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Topic: How much vitamin D needed to raise levels?

Forum: Bone Health and Bone Loss —

Talk with others about bone density, osteopenia and osteoporosis, and ways to keep your bones strong

Posted on: Jun 7, 2011 06:05PM - edited Jun 7, 2011 06:21PM by luv_gardening

luv_gardening wrote:

This new study shows that 1000iu daily is not enough to raise levels in BC patients but the high dose 50,000 iu per week is safe.  How much did it take to raise your D levels?

The effect of various vitamin D supplementation regimens in breast cancer patients

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085185/?tool=pubmed

These words from the study stood out to me and was the reason I asked for a separate forum for bones.  I feel it's one of our most important health issues after our initial treatments are out of the way.

The preponderance of epidemiologic data indicates vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer [11-13]. Furthermore, recent studies show that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased breast cancer recurrence and mortality rates [14-17]. In addition, breast cancer patients are at increased risk for a number of medical complications associated with vitamin D deficiency including bone loss, falls, fractures, and infection [10, 18-20]. Cancer-treatment-induced bone loss (CTIBL) is of particular concern and is experienced by up to 80% of breast cancer patients [21]. The annual loss of bone mineral density (BMD) in breast cancer patients may be up to seven times greater than the annual loss of BMD by postmenopausal women without cancer [22]. This loss of BMD produces a significant increase in the risk of fractures compared to healthy postmenopausal women [23-25], which results in increased mortality, disability, and negative psychological consequences [26-28]. Breast cancer patients, therefore, must maintain adequate vitamin D levels to minimize their chances for negative outcomes. 

Dx 7/2/2009, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/24 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 06:30PM - edited Jun 7, 2011 08:10PM by coraleliz

Before BC, I had my vit D level checked & it was 25. This is higher than anyone else I know. I took 1000iu a day & raised it to 65 in a years time. I continue to take it. Often wonder, if sometime in the future this will be found to do more harm than good. I was told to take Vit E for fibrocystic breast changes several years ago & then they found out that women who did this had a higher incidence of BC.

Dx 2/28/2011, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/15/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/15/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jun 7, 2011 08:59PM Shrek4 wrote:

When I had my vit D levels plummeting back in 2006 due to hyperthyroid, Endocrinologist had prescribed 100,000 UI/week of Vit D2. My levels were 18, and it took about 2 months for them to raise to 35.

This time, my Vit D levels were 28 before I started taking Aromasin. As per Dr. advice I am taking 5,800 UI/day of Vit D3, my levels were 48 at the last blood test (two months ago, 3 months after starting the Vit D3.)

I keep taking the same amount, because my BS said they like the levels to be 55-60 (normal is 30-60) to prevent recurrence, as studies showed that Vit D deficiency IS one of the possible causes of breast cancer.

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Jun 7, 2011 09:04PM luv_gardening wrote:

Coraleliz, women with BC usually have a lower level of vit D, the higher the stage, the lower the D level.  Vit D3 has been shown to have cancer inhibiting properties in combination with Melatonin, but often things aren't as straight forward as they look and I know what you mean about how the information changes over time.

I'm glad 1000iu was sufficient to raise your levels.

Melatonin and vitamin D3 synergistically down-regulate Akt and MDM2 leading to TGFß-1-dependent growth inhibition of breast cancer cells.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21091766

Dx 7/2/2009, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/24 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 09:18PM lago wrote:

Mine was really low but I forget the number. Initially was put on prescription strength then 1000IU D3 (already getting 400 IU D in multivitamin) daily. Raised it to 40. Then when I needed to go on Calcium I added 400 IU more of D. My level are now a few points above high normal 79

DONE!! goo.gl/IoaN6U • Tattoos 2.7.2012 • Nipples 10.6.2011 • Exchange 6.24.2011 • Chemo 1.18. 2011 • BMX 8.31.2010 Dx 7/13/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 7, 2011 09:20PM coraleliz wrote:

I'm still not completely sold. I live in sunny California & have yet to find anyone who doesn't have a low count. I have had this dicussion at work with my co-workers. My level came up easily, others didn't. Maybe I'm still haunted by what I was told about Vit E in previous years, by more than one physician. Look where I am....But I'm still doing Vit D. It does sound  innocuous.

Dx 2/28/2011, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/15/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/15/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jun 7, 2011 09:24PM - edited Jun 7, 2011 09:27PM by Suze35

Mine was 19 at diagnosis. My MO wanted it over 60. I have been taking 4000 D3 every day with Melatonin for the past 9 months and I'm up to 42. I also spend a few minutes outside every day I can without sunscreen. I think Vitamin D is just one component of why I have this disease, but it is one I can control.

Original dx Stage IIIa TN 9/2010 Dx 9/19/2011, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 09:28PM - edited Jun 7, 2011 09:35PM by elimar

Day, if you have a link to any study showing a CAUSAL relationship of low Vit. D levels, please post it here.   It is my understanding that there is some relationship between the two, but at this point it is not clear whether low Vit. D causes B/C, whether B/C causes low Vit. D, or that some third factor or combination of factors cause both low Vit. D and B/C.

Joy, that is interesting that the higher the Stage of B/C, the lower the Vit D level.  Can you link to a study on that?

My D level was at 39 in May 2010, my retest was 61 in May 2011.  I used one D3 2,000IU gelcap (along with 1,000IU more that was included in my calcium tab) daily for the most part, and did try to get in 15-20 min. of sun exposure (unprotected) when I could.  In the four mid-Winter mos., I bumped that up to 5,000-6,000IU daily. 

From reading the various threads, it seems that no matter how much supplement is taken, it is being made use of differently in each individual.  Therefore, what raised my level may not produce the same result in someone else.

Dx 6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 09:36PM - edited Jun 8, 2011 06:08AM by elimar

Oops!  Got a double posting on accident.
Dx 6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 09:36PM peetie wrote:

ive just been diagnosed with IDC stage 2, have to go for breast mamo with dye tomorrow for the last test i hope.  this is going way too fast for me, not having a history!  anyway its strange that about 6 months at a normal physcial and bloodwork my fam doc told me to start taking at least 2,000iu of d because it was so low he couldnt believe it.  i am surprised that this wasnt a red flag for breast cancer. and now i see the pills and radiation are going to lower it dramatically.  it looks like i should be taking even more than the 2,000 i.u. a day than perscribed? i want to get through this right and only once.  any advise?  thanks

Dx 5/5/2011, IDC, Stage II, ER+/PR+
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Jun 7, 2011 09:38PM luv_gardening wrote:

Day, there seems to be a link between Vit D, bone density and BC.  The denser our bones, the less chance the cancer seems to have to form mets in the bones.

Due to BC patients losing bone density at up to seven times that of non BC patients, the recommended supplement level probably needs to be raised for us.

I'm glad to see your levels are responding so fast.  I decided to increase my intake after reading the study but I won't be tested for some time as I won't see my onc till January.

Dx 7/2/2009, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/24 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 10:09PM - edited Jun 7, 2011 11:40PM by luv_gardening

Elimar, The study I linked to above in my OP says,

The overall prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency in our study is similar to other studies of vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients [36, 37, 45, 46] and other cancer sites [47, 48].  Sub-optimal vitamin D levels were more common in women with later-stage disease, non-Caucasians, and those who received radiation therapy.

 I'll watch out to see where other research backs it up. 

Dx 7/2/2009, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/24 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 10:11PM blondelawyer wrote:

I take 10,000 IU daily to raise my levels.  I was low (around 17) and it took me about 6 months to raise it to "normal" levels (though just barely--around 34 I think).  My doctor has me continuing the regimen.  I live Seattle where it is impossible to get enough Vit. D from the sun most of the year and I also burn very easily so am usually good with sunscreen and covering up, which further limits my exposure.

http://blonde_lawyer.blogspot.com/ Widowed on November 2, 2010 Diagnosed with BC on April 13, 2011 at age of 33 Dx 4/13/2011, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 10:46PM Patriotic wrote:

Wow, blonde lawyer. I can't believe it took 6 months? My level was low (30) when I had it tested in by my PCP in August (before BC diagnosis, but the cancer was there, IMO). I was surprised it was low b/c I take a multi-vitamin and I eat a fair amount of dairy. So, I started Vit D late. Now, I haven't been taking the supplement during chemo. Were you advised to? I was told to take only Folic Acid, B-6 and Glutamine. Thanks for the info.

Get busy living or get busy dying~Shawshank Redemption Dx 3/23/2011, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 3/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jun 7, 2011 10:55PM makingway wrote:

This video will answer your questions. The study was done by Moore's Cancer Center UC San Diego. Be sure to watch it all because there is some important information regarding taking other supplements while taking Vit D3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ-qekFoi-o

Visit my website for helpful tips when using cold caps:penguincoldcap.wix.com/help Dx 3/2/2009, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 7, 2011 10:56PM pejkug3 wrote:

I'm taking VitD during chemo.  Level was 24 after three rounds of TCH.  The complementary medicine doctor that i was referred to by my onc. said the only supplements that she recommended were PSK (Medicinal mushrooms) and VitD.

Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 1/26/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary Targeted Therapy 2/23/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 2/23/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 6/27/2011 Hormonal Therapy 8/31/2011
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Jun 7, 2011 11:08PM blondelawyer wrote:

Patriotic:  I do take Vit D3 during chemo.  I also take other supplements provided by my onco-specific naturopath.  I take a special multi-vitamin, digestive enzymes, a GI formula, Fatty oils, and 3:1 Calcium/Magnesium.  

http://blonde_lawyer.blogspot.com/ Widowed on November 2, 2010 Diagnosed with BC on April 13, 2011 at age of 33 Dx 4/13/2011, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 04:45AM BarbaraA wrote:

Mine was 19 at diagnosis. I took 5000 iu/day for three months and it went up to 60 then I backed down to 2500/day and 3 months later it is at 91. I want to stay there so now I take 2000 iu 3x/week.

Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Femara (letrozole) Dx 11/25/2014, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+
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Jun 8, 2011 05:59AM elimar wrote:

BarbA, You got the "Sunshine State' going for you!
Dx 6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 06:09AM BarbaraA wrote:

Well it didn't help me pre-BC. Cool
Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield. Dx 4/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/24/2014 Femara (letrozole) Dx 11/25/2014, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+
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Jun 8, 2011 06:15AM elimar wrote:

Joy, thanks.  The table in that article showed that low Vit.. D was not only more common in the higher Stages, but that the levels dropped lower for the higher Stages, as you said earlier. 

I also found it interesting that they noted time of year for having the blood draws.  It did not seem to make much difference, at least in this study.  I thought if would be a bigger difference.  Still, I am planning to track mine by getting my rechecks in the same month.

Dx 6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 08:32AM - edited Jun 8, 2011 08:35AM by marybast

I started taking 5000 IU of D3 last October; after BC diagnosis and surgery in December blood level was 40, will check periodically, expect it to keep rising. Off to read more about vitamin E and also about other supplements to take (yikes the YouTube is almost 30 min., I get impatient so will look for written info.). I started taking the E primarily to combat vaginal dryness. The studies I read suggest some anti-cancer effects but nothing highly conclusive as far as I can tell. 

See my blog at theonlygateisnow.blogspot.com Dx 12/22/2010, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 08:36AM GabbyCal wrote:

I looked through all my recent blood work and it doesn't look like anyone has requested a check on my VitD levels.

So I'll put that on my list of Qs for my next doc visit. While I'm requesting tests, are there any other vitamin levels you recommend I ask to have checked? 

Dx 12/23/2010, ILC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 08:45AM Maybe484 wrote:

My gynecologist recommended Vit E for my fibrocystic changes years ago.  My current BS knows I'm on Vit E but didn't say anything about it, and she's at a teaching hospital.   I had not heard of a correlation between Vit E and BC until this thread.

My gynecologist also tested me recently for Vit D levels, and said I was low at 20, so has prescribed larger doses for me, a wafer that I ingest weekly.

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Jun 8, 2011 09:15AM SunnyCoconut wrote:

I asked my Oncologist numerous time over the past year and a half about vitamins in general and Vit D specifically.  He does not seem concerned.  I asked him to test the levels, he didn't think it was necessary.  I told my PCP and he tested my levels right away.  My Vit D was 19 and he told me to take 5000 IU of D-3 daily.  That was 3 months ago and I go back next week to be retested. 

Dx 12/23/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 1/14/2010 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Surgery 1/20/2010 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 2/1/2010 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/11/2010 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 11/15/2010 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction
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Jun 8, 2011 09:30AM elimar wrote:

My MedOnc is totally disinterested in my Vit. D levels, but I got him to test anyway.  Strangely, he will not do my cholesterol and I have another doc do that yearly getting a whole separate draw just for that.  Why must they be so quirky?

Dx 6/24/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 09:36AM suzanneinphoenix wrote:

My oncologist told me to take Vitamin E to help with muscle pain.  He checked my Vitamin D level last year, put me on prescription Vitamin D for 8 weeks, and now I'm on daily supplements.  I see his NP in September, and I will ask them to recheck my D level then.....especially now that I am on Aromasin.

Dx 6/23/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 8, 2011 12:55PM texasrose361 wrote:

Wow sunny- why wasnt your oncologist concered at all??? Mine isnt concered about my levels and doesnt test for them but has me taking vit d to help the absorbtion of the calcium i take... now i am getting concerned

Children 10g, 10b, 8b :) Mets to ribs, sternum, femur, esophagus, retroperitoneal LN, lungs, ocular nerve, brain. Dx 7/22/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 8, 2011 12:57PM juli0212 wrote:

suzanne:  as posted on the vitamin d thread, the prescription is for Vitamin D2 not D3.  The prescription D2 never helped me at all.  I now take 5,000ius of D3 daily for months now, and my level rose from deficient at 17 to 49.  I will continue the 5,000ius daily.  This also helped my parathyroid (hyperparathyroidism), I cannot take calcium, and do have bone density issues.  Hoping not to have to take the bone drugs at age 52...but we'll see at next bone density in August.   ~juli

Live every day like you're driving a sports car, which I do! Dx 5/5/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 1/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/29/2006 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 8/10/2006 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Gemzar (gemcitabine), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/4/2007 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 2/11/2010 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jun 8, 2011 01:03PM juli0212 wrote:

I was told during chemo NOT to take any anti-oxidants.  And, I'm also leery of Vitamin E, so I don't supplement with that.

As far as other vitamind to be tested for, magnesium is a good one for bones. (I'm not deficient, and taking any magnesium causes a laxative effect if you're not deficient!   :O)   ~juli

Live every day like you're driving a sports car, which I do! Dx 5/5/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 1/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/29/2006 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 8/10/2006 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Gemzar (gemcitabine), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/4/2007 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 2/11/2010 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jun 8, 2011 01:13PM SunnyCoconut wrote:

Texasrose - Im really not sure why he wasn't concerned.  Everything he talks about is "evidence-based"  and if it's not, he says "there are no studies to support that".  He refers to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) a lot!  The most I ever got out of him regarding vitamins was a very casual "Well, you can take a multivitamin, if you want".

Dx 12/23/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 1/14/2010 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Surgery 1/20/2010 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 2/1/2010 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 8/11/2010 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 11/15/2010 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction

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