02_DE182_Web 500pxSome of you have inquired about Vitamin D3, so I thought I would go into detail about some of its benefits and who should be taking Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is one vitamin most of us should be taking. Why is that?  Because there is a significantly large amount of research that shows that most of us have low vitamin D levels and that vitamin D has many protective health benefits. It has been known for some time that vitamin D is important to strong bones and teeth. But did you know that low vitamin D levels have been linked to several chronic diseases including multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, heart disease, asthma, depression, arthritis, diabetes, rickets, and help our immune system? People with certain forms of cancer are found to have low vitamin D levels. In fact 1,000 iu of vitamin D when taken daily has shown to improve survival rates in people with breast, colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Some have also seen improvement is their vitamin D levels in those who have had Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Click here for more information!

So how do you know if you should be taking vitamin D? Ideally you want to find out what your vitamin D level is. This can be done with a simple blood test. You want to ask your health care provider to check your 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]. Most labs report a sufficient level at greater than 30nmol/L. However the lab reference ranges have yet to catch up with the research that shows a sufficient vitamin D level to be at greater than 50-75nmol/L. Once you know what your level is, your health care provider can recommend a dose that is right for you. If you are unable to get your levels checked, in most instances you would be safe in taking 1,000 iu of Vitamin D3. You want to make sure you are taking vitamin D3 and not vitamin D2. Studies have shown that vitamin D3 is what provides the best overall health benefits.

When looking at the health and disease prevention, checking your vitamin D levels is worth its weight in gold. This is a simple and inexpensive step you can take to protect your health. Please allow me to get on my soap box for a moment. Insurance will not cover vitamin D testing, unless you have a known vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis, abnormal calcium levels, or parathyroid disease. How are you going to know if you have a vitamin D deficiency unless you do the blood test? There is overwhelming evidence supporting the health benefits of vitamin D. Overwhelming evidence also is showing that most of us are deficient in vitamin D. If taking this one simple vitamin in the appropriate dose can potentially promote health and prevent disease, would this not be a step in the right direction to reducing health care costs?

Are there other ways for you to get vitamin D other than taking a supplement? The answer is yes! But unfortunately there is a high probability you will not consume enough vitamin D even if you do incorporate these additional measures. You can expose your arms and legs to the sun daily for 20 minutes without wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks vitamin D absorption. You can also consume foods that contain vitamin D including shiitake and button mushrooms, cod liver oil, sardines, eggs, salmon, herring, and trout. Fortified sources also exist; such as orange juice, milk, and cereal. All of these things will help, but you will likely need to take some additional vitamin D3 in supplement form.

Lastly, there are some people who should not take supplemental vitamin D without consulting their health care provider. If you have liver, kidney, or parathyroid disease, please consult your health care provider before considering the intake of this supplement.