Does Prednisone Cause Vitamin D Deficiency

by Shannon

My doctor recently did some blood work and called to say that my Vitamin D level was low, she wants me to take 2000 IU's of vitamin d per day. I have hypopituitarism for which I am on life long prednisone for.

Do you think that the prednisone caused my Vitamin D deficiency because I regularly drink milk etc. and go into the sunshine often, so I quite surprised by the blood test.

Comments for Does Prednisone Cause Vitamin D Deficiency

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Not the Prednisone..
by: Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune Queen!

Hi Shannon,

No, your vitamin d deficiency is NOT due to the prednisone. The reason why I INSIST that everyone get their vitamin d levels checked is because EVERYONE is shocked because they 'believe' that thy get plenty of vitamin d.

So you drink milk and you get 'plenty' of sun. But if you read my page on Vitamin D Requirements, you'll see that you need between 3800 to 5000 IU's of vitamin d per day just to MAINTAIN your levels. And since you get NO vitamin D in winter in Canada, that means that you'd need to drink 38 glasses of milk to meet the lower end of your needs!

I'm assuming that you are not drinking 38 glasses of milk every day from October through March. So unless you are taking supplements, there is simply no way for you to actually get enough vitamin d for most of the year no matter what else you do. Maybe in the summer, you get enough sun to maintain your levels, but then you decrease them all winter, every winter.

The other thing is that 2000 IU's is INSULTING to you. That is a MAINTENANCE dose for a 25 pound child and not a dose to increase your levels. Please read my page on Vitamin D Deficiency Treatment to see why you need almost 4 times that amount to bring your levels up into Normal Vitamin D Levels that you SHOULD be in- NOT the ones printed on your lab sheet.

So, I hope this clears this up.. and that you'll encourage everyone that you know to also get their vitamin d levels checked because they are ALL going to to extremely low.

Kerri Knox RN Immune Health Queen

Kerri Knox, RN- The Immune System Queen
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Immune System


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The RN is wrong here
by: Anonymous

Prenisone absolutely can cause a vitamin D deficiency.

by: Kerri Knox, RN, The Immune Queen

Actually, it's not incorrect. The article you cited Oral Corticosteroids Can Lead to Vitamin D Deficiency is an article written from a study entitled Association of Glucocorticoid Use and Low 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels.

Note the word 'association' and not 'caused by'. This is a critical statement because they did not say that corticosteroid use CAUSES low vitamin D levels. And, in fact, the more likely explanation is that people who are so ill as to require the use of corticosteroids are almost always people who aren't out in the sun doing exercise because they are usually not very well.

Also, those who are so ill as to have such incredibly bad inflammation that they need to take medication very often have Increased Intestinal Permeability, and hence nutrient malabsorption.

Another study, done on those with COPD, entitled Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in COPD and correlates with variants in the vitamin D-binding gene showed that those with COPD have a gene that may prevent them from getting enough vitamin D.

So, the study does not show that corticosteroids cause low vitamin D levels, only that those who take corticosteroids have low vitamin D levels. Correlation is not causation. And it's more likely that lifestyle factors of being ill have caused the low vitamin D levels.

It could ALSO be the other way around. Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory, and low levels of vitamin D for many years and decades could be contributing to the inflammatory illnesses that then require the use of corticosteroids.

And WebMD does not provide their sources. I find that they are often wrong on their contentions about Vitamin D, but we have no way of knowing what studies they used to come to their conclusions, so I can't take what they say at face value.

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