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Jeruba's avatar

Should people who are staying indoors be taking vitamin D supplements?

Asked by Jeruba (49339points) 2 months ago

What else?

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26 Answers

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JLeslie's avatar

Historically, I tell people who don’t have a tan over at least 50% of their body to get their D tested. Are you usually low in D? Do you expose your skin to sun usually? Or, do you usually protect your skin with SPF, clothing or shade. Being in the sun with 15+SPF is basically the same as being inside when it comes to vitamin D.

I think most people are deficient in D without supplement, unless they work in the sun all day or are purposely always trying to achieve a tan.

However, there is a caution that for a small set of people D can be dangerous if they have certain types of medical problems.

I take a huge amount of D to stay in normal range. I know a lot of people like me, but I know some people who don’t need as much. If I’m not in normal range my muscles are terrible.

If you usually get sun and aren’t now I guess you could take a little extra D. D stores up in the body, if you have recent blood tests and the number is very high normal you can probably float a while. Actually, check your calcium level if you have a recent set of bloodwork. If it’s normal I would say take some extra D for good measure. You can always just take a small amount. If your calcium is abnormal you need medical advice about taking D.

I’m not a doctor.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Not a doctor but I would be careful about taking Vitamins you don’t need (Or don’t know if you need them).
It slightly worries me to see vitamins sold out like this because I don’t think it’s good to take supplements for things your body is already producing naturally.. You could possibly mess things up. That’s only my non-medical guess though. I take melatonin and I know that taking too much can build dependence and stop your body from producing it naturally, so I am guessing it’s the same with others.

Maybe just take a small dosage.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I take Vitamin D supplements. I take 5,000 IU everyday doubling up some days to equal 45,000 for the week.
I was prescribed 50,000 IU but just do it over the counter.
You want your levels to be between 40 and 80, mine was 9 when I got checked.

I’d play it safe and only take a small dosage every other day, or once a week if you haven’t been told to by a doctor.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Better to eat the following to get vitamin D naturally.
Foods that provide vitamin D include:
Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
Beef liver.
Cheese.
Egg yolks.

I take vitamin C Powder in water once in awhile.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are so many products already “fortified” with vitamin D, and so many people already consuming vitamin supplements, that I seriously doubt that it makes much difference. It would be interesting to know how many of us obtain the bulk of our vitamin D from sunlight. I’d bet the exposure to actual sunlight for most of us is rather sparse, and usually restricted to our face and hands most days. As an aside, have you ever wondered where folks like Eskimos obtain their vitamins C and D?

johnpowell's avatar

I live in a basement with a tiny window and barely get sunlight. And I also get a shitload of blood work done every three weeks. I’m low on sodium but everything else is good.

If I don’t have a deficiency everyone else is probably alright. At least for a few months of sitting inside.

JLeslie's avatar

@johnpowell Do they actually check your vitamin D on your bloodwork? If your D is normal I find that fascinating. I don’t see how I need around 70,000 IU’s a week to stay in normal range, and others only need only 5,000–14,0000 a week without sun.

@Inspired_2write As much as I would love to get my D naturally, if I ate that food regularly I’d probably die from a heart attack sooner rather than later. Although, some people argue it’s not cholesterol in foods that is the problem. Still, my cholesterol total would be at least 330 eating eggs, cheese, and liver. I only mention as a caution, maybe @Jeruba has no cholesterol problem.

seawulf575's avatar

Even if you are getting outside, you probably need a vitamin D supplement. There are many variables to how much vitamin D you get from the sun. Time of day, skin color, exposure time, amount of skin being impacted all play into the mix. This article gives a good break down. Sunlight (specifically the UVB rays) interacts with the cholesterol on your skin to produce vitamin D. There is a certain amount of contact time between the D and your skin for it to be absorbed and be useful to your body. If you are covered up, less skin is getting impacted. If you are using a sunscreen you could be blocking the UVB rays and not producing the vitamin D. If you rinse off in the pool or the ocean or the lake or the shower, you are washing away the vitamin D you are producing before it is absorbed.
Additionally, your location on the globe could impact how much sun you need. Places where you get more UVB rays would mean less contact time is needed. Also, as was mentioned, skin color plays a role. People with darker skin tones need to be in the sun longer since the melanin that makes the skin darker helps to block the UVB rays.
According to the article, 40% of American adults have a Vitamin D deficiency. Also, very few foods naturally give you vitamin D, and the ones that do don’t necessarily give you enough. Cod liver oil is a great supplement if you want something that will absorb easily and meet your needs.
Too much vitamin D can have a toxic effect. Not really a danger, but just something to be aware of. The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IUs. If you take in 60,000 IUs daily for several months, you could bring on symptoms of toxicity. Vitamin D is what your body uses to help absorb and use Calcium. The toxic effect is from too much calcium building up in your blood stream. So I guess if you are taking THAT much vitamin D you probably need to cut back.

jca2's avatar

I get my levels checked every year. My D is traditionally abnormally low or low normal. My doctor cautioned me that when people have low D, they don’t know because our bodies don’t show any symptoms until our bones start breaking and then your back breaks and it’s too late, because you can’t do much for a broken back.

Last year, a friend who is in her late 50’s told me she was doing a lot in her house during the summer and her back started hurting terribly. Long story short, she ending up learning her D was extremely low and her back was broken. This is exactly what my doctor told me might happen. Of course, my friend is only one person but you need D for strong bones.

I take a gummy every day to keep in the normal zone.

snowberry's avatar

I take vitamin D3 regularly. I have discovered that if I don’t, I get sick.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My doc tests for it on routine physicals. I asked him how many he finds are low and he said most are. I take a supplement to keep it in the normal range. If I don’t it drops to about nothing. I don’t get sick much or at all anymore. Sinus infection at times but that’s about it.

snowberry's avatar

My doctors have told me that people who live with a lot of cloud cover (such as where I live now, in Indiana) or live mostly indoors are always deficient in D.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t know.
I have been taking D3 since I was diagnosed with MS a decade ago.
Ms-ers typically are low in D.
I often read that 15 minutes outside per day is enough D for the average person.

SEKA's avatar

When being D deficient became the topic of discussion years ago, I spoke with my doctor and he said that most of us are deficient in vitamin D and that taking vitamin D supplements is a waste of time because our body doesn’t absorb D from just taking vitamins. He suggested that I make it a habit to find a minimum of 15 minutes a day to sit out in the sun. He said that our face and hands can absorb enough D in 15 minutes to keep us going. Since then, I find at least 15 minutes every day to go outside and sit in the sun. When we have rainy days, I add an extra 15 minutes for every rainy day into my sunny days. In the end it all equals out.

Jeruba's avatar

Some people stay indoors because they have to. They do not have the luxury of choice.

Brian1946's avatar

Up until Jan 2014, I was taking 1000 mg of D a day. Then I got a blood test, and the doctor recommended that I take 5000 per day.

So I’d say that it would probably be a good idea for couch potatoes, photophobes, tube boobs, and troglodytes to do the same.

For me this raises the question, how do cockroaches get their vitamin D, or do they need it?
I bet bed bugs think they’re getting enough from humans, but I hope they’re wrong!

chyna's avatar

So @SEKA ‘s doctor says not to bother and @Brian1946‘s doctor says to take vitamin D. Which doctor is right?

jca2's avatar

My doctor says take the supplements and when I don’t take them, my D level is below the low range.

Brian1946's avatar

@chyna

I think one way to determine that, would be to get a followup blood test, after taking the recommended amount for awhile.

I haven’t done that, but I think https://www.fluther.com/users/ARE_you_kidding_me/ has.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I think the question should be, is @SEKA ‘s doctor testing her vitamin D level, or just thinks Americans (is SEKA American) get plenty in their fortified food and from sun? I can’t tell you how many doctors and nutritionists said this to me 15 years ago. Told me it doesn’t need to be tested. Now, most of them have turned the corner and started testing and realize at least ⅓ of America is deficient. Some doctors still insist on the old parameters being correct where the range had a lower number at the bottom of normal.

@SEKA Do you have your D tested?

D is not a waste of time for me, I am practically a cripple without it. I would love to go in the sun for my D, but I would wind up with more wrinkles and probably more skin cancer than I am already destined for. I did try 15–20 minutes a day 4–5 times a week and I was still very deficient.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Brian1946 I have, I took a prescription for a while but now I take a D-enhanced cod liver oil that also has the added positive effect of raising my HDL. It works better than the prescription D ever did. I get re-checked every year.

jca2's avatar

I agree, @JLeslie. At work, in my office, I put my desk right near the window (the whole wall is windows) and I’m getting rays all day. I wear sunscreen all over my face and neck but my D is still low without supplements.

When I was 30 and first got the job I have now, I went to the dermatologist for something and while there, I asked what I could do to reduce the signs of aging. He said “wear sunscreen every day.” He recommended just a moisturizing sunscreen like Almay or Olay, all over my face. Some friends tell me their makeup has sunscreen in it, but chances are we don’t put makeup all over our faces, neck and cleavage area so that wouldn’t cut it.

raum's avatar

Vitamin D
Vitamin C
Zinc

Vitamin D and vitamin C you can probably get from food. Zinc is tricky. In correct amounts, it can help immune system. But in incorrect amounts, it can actually adversely affect your immune system.

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