Vitamin D3 First Thing in Morning: 4000 IU Better Than 2000 IU (Story 8)

On a status update, Alexandra Carmichael (of CureTogether) noted she was taking 4000 IU of Vitamin D3. I asked her for details:

I’ve been taking 2000 IU of D3 every morning for many months, but after hearing about your Meetup talk topic from Gary/Ernesto [“Vitamin D3 and Sleep”] and talking to [redacted] about his experience with it, I decided to switch to 4000 IU, starting yesterday. I take it between 6 and 7 am, with my other morning supplements/meds.

Yesterday I noticed an unusual sense of “clear and smooth” mood for much of the day, which is very odd for me. The day after a meetup, I usually experience intensely fluctuating moods (I’ve been tracking hourly moods, and on my worst days, it’s a 3-hour cycle between peaks, like a super rapid cycling, ultradian bipolar – my therapist suggested this term when I showed him my mood tracking data.)

I also slept unusually well – I’ve been having a good deal of trouble sleeping lately, both falling asleep and night waking. Last night I slept a solid 8 hours!!!

That’s a very small sample (one day) of what happens with 4000 IU. However, Alexandra’s experience is similar to mine. I found that 2000 IU of D3 had no clear effect compared to nothing. However, the very first night after I upped the dose to 4000 IU (from 2000 IU) my sleep was noticeably better.

Alex is using Nature’s Bounty 2000 IU Vitamin D3 gelcaps.

15 Replies to “Vitamin D3 First Thing in Morning: 4000 IU Better Than 2000 IU (Story 8)”

    1. I don’t know what the upper limit is, no. But no doubt there is one and for that reason I believe in figuring out the minimum dose that produces the maximum effect and using that. For example, if 4000 IU/day produces the same benefits as 6000 IU/day, I would use 4000 IU/day.

  1. Seth, you talk a lot about fermented foods.

    I’m wondering about your thoughts on fermentation of grain to make its nutrients more accessible. It’s cooked after it is fermented, so I don’t think it falls into the same category of fermented foods you favor, but certainly seems to be another good use of fermentation for natural food processing.

    Here’s a very brief discussion:

    I have not been reading for a long time, so forgive me if this has been covered in the past.

    Scott W

    1. I’m wondering about your thoughts on fermentation of grain to make its nutrients more accessible.

      I think that is a minor benefit. Our preference for microbe-rich food is so strong I believe other mammals will show the same thing. The major benefits of fermented foods, in my opinion, are digestion improvement & immune-system improvement.

  2. As a counterpoint, I’ve been taking 4-5,000 IU of D3 for a couple of months now, and while it *might* be making me feel better in other ways (more vital, upbeat, and energetic), it has coincided with a stretch of poor sleep for me. I have what they (hilariously) call “terminal insomnia”; that is, I usually have no trouble at all falling asleep, but I wake regularly at night and am permanently awake very early, often from 4:30am onwards. This has been a periodic problem for a few years now, though this stretch is notably tolerable, for some reason.

  3. I work night shift 1.30pm to 8am.
    I sleep from 1pm to 5pm and 10.30 to 1.15am

    I would like to self-experiment if taking D3 will make me =me to be alert during my night shift and then sleep better around midday. Does this mean for me i should I should take D3 when I wake up at 1.15am?

  4. I would advise/recommend that anyone taking D3 long term have their blood levels tested. At least twice a year to begin with until you have your dosing dialled in. And it will probably need to be adjusted over time.

    When i was taking 4,000 IU per day for a while, my highest serum 25(OH)D level was tested at 85 ng/ml. I prefer to keep my 25(OH)D in the 50-70 ng/ml range.

  5. I agree with Guv about testing blood levels. Vitamin D accumulates in the system over time. Prior to Seth’s posts on using D3 for sleep aid, most of what I’ve read about D3 was based on getting blood levels built up to a certain levels (e.g., for bone or cardiovascular health).

    In contrast, the specific line of thinking being explored by Seth here has to do with daily morning supplementation of D3 to simulate or mimic early morning sun exposure, to help with sleep cycles.

    Thus, I’m wondering if the daily morning effect would be changed by an overall increase in stored D3 in the body over time (i.e., raised blood levels). For sleep benefits, perhaps a low dose is needed so that the overall long-term accumulation of D3 is minimized, to accentuate the contrast between morning and evening levels of D3 in the body.

  6. The Vitamin D Council says toxicity has been seen at doses over 40,000 IU. I have never heard of a report of toxicity in adults at doses of 10,000 IU, though. The main long-term risk of too much Vitamin D is tissue calcification. (Of course, arterial calcification is a risk of too little Vitamin D, too.) Children’s doses should be smaller, of course, proportional to body weight.

    Some references I’ve read suggest that the toxic effects of Vitamin D may be partly a result of competition with Vitamin A, and that getting enough Vitamin A may oppose those effects. (Could it compete with Vitamin K2 as well? I don’t know.)

    The Council also says that the most common cause of symptoms on taking Vitamin D is that it unmasks a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency seems to be the norm among Americans, so supplement that too.

  7. @Skyricho
    I usually take my D3 at around 6:30am, with my coffee. I don’t usually eat breakfast or lunch, so I’m wondering if the D3 is metabolizing correctly in the absence of any other nutrients.

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