If you live in the northern part of the United States, you probably don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun. Indeed, Dr. Anderson said that in Montana, there isn’t a way to get enough Vitamin D from sun exposure and, unfortunately, it’s not easy to get it from dietary sources either.
This is why Vitamin D is such a commonly prescribed Vitamin and why you probably need to take a supplement to insure you are getting enough. Optimal levels of Vitamin D lie between 50-80 ng/mL. A level of 30 ng/mL shows a deficiency and 10 ng/mL means the patient is severely deficient. Dr. Anderson said she routinely sees people in the teens.
Although your insurance may not pay for testing, it’s important to be tested because a deficiency can lead to a number of problems. Up to half of all Americans are deficient in Vitamin D and low levels can contribute to issues such as:
- Twice the risk of heart attack
- Increased incidence of high blood pressure
- Increased risk of MS
- Increased inflammation
- Increased allergies
- Increased schizophrenia
- Increased autoimmune disease
- Increased migraines
- Increased diabetes
- Greater risk of depression
- Increased joint and back pain
- Poor wound healing
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
- 75% Greater risk of colon cancer
- Risk of rickets
Because you’d have to eat 8-9 ounces of herring a day to provide the minimum daily requirement of Vitamin D for most people, you probably aren’t going to get enough in your diet and, as mentioned above, probably not enough from the sun either. Aging, excess weight and inflammation can disrupt our bodies ability to convert sunlight to Vitamin D and darker skin does not soak in as much of this vitamin.
Testing for Vitamin D and finding out your level can help your doctor determine how much Vitamin D you should take because too much can cause toxic symptoms. It’s also important to test a few months after beginning supplementation to make sure your levels are optimal.
As with other supplements, not all are created equal. Our bodies can’t use Vitamin D2 so it’s important to look for D3. Additionally, taking it with Vitamin K2 helps our body utilize the Vitamin D. A high quality supplement or high-vitamin cod liver oil is the best option for making sure you get enough of this important vitamin.