Published on December 13, 2021
What to consider if a vitamin D result is higher than you want or expected, and the steps to take to safely lower your level, should you choose to do so
- Before changing your daily dose, consider whether a recent change in intake, such as an extra-large dose during a sickness or a recent vacation to a sunny location, may have caused a temporary high level. If this is the case, the vitamin D level will naturally decline back to its baseline or maintenance level.
- If your intake has been consistent, reducing your dose by 25-50% may help, followed by a re-test after about 3 to 6 months to assess your response to the lowered dose; re-testing sooner may not be optimal, as it can take at least 2-3 months for a vitamin D level to fully respond to a new intake
- If the vitamin D result is over 200 ng/ml and vitamin D toxicity is a concern, it may be best to consult a health care provider who can monitor serum calcium levels to help ensure that toxicity is avoided
In a recent post, we discussed the rising distribution of vitamin D test results among participants in the GrassrootsHealth cohort from 2020 to 2021, with the average result increasing from 54 ng/ml (135 nmol/L) to 61 ng/ml (152 nmol/L). In 2021, through the beginning of December, 44% of results posted were above 60 ng/ml! While it is great news to see that fewer participants have vitamin D levels that are too low, this increases the chances that a vitamin D level may be higher than what a participant desires.
Keep in mind that vitamin D toxicity is difficult to achieve, especially at vitamin D levels below 200 ng/ml (500 nmol/L), however, it is important to know the signs and when to be concerned. Toxicity causes high calcium levels, called hypercalcemia, with symptoms include loss of appetite, feeling very thirsty, weight loss, constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain, musculoskeletal pain, or feeling sick, confused, or tired.
What if a Lower Vitamin D Level is Desired?
It is obvious that, in order to decrease vitamin D levels, vitamin D input must be reduced. Most often that will mean cutting back on the dose of supplemental vitamin D, and possibly sun exposure as well, while still getting a minimum amount of daily vitamin D. Maintaining a minimum daily intake of vitamin D3 is important, even when the goal is to decrease vitamin D levels, due to the fact that many cells and tissues, such as breast, colon, prostate, and brain, take in, convert, and use vitamin D3. It is through this process that vitamin D3 itself can help enable the cells to fight against infections, disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Before changing your daily dose, consider whether a recent change in intake, such as an extra-large dose during a sickness or a recent vacation to a sunny location, may have caused a temporary high level. If this is the case, the vitamin D level will naturally decline back to its baseline or maintenance level.
If your intake has been consistent, reducing your dose by 25-50% may help, followed by a re-test after about 3 to 6 months to assess your response to the lowered dose. It is important to test again to make sure you haven’t overcorrected and caused your levels to be lower than you want.
If the vitamin D result is over 200 ng/ml and vitamin D toxicity is a concern, it may be best to consult a health care provider who can monitor serum calcium levels to help ensure that toxicity is avoided.
How Long Does it Take to Lower a Level?
It may take at least 2-3 months for a vitamin D level to fully respond to a new intake, as illustrated in the chart below showing the response in both the vitamin D3 level (with a half-life of roughly 24 hours) and 25(OH)D (with a much longer half-life of 2-3 weeks) to a single dose of 100,000 IU vitamin D3.
In the chart, notice how slowly the line representing the 25(OH)D level (with the blue boxes) declines from its peak after a single large dose of vitamin D3. In this study, it took only 7 days for the 25(OH)D level to peak after the single large dose was given, but it took 105 days after the peak for the 25(OH)D level to return to the level it was before the dose was given.
Measuring Levels is Essential to Ensure You Are Taking the Right Amount of Vitamin D
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.
Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.
What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?
Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.
STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.
STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).
STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.
STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.
STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.
STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…
Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.
The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.
These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.
GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Index
- Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!
Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.
Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called
For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!