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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi to all and just a quickie!

I was just wondering the best way/foods/diet to battle this problem.

I've been contacted by many who are sick of swallowing pills and actually want to eat something healthy to make up for lack of Vitamin D.

I have emailed a few nutritionists and am waiting for a response. But I really wanted to know from those who have found a way to substitute Vitamin D (sunshine & pills) with a decent diet.

Regards as always & keep warm!


· Registered
2,872 Posts
Hello Geoff :)
I can only write about my own situation. Despite spending as little time as possible in the sun and always wearing UVA & UVB sunblock on my face which is the only part that is normally exposed, I have no problems. A Dexa bone scan revealed a bone density level of a 36 year old ( I am rising 66), I have no calcium or vitamin D deficiency and I am not on Prednisone. I am Caucasian in a Northern European climate. If I were of a darker skinned ethnicity my needs might be greater.

I am advised all the same that it's prudent to takea prophylactic 1500mgs calcium carbonate and 10mcg/400IU's Vitamin D which comes in one chewable tablet. That's the seventh of my daily pill intake and it doesn't bother me one bit.

If I were to try to supplement by dietary intake I wouldn't easily know how much I was taking and as it is my diet is more than adequate in foods containing vitamin D. I do not want or need to be eating more food of any sort! especially the major Vitamin D containing items some of which we do not normally eat, such as liver. I would much rather take a chewy.

Estimates of the amount of sun exposure needed to manufacture enough vary considerably. There's been a lot of publicity lately about Vitamin D deficiencies and disease associations based on the results of various studies. I suspect that the supplement manufacturers have gleefully seized on this and are pushing it to the maximum. Too much Vitamin D can be harmful of course.
Both my lupus expert doctors have said that it is greatly exaggerated even in northern latitudes in winter with miminal time outdoors a person eating a normal well balanced diet should be fine, unless tests show that they do have additional needs for some reason.
The only other supplement I take is a B complex and water soluble so any not used will be excreted.
So, that's my take on the question. I hope you are doing well and coping with the heat OK. It's pretty cold here but I would much rather wear an extra jumper than swelter

Keep up your good work ! :)


· Registered
6,939 Posts
Hi there,

I do have vitamin D deficiency which began before I was put on any medication of any sort.

My dexa scan is also excellent - but I am actually 36 (sorry Clare :lol:) -despite taking prednisolone for the last eighteen months.

I was told that increasing my vitamin D levels through food alone was pretty much impossible and not reliable enough and therefore to take one ampule (sorry can't remember the precise dose and have run out) of vitamin D every 2 weeks.

That just about keeps my levels normal (I was severely deficient). For my part, my rheumy does NOT want me taking calcium supplements UNLESS I have a bone density issue. Seems a Belgian type policy, my docs don't want me having the flu jab either (and I'm sincerely hoping I won't regret that in the coming weeks).

Sorry can't be of more help,


· Registered
2,444 Posts
Here is a link to the most thorough article I've ever seen on Vitamin D, deficiency, foods that contain it, and facts on supplementation. Interestingly, it says that prednisone use can contribute to vitamin D deficiency which is something I had not read before.

About the only food on the list of naturally occurring sources of Vitamin D that I would eat and do eat is eggs. Otherwise, my plan is to get it from minimal sun exposure early in the am hours on a walk outside and through eating fortified foods like milk, cheese, and cereal each morning. Plus it's in a daily multivitamin as well - I take a gummy vitamin with my daughter every day ;)


· The Other Illinois Tammy
1,193 Posts
I would do a search for food high in what you need and if it is diet that you want to get them from adjust your diet to those foods. I think Clare is right, I too have had very little problems with this.

I want to say that no one likes taking pills and those that are on a lot of pills often at times find it hard to continue to take them. If there was other ways to handle things most would take the healthier way thru food. One must rape their mind around the fact that the pills they are taking are in their best interest for a healthy body and life. It seems to be all about what you want and how much you want it.

Best of luck in your search.

· Registered
232 Posts
I also suffer from vitamin D deficiency and calicum problems. I been on prescribed medication from my doctor for this for years. I have to take 2 each day and just got so used to taking them, even though they are chewable and remind me of chalk. :(

Thanks Maia for the useful link

Hugs Sheila x

· rockstar!
689 Posts
I was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency before receiving my SLE diagnosis. At the time, I lived in a very sunny climate where D deficiency is not as common. Due to the extent of my deficiency, I was taking 50,000 IU of vitamin D (prescription only) every week. Eventually after my levels became normal again, I went back to taking only 4000 IU/day, but this apparently does not maintain the vitamin D in my body as I was again deficient not too long afterward. I still take the 50,000 IU to keep my levels normal.

I was told by each rheum I dealt with that you truly can't alter a diet enough to include major amounts of vitamin D. They always told me that if you cannot get the sunshine in order to get D (15 minutes per day with arms/neck/face exposed), then a supplement is the best way. I think the recommended daily is 2000 IU.

Now I live in a cloudy climate where D deficiencies are more common. Apparently this place just doesn't get enough sunshine during half the year, so everyone is running around with vitamin D deficiencies until the summer rolls around :) As for my bone health...I've always taken calcium (since the D deficiency) and have only been on low doses of prednisone regularly (usually 5-10 mg), but was diagnosed with osteoporosis by dexa scan about 7 months after starting the prednisone. I have a very thin build, so they said this might have made me more likely to develop the osteo......but I really shouldn't have gotten it so easily :( I am 25 years old. Not good! I'm sure the vitamin D deficiency didn't do me any favors either...ha.


· Registered
3,394 Posts
Hi Geoff,

I too was diagnosed with a severe deficiency prior to my SLE diagnosis. I think it's important to check out possible reasons why you are deficient as a first step. There are many and varied medical reasons, ranging from parathyroid problems, malabsorption problems, kidney problems, liver problems etc. All that was ruled out for me, well all but the kidney problems as no-one was looking at SLE at that time.

I am highly allergic to fish and eggs and the sun was making me sick, that's all we knew. I started on a hefty dose supplement and took it for 6 months and my levels came back up and have stayed that way, so who knows why it happened. My bone density was above average for my age so it hadn't affected that thankfully.

I no longer take it and I'm still allergic to fish and eggs (good sources), I have very little sun exposure but like you live in Aus so it's probably not an issue. I do however drink low fat milk and some spreads on my bread but not sure how much vitamin D they contain. BUT...............I'm no longer deficient and don't take a supplement, so it remains a mystery but it's ok now.

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