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There is so much news about vitamin D deficiency these days that you have probably already considered taking a daily supplement to boost your vitamin D reserves. But did you know that taking a supplement is no guarantee that there will actually be an increase in your blood levels of vitamin D?

I was surprised to hear this from a friend over dinner this past weekend. He happens to be a physician, so the conversation was particularly worthy of attention. He shared that even after one year of taking a daily supplement, the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D level in his blood did not change. Even though this is the experience of only one individual, and may not apply to others, it is noteworthy.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are sold with a detailed list of each vitamin and mineral and their amounts on the package. The ingredient list shows the sources of these vitamins and minerals. But there is no information on how much will actually be absorbed in the body.

This is clearly quite disturbing. When the FDA approves a drug, they want to see all the data that proves its safety and effectiveness. Vitamins are not regulated, which means that they are not subject to this level of scrutiny.

What is your experience? If you are taking a supplement, or giving one to your child, have you considered this issue?

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5 comments

  1. Anonymous

    I would love to hear more about this issue, because my Vitamin D levels tested as very low so my naturopath recommended some drops. However, I haven’t yet been retested. It’s very hard, living in the Pacific NW U.S., to get adequate sunlight since it’s cloudy 9 months of the year. I’ve started my son and husband on Vitamin D gummies (they wouldn’t take the drops), but I do worry that they’re wasted money.

    • Anonymous

      I understand your dilemma completely. It is important to do your research before you buy these products because the quality standards can be so different. Plus there is a lot of marketing hype behind them. Data on purity and bioavailabiity is not readily available.

      I am curious if you have attempted to build your vitamin D reserves through diet – milk, fish etc. I know there aren’t too many sources of dietary vitamin D. But you could give them a try.

  2. Bpage

    This is quite late in the discussion, but I was looking through older posts.

    Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol)  is what most general vitamsin have in them but Vitamin D3 is much better absorbed by the body.  I am a Registered Dietitian, and I have had clients and friends (as well as my mom) who have taken D3 (cholecalciferol)  and their D-Hydroxy 25 had increased.

    Most labels will say D3 if it  IS D3. If it doesn’t specify D3 and only says Vitamin D, you can assume it is D2 which is well absorbed by the body.

    • Bpage

      My appologies for not proofreading- a correction to previous post.  Re: the last sentence- if your vitamin does not specify Vit D3, assume it is D2 and D2 is NOT as well absorbed by the body.

  3. Tracy

    Vitamin D is fat-soluble, and fat can be carried out unabsorbed by fiber.  Since I eat a lot of fiber-rich foods, my doctor thought this might be a contributor to my extremely low Vitamin D levels.  I took 50,000 units Vitamin D2 once a week for six months and now I’m on 2000 units of D3 daily.  I take it with fish oil and a calcium supplement and my levels are hanging in there.

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