If I supplement vitamin D in the morning, that night I will invariably wake multiple times from disturbing dreams, accompanied by foggy head, dry mouth, and general sense of unease. This is from two different Vitamin D supplements I've tried --- one a 2000 IU sublingual tablet, one in drop form of 1000 IU/drop (just taking one drop.)
Taking 400 to 800 D in a multi doesn't have such noticeable effects, although I can't rule out that it might have worsened my sleep, since I usually don't have "flawless" sleep.
The correlation with the D supplements is very reliable --- if I abstain for some days and then try some again, bam, I'm right back there again that night.
I have supplemented somewhat the D cofactors such as magnesium, A, K2, and miscellaneous minerals. I may not have perfect levels, but I would think I have enough to tolerate such a small amount of D.
Some weeks back I took a 5000 IU D sublingual tablet daily for a few weeks. It's possible that once or twice at that time I had a similar episode to that described above, and attributed it to something other than the D --- other supplements, other culprits. But mostly I seemed to tolerate the 5000 IU --- I stopped taking it when I read advice to supplement more in the 1000 to 2000 range during winter.
What would cause such side effects? Is it a sign of something I should investigate?
asked byTimR (3)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on March 01, 2012
at 05:28 PM
Possibly you're getting a reaction to some secondary component of the formula; check the labels, perhaps both the drop and the sublingual tablet contains an ingredient you are reacting adversely to. Actually both the drop and the sublingual pill could have something to enhance the taste since you're putting it directly in the mouth rather than just swallowing it; do you react badly to sugar alcohols? Artificial sweeteners are sometimes used in dissolvable pills, drops and oral sprays, and some, especially aspartame, can have negative effects on the nervous system for some people.
I doubt that you have hypervitaminosis D. Its true that symptoms include dehydration, and irritability, but also vomiting, muscle weakness, constipation and passing large amounts of urine; mainly symptoms related to the kidneys, since excess D results in excess calcium, which taxes the kidneys.
Besides, you'd need to get 50,000 IU per day for a sustained period of time to get symptoms, mainly of hypercalcemia. you really wouldn't get excessive vitamin D from an over-the-counter supplement unless you're downing bottles of the stuff daily, which you aren't. I have seen precautions against taking too much vitamin D for people with cardiac issues, but then again these articles mention very high levels, tens of thousands of IU per day. (http://www.drmirkin.com/public/ezine112011.html). I suppose you could run into problems if your D levels were already too high, though again I'm doubtful of that. For peace of mind, you can try getting your vitamin D, serum calcium, and serum phosphorus checked (common tests for excess D levels).
I also doubt that vitamin D would induce hypoglycemia. Its true that healthy vitamin D levels correlate with healthy blood sugar levels. According to this study (http://www.realage.com/health-tips/lower-your-blood-sugar-with-vitamin-d) diabetics taking 1000 IU per day had lower blood sugar and better insulin sensitivity after a period of 12 weeks. Its true that you are taking more than that, but firstly, vitamin D effects have a time lag - it takes months to accumulate it & for benefits/effects to be seen. Also, while healthy vitamin D levels will help blood sugar, that doesn't mean that vitamin D is a direct regulator of the pancreas (correlation is not causation). I'm sure the people in this study, as are most people, had less than ideal vitamin D levels. Rectifying or at least improving that would lead to an improvement in general health, including insulin/blood sugar. Vitamins and minerals and hormones and all sorts of active substances all work in synergy within the body. Taking vitamin D in the morning - especially just 5000 IU - will not give you hypoglycemia in the evening.
I have another tentative little idea, which has to do with circadian rhythm. Where do you live? Is it dark in the morning? Do you typically wake up when its still dark? Have you done so for consecutive months, before? The peak of sun exposure is around noon, so its possible that that's when the body naturally expects high D levels. Taking a supplement - all the D at once, in an easily absorbable form (since you dissolve it in the mouth rather than take a tablet which will take longer to break down) in the morning, when there is naturally less sunlight, could be messing with your circadian rhythm, which in turn could be leading to poor sleep. This could well be the case if the symptoms you are experiencing are relatively mild - general anxiety, inability to focus, to calm down; rather than more specific symptoms such as heart palpitations or tremors which could signal a medical underlying cause. Anxiety also usually comes in a vicious-cycle form, by perpetuating even more anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms (like dry mouth). Perhaps try taking your D in a slower-release tablet form, and maybe at midday rather than morning?
So, what I'd recommend is to test your D levels, just in case. While you're at it, get general blood work done to see if you have any other problems that could be contributing to a lack of good sleep. If all is fine, try a different formula, preferably a tablet to swallow, and try taking it at midday.
Hope the issue resolves itself!
on October 24, 2012
at 11:22 AM
I too have trouble taking Vitamin D3. It seems to cause sudden, extreme drops in my blood sugar. No energy, terrible mood and FOGGY mind. I eat something sweet and I feel better, but it takes a couple days to recover. And yes, my sleep is rough during this time. I used to be low on D3 but that was when I was on a strict vegetarian diet. I'm dropping all vitamin supplementation and getting rechecked.
on March 01, 2012
at 03:33 PM
I was supplementing with about 5,000 IU D3 for a few months and started feeling anxiety-like symptoms (heart flutters, lightheadedness). Can't attribute it to the D for sure, but when I got my levels checked, my doctor said she had never seen levels so high. I stopped the D and the symptoms continued for a while but eventually stopped. I'm back on about 2,000 IU at night and have had no ill effects.
Again...there were a lot of other things going on so I can't claim a causal relationship. Point is, I would get your levels checked.
on October 17, 2014
at 10:34 AM
I know the original post was a while ago, but I just wanted to say I'm dealing with the same thing.
I'm sorry to say I don't have a solution for it, but I'll post my story in case you might notice any correlation.
I have a vitamin d deficiency, so I attempted to supplement. The first night I did, I got a surge of adrenaline whilst I was sleeping, I saw strange nightmarish images, and experienced a general feeling of dread and terror unlike anything I had experienced before. I woke up with my heart pounding at a painful speed, and it took hours for the feeling to subside.
The next night was the same. And the next.
It took me a while to figure out vitamin d was the culprit, and when I did, it was on accident. I forgot to bring it with me on a small trip, and voila! No nightmare palpatations. When I did take it again, the results were immediate.
So here's some extra information that might help:
As others mentioned before me, these episodes sound very much like hypoglycemic attacks. The brain needs a constant supply of energy, and when it gets to low, it forces the adrenals to produce adrenaline, which can help bring up blood sugar. Since you go long periods without food while sleeping, it makes sense that an attack would happen at this time. A similar reaction can happen when blood pressure gets to low. The body produces adrenaline to force a rise in blood pressure, so that an adequate blood supply reaches the vital organs. Blood pressure is also lowest when you sleep, so this is also a possible explanation.
However, I have no idea why vitamin d would cause this. I've seen some studies on its ability to lower both blood sugar and blood pressure, but nothing this severe... Maybe we're just sensitive to its effects?
Here's some extra info about my health history, so you can see if any of it applies to you:
I am iron deficient. Iron is needed for the conversion of vitamin d into its active form in the liver. I believe my long term iron deficiency caused my vitamin d deficiency.
I also have orthostatic intolerance, (a fancy way of saying I can't stand long without fainting). This is caused by an adrenal problem, and worsened by my anemia. However, it has been greatly helped by adding more salt to my diet. If you are staying away from processed foods, you might have trouble getting enough salt. A teaspoon is the daily value for adults.
I'm hoping that correcting my anemia and blood pressure problems will make me stable enough that I can increase my vitamin d to a therapeudic dose.
Good luck to you!
on March 06, 2014
at 02:24 PM
I also have strange waking episodes with vitamin D3.. like I wake up but struggle to wake up.. The pain of my TMJ (I have fibro) . Is across the left side of head in eye and left ear. I wake up suddenly and it literally feels like the left half of brain has not woken up
on March 01, 2012
at 02:46 PM
Just bumping this once to see if anyone else has ideas..
Jay - Anxiety/placebo? Perhaps, but I take other supplements without similar effects. Also, during the day I don't have side effects --- would a placebo effect wake somebody at night with symptoms such as I described?
on February 29, 2012
at 11:30 PM
I assume Vitamin D3? Usually when I hear waking from "disturbing dreams, foggy head, unease" I think hypoglycemic. My understanding is there's a strong tie to hypoglycemia and nightmares/night terrors/night sweats/unease. I've seen some stuff talking about Vitamin D helping regulate sugar in diabetics. However, I didn't see anything on timeframes. Seems odd that you take it in the morning and it kicks in at night/early morning. Maybe try taking your Vitamin D, then eating some protein or something before bed and see what happens?