In a word – YES. Vitamin D may be the new buzz but for good reasons. Not only is Vitamin D necessary for your bones but low levels are now linked to increased risk of autoimmune diseases, diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders and even the common cold.
How can Vitamin D influence so many things? For starters, every cell in the body has a Vitamin D receptor and it is thought about 2000 genes are regulated by Vitamin D. Vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin and has more important functions than scientists ever imagined.
According to biochemist and endocrinologist Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D., author of The Vitamin D Solution, the average levels measured ranged from 22-28 ng/ml. Although the cutoff for normal is 30-35 most researchers state optimal levels should be over 60 ng/ml.
Higher levels of Vitamin D have been linked with 60% reduction in cancer, and 50% reduction in getting a cold or the flu. 76% of pregnant and lactating women who were taking a prenatal vitamin and drinking 2 glasses of milk per day were vitamin D deficient and 81% of their newborns at birth. This scenario makes rickets a comeback, something we want to keep as history only.
What is the best strategy for achieving optimal Vitamin D levels?
- Have your physician check your Vitamin D levels
- Take a minimum of 1000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day
- If your levels are below 45 increase your supplement by 1000 IU for every 6 points you need to raise it
- Monitor your levels yearly as they change depending on your circumstances
Even if you are in the sun chances are you are not getting enough Vitamin D. In addition, the darker your color of skin the more risk you are at for deficiency since your skin blocks the absorption - raising your risk of medical issues.
Take home message – Vitamin D for health. Your life may depend on it.