Eye on Vitamin D
As the research continues to mount about Vitamin D, this vitamin is being called the nutrient of the decade. Vitamin D is actually a pro-hormone, and there are Vitamin D receptors on every organ and gland in our bodies.
Vitamin D also assists the immune system and helps reduce inflammatory processes. A current study found 61% of children to be insufficient and 77% of adults to be insufficient in this vitamin.
Vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble substance, which enters our fat cells and is stored there. As we burn the fat the Vitamin D is liberated from the tissue and utilized by the body. Obesity is one of the causes for such high levels of insufficiency since vitamin D maintained in fat is less available to the body.
Sunlight is the best and only true source of Vitamin D, which is converted to Vitamin D3 in the body. There are 5 different forms of vitamin D and when choosing a supplement be sure that it says Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is currently made from the UV irradiation of lanolin in sheep wool; this form is absorbed 300% better than Vitamin D2, which is made from UV irradiation of ergosterol in yeast.
Low levels of Vitamin D are associated with decreased physical performance. Older men and women who were deficient in Vitamin D had less balance and strength than people with sufficient levels. When Vitamin D levels were restored, muscle strength and balance improved. Proper levels of Vitamin D deficiencies were also shown to decrease cardiovascular events, and the spread/metastasis of cancer.
There is some dispute as to the optimal level of which to supplement Vitamin D3. According to various research groups the recommended dosage is now between 1,000 iu – 4, 000 iu daily. Blood levels of Vitamin D should be between 40-60 ng/ml. The Vitamin D council recommends 50 ng/ml blood level.
Overdosing on Vitamin D?
It is possible to overdose through supplementation and a very high level over 100ng/ml can cause the body to over process calcium. Blood levels should be drawn from year to year if people are dosing at consistent levels greater than 10,000iu/daily. Sunlight induced vitamin D has no potential for overdose and the body will make 10,000 iu’s daily from a few hours of sun exposure.
Note from Dr. P:
If your doctor checked your Vitamin D level and the nurse called you back to tell you everything was “fine” and that your Vitamin D level was “normal” you had better ask for the actual number or a copy of the test results to see for yourself. Countless times a patient of mine will tell me their conventional doctor told them their vitamin D level was normal or “within range.” I can’t tell you how badly I cringe inside when I hear someone say that. Within range means 1 point inside of a range, not optimal range, not smack dab in the middle of the range, where exactly in what range?
Vitamin D levels are incredibly important for overall health, and chances are that you are deficient or at an insufficient level. If the range is 30-70, the optimal level is 50 and your number is 35 you are still insufficient. Remember that your conventional doctor treats disease. Disease occurs outside of the reference range, inside the reference range even at the very low end, they will tell you that you are normal. Always get a copy of your labs and keep them in a file. Even if you can’t read them, you may want to pass them on to an Integrative Doctor who can.