Vitamin D dose for SAD?
November 13, 2018 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Seems like this should be easy to google up but it isn't. What's the recommended dose of...I think it's D3? Is it D3? for seasonal affective disorder?

Possibly it's not easy to google up because it's not well attested, but I think I don't care--I hate Standard Time and am willing to try this and that. Anecdata also welcome. How much did you take in order to become less likely to step into the street and knock men's hats off?

Alternately if you know how to fast forward to March you're welcome to tell me that.
posted by Smearcase to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It’s D3. I take 2000 IU a day - meaning one pill. That’s the recommended amount. (But the naturopath down the street takes 12,000 IU!)
posted by kerf at 9:43 PM on November 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Its d3 just take the recommended dose, too much can be toxic
posted by supermedusa at 9:47 PM on November 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

The recommended amount of vitamin D will depend on a variety of factors, including whether you're actually deficient and if you're taking other supplements and/or medications.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble so toxicity is a consideration (vitamin D is actually the most likely of the vitamins to result in toxicity). If you are able, I would see a dietitian for advice before you begin supplementing any vitamins or minerals.

(I am a student dietitian. I am not your student dietitian.)
posted by Defying Gravity at 11:59 PM on November 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

My GP recommended I take 5000 IU pet day up here in the frozen north. YMMV. You could try taking 1000 IU for a week or so and see if you notice any difference...
posted by leahwrenn at 12:19 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Up to 2000 IU is recommended over here for everybody in winter, unless diagnosed with a deficiency. It's a quick blood test, so you may want to look into having one. With a deficiency, doses are much higher - up to 50 000 per week.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:39 AM on November 14, 2018

I was taking 50 000 IU due to a profound deficiency and it helped me rocket through SAD. This was prescribed by my GP who determined it was necessary after a blood test. Do not take this amount without consulting a doctor.
posted by Hermione Granger at 2:02 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Depends very much on what your blood levels are. 2000 IU is a typical maintenance dose for people with decent blood levels. 50k is the ramp up if you are super low. 400 IU is a silly homeopathic dose. D3 is what you want. D2 is not bad, but D3 is converted to the biologically active form at higher rates.

Note that there is a lot of controversy about vitamin D right now, outside the specific arenas of osteoporosis and rickets and the like.
posted by basalganglia at 4:54 AM on November 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

Assuming you can see a doctor, make an appointment to get blood work to check your levels, and base the prescription on that.
posted by Miko at 5:25 AM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

There's 400 IU in my daily multi-vitamin, and I take another 1000 IU per day.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:42 AM on November 14, 2018

I take 5000iu/day. Doctors always blink at that and say it sounds high to them, then they re-test me and agree that it's the appropriate dose for me after all. So maybe start lower than that, but then go get tested and see whatever dose you choose is going after a while! You can always ramp up if it turns out you need to.
posted by 168 at 6:02 AM on November 14, 2018

5000 is the most common answer that I was given by doctors. It may vary. I would get blood levels checked and go from there. I was so low years ago, that I had to start with 10000 to get into a reasonable range and then maintained with 5000 a day
posted by kbbbo at 6:12 AM on November 14, 2018

I live in MN and have been told that people who live here should take 5,000 IU per day of D3 since we don't get enough direct sun even if we are outside all day. Also, the end of summer/beginning of fall is the time of year where your D levels are highest and the end of winter/start of spring is the lowest. You may want to try to time your blood tests this way so you can get an idea of your typical range.
posted by soelo at 7:21 AM on November 14, 2018

Your question is answered well above (D3, 2000 IU is the standard maintenance dose, best thing to do is get your levels tested and get advice from a doctor on what dose would be most appropriate for you). But just wanted to add: have you thought about trying out a sun lamp? You can get them for relatively cheaply, so might be worth experimenting with.
posted by aka burlap at 7:23 AM on November 14, 2018

You may also want to look into taking a little extra magnesium, since that helps with processing vitamin D3. I actually take a combo supplement that includes magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3 and zinc; the recommended dosage is 3 pills a day, which gives you 600 IU of D3. But the magnesium helps support it. (I actually take it for the magnesium, which helps me with sleep maintenance; but the D3 is a bonus that helps with winter doldrums.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 AM on November 14, 2018

Agree, 2000iu/day is sort of standard maintenance; you may do well to go to your GP and have your levels tested via bloodwork. When I did this and my levels came back deficient I was advised to take 5000iu/day until my levels came back up.
posted by vignettist at 9:18 AM on November 14, 2018

I have bought SAD lights twice and both times found it impossible to get in the habit of using it long enough to see if it even helped.
posted by Smearcase at 12:34 PM on November 14, 2018

The Vitamin D test may be unnecessary. Most Canadians are advised not to take one, because routine supplementation with Vitamin D is appropriate for the general population. This assumption should hold for everybody in the US living north of California.

The Canadian recommendation is for no more than 4000 iu/day, this is what I take.
posted by crazycanuck at 3:25 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency this summer, and I reviewed the peer-reviewed literature. 2,000 IU of D3 a day, or 50,000 IU monthly, ideally taken with a meal containing fat. D3 is better than D2, but only a bit and it's more pronounced at larger doses.

It's apparently fairly hard to induce vitamin D toxicity - your body will just quit making it. Vitamin D testing is expensive, and the downsides of just taking supplements are unlikely. Anecdotally, if you do lack D, you should start feeling better within a few weeks of supplementation.
posted by momus_window at 5:03 PM on November 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

My wife has 6 monthly blood tests for a different reason, but Vitamin D is checked as part of it. She was deficient and her Dr (UK NHS) told her to take 2000IU supplements. These helped but she was still a little low, so she swapped to 3000IU tablets (1 a day) and is now within normal range.

So the "for what its worth" feedback I'd give is that 2000IU to 3000IU is a sensible place to try for people that aren't having serious deficiency related problems, and the massive super-cheap generic bottles you can buy from Amazon actually do seem to contain what they claim ... at least in as much as it has brought her levels up.
posted by samworm at 11:11 AM on November 15, 2018

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