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Menopause

Vitamin D deficiency advice

05/19/2008

Question:

I am a 41 year old female diagnosed with osteopenia in my lumbar region, but not my hips. I have taken long term inhaled corticosteroids for asthma.

A blood test from a few weeks ago showed my current overall vitamin D level as low -- 28 ng/mL (range 20-100). My Calcium level was normal at 9.4 mg/dL (range 8.6-10.2)

I had been taking 1200 mg per day of calcium and 1400 IU per day of vitamin D, but now I`ve increased the Vitamin D to 1700 IU per day after the low test level. I had very little sunlight, obviously, during the Winter months...

Aside from continuing my supplement regimen, increasing my sunlight exposure when able, and continuing my walking every day, what else can I do to increase my Vitamin D level and/or prevent any future bone problems from this?

Are there any other medical tests I should be asking for? I`ve read that sometimes the parathyroid glands are involved in issues such as mine, but I don`t understand the relationship...

Thanks!

Answer:

Your vitamin D level of 28 is not far from the recommended 30.  Continue your supplement.  Excessive sun exposure is still not recommended because of skin cancer and skin damage. Twenty minutes per day with normal activities in the summertime should be sufficient.  Remember that sun screen will block the vitamin D benefit.

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Response by:

Margery   Gass, MD Margery Gass, MD
Formely, Professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati