3/8/10

Vitamin D- How Much Do You Need?

If you’ve listened to me on the radio, you’ve heard my mantra: Omega 3’s are the most important nutrient you can take, except for the winter time, when Vitamin D becomes equally important.  In fact, if you’re indoors most of the day, it’s critical in the summer as well.---- Sunshine flower (thumb)

Let’s start off by determining the optimal blood levels of vitamin D.  According to Dr. Garland DrPH of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and noted vitamin D researcher, "Most scientists who are actively working with vitamin D now believe that 40 to 60,000 nanograms per milliliter is the appropriate target concentration of 25-vitamin D in the blood for preventing the major vitamin D-deficiency related diseases, and have joined in a letter on this topic. Unfortunately, according to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 10 percent of the US population has levels in this range, mainly people who work outdoors." Dr Garland and his colleagues established this newer optimal baseline level after analyzed data from a survey of 3,667men and women (this is a big study) whose average age was 51. Their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were measured and online questionnaires were completed every six months over a five year period to ascertain vitamin D levels, vitamin D intake, and health status.

Dr Garland, who is a professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, explains that by maintaining your serum vitamin D levels in that range can “reduce by about half the risk of several diseases - breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes." 

He and his team found that to maintain these levels the average adult will have to supplement with 4000 – 8000 IU’s per day. "I was not surprised by this," remarked coauthor Heaney, who is a biomedical scientist at Creighton University and an authority on vitamin D. "This result was what our dose-response studies predicted, but it took a study such as this, of people leading their everyday lives, to confirm it."

"Most scientists who are actively working with vitamin D now believe that 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter is the appropriate target concentration of 25-vitamin D in the blood for preventing the major vitamin D-deficiency related diseases, and have joined in a letter on this topic," Dr Garland noted. "Now that the results of this study are in, it will become common for almost every adult to take 4000 IU/day," he said. "This is comfortably under the 10,000 IU/day that the IOM Committee Report considers as the lower limit of risk, and the benefits are substantial."

Our main natural source of Vitamin D is sunshine.  When the suns rays strike your skin, it makes vitamin D.  And if you apply sunscreen every time you go outside it will effectively block vitamin D creation. Additionally, the suns rays have to be at the right angle, so if you live north of Atlanta, you're not making vitamin D during the winter months.  Here in NY we're making very little vitamin D from November through March.

Bottom line, well over 90% of my new patients are not getting close to enough Vitamin D.  It’s not in most foods so if you’re relying on a healthy diet to get your levels up….forget it.   Take a look at all of your vitamin D sources: your multivitamin, your calcium formula, and any other vitamins you take regularly.  Add these up to determine what you’re currently getting.  Now read the recommendations above one more time; frightening isn’t it?  Most of you will find that you’re getting well under 1,000 IU’s per day which means that you probably need more. 

I personally take about  5,000-6,000 IU’s per day in the winter and about 2,000-3,000 IU’s per day in the summer.  This is probably a good baseline number for ---- Sunshine Blue ski (thumb)most people who live in the northern parts of the North America and get outside often in the summer time.  If your spend most of your time indoors in the summer or always use sunscreen, you'll probably be better off with the winter supplementation levels all year long. 

The best way to determine the right level of supplementation for you is to have your doctor check your vitamin D level during your next blood test.  If it’s below  40 to 60,000 nanograms per milliliter, according to these experts, you need to increase your vitamin D supplementation to increase your levels.

Also be careful about the time of year that you have your blood tested.  You will naturally have higher levels in the summer than in the winter as your body makes vitamin D when the sun’s rays strike your skin.

For more on vitamin D read my article: Vitamin D- The Super Nutrient

To buy high quality vitamin D-3 click here  

Eat right, exercise, supplement wisely and maintain a positive mental attitude, that’s how we’ll age gracefully together. 

To Your Good Health,
Dr. Neil Levin, chiropractor 

Mcuh of this information comes from LE Magazine (http://www.lef.org/newsletter/2011/0225_Researchers-Recommend-Greater-Intake-of-Vitamin-D.htm?source=eNewsLetter2011Wk8-2&key=Article&l=0#article) The findings were published on the website of Grassroots' Health, a non-profit community service organization dedicated to promoting public awareness about vitamin D, and will appear in the journal Anticancer Research