T Nation

Vitamin D


EDIT: Anyone new to this thread should also check out http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/d_is_for_doping

Below is a collection of articles and posts about Vitamin D:


Here's from the article:

  1. Vitamin D is probably a lot more important than we have previously thought. To be honest, it very well might be the next fish oil. As a hormone that regulates calcium, phosphorus, bone metabolism, and neuromuscular function, it's clear that this vitamin has broad-reaching effects.

Beyond the classic bone implications, recent research has demonstrated an association between Vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke ? and those who get more sun exposure actually recover from cancer faster than those with limited sun exposure.

There's evidence to suggest a link between Vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis, the flu, diabetes, and various neurological disorders.

The problem is that it's estimated that one-third to one-half of (otherwise healthy) middle-aged and elderly individuals in the US are deficient (defined as below 15 ng/ml, typically).

The amount of Vitamin D produced in the body is markedly higher in warmer climates than you get in the cold white North (or South, if any of you readers happen to be on vacation in Antarctica).

Knowing how it impacts the aforementioned factors, it's not a stretch to say that Vitamin D can have implications for us muscleheads both in terms of performance and health ? and we're talking beyond just weak bones.

Siraj Ahmed was actually my first Boston client when I moved back here in 2006. From his name and the video below, you can tell that Siraj is of Indian descent. Combine his skin tone with his geographic location and the fact that he's stuck in an office more than he'd probably like, and you'll discover quite quickly why he's a candidate for Vitamin D deficiency.

When we first started working together, Siraj was 158 pounds and dealing with elbow, neck, and lower back issues. He couldn't bench press pain-free, and deadlifting was definitely out of the question.

The interesting thing was that none of these issues were "true" pathologies; it was more along the lines of general aches that were a nuisance when he tried to push it in the weight room.

We integrated some appropriate mobility/activation work and also implemented strategic deloads more effectively ? and his symptoms started to resolve. It wasn't until later that he told me his doctor had found that he was Vitamin D deficient on a blood test, and he'd been prescribed 50,000 IU once a week for four weeks.

While he got some benefit from the Vitamin D alone, it wasn't until he integrated it with an appropriate exercise regimen that the pain really dissipated.

Approximately one year later, Siraj is pain-free at a body weight of 178 pounds ? and he pulled 420 a few weeks ago:

I'm not saying that Vitamin D is a cure-all, but it's definitely something to:

A) Make sure you're consuming in adequate amounts.
B) Make sure you're getting via sunlight.
C) Look into if you have generalized pain and weakness, especially in multiple joints.

As an interesting little note, it's believed that aside from eating plenty of fatty fish, it's virtually impossible to get sufficient Vitamin D from your diet without supplementation of some sort. Sounds kind of like fish oil, doesn't it?

Eric Cressey

D3 Dosing Questions
D3 Dosing Questions
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From the article:
T-Nation: What would you say is the most underrated supplement on the planet?

Bowden: Vitamin D. People are finally beginning to know about fish oil, but they haven't learned yet that we're massively deficient in vitamin D. New studies have shown that people with the highest level of vitamin D had a 27 percent less chance of dying from any cause whatsoever.

Vitamin D helps prevent cancer, it increases physical performance in older adults, it's a mood enhancer, and it's a bone strengthener. It's a vitamin we just don't get enough of in our food, unless you're drinking cod liver oil.

Plus since it's a vitamin made in the skin when we go into the sun, we don't get it there either since we slather on SPF 45 every time we go outside. We're sun-phobic. So, there's a case for taking Vitamin D supplements every day.




From the article:
OD on Vitamin D

Q: The info about vitamin D in your first Testosterone interview was fascinating. So, what's the prescription here? Do we need to supplement more with vitamin D in the winter? And how much sun is safe in the summer?

A: If you're a model hanging out all day at the pool at the Delano Hotel in South Beach in August, you can probably skip the supplements that day. But for the rest of us, I think vitamin D supplements are a good idea, even in the summer.

Okay, she's not really in South Beach, but who cares?

Studies clearly show that 2,000 IUs a day is completely safe, and even the very conservative Institute of Medicine considers 2,000 IUs a "safe upper limit."

Off the record, most nutritionists think the safe upper limit is way higher. After all, the body can easily make 10,000 to 20,000 IUs a day in the sun without toxicity. But for legal and political reasons, they aren't going to buck the system by recommending more than what the IOM considers completely safe.

So let's be conservative and go with 2,000 IUs. The possible benefits here are just so high, and the potential risks so low (and nearly all theoretical anyway), that I can't see any reason not to keep popping those little Tic Tac-size pills in the summer, unless you're exposed to a ton of sun on a daily basis.

As far as how much sun is "safe," it depends on whom you ask. On one side of the argument you have mainstream medicine warning you to slather SPF 45 on your body every time you venture out for a Starbucks, unless you want to die of skin cancer. On the other side you have some mavericks and pioneers who think we're being way too sun-phobic. I happen to agree with the latter group.




Bill Roberts wrote:

As non-Biotest items, absolutely get some Vitamin D. 4000 IU a day can ge a substantial help to fat loss. The RDA for Vitamin D is absolutely nowhere near the optimal level, existing supplements one is likely to take are unlikely to total anywhere near to an optimal amount, and Vitamin D is not much present in food, including not in Vitamin D supplemented milk.

Unless one is out in strong sun an hour a day in sunnier latitudes, one probably does not have optimal levels.



While I didn't list "vitamin D" in that thread I do take cod liver oil, which has a high amount of food source vitamin D (and A, and a K2, and a host of other things including omega 3 fatty acids) in it. Plus, I try and get a much sun as I possibly can.


I take a multi, but didn't realize that it was only 10% of what I should be getting. I read the Bowden article too...just didn't think to check how much I was getting. Thanks for the wake-up call.


it was one of the first sups i started taking, I take 1tablet of 1000UI daily and around 100-500 from milk/foods, there are doctors recommending even higher these days though, but it is definitely important


I take in 4,000-8,000 IUs a day and have for about 9-10 months now.

They prevent me from getting sick, ever. I have caught 0 bugs/flus/colds/stds since taking this amount of vitamin D. Had no clue it helps with fat loss other than having a strong immune system.

Also causes most cancer risks in half or better.


hmm i was thinking of increasing my daily intake to 4000, i think i might do it, do u take any old regular vitamin D?


Yeah, what kind do you take in particular Higgins? Is that a special supplemental D or is the 4-8kIU from all sources in your daily routine?



I like these:

Carlson's Vitamin D by Emerson Ecologics


Are the softgels really that much better than capsules? If so, the Carlson bottle is the one I was looking at picking up.


Yeah get the softgel.


Most Multis don't contain anywhere near, check your labels. Superfood is great but I doubt it has much vit D at all if any, (PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong).

I would go with 2000 IU - 4000 IU.


4-8k IUs come from supplementation Vitamin D from Sams Club. It's dirt cheap something like 15 bucks for 400 2000 IU tablets.

I really don't think it matters where you get it from, as long as it's vitamin D but someone with better knowledge might know for sure.


I started taking 4000 iu of vitamin D several months ago. I recently went to my doctor to have a blood test, and asked him if I could get my vitamin D level tested.

I told him that I was taking 4000 iu of Vit D daily and he said that I should stop that immediately, that I was going to suffer all kinds of health problems from toxic levels of vit D. I said I would like to see where my levels were while taking this amount, and he agreed to test me.

My result was 32.3 ng/ml on the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood test. This puts me at the very lowest level of the recommended range. The Reference Range goes from 32-100ng/ml.

My doctor was shocked that even with taking 10 times the RDA, my Vitamin D level was just barely in the reference range.

I have since increased my daily dose to 6000iu. My goal is to increase my blood level of vitamin D to 60 ng/ml.


Doctors know nothing about vitamin d and its effects. All they see is daily reccommend values, that's why most are againest low-carb diets.

The FDA has said that vitamin D reccomendations are one thing that is going up the next time they release new standards.


okay, i didn't read all the above posts (sorry, it's late), but yeah, vitamin D is very, very important. i like to think of ancient man - he was outside a lot, so he got plenty of sun.

it is possible to get too much though, and this can be bad as well. for example, one of vit. D's roles is in the regulation of blood calcium. excessive vit. D will leach calcium from bones.

so i wouldn't take a lot of cod liver oil if you get a lot of sun. the thing is, the body produces vit. D in the skin as a response to sun exposure. the body is smart enough that it won't produce more vit. D than it needs. BUT vit. D from cod liver oil is already made, so you can overdose on this, especially if you are already getting a lot of sun.

another thing: there are 2 kinds of vit. D: D2 and D3. D2 is usually what is found in vitamins, but it isn't the kind we need; D3 is. so i wouldn't count on regular multi-vitamins for the D. i'd go for sun if you can, and cod liver oil otherwise.

and to this:

i hope you know you shouldn't get TOO much sun. 10-20 minutes a day is ideal, between 10 and 2 if you live in the north (since that is when the UV light is most intense). but if you get to the point that your skin burns, that is too much - the kind of too much that can lead to cancer. like everything else, it's all about balance.


Great point! That's true about getting too much D. Most probably don't get enough, but if you have the symptoms, you should obviously speak with your doctor and schedule a blood test.

Yeah, I try and get as much sun as I can but it doesn't always work out that way. In the summer, however, I usually nix the cod liver oil and just use Flameout. These days though, I can "feel" that I need the extra nutrition from the extra oil. (I use high vitamin yellow butter and coconut oils for a synergistic effect)