I regularly ask my patients if they are taking vitamin D. More often than not, they respond by telling me that they get plenty of sun!
In a new report, The International Food Information Council (IFIC) surveyed 1005 adults ranging in age from 18 to 80. They asked them if they thought they were getting adequate nutrients from their food.
The biggest discrepancy was vitamin D3. While sixty-eight percent of those surveyed thought they were getting adequate levels of vitamin D, (12) according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) only 32% of those surveyed actually met the current Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI).
What’s worse is that the DRI is only 600IU per day for adults.
According to most experts, including the Vitamin D Council, the significant health benefits of vitamin D3 do not kick in until blood levels are between 50-80ng/ml, which requires on average about 4-5000IU per day in the winter to maintain.
It’s a common misconception that if the sun is shining, you can get all your vitamin D from being outside. Not so. The UVB rays that make vitamin D in the skin only penetrate the earth’s atmosphere when the sun is basically perpendicular to the earth. In the winter, at any latitude north of Atlanta the sun is too low in the sky for the UVB rays to penetrate the atmosphere, hence no vitamin D can be produced even in sun-exposed skin.
Even in the summer, the morning and evening rays are too low in the sky. Surprisingly, the only vitamin D making rays we can count on come from the midday summer sun. When vitamin D is in the optimal range, it actually begins to function as a hormone taking its benefits to a whole new level.
Here are some of the one we know of:
- Supports normal cell differentiation (1)
- Supports cardiovascular health (2)
- Normal immune function (3)
- Good balance (4)
- Healthy mood (5)
- Normal fetal development (6)
- Neuronal growth and neural development (7)
- Healthy glucose metabolism (8)
- Musculoskeletal comfort (9)
- Periodontal health (10)
- Normal intestinal immune response (11)
Take 4-5000IU per day in the winter and 1-3000IU per day in the summer based on how much midday sun exposure you get. On average, kids take half these doses. Get tested after 3 months on these suggestions to be certain you stay between 50-80ng/ml throughout the years.