Vitamin D - Benefits, Dosage, and You

In case you are living under a rock (in which case you'd be vitamin D deficient), you know the sun is rather important to human health. Perhaps the biggest reason is the sun ACTIVATES vitamin D production in our skin.

So why is vitamin D important?

Vitamin D is so important that a simple PUBMED search will reveal it is the most scientifically studied vitamin in the world with over 50,000 published journal articles to date. So why are all these scientists and doctors so excited to study vitamin D if you get more than enough from 30 minutes in the sun?

The Short List

  • Boosts Your Immunity - Tired of being sick? Get your vitamin D levels checked! You're probably deficient. Vitamin D releases thousands of anti-microbials in the body fighting infections and keeping the viruses like the flu at bay!
  • Supports Emotional Well Being - Feeling down? Most people report their mild/moderate depression almost vanishes when they normalize their vitamin D levels to the optimal range!
  • Supports Strong Bones - Think calcium is the only important nutrient for strong bones? If you watch milk commercials you probably have been brainwashed to believe so! What didn't they tell you? Vitamin D is just as important! In fact, adequate vitamin D levels INCREASE calcium absorption in the small intestine. If you have osteoporosis in your family you need to get your vitamin D levels checked and optimize them with supplementation if need be!

Most Americans are deficient and don't even know it!

According to statistical reports in the United States, roughly 40% of the ENTIRE population is vitamin D DEFICIENT (sad face) and 90% of people with musculoskeletal pains (muscle, bone, joint) are vitamin D DEFICIENT (not good). Even more disturbing is that those statistics are based on lower than optimal blood levels of vitamin D (yikes).

You see we have only begin to really appreciate and study vitamin D over the last 10 years with newer technology and what we've found is that the previously recommended 32ng/dl serum (OH) vitamin D level is far too low. The BEST doctors in the world are now concluding by reading the current research, that the OPTIMAL range is 50-65ng/dl. The scary part? If you use that range as the benchmark instead of the old (and lower) vitamin D level, then over 85% of the POPULATION IS DEFICIENT IN VITAMIN D (sad face x2).

How is that possible?

It's not like we are vampires scared of the sun!

Well, consider how many times you wake up early, get your coffee and breakfast, and head into work as the sun's coming up. You work your 9-5 and then sit in traffic on your way home as you see Mr. Sun slowly fading behind the horizon. Soooo, how much sun did you get today? None! How much sun do you need. More than none!

Most studies now agree 30 minutes of FULL body (nekked) exposure at noon sunlight will produce 20,000 IUs of vitamin D in the body. Very nice. How else can you tell when you saturated your vitamin D stores for the day? Well, for one you feel really great. Who's ever felt worse after a beach day? The body won't rely on your intuition alone though, it has another fail-safe. It will turn your skin a bit pink. A burn is obviously too much sun exposure. Not too pale, not to burnt. Just like Goldilocks' porridge...juuust right! Plus, there's virtually no risk for vitamin D toxicity because your body has this cool feedback loop that says, "Nope, we've got enough today...I'm shutting it down."

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Some experts have landed on your physiological DAILY REQUIREMENT being 4,000 IUs. So if your blood levels were in the ideal range of 50-65ng/dl, you would stay perfectly in that range with a 4000-5000 IU intake a day (some genetic variability in individual needs of course). Unfortunately, if you're deficient, such as in the 20s (where my mom was before supplementation), you can't just take 4000 IUs. You need to take more. You need to take your daily requirement PLUS some surplus to get your serum blood levels to optimal human levels so you can function and reap the numerous benefits of vitamin D.

Story Time

My mom had been complaining of muscle pains all over her body (fibromyalgia-like), she needed a nap every afternoon, and she said she constantly felt "down in the dumps" even though she had no reason to. I decided to test her vitamin D levels (25 OH-vitamin D test). Her score was 18. Holy crap, that's low. She had a typical 9-5 job and when I probed her about how much sunlight she actually got, she realized maybe the only sun was during the weekends watching my siblings' sports games.

Based on a lot of research, I decided to give her a loading dose for 2 weeks of 30,000 IU/daily and then a daily 5,000 IU intake for another 2 months after that. We rechecked and she was back in a healthy range. Coincidentally, without me mentioning any of the benefits of vitamin D other than she needed to take it, she told me that she had more energy than she's had in years, she feels like her mood has increased for no apparent reason, and her muscle pains have reduced in magnitude. Clearly vitamin D is a safe, effective, and cheap solution to human health and well-being.

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