This is a HUGE topic today – for many reasons. If you have read or are connected to research and COVID-19 you know that Vitamin D (lack of) has been linked to harmful outcomes. It’s true. And if you live in a location that doesn’t have much sun for the majority of the year, and you eat a very processed diet (and sometimes even if you don’t) you can develop vitamin D deficiency. This is detrimental.
HOWEVER (and this CANNOT BE EMPHASIZED ENOUGH)
Vitamin D in mega doses is TOXIC! YES YOU CAN OVERDOSE ON VITAMIN D.
Why am I talking about this?
Recently in my practice I have MANY people with PFAPA/PFS and autoimmunity coming to me on TOXIC levels of vitamin D. It is VERY easy to access vitamin D supplements in HIGH doses without a prescription. I have clients coming to me from FORUMS (please please please DO NOT TAKE ADVICE FROM NON PROFESSIONALS INSIDE OF FORUMS) about the awesome benefits of mega dosing their kids with vitamin D to control episodes.
Let me tell you this RIGHT HERE AND NOW – IT DOES NOT WORK! That’s right – mega doses of vitamin D will NOT end your child’s episodes. I am sorry to say that – but if you have been at mega dosing or even dosing your child with Vitamin D for awhile and you haven’t seen a change – think about that for a minute before you continue down that path – it IS NOT working. It is NOT the answer you are looking for.
That is right – YOUR CHILD is different than every other child. THEIR TRIGGER is NOT THE SAME as other children’s. Which is why one person can try this or that and it does NOTHING for your child.
My job as an NTP is to safely help you navigate foods and supplements. I find your child’s triggers, we eliminate them together and replace with whole foods that keep them balanced with just enough supplement to support without harming.
Back to Vitamin D again. If you are anywhere near 1000IU or MORE per day with a child under 10 years old you are WAY WAY far off. You need to stop and return your child to a normal supplement amount as listed on a CHILD’s supplement like Cod Liver Oil with Vitamin D. This is MORE than enough for your child. You are not going to see ANY benefits from going beyond this with PFAPA or any other disorder for that matter.
Vitamin D is fat soluble. That means it is STORED inside body tissue. You DO NOT excrete it out. The only way to get it out of your body is to utilize the nutrient in your body for body processes. When you do not – it becomes toxic. You can develop:
* GI issues like anorexia, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting
* Bone pain
* Continuous headaches
* Irregular heartbeat
* Loss of appetite
* Muscle & joint pain
* Frequent urination
* Excessive thirst
* Kidney Stones
This is a VERY DISTURBING list. At MEGA doses in a child you could reach this within a few months or less. It is very scary. I cannot stress enough how harmful some of the dosing that I am seeing is. It’s NOT OK.
Where can we get vitamin D from safely?
Vitamin D is obtained through diet, and sun exposure to direct skin. There are two types of vitamin D, D2, and D3. D3 is the best and most readily available to your body for use. It can be from UVB rays, foods like oily fish, supplements and things like eggs and other dairy type of products.
Vitamin D can be stored in your body in the liver, skin, brain, spleen, bones as well in your fat tissue. That is why it is called a fat soluble vitamin. It is possible to overdose on vitamin d since it is stored in the body, but most people are deficient today.
Steps to Boosting Your Vitamin D
First of all, it is worth asking at your physical to have your doctor measure vitamin D levels. This will give you and your doctor and idea of where to start, or maybe that you have enough!
Your doctor can run blood work to measure your levels.
If you are an adult under 50 recommended levels are 5 mcg (or 200 IU) per day is recommended, between 50-70 years old 10 mcg (400 IU), and over 70 years old 15 mcg (600 IU). It is possible that some adults can tolerate, use and store more than this, but it is best with this type of vitamin to get enough but not overdo it.
Many adults, especially in sunless areas do need more like 1000-2000 IU per day. Above that will need constant blood work monitoring every 6 months to be sure you do not go too high. I would recommend this only if you have deficiency on blood work (for adults – never this much for kids), and only in the sunless months of the year. Then you would pause and not take it while there is plenty of sun. Then resume in the sunless timeframe. So please do see here that 2000 IU a day is an ADULT DEFICIENCY dose (often what is prescribed as well from a doctor). Imagine that amount in your child. I know some of you are doing this as I have been told about it – please stop immediately.
How can we NATURALLY get enough?
Step 1 – Get outside!
Pay attention to your sunscreen to start. Most sunscreen does block UVB rays. So you will not be able to make vitamin D if you are blocking all those rays. Just 20 minutes in the direct sun on a larger portion of skin (choose a less intensely hot time of day) will help you boost your levels. This might be just eating outside on your deck in a tank top! Maybe it is taking a hike and holding off on covering up or putting on sunscreen for a bit. Remember, prolonged intense sun exposure can lead to sunburns. So be wise and bring a hat, or clothing to cover with after you have gathered your rays for the day.
Step 2 – Each Vitamin D rich foods, and be sure you have enough of their helpers!
Nutrition is always the best way to consume your nutrients. Eggs are great sources of vitamin D and their helpers, but you MUST eat the WHOLE egg. This is how you get the nutrients and all their helpers. They go together in a whole food. This is the case in most whole foods. The nutrients help each other be absorbed.
Vitamin D needs magnesium (also a large deficiency today), boron, zinc and vitamin A. Zinc is also a huge deficiency for most people, which also plays into immunity. Vitamin A is another rich, fat soluble vitamin that aids in immunity and more, and you need it to use vitamin D properly.
Some other food sources include salmon (about 66% of the recommended daily value, but you need more), other fish like sardines, mackerel, butter, dark leafy greens, beef liver.
Although there are great sources in plants, they are D2, and although this is ok in smaller amounts for your body – the D3 found in animal items is the best and most useable for your body.
Supplementing is an option but your body never absorbs it as it does with food, and most supplements you can get OTC do not combine with other cofactors needed. Working with an NTP like myself, and using nutraceutical vitamins and minerals and combinations helps with effectiveness if you just can’t get enough through food sources. One great supplement that you can get that has some of the co factors with vitamin D is cod liver oil. I highly recommend this supplement. I give my son this one from Carlson – which I get online.
You do need this vitamin D also to help absorb calcium. Just like some other nutrients help vitamin D, it is a helper for calcium. So if you consume some whole fat dairy products you will get some of this. But it is important to remember that ANY modify food, reduced fat, and “enriched” or “fortified” has been altered and will not absorb properly in the body. These are generally foods that are processed. Sticking with whole foods with minimal to no processing is best for maximizing nutrients.
Step 3 – FIX YOUR DIGESTION!
It doesn’t matter how awesome you think your food choice is – if you have something going on with your digestion – like indigestion, gassiness, constipation, diarrhea, reflux and more – you have poor absorption of any vitamin, mineral or nutrient for that matter.
Without proper absorption you will always be deficient. Addressing your specific digestive issue, and resolving those symptoms may allow you to absorb your food nutrients better, and have no need for supplementing. It all depends. It also depends on how and what you need to do to fix your digestive issues.
With all this said – PLEASE stop mega dosing kids with vitamin D. If you want to end episodes, or at the last spread them out, please contact me. I know how to do this for YOUR child. Each one is different and a single mega dose of vitamin D is not your answer. It isn’t your answer even when combined with other supplements and food. It’s NOT what you think.
Be safe folks!