Vitamin D3 First Thing in Morning: Story 6

In November, I wrote about Tara Grant (aka Primal Girl)’s discovery that taking Vitamin D first thing in the morning rather than later improved her sleep. Then several people commented that they had observed something similar — some in response to my post (my post led them to try it), some independently. Perhaps people who tested her observation and found it wasn’t true didn’t comment.

One way to assess this possibility is to ask people who have tried it what happened. In the comments to one of my posts about this, Tyler Tyssedal said he would try it. A few days ago I asked him what had happened. Here’s his reply (shortened):

I have been tweaking the timing of my Vitamin D3 intake since I made that comment [on December 13 — one month ago]. I have also made a few other life changes (such as supplements), so the changes I’ve experienced cannot be attributed only to Vitamin D3 (5000 IU) timing. But yes, taking D3 first thing in the morning instead of later noticeably improved my sleep quality. I have been experiencing perpetual, involuntary biphasic sleep on and off for years. I would go to bed around 11 and wake up every day between 4 and 6 am, conscious enough to check the time and sigh. I had been taking my D3 with lunch or dinner, sometimes never. I changed my D3 intake to first thing in the morning. Within a week I noticed I would wake up two out of three nights, around 6 (so a little later), a marked improvement.

I am a 6’2″, 160-lb male. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Desk job, lift 2-3 times per week, 45 min-1 hr per session with 15 min walking to and from gym.  I typically eat two meals a day (1-2 pm and 6-8 pm). In the morning (between 7:30 and 10am) I consume about 20-30 oz of coffee with 1-3 T cream. I also eat 1 T coconut oil with my coffee and 1 T of it with my dinner.

When I changed my 400 mg magnesium citrate supplement to early afternoon rather than right before bed, I experienced even better sleep. After all these changes, I no longer wake up in the middle of the night. I sleep straight through. A week and a half ago I started taking ALA and NALC with my D3, coconut oil and coffee in the morning. The results have been fantastic and I feel a strong clear headedness in the morning.

Here’s a summary:

WAKE (7:30-9:30am): 5000 IU D3, 500 mg acetyl l-carnitine, 250 mg alpha lipoic acid, 1 T coconut oil, 20-30 oz coffee, 1-3 T cream.

LUNCH (12-2pm): 30% food for the day, typically lowish carb, 400 mg magnesium citrate, 1.2 g EPA/DHA fish oil (on days I don’t consume sardines or salmon, which is 2-3 days a week), Vitamin K2 (1000 K2 MK4, 1000 K2 MK7).

DINNER & POST DINNER: Rest of food (100-150 g carbs post workout workout days; 50-100 g non workout days). On restless nights, 2-5 mg melatonin.

I’ve been pleased with 2-5 mg melatonin before bed on days when I am not heavy eyed by 9:30 pm. I have taken melatonin on and off for years and would still experience biphasic sleep, with or without it.

12 Replies to “Vitamin D3 First Thing in Morning: Story 6”

  1. I wonder if there is a relationship between serum 25(OH)D levels, morning D3 supplement and sleep?

    For instance may be this relationship is more common in people who are D3 deficient.

    Personally i have stopped supplementing with D3 at the moment as it is summer here in Australia and my 25(OH)D level is already a bit higher than i prefer.

  2. I started taking D3 first thing in the morning yesterday.
    I drink 1.5 T cod liver oil and immediately after that 4500 IU of D3 concentrate with a plate of sauerkraut.

    Prior to that I took 2000 IU of D3 in the morning and 2000 IU before bed for three weeks.

    I’ll take D3 for another three weeks, then try to plot different things I measured (mood, bedtime and waketime, efficiency tracked via your R percentile feedback script).

    I also drink a cup of kefir with chelated magnesium right before bedtime.

  3. Tom,

    I eat sauerkraut as suggested by Tim Ferris:

    “It has also been hypothesized that vitamin D toxicity is often a result of vitamin K deficiency. If you choose to supplement with vitamins A and D, as I do with cod liver oil and liquid vitamin D, it is important to ensure adequate K(2). Suggested sources include butter from grass- fed cows and the aforementioned lacto-fermented foods.”

    But I didn’t, in fact, checked his suggestion for validity yet (which might be really dumb).

  4. K2 from fermentation is the Mark 7 form, not the animal form. I hadn’t heard that sauerkraut was a source; K2 Mk7 typically comes from natto (a fermented Japanese delicacy.)

    Most of what I’ve read is that the better form for humans is the Mk4 type. (Pastured dairy is a good source of Mk4.) Both are available in supplement form. I actually take both, along with cod liver oil (for A) and D3.

    When I take all three my teeth feel slippery for several days. When you have adequate D3/A/K2, the calcium phosphate in the tartar on your teeth is actually being taken up (rather than deposited) by your saliva, so they feel as if they’ve just been cleaned.

    It’s very cool. And I like to think that something similar is happening to the calcium in my arteries.

    More info:

  5. Thanks a lot, Tom! I will look into K2 Mk4. Apparently it isn’t easy to get it in supplement form in Russia (much like pastured dairy).

    I thought about eating liver for K2, but I live in a highly industrial area, so I’m afraid it can contain mercury and lead.

    What do you think is the right proportion of K2 to D3?

  6. Andrey,

    I’d recommend reading Chris Masterjohn on the subject, and you can search for “K2′ to bring up specific posts.

  7. I’ve always been a night owl who found it difficult to get going in the morning. I was also someone who really didn’t like breakfast. After going through your blog I started taking vitamin d3 tablets as soon as I woke up in the morning and found they certainly made a difference to my energy level. About 2 hours after ingesting the d3, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head and I suddenly felt energetic. I don’t know if I my sleep was any deeper but I did wake up earlier and feeling somewhat alert. I then started eating breakfast (normally something small and light) and found this made a significant difference in how early I woke up.

    After three weeks of combining the two I went from an average wake up time without alarm clock of 8am to an average wake up time without alarm clock of 6am. This is regardless of the time I went to bed the night before. I also find that I am alert and energetic as soon as I wake up. Before the combined D3/breakfast routine it took me about an hour before I felt completely alert and energetic. Although I still have to force myself to eat first thing in the morning, the benefits for me are worth it. Hopefully the longer I do this, the more it will feel natural, rather than a bit of a chore.

    Thank you so much for your blog, it’s one of my favourite internet indulgences.

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