Vitamin D is produced in the skin via the UVb rays in sunlight. What is the most important to note is the amount of vitamin D that the body naturally produces with sunlight. Why is the daily recommended dose of vitamin D is 400 units when your body will make 10,000 units of D with full exposure in only 30 minutes. Granted this amount is achieved when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky, you have to wonder what other roles this important nutrient plays in the body.
For decades, we only understood only one function of vitamin D, that it’s necessary for calcium absorption. During the past few years, numerous studies have shown the correlation of vitamin levels with so many other functions in the body, including immune regulation, mineral absorption, mood regulation and much more. Low Vitamin D is thought to have implications in cancer, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and many other debilitating conditions.
Because of it’s widespread function in the body, Vitamin D should be tested regularly. However, because it isn’t included in a regular blood panel, make sure you ask for doctor to add it on. It is an inexpensive assessment at around $50. Make sure that the lab you use measures 25-hydroxy vitamin D. You can order it yourself at Life Extensions and they will send you to a nearest Lab Corp location or you can order an at home kit through ZRT (finger prick). Your blood level of 25-hydroxy vitamin D should be at least 60 ng/ml but closer to 80 if you are female.
The Vitamin D Council recommends that you:
- regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible (being careful to never burn).
- regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
- take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, retest your levels and sdjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.
*Severe heavy metal and/or chemical toxicity can impair Vitamin D absorption. If you know that you have mercury or pesticide toxicity, make sure you supplement with Vitamin D.