Vitamin D: Don’t Leave Home Without It

Up until a few years ago, few people ever gave vitamin D much thought. All the average Joe knew was that vitamin D came from sunlight, dairy products were fortified with it, and that was about it. Then studies began to make the link between vitamin D deficiencies and development of many of our most feared diseases – such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and depression – began to make hit the mainstream media. The good news however was that vitamin D deficiencies could be remedied fairly easily and the rush to get those vital D’s began.

So where to start with vitamin D? There are several ways to get more of it, starting with sunlight exposure. Trouble is, many of us don’t wish to expose our skin to potential sun-damage to get it. You can also get vitamin D from food sources, but it’s close to impossible to eat enough to make a dent, so instead, I recommend vitamin D3 supplementation for my patients. Thought I develop a customize supplementation plan for patients taking into account a variety of lifestyle and biological factors, any patient can take charge of their long-term health and insist that their doctor test their levels. Depending on the magnitude of the deficiency found in a simple blood test, a patient may need a daily dose from 2,000 -10,000 IUs of D3 to help them achieve optimal levels and reap the benefits.

Your assignment: On your next doctor visit, ask the doc to test your levels specifically with the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D test, which is considered to be more accurate and revealing than the1, 25-dihydroxy-vitamin D test.  Ideally, your test should show a range of 50-80 ng/ml. If your levels are below 50 ng/ml, then work with your doctor to develop a supplementation plan. Be sure to follow up with another test to check your D levels after an inital 3-6 month course. When you reach the desired levels, keep supplementing with D3 every day to maintain your gains.