While the message to cover up and avoid excess sun has helped reduce the incidence of skin cancer, it has caused an issue with widespread vitamin D deficiency. Even if you regularly get enough sun there are certain genes that may affect your ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun, the only ways to know your vitamin D levels accurately is through a blood test.
To start with I recommend testing your Vitamin D levels at the end of summer and again at the end of winter to help work out whether you need to supplement. Depending on how much winter sun you get it maybe necessary to supplement with Vitamin D in the winter but not the summer, while for some people they should supplement all year around …. the only way to know is to test.
How Vitamin D is measured in the U.S is different to other parts of the world, so it is important to know the measurements that a lab is using. If you read or hear on a podcast that Vitamin D should be around 40-60 well that is perfect if your in the U.S but deficient in other parts of the world who use nmol/l compared to ng/ml in the U.S
The ideal level is 40-60 ng/ml for most people, this is very different to the reference range which is often 20-80 ng/ml as it can miss many people with sub-optimal levels of Vitamin D. If you have a chronic health condition being higher in the range may also be beneficial according to the research, but once you go over 80 ng/ml the benefits reduce.
The ideal level is 100-150 nmol/l and this is different to the laboratory reference range of 50-250 nmol/l, once again if you have a chronic health condition I would recommend being in the upper end of the range. There are is no reason to go above the range and the evidence suggests that this can also have negative health risks.
The level of Vitamin D in supplements can vary from 500 i.u right up to 25,000 i.u per capsule, and it is not more the better! The best way to determine your Vitamin D needs is through testing, and for most people if they are low they are going to need around 5,000 i.u of Vitamin D a day to get their levels into the optimal range. This dose is not “forever” and with testing they will know when to reduce into a maintenance dose.
I recommend the liquid Vitamin D supplements as you can adjust the dosage easily depending on how much Vitamin D that you need.
If your in Australia one of the best Vitamin D options is the Metagenics Vitamin D liquid, this is a practitioner only brand only available through a consultation with Planet Naturopath
If you need help knowing how much Vitamin D to take and what the optimal levels are for you, then you can schedule a consultation with Planet Naturopath to help you optimize all aspects of your health.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen