Other than Bone Strength and Immune Support, why is it important to increase your Vitamin D level?
- Regulate Hormones
- Mental Health Benefits
- Cardiovascular Benefits
We talk about vitamin D levels a lot. What is an Optimal Vitamin D Level?
There is some controversy regarding the question of optimal vitamin D blood levels. Conventional medicine views an adequate level to be in the range of 20-40ng/ml. Most functional medicine practitioners will likely advise a higher blood level between 50-70ng/ml. If you are suffering with depression, chronic inflammation, or autoimmune issues, research shows that you may benefit being on the higher-side of the lab values.
Three Ways to Increase Your Vitamin D Level
- Sun Exposure – depending on the strength of the sun, getting as little as 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin will naturally increase vitamin D levels. This is nearly impossible for those who live in northern climates, however. The risk of UV related skin damage and cancer should be weighed against the benefit of increasing naturally produced vitamin D.
- Food – Cold water fatty fish, meat, eggs and whole dairy products. Some foods are also fortified with a small amount vitamin D. Good food is truly good medicine!
- Supplements – Dosing depends on several factors. Most suggest a minimum of 2000 IU/day. Again though, if you are suffering with depression, chronic inflammation, or autoimmune issues, you may benefit from higher, most aggressive dosing. Although rare, Vitamin D can become toxic a high doses, so if you take greater than 5000u/day, it’s a good idea to check your level every 6 months.
What are other things to know when you are trying to increase your Vitamin D level?
- Two types of vitamin D exist: vitamin D2, which is plant derived and the animal-derived vitamin D3. Most of the data focuses on vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) because it is generally accepted that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2.
- A, D, E and K work together and support one another for absorption/conversion and help prevent toxicity
- Magnesium and Potassium are needed to help convert vitamin D into its usable form for the body.
- High vitamin D intake combined with high calcium intake may increase cardiovascular risk or the formation of kidney stones,
- Supplement use and dosing depends on skin type and UV exposure in addition to age and health status. People with darker skin types, or those who do not get sufficient amounts of UV light exposure, should use supplements to reach and maintain optimal vitamin D levels. This is especially true for those in northern climates. In addition, women over 50 years and all adults >70 years are advised to use a vitamin D supplement.