Sunday, April 7, 2013

Doctor's Orders - Vitamin D: The Sunny Facts by Su-Anne M. Hammond, DO

Vitamin D (calciferol) is an essential vitamin used by the human body for balancing calcium and building bone as well as recent theoretical links to depression and pain. Whether Vitamin D has a direct link to our immune system, mood and pain receptors still requires additional research.

We absorb Vitamin D from sunlight and UV light as well as consume Vitamin D in fortified foods. Vitamin D is found in milk, fish, cod-liver oil, bread, cereals and even eggs. There is inconsistency in the recommended amounts of Vitamin D. Part of that is due to variations in geological location (i.e. length of summer) and personal sunlight exposure. The Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine recommends infants 0-12 months receive 400IU (international units) daily, children 1-18 years 600 IU, 19-70 years 600 IU, >70 years 800 IU. Other sources with research focusing on potential links of low Vitamin D to increased depression and increased chronic pain, recommend up to 2000IU in 18-70 year olds.

Here in the Northeast, we have limited hours of sunlight and summer months, thus low Vitamin D levels are common. Your doctor can check your Vitamin D level if there is a concern for complications of low Vitamin D. Those at risk include anyone with osteoporosis, a history of certain types of bone fractures and other medical conditions that put them at risk for fractures.

Although the sun can provide us with natural Vitamin D, it is not recommended to get Vitamin D from the sun or a tanning bed due to the potential risk of skin cancer. Eating healthy foods rich in Vitamin D is your best course of action for healthy bones. If you are concerned about a deficiency ask your doctor if you should be tested for low Vitamin D. Before starting any Vitamin D supplement review your medications with your doctor.


  1. You'll actually need much more than you think. About 91% of humans today are deficient in vitamin D, no matter where you are. It's true you can obtain some from food, but not nearly enough to bring your body to optimal function. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors walked around naked in the sun all day, and rarely spent any time out of the sun. Today, we spend 87% of our time indoors and wear clothes outside, effectively shutting off our natural vitamin D synthesis. Doctors are very conservative with their recommendations about vitamins in general, and in order to maintain (not restore, mind you) optimal function of the systems mentioned above it's recommended to supplement with about 1000IU of Vitamin D3 per day per 25lbs of body weight. If your skin is dark, up this to 1500IU. It sounds like a lot but Vitamin D toxicity doesn't even begin to show symptomatically until you're taking in and synthesizing upwards of 50,000IU Vitamin D per day for several months. Don't skimp on this stuff, people.

  2. A lot of times my doctor also told me the importance of vitamin D to the body. This is the reason why he recommend that I take vitamin d3 supplements to make sure I have sufficient amount of this vitamins that is vital to our health.