-- Skip to content

Vitamin D Deficiency: Facts You Need to Know

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

vitamin-d-eficiencyIf you don’t spend a solid amount of time throughout the year running around naked in the sun, there’s a good chance that you fall into the majority of Americans suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

Wait, what?

According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, up to 90% of darker pigmented Americans and 75% of lighter pigmented Americans are suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin upon UVB exposure from the sun, and to a much lesser extent, can be absorbed from our diet.

The problem we face is that humans are spending less and less time outside exposed to natural sunlight.

In addition to our lack of exposure, most people apply sunscreen which further limits our skin’s ability to make vitamin D.

If that’s not enough, we are also faced with the fact that foods (even vitamin D fortified foods) contain inadequate amounts to meet the needs of most children and adults.

Not to mention…the Standard American Diet (SAD) is abysmally void of important nutrients.

SO, WHY IS GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D SUCH A BIG DEAL?

Vitamin D is critical for absorption and maintenance of calcium. Not having enough can cause Rickets in children and osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults.

Scientists have known about the relationship between vitamin D and bone health for a long time, but newer research paints a much bigger picture.

Insufficient levels can also lead to increased risk of autoimmune disease, certain cancers, high blood pressure and infectious disease.

The best measure of Vitamin D levels is a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test:
Ideal levels: 50+ ng/mL
Moderate levels: 30-50 ng/mL
Low levels: under 30 ng/mL
Toxic levels: 150+ ng/mL

People in the moderate range should consider spending more time in the sun and supplementing with vitamin D3.

People with low levels are considered vitamin D insufficient (20-30 ng/mL) and deficient (< 20 ng/mL) and need to work on increasing their levels more aggressively.

Important consideration: consuming too much vitamin D is possible. You should have your levels tested regularly by your primary care practitioner if you supplement using high doses.

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR LEVELS OF VITAMIN D SUNLIGHT

The best natural way to increase vitamin D levels is getting more sunlight.

Experts recommend 10-20 minutes of exposure for lighter skinned-individuals, and at least 40 minutes each day for individuals with darker skin.

To be clear, this means sitting in the sun with your face, arms and legs exposed without sunscreen.

Even very low SPF sunscreen can decrease your skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D by 90%.

If this seems unrealistic, using a supplement is a great alternative.

Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D3 is more readily absorbed and used than vitamin D2- so look for the D3 form when you’re choosing a supplement.

1000 IU a day should steadily increase the level of serum vitamin D for most people.

Though, people with very low levels and symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency would likely benefit more from a higher dose.

CONDITIONS AND SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH LOW VITAMIN D LEVELS:

⦁ Rickets in children
⦁ Osteoporosis and osteomalacia
⦁ Autoimmune disease
⦁ Common cancers
⦁ Heart disease
⦁ Hypertension (high blood pressure)
⦁ Multiple sclerosis
⦁ Diabetes
⦁ Depression
⦁ Anxiety
⦁ Insomnia
⦁ Asthma
⦁ Arthritis
⦁ Fibromyalgia
⦁ Chronic pain
⦁ Psoriasis
⦁ Autism
⦁ Weakness
⦁ Chronic fatigue
Inflammation
⦁ Weak immune system

The best way to ensure appropriate levels for your individual biochemistry is to work with a functional medicine practitioner.

If you are not working with a FM doctor and take a high dose vitamin D supplement, make sure that you have your levels tested regularly to avoid over-supplementation and vitamin D toxicity.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Vitamin D deficiency is an enormous problem that we can’t ignore.

The majority of people in the U.S. are deficient and could be suffering from chronic symptoms and degenerative diseases as a result.

If you are suffering from any unexplained symptoms or conditions- I urge you to test your levels and consider an appropriate dose of high quality vitamin D3.

Just remember-you can take too much, so keep higher supplementation short-term unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Have you had your levels tested? What has supplementing done for your health? I’d love to hear your stories, leave a comment below!

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name

*

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.