ZocdocAnswersHow can I combat my vitamin D deficiency?

Question

How can I combat my vitamin D deficiency?

I am taking a VERY high dose of D, but my doctor says because my levels are still low that I am 'not converting' it. What does this mean? Also, I've seen UVB lamps that are supposed to give you D. Is this safe?

Answer

Vitamin D is a complex vitamin that requires many steps to become the "active form" of vitamin D. The deficiency of vitamin is also very common. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. If required, he or she may refer you to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in vitamin D deficiency. As mentioned, vitamin D metabolism is a complex process. Vitamin D is ingested with food. It is subsequently converted in the skin to a semi active form. The skin can only covert the vitamin D to the semi active form with sunlight as the UVB rays are required. That is why UVB lamps are helpful to convert inactive to semi active vitamin D. This also means that sunlight, being outdoors can be helpful. The next step in going from semi active to the active form of vitamin D requires the conversion in the kidney. Therefore, kidney disease can also impair your vitamin D levels. There are also some people who lack the kidney enzyme to convert it to the active form. Talk to your doctor. He or she can measure in the blood the semi active and the active forms and therefore determine where the problem is. Good luck!

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