vitamin D. It’s important for bone health, hormone
production and protection against cancer.
You get vitamin D from the sun and a few foods — mostly deep sea cold water fatty fish.
Unless you live in the Deep South, it’s impossible to get enough vitamin D from sunlight,
November through February.
Vitamin D and your bones
Vitamin D improves our absorption of calcium and phosphorous, minerals essential for
healthy bones. Low levels of vitamin D result in higher risk of fall and fractures.
Children with low vitamin D develop rickets. This causes bowing of the legs. Adults can
develop a similar condition — osteomalacia — where slight bone softening causes a
gnawing pain often mistaken for fibromyalgia.
Vitamin D and Cancer
Low vitamin D is associated with increase risk of cancers including colon, breast and
prostate. Vitamin D actively inhibits the uncontrolled cell growth typical of cancer in
most tissues of the body.
Adequate Vitamin D reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Correcting
vitamin D can reduce blood pressure.
Testing for vitamin D
Make sure your doctor checks your 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Levels below 20 are deficient,
20 - 30 borderline, and 30- 50 healthy. The best month to test? November. If you’re
deficient then, you’ll be severely deficient at the end of winter.
Vitamin D from the sun
10 minutes of direct sun on the face and arms 2 to 3 times a week is adequate, March
through October (year round in the Deep South). Even an SPF 8 sun screen, however,
will block vitamin D production by 90%. So get some direct sun and wear sun screen the
rest of the time.
How much do you take?
Deficient? 50,000 units in a single capsule once a week for eight weeks works well for
most. Then 50,000 units once or twice a month. The usual daily recommended amount is
800 to 1200 units. if you’re usiing 400 unit tablets.
What about toxicity?
Most experts agree 5,000 to 10,000 units a day are safe. Toxicity causes absorption of too
much calcium resulting in kidney stones, kidney failure and calcification of the arteries.
The above recommendation is well within the safe range.
If your D is 73 that is good!!
Recent studies caused a lowering of the recommendation for daily Vitamin D from 1000 units a day to 800, because an association was found with certain problems. Now, these studies that find associations aren't hard and cold facts, but if you're not deficient you certainly don't need that much, and you wouldn't need it for very long. But medicine isn't factual, it's more based on information and nobody knows if that information is true, sometimes true, never true. We're now in a period of tremendous collection of information, but it will be a very long time before that information translates into facts. The other problem is that people are different and have different needs and different abilities to digest and store nutrients. What's okay for one might be harmful to another. With so many theories of nutrition out there, we're all essentially experimenting on ourselves. I wouldn't personally take that much D every day, particularly as D stores in the body as a fat soluble vitamin, but I can't tell you, nor do I believe anyone can tell you, what the ideal amount would be.
By the way, don't be scared by the above post saying you can't get enough D unless you live in the Deep South. If that were true, the only people alive would be in the sunniest places, but to the contrary, people live everywhere and have for thousands of years without supplementing. Plains Indians, for example, survived for thousands of years without access to deep water fish and were quite hardy. Obviously there are sunny days everywhere, so even if it seems there's no D getting in it obviously is a long as you spend time outdoors even in winter. It's cold in winter, but quite often very sunny. So, again, people adapt, people survive, so they must have gotten their D somewhere.