15 Facts You Must Know About Vitamin D

Cliff Notes” that will highlight the 16 key points regarding vitamin D. For those of you who consider yourselves nutrition nerds like me, these facts make for great conversation at parties. So here we go!

Vitamin D is a hot topic right now and I recently read a wonderful article that I felt did a great job of summarizing the research literature on vitamin D. Rather than writing another boring article on this topic, I decided to write up the “Vitamin D Cliff Notes” that will highlight the 16 key points regarding vitamin D. For those of you who consider yourselves nutrition nerds like me, these facts make for great conversation at parties. So here we go!

1. Vitamin D is a potent steroid hormone that plays an important role in over 200 repair and maintenance genes of the body. This means vitamin D has over 200 known mechanisms by which it promotes health and longevity aside from its benefits to the bones.
2. Your blood test levels for vitamin D should stay between 40-50 ng/ml all year round. During winter months, many people may need up to 5,000 iu daily in order to maintain this level.
3. A recent study found that 1,100 iu of vitamin D3 daily over a 4 year period dramatically decreased the risk of non-skin cancers.
4. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many other diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, blood pressure problems, multiple sclerosis, periodontal disease, macular degeneration, inflammatory diseases, stroke, diabetes, mental illness and instability on your feet. Now you see why this is such a hot topic!
5. A recent analysis of the research suggests that 2,000 iu of vitamin D may virtually eliminate cold and flu.
6. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to unexplained back pain and, in these people, high doses of vitamin D (5,000 iu to 10,000 iu) may alleviate the pain!
7. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant and affects young and elderly alike. Vitamin D deficiency can occur even in people who live in sunny climates.
8. Stress fractures in otherwise healthy people may indicate vitamin D deficiency.
9. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle pain and weakness.
10. Prescription vitamin D is not human vitamin D and is 2-4 times less effective than cheaper, non-prescription vitamin D (cholecalciferol).
11. The average adult needs 2,000-4,000 iu of vitamin D daily to maintain a healthy level. Although this is a good “standard recommendation” each person absorbs, utilizes and produces vitamin D to different degrees and may require a little more or a little less to optimize their blood levels.
12. If you are aged, obese and/or dark-skinned you may need 3,000-5,000 iu to maintain healthy levels.
13. Pregnant women should have their vitamin D blood tests performed every 3 months and optimize the blood levels using supplements. Lactating women should consider doses up to 6,000 iu daily to provide acceptable amounts to their child through breast milk. Vitamin D is crucial for the proper development of a growing child.
14. Bottle-fed infants should be supplemented with 400 iu of vitamin D daily. Breastfed children should be supplemented with 800 iu daily unless the mother takes high enough doses of supplemented vitamin D. Toddlers and older children who do not get sufficient sun should take 1,000-2,000 iu depending on their weight.
15. Vitamin D is safe. Most adults would have to take well over 10,000 iu of vitamin D for many months or years before they would suffer side effects from toxicity.

For those who would like to read the entire review article, it can be downloaded for free from The Vitamin D Council by clicking the following link: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/PDFs/diagnosis-vitdd.pdf. There are many vitamin D supplements on the market, recently Carlson Labs came out with a very high potency line of liquid vitamin D. They have three formulas: 400 iu per drop, 1,000 iu per drop and 2,000 iu per drop. These products are convenient alternatives to softgels. If you would like a powerful multivitamin that provides 2,000 iu of vitamin D daily, I recommend the Purity’s Perfect Multivitamin.

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