Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Sleep After All (Story 26)

Adam Clemans (28 years old, about 80 kg, pharmacist, lives in Shanghai) commented on a recent post that Vitamin D3 didn’t seem to improve his sleep (“I can’t say I noticed any improvement in my sleep from Vitamin D”). He took 4000 IU in drop form right after he woke up.

I wrote him for details. I said that since 4000 IU was the lowest dose I found effective, he might want to try a higher dose. Adam answered my questions and said he would try a higher dose. Two weeks later he wrote again:

I started taking 4 drops (8000 IU) of Vitamin D3 1st thing in the morning (up from 2 drops or 4000 IU); my sleep seemed to improve immediately and quite dramatically. I had been struggling with middle-of-the-night awakening for a week or so, but after the change I slept like a brick or a baby (pick your metaphor). I would like to experiment with this more before I say I am sold on it, but for now it seems to be working well.

He’d been doing the higher dose for two weeks. Hard to explain as a placebo effect.

13 Responses to “Vitamin D3 in Morning Improves Sleep After All (Story 26)”

  1. libfree Says:

    Any thoughts on the form of Vitamin D3 you take? I notice he is taking it in drop form.

  2. gwern Says:

    > He’d been doing the higher dose for two weeks. Hard to explain as a placebo effect.

    No, I mean it’s not like a high-status elite person or thought-leader might have told him to do something different and eager to please, he responded. There’s not the slightest chance of that, it’s beyond hard to explain.

  3. charlie Says:

    @gwern; exactaly.

    However, at least there is a theory linking early morning Vitamin D to sleep patterns.

    I’m going to try 4000 IU for a month.

  4. Antonio Says:

    I wonder what would be the consequences of the higher intake on D3 for long time periods ….

  5. Jonathan Shewchuk Says:

    libfree: Dr. William Davis, cardiologist, has mentioned repeatedly on his blog that when his patients have taken D3 in tablet form, often their blood levels have not risen as much as anticipated, and sometimes not at all. Based on his experience, he insists on D3 dissolved in oil, usually in the form of gelcaps. I think the drops work too, though probably better if they’re taken with some fat, as D is fat-soluble.

    Davis has hundreds of patients whose serum D levels he monitors, so he speaks from great direct experience of which pills do and don’t raise those levels. (He also notes that D2 pills are useless.)

  6. David Johnston Says:

    Antonio, check out Chris Masterjohn’s writings on the how A, D and K2 each work in combination to cover for the toxicity of the others. So it’s wise to not just take large doses of D3. Also take A and K2 at the same time.

  7. John Weston Says:

    The Half life of Vitamin D is measured in weeks(3-4). Consequently it takes months to get close to a steady state blood level so taking it morning or evening is immaterial. 4000 IU/day or 28,000 IU once a week is almost identical. A two week test is not long enough for benefits to really manifest. To jumpstart blood levels, about 3 weeks of your daily dose should be a good start. So at 4000 IU per day, 84,000 IU take once or spread over a couple of days would avoid the months otherwise needed to get to steady state blood levels. The prescription dosage taken is a single 50,000 IU dose taken weekly so this appears to be safe.

    Seth: If “taking it morning or evening is immaterial” why do many people find the time of day makes a difference (morning much better than evening)? The usual view of how Vitamin D acts, which you describe, can’t explain this.

  8. Adam Says:

    I usually eat about 8 eggs fried in butter for breakfast, along with fish oil capsules, so I doubt I’m lacking fat with my Vitamin D.

    Just a couple of typos Seth, my family name is Clemans with an “A” & I live in Shanghai, not Singapore.

    I’ll update this thread if there’s any further change in my sleep. I’m open to the possibility that it could be a placebo effect, or it could just be that my sleep pattern returned to normal after whatever disturbed it. The problem is, sleep is so valuable to me that I’m not really willing to experiment in ways that might harm it (moving Vitamin D administration to the evening, for example).

    Seth: I am stunned that I typed Singapore in place of Shanghai. If I were you I would vary the time of taking Vitamin D by an hour, see if that makes a difference. Or by a half hour. I found those changes made a noticeable difference, sometimes improving the effect.

  9. Sam Says:

    New article by the Hartford Courant about a recent vitamin ad. Not to say that vitamins are ineffective–just that the media can go overboard in claiming how much they can do: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-barreca-women-in-ad-unreal-1102-20121101,0,2875260.column

  10. Jim breed Says:

    Gwen,
    I unwittingly reduced my d dose from 5000 to 1000 while traveling earlier this year. I noticed a change in my sleep pattern for the worse and then I found out from my wife that the dosage had been reduced. I wrote up my observations and Seth printed them earlier this year. I wasn’t expecting this result.

  11. Adam Says:

    I found some interesting stuff this afternoon that has convinced me a temporal effect of Vitamin D isn’t so far-fetched after all.

    While it is true Cholecalciferol has a long half-life, Cholecalciferol is just one part of a complicated network. It is metabolized into an intermediate in the Liver that is then metabolized into Calcitriol (the active form) in the Kidneys. Calcitriol has an inhibitory effect on gene expression of PTH that is delayed by hours.

    Say it takes 14 hours for a bolus of Cholecalciferol to increase Calcitriol which then inhibits PTH synthesis. The half-life of PTH is measured in minutes, not days or hours, so we would have a drop in PTH levels around bedtime if we took our Cholecalciferol in the morning.

    This is all speculation, but it does make it seem much more plausible in my mind.

  12. Guv Says:

    from a quick google, it would seem that a lot of minerals and hormones in the body follow a diurnal rhythm.
    including Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) and PTH (Parathyroid Hormone).
    here are 2 studies,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11980618
    http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/82/1/281.full

    so may be it’s feasible that supplementing with D3 at the right time & enough of a dose may reinforce theses diurnal variations (increasing the “amplitudes”). If this was the case, then it would make sense that timing (when you supp D3) would be very important.

    or, another scenario might be that the d3 supp timing is ‘correcting” a screwed up rhythm.
    i have heard anecdotes of people supplementing with melatonin to adjust to new times zones, may be D3 in the mornings might have a similar effect.

    some food for thought

  13. Jenny Says:

    I recently started taking my D3 (4-5000IU a day, a.m.) in droplet form, having taken gel caps. I find the droplets work even better – but I am coeliac, and put this down to the chronic coeliac malabsorption problems – even when gluten-free.

    BTW, I had one set of D3 gelcaps, extracted from lanolin rather than fish oils. Within a week I started feeling slightly off, and within 2 weeks I developed acute joint pain. I checked and found other people reporting the same, so immediately swopped back to fish oil derived D3, and my joints recovered after 3-4 days.