Vitamin D3 - Never Saw It Coming

I don’t really post here anymore, but this might help someone else so I’ve got to share this. I have type 2 diabetes and was diagnosed February 2009 with fasting blood glucose of 350 and an A1c of 11.5. I got my A1C down to 6.5 in 3 months with exercise and a low carb diet.

As of yesterday’s report, my A1C is 5.3. I gave up the low carb diet and have been eating carbs with dinner for the last 3 months. I avoid bread, rice, candy, desserts, etc. I love corn nachos and tacos and Vietnamese Pho.

I’ll tell you what has really, really made a difference - vitamin D3. I accidentally increased my D3 intake from 2000 IUs to 3000 IUs a day (multivitamin, calcium tabs and D3 cap). OMG! My fasting numbers are in the low 80s. I still have sugar spikes but not as high and my blood glucose levels are back to normal within 2 hours.

But that was just the beginning. A blood test showed my vitamin D level was low. That was odd because I was spending a minimum of 5 hours a week in the Georgia sun and I was taking 2000 IUs of vitamin D3 a day. I increased my D3 dosage to 4000 IUs a day, and went back to eating carbs with dinner. After 30 years of not being able to drink coffee or tea because of caffeine intolerance, I can drink caffeinated beverages again. I’ve also been mildly depressed for years and to be honest, I’ve gone through at least 2 nasty depressions. I never expected a change - I feel peaceful, content, even optimistic about the future.

My point is simple - get your vitamin D level checked. Ideally, your 25-OH-vitamin D3 should be between 40 ng/ml and 70 ng/ml. The maximum safe level appears to be 80 ng/ml. If you’re on insulin, be careful, because increasing vitamin D can cause lows. Do the research before you supplement. If you do choose to supplement, use an oil cap of Vitamin D3 for best absorption. It takes months to improve blood levels to normal and the only way to tell whether vitamin D levels have improved is by blood test.

Thanks for sharing Yvonne…I too found out I had low serum D levels and was told to supplement. Months before I had an unusual infection on my leg that required antibiotics…first time this had ever happened to me and w/ a minor scape. Dr’s treated and never found out what the bacterium was that caused the infection…but, given my T1 they were aggressive. I have great circulation, no neuropathy, etc…but, when they checked labs, this came back. Some articles have come out suggesting that low Vit D levels are associated w/ diabetes, suppressed immune systems, and rates of infections. I know take 2g/d (about 4 months) and a multivitamin. Plan on having labs checked soon…thanks for sharing your experiences:)

Thanks Yvonne!

Low vitamin D levels is very common among people with diabetes. I tested at 25 ng/ml, which my doctor said was “normal” (it was the lowest value that the lab declared as normal). I started taking vitamin D3 drops everyday. I didn’t see any different in my blood sugars or need for insulin. But I think that my energy level improved (of course, I can’t prove that this was because of the D3.)

They are considering drastically increasing the recommended daily dose of vitamin D.

this is very interesting. is there a difference between vitamin d and vitamin d3? last year i was told i have low vitamin d but they were concerned with bone loss. so… is this something different? thanks for any help!

Steve Gibson at has compiled a lot of vitamin D information, you can see it here: I was clueless about Vi-D until I started digging into his findings. BTW, Steve is THE security computer guru, he has a weekly podcast with Leo Laporte of Tech-TV fame. The guy is very thorough if nothing else.

My Vitamin D level tested at 11 ng/ml, which classifies me as deficient. My doctor told me to take 50,000 i.u. per week for 6 weeks, then we’ll retest. Since Vi-D3 is a steroid hormone, I’m hoping my joints will stop hurting due to inflammation.


Ah, Steve Gibson of Gibson Research. I’ve used his website for years to test my firewall. I’ll check out his vitamin D info, thanks.

Another safe thing you can take for joint pain is fish oil and evening primrose oil. Thanks to vitamin D, my arthritis has really eased up. The damage to my fingers is permanent, but not progressing any more. I take 2 capsules of purified fish oil twice a day plus 1 capsule of evening primrose oil (Omega 9/GLA) twice a day. I also give my old hound dog a smaller dose for his shoulder pain.

There’s a definite link between autoimmune diseases and vitamin d deficiency. I have to wonder whether I’d have diabetes or corrosive osteo-arthritic damage to my fingers if I’d known to supplement vitamin d as an 18 year old. I started having issues with caffeine after I graduated from high school and went straight to work in a windowless office.

Kristin, I got vit D drops (in an oil/water emulsion) of 2000 IU and was told to keep them in the fridge. Do other folks keep them in the fridge? I forget to take them every day as they are not with my supplements.

If anyone has time, I posted a discussion last night about calcium and supplements and I’d sure love to hear back from others. so far no one has posted a thing.

thanks in advance,

I don’t keep them in the fridge. I didn’t realize that it was necessary! If I kept it in the fridge, I would probably forget to take it too!

I don’t bother to refrigerate my vit D drops either. I checked the label on the Carlson vit D3 drops and it doesn’t suggest to refrigerate after opening. Since I take 4000 IUs a day, I keep a bottle at home and another at work.

If you haven’t taken a look at the website Kevin recommended, you might want to take a peek. It’s by far the best source of info I’ve seen so far. (Gibson Research is a serious source for internet security, by the way)

Vitamin D is oil soluble so it is best to take a D with oil. Don’t use the dry stuff. D3 or cholecalciferol is better utilized that D2 ergocalciferol.

I have met a number of people who were told by their doctors they could stop the D once the level came up to “normal”. All of them became deficient and were put back on the D. One person has been on and off D 3 times and says her doctor doesn’t understand why her level keeps dropping. The answer is simple - you need a constant supply of D.

I was deficient and now I have been able to keep my D around 50ng/m. for the past 6 months with 5000 IU a day of D3. I did not notice any impact on my blood sugar when I got my D in the optimal range.

I switched from fish oil to Krill oil and noticed that my skin is much less dry. My joint pain disappeared when I went gluten free 6 yrs ago.

My former girlfriend used to cringe when I would gulp down the “bovine juice” pre-diagnosis. I was living in Texas at the time, where you can get plenty of sun exposure, even incidental exposure when purposely avoiding the sun.

At my peak I was probably drinking upwards of a 1/2 gallon a day (and losing weight, without trying).

I never in my wildest dreams would have associated it with diabetes.

I am on, and have been on for months, 4000mgs of D and there is no end or reduction in sight according to my physician.

The last thing in the world I had ever expected to hear from a doctor was that I was low in D.

I know leafy green vegetables are the best and most potent source of D (right?), but I was having this relentless, inexplicable craving for milk for months on end. Now if it had ever caused a weight issue than I might have brought it to the attention of a doctor, I just fed my craving like a dummy. Oh, well.

That’s exactly what my doctor put me on, on Thursday. She’s going to check me again in 4 months. I think my ergocalciferol is actually D2. I always thought D3 absorbed better, so I’m a little confused.

Anyway, all my vitamin levels SUCK! My d was 4, my b12 was 125 after 6 months of 2,500 - 5,000 MCG sublingual b12, and finally ferritin was 1. Anyone else have this many vit/mineral issues?

If you are having problems with many nutrient levels you may want to be checked for things that interfere with absorption. Are you on acid blockers or proton pump inhibitors? Could you have celiac disease/gluten sensitivity? Are you on Metformin - that is known to interfere with B12.

The Gluten File has a section on nutrient deficiencies. The links are on the right near the bottom of the page.

Very interesting Yvonne. I too was diagnosed with a low Vitamin D level. Mine was 18. The test was run after I had a Bone Density Scan which did not come back well either. I was on 50,000 IUs a week in one dose (as prescribed by Dr.) for 3 months and my levels have risen to 52. I am now on 50,000 IUs every other week. I go in for my next blood test in a month. I also take 1500 mg of Calcium every day in 3 separate 500mg doses. I have not had lows from the Vitamin D. By all I have heard from my Dr.'s there are a lot of people who have undiagnosed low levels of Vitamin D. Thanks for blogging about this. It is a good idea to be tested. I never would have known otherwise. I am a Type 1 on an Insulin Pump.

I forgot to add that my job keeps me outside all day so no lack of sun. I do wear a 30 or higher sunscreen all year long sunny or not.

For the past few years I’ve thought I had Celiac, but have been tested on a few occasions. Both B12 and D vitamins are now low and on supplements. I know that sometimes the Celiac test can be wrong, so I’m wondering if combined with these other test results could mean some other absorption issue.