Top 10 facts about Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is essential

Vitamin D deficiency is common

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.

Ideal Vitamin D levels

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

Optimal Vitamin D levels 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.

Optimal Vitamin D levels in Australia, Canada and Europe

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.

10 Facts About Vitamin D

  1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
  2. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
  3. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
  4. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
  5. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the UK and most U.S. states are far from the equator.
  6. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That’s why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men — it’s a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
  7. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
  8. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.
  9. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease — by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
  10. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.

Vitamin D Supplements

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.

Thorne Research Vitamin D and K2 is one of the best brands and is available from Amazon and

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.

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