In another unrelated study, a correlation between vitamin D and gastrointestinal homeostasis was established. The association appears to involve a relationship with signaling between the natural occurring flora found in the GI tract, the host and the vitamin D pathway.
As more and more scientific evidence emerges, vitamin D supplementation confirms that currently recommended daily allowances (RDA) of vitamin D are grossly insufficient for young and old alike.
Under summer conditions it is frequently possible to generate about 20,000 units of vitamin D by exposing your skin to the sun. That fact makes the following recommendations seem more in line with reality. The problems with relying on the sun are many including: over exposure leading to skin cancer; dark skin, which decreases your body's ability to generate vitamin D; inconsistent exposure to sunlight on a daily basis; and living in the Northeast, where 6 months or more out of the year we are unable to absorb vitamin D from natural sunlight.
Currently, the U.S. RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU (international units) for the majority of the population. (IU is frequently shortened to just “units.”) This dose was recommended to prevent rickets, which works well, but does nothing to give the far more important protection from cancer, heart disease and infections.
To achieve healthy blood levels, most adults will need about FIVE THOUSAND units of vitamin D every day. Interestingly, the majority of people are taking vitamin D are taking 1,000 units, and they believe they are taking “high” doses. Don’t fool yourself, as an adult, you likely need about 5,000 IU’s a day.
Some also worry that if they are in the sun that they will overdose on vitamin D. However this is not typically the case, and here’s why: When you’re exposed to the sun, the UVB rays cause vitamin D to be produced in your skin while the UVA rays in the sunlight will tend to destroy excessive levels of vitamin D circulating in your body. It is somewhat of a natural failsafe mechanism that prevents overdosing.
HOWEVER, please understand that about 10 percent or more of the people reading this needs significantly more than 5,000 units. I have seen people requiring over 30,000 units of vitamin D a day to reach therapeutic levels of 25 hydroxy D in their blood. Please remember that the ONLY way to know for sure is to get your blood level tested.Based on the most recent research, the current recommendation is 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight. So for a child weighing 40 pounds, the recommended average dose would be 1,400 IU’s daily, and for a 170-pound adult, the dose would be nearly 6,000 IU’s.
However, it’s important to realize that vitamin D requirements are highly individual, as your vitamin D status is dependent on numerous factors, such as the color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re exposed to on a regular basis. So, although these recommendations may put you closer to the ballpark of what most people likely need, it is simply impossible to make a blanket recommendation that will cover everyone’s needs.
So how do you ensure optimal vitamin D levels for yourself, your child, and aging parents?
The only way to determine the correct dose is to get your blood tested since there are so many variables that influence your vitamin D status. You can either get this done at your doctor's office or my practice, Lifestyle Nutrition, works with Metametrix Clincial Laboratory enabling me to do Vitamin D testing. Metametrix measures 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D). Within hours, vitamin D from sunlight and diet is removed from circulation and recirculates again a few hours later as 25-OH-D. This form has the longest half life, about three weeks.
It is important to realize the difference between what conventional medicine considers to be “normal,” versus what is optimal. The “normal” 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab range is between 20-56 ng/ml. This conventional range is really a sign of deficiency, and is too broad to be ideal. In fact, your vitamin D level should never be below 32 ng/ml, and any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states, increasing your risk for as many as 16 different cancers and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.
The OPTIMAL value that you’re looking for is 50-70 ng/ml. This range applies for everyone; children, adolescents, adults and seniors.
These ranges are based on healthy people in tropical or subtropical parts of the world, where they are receiving healthy sun exposures. It seems more than reasonable to assume that these values are in fact reflective of an optimal human requirement.
Only Supplement with the Right Kind of Vitamin D
There are two things you need to be aware of when you choose to use an oral vitamin D supplement and that is the quality of the supplement and that there are two types – one is natural and one is synthetic.
- The natural one is D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the same vitamin D your body makes when exposed to sunshine
- The synthetic one is vitamin D2, which is sometimes called ergocalciferol
Vitamin D2 also has a shorter shelf life, and its metabolites bind with protein poorly, making it less effective. Studies have even concluded that vitamin D2 should no longer be regarded as a nutrient appropriate for supplementation or fortification of foods (although it continues to be used). So if you choose to use vitamin D supplements make sure it is in the form of vitamin D3.
I recommend NutraMetrix Isotonix Vitamin D, which is a high-quality supplement superior for its delivery and absorption. NutraMetrix Isotonix Vitamin D with K2 contains vitamin D3, the metabolically active form of vitamin D, along with vitamin K2, a form of vitamin K which supports vascular health and calcium utilization. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health, heart health and immune support, while working with vitamin K to support normal absorption of calcium and promote healthy arteries.
Vitamin K is included in nutraMetrix Isotonix Vitamin D with K2 because of its unique partnership with vitamin D. Vitamins K and D work together to support calcium absorption and utilization. Vitamin K supports the normal delivery of calcium to the bones and promotes healthy arteries.
Isotonix dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do to obtain maximum absorption of the nutrients. The isotonic state (drinkable form) of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and rapidly absorb into the bloodstream. With Isotonix products, little nutritive value is lost, making the absorption of nutrients highly efficient while delivering maximum results.
Questions or would like to schedule a time to have your vitamin D levels tested?
Alissa C. Robertson, MS, RD