensively (there’s a bang-up article in the New England Journal of Medicine:, I think there’s a real significant need to get more vitamin D into a LOT of people. For a wide variety of health problems.

That figure applies to Caucasians - many Africans would require more than that to produce adequate vitamin D. I have no way of knowing the OP’s skin color but if he or she is particularly dark that might be a factor.

Sorry, I wrote my OP late at night and it must have come out weird. I am most definitely not planning to OD on vitamin D, I was just curious about how soon I can expect to not be deficient anymore, and I was having trouble finding that information online. I’m particularly concerned about vitamin D because I know it has a lot to do with calcium absorption and I have an irrational fear of developing osteoporosis later in my life.

Is 50,000 there a typo? Because I have 1000 U pills and I can’t imagine having to take 50 of those twice a week. Although I have D3, so maybe that makes a difference?

I am pretty fair-skinned, but I tend to cover up a lot with clothes. Less skin showing means less vitamin D from sunlight. This may be why I’m so deficient to begin with.

Thanks everyone for the information!

Wow! What a fascinating read. I can’t believe how many problems vitamin D deficiency causes! Thanks for posting that.

Prescription vitamin D is 50,000 IU of ergocalciferol. So it’s just 1 capsule 2 - 3 times weekly. Our generic of it is very small and actually kinda pretty.

Side note – in the last three months I have begun taking my break at work outside. My 30 minutes of sun exposure a day has had a marked effect on my attitude and energy levels.

just an update: here’s a recent TIME article on Vitamin D.

As a very good rule of thumb, true. But people have been living in the eight-months-per-year in-the-dark north for thousands of years. Many local fish here contain ample vitamin D. Perch: 13µg, whitefish 17µg and zander (pike-perch): 24.5 µg per 100 grams. As 10 µg equals 400 U, just a three-ounce slice of delicious freshwater predatory fish will give one up to 1000 U of vitamin D. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t have made it through the past millennia. Please note that many other fish contain very little vitamin D.

Well, back when I was having seriouse metabolic issued with myself thanks to an errant parathyroid, by the end of the summer just before the operation I literally couldn’t stay awake, I would go dead at about 7 pm, sleep like a corpse until 530 am get up, get ready for work and drag myself in. I would drink red bull literally a can every 2 hours to try and stay awake and I would still be nodding off after lunch. I was on serious suppliments trying to get stabillized. My dexiscan was horrid but I was told that if I hadnt worked heavy labor and done lots of dairy as a teen it would have been worlds worse. I essentially started out with a mans heavy labor type skeleton, not a more gracile female office workers bones. I still lost almost 2 inches in height.

2 weeks post op, my panels came back almost totally normal, and I was back to being alive. The difference was l ike night and day.

I do a good multivitamin, extra calcium/potassium/magnesium and vit D, and I deliberately will sit on my deck in the sun for at least 10 minutes every day winter or summer. I also tend to make more of my foods from scratch than convenience packaging, so I know I have a good assortment of micronutrients and less of the preservative and texturizing chemicals.

Nope, I am sitting here looking at 5 that I didnt get around to taking, 50,000 IU, 1 per week for 3 months [the operation hit in the second round of taking them. I havent gotten around to disposing of them yet. Im being lazy.]

I really should dump them, as ODing can be pretty nasty for something that is so lifesaving.