6

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Do vitamin D requirements increase under stress?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 07, 2010 at 11:26 AM

I was wondering whether one's vitamin D needs increase significantly during periods of stress, e.g. when you're ill. It's been suggested that consumption of wheat bran increases the rate at which the body burns through vitamin D (perhaps because wheat consumption provokes an immune response), but does the same apply with illness or other physiological stressors.

At present I try to keep my vitamin D intake (no sun most of the year) to 5000IU per day which, in theory, should get me into a healthy range (since it's been posited that 1000IU typically increases levels by 10ng/mL) and since I think I'm pretty healthy and pretty light and eat a fair amount of oily fish (mackerel/sardines) too. If I do get a cold however, would it necessarily be a good idea to consume extra vitamin D on the assumption that I'm using it up quicker, or would there be no rationale behind this other than 'if I'm ill, my vitamin D must not be high enough' (which seems fallacious)?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 09, 2010
at 04:42 PM

It takes months for D levels to drop from very high levels to too low levels for those who live in areas of poor UVB in the winter. If you start with good levels and also supplement, then a few days of sickness should not be a big deal. Your body stores D in the adipose tissue and can call on it when needed. The whole point of keeping D levels up is to keep yourself totally stockpiled with D. The body is designed to handle brief periods of injury or illness in which you may be under shelter and/or out out of hte sun.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 08, 2010
at 03:49 PM

I think that getting everyone's Vit D to healthy levels would tend to unburden the NHS. You really should consider getting tested - else we are just speculating.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:59 AM

It also seems plausible that we might increase vitamin D use very heavily when ill, since we ought to have a limitless supply of vitamin D from the sun and so should be able to make 25,000IU extra in the blink of an eye. I won't be getting a blood test though, since I neither want to pay $65+ or want to burden the NHS. I don't think knowing my general levels would really help this question though, unless I tested my normal levels and then tested myself immediately after having a cold. If 5000IU does leave me short, hopefully my body somewhat during the limited summer months.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:49 AM

Good points. My own supposition, was that vitamin D needs might increase 2-3 times during illness, rather than 20% (c.f. vitamin C producing animals producing hundreds of times more when ill), since vitamin D is central to the immune system. Admittedly, if I needed 10-15,000IU rather than the normal 5000 during a week's cold, that would only be 2-4% of my yearly vitamin D needs, but it may be useful in the short term. Lots of people seem to think high dose C/D can influence immunity in the short term. I don't know how efficiently the body retrieves vitamin D from storage for acute stress...

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on November 07, 2010
at 07:35 PM

it's interesting that you ask about stress demands like a cold increasing the body's requirement for vitamin D because I've noticed that it can stop a cold dead in its tracks if I up my vitamin D from 3000IU to 5000IU when I feel a cold coming on.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4111)

on November 07, 2010
at 05:12 PM

this is a great question!

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3 Answers

1
98c8bab4d0d8dc82993a7064c429d2b0

on November 22, 2010
at 06:41 AM

Keep in mind, that some immune cells are known to locally convert inactive vitamin d to active vitamin d...

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 08, 2010
at 04:06 AM

Stressors on the body, including exercise, illness, and psychological stress, sleep deprivation, etc, all increase the need for all nutrients. But how much is the need truly increased I think is the real question. If your needs go up by 20% (a number I just invented for fun) over the course of a week, but your body levels of D were already totally stocked up, then I think you would be fine. The body stores D for a good long while. I think the main goal for us is to always have plenty and that is why some people supplement, exactly so they will not dip far into their D stockpiles should germs attack or any special need comes up. I personally do not think you need more D if you are were already well stocked, taking plenty more in, and are only sick for a short while. Of course, the only way to really know your status is to test your blood. It's tricky to give advice when you don't know your true D status. I'd say get your D status to good levels and then just float with that as your guide. It's unlikely you will be able to effectively micromanage intake beyond that for every stress or head cold you get through the months. My advice would be to also check all other nutrient intakes as well. Many other nutrients can also have strong effects on health.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on November 08, 2010
at 03:49 PM

I think that getting everyone's Vit D to healthy levels would tend to unburden the NHS. You really should consider getting tested - else we are just speculating.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:59 AM

It also seems plausible that we might increase vitamin D use very heavily when ill, since we ought to have a limitless supply of vitamin D from the sun and so should be able to make 25,000IU extra in the blink of an eye. I won't be getting a blood test though, since I neither want to pay $65+ or want to burden the NHS. I don't think knowing my general levels would really help this question though, unless I tested my normal levels and then tested myself immediately after having a cold. If 5000IU does leave me short, hopefully my body somewhat during the limited summer months.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 08, 2010
at 10:49 AM

Good points. My own supposition, was that vitamin D needs might increase 2-3 times during illness, rather than 20% (c.f. vitamin C producing animals producing hundreds of times more when ill), since vitamin D is central to the immune system. Admittedly, if I needed 10-15,000IU rather than the normal 5000 during a week's cold, that would only be 2-4% of my yearly vitamin D needs, but it may be useful in the short term. Lots of people seem to think high dose C/D can influence immunity in the short term. I don't know how efficiently the body retrieves vitamin D from storage for acute stress...

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 09, 2010
at 04:42 PM

It takes months for D levels to drop from very high levels to too low levels for those who live in areas of poor UVB in the winter. If you start with good levels and also supplement, then a few days of sickness should not be a big deal. Your body stores D in the adipose tissue and can call on it when needed. The whole point of keeping D levels up is to keep yourself totally stockpiled with D. The body is designed to handle brief periods of injury or illness in which you may be under shelter and/or out out of hte sun.

1
Bc7368b1c3bee026490a8044ef9e084a

on November 07, 2010
at 07:37 PM

Hello,

Every vitamin D molecule is a one shot pass for a cell to access cellular DNA as to how a cell needs to respond to a stimuli. A cell under attack by a virus makes use of many more molecules of vitamin D.

A cell cannot think, all its instructions are preprogrammed and stored in the DNA. The DNA is locked and vitamin D is the pass card to access DNA instructions. The pass card can be used only once and is detroyed.

When you are sick your body uses much more vitmain D accessing the DNA for instructions.

A new video was posted on YouTube regarding vitamin D and how to use it with colds and flu: Vitamin D Can Prevent the Flu.

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