A Robust Supplement
A Robust Supplement
A supplement containing 50,000IU of vitamin D can sound like a huge amount. Most general recommendations advise people to supplement with 400-800IU of vitamin D. In what cases might a doctor prescribe such a high amount of vitamin D?
Why is vitamin D important?
Also called the sunshine vitamin, this nutrient is critical for building strong bones and maintaining a healthy immune system. Deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to depression, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and the risk of certain cancers. Especially in areas of the country that regularly have overcast weather, vitamin D deficiency can be a common problem.
Higher amounts of supplementation
For the majority of the population, a daily intake of 400-800IU of vitamin D is adequate. Even on the high end, this would only equal about 5,000IU weekly. However, some research has shown that some patients who are vitamin D deficient may need up to 50,000IU weekly to reach normal ranges.
Who is at risk?
Vitamin D deficiency is more common than many people realize. Around 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in the nutrient. People who are at risk of vitamin deficiency include those who live in climates that don’t get a lot of sun and people who eat a diet low in the nutrient, such as a vegan diet. At-risk patients can also include those who have health conditions that prevent proper nutrient absorption. Older patients and those with dark skin pigmentation are also in the high-risk group.
Some health conditions are directly linked to a nutrient deficiency. For example, one study showed that people who had adequate levels of the vitamin were at a 62% lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and cystic fibrosis can all interfere with vitamin absorption. People with any of these specific health conditions may get a prescription for a particularly robust vitamin D supplement.
Testing nutrient levels
Patients should get a blood test from a healthcare provider to find out where nutrient levels are at before starting any supplement. Too much vitamin D can lead to loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, excessive thirst, and frequent urination. These symptoms are not just uncomfortable but can also be a threat to a person’s health. People should avoid taking supplements unless advised by a healthcare provider.
Find out more
Though vitamin D deficiency is common, all patients should consult with a healthcare provider before starting a supplement. A healthcare provider can test a patient’s current nutrient levels and provide recommendations for treatment.