I Have Vitamin D Deficiency?!

Interesting. I was told at my last checkup that I have vitamin D deficiency, too. I never use sunscreen (me bad) and I live in Texas, where there’s plenty of sun and I am often out in it. I walk my dogs twice a day.

Sometimes I wonder if some Blood Test Regulation Conspiracy in the Sky doesn’t go in and change “normal” values in order to drive sales of supplements, etc. Nah. Nothing like that could be going on.

So… this means I can wrap my vitamin D pill in bacon? All-RIGHT!!

My suspicion is that in the past, they pretty much set the RDA for vitamin D, and if you didn’t have some gross manifestation of deficiency, it was neither tested for or worried about.

Nowadays, I suspect the blood test is much cheaper and is probably done as part of regular care, and doctors are finding that people are much more deficient than they realized.

It’s almost certainly due to some sort of measurement advance, not some other problem with nutrition; I’m sure everyone in the 20th century was just as deficient as today, but nobody knew.

It seems like a lot of people have vitamin D deficiency. I have noticed it is one of the hardest vitamins to get.

Is Vitamin D deficiency linked to depression at all? I have heard both ways. But a doctor told me the myth persists because people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) show real clinical depression, this peaks during the winter months, and just happens to coincide with the time people also get the lowest sun exposure and consequently have lower D levels in blood.

In any case, taking 5000 IU of vitamin D every day has done me no tangible good at any level.

Is “getting more sunlight” a meaningful treatment for most Vitamin D deficiencies, or are we talking about problems with the body just not using the sunlight it’s getting? 19th century novels are replete with protagonists who are advised by their doctors to move to a different climate - is this a case where “Take a trip someplace sunny - I don’t know, Hawaii maybe, or the South Pacific, or the Caribbean, or Key West, or Egypt maybe, but stay the hell away from Anchorage for a bit.” could really help?

Everyone I know has had their Vitamin D levels come back low. I was surprised to discover that I Don’t Have a Vitamin D Deficiency!

I thought I read somewhere that bathing after sun exposure will wash away the vitamin-producing oils from the surface of your skin before they’ve had a chance to penetrate into the bloodstream. Maybe we’re all just too clean to get enough Vit D?

Every time I visit a doctor here in Seattle the question is asked are you taking vitamin D supplements?

And the normal range was recently raised. Used to be 20 and below was “low”; now 30 and below is reported out as “low.” What is actually ideal is unclear.

Your otherwise excellent list also neglects to include the impact of obesity on Vitamin D levels. Here’s one authoritative summary:

Here’s another that summarizes some of the debate over what “normal” should be. It really is not clear and likely in truth varies between individuals based on other factors that we do not yet quite get. (For example Black Americans have lower Vitamin D levels but less osteoporosis.)

One more review:

Lightlystarched - not true.

Vitimin D production has nothing to do with surface oils in humans. It requires penetration of the skin by UV (which happens if you don’t use sunblock). Wash all you want after sun exposure, it makes no difference to D production.

Some vitamin D precursors are made on the surface of this skin. It seems reasonable to expect that these washing could remove these.

How would vitamin D on the surface of the skin get into the body?


Well transdermal absorption is possible and a fat soluble vitamin in an oil is a good vehicle for that. That said, even IF it turned out that some portion of vitamin D from sun exposure was made in surface oils that needed to be present for extended periods of time to be absorbed, the amount of vitamin D made within the skin, with oils washed off afterwards, is ample after even brief exposures to adequate sunlight. You can bathe after modest sun exposre without worry that it will negate adequate impact on vitamin D production. The open question is how to balance the vitamin D production benefit from the increased cancer risk harm: what constitutes appropriate modest sun exposure?


I also found this article, following trends in vitamin D levels.

Independent of the increase caused by definition creep, there is real decrease in vitamin D levels across all groups both pooled and by subgroup analysis. Men and youth have dropped the biggest from 1988-1994 period to the 2001-2004 one, but all subgroups dropped. Using the under 30 defintion of vitamin D insufficiency

The op made a list of all the dietary D they are getting, then asked “what am i missing?” Sunlight is missing.

Well we also do not know whether or not Jim B. is obese or not, which again also can play a role.