Why We Need Vitamin D

July 1, 2011

Vitamin D

According to The American Journal of Medicine, Vitamin D deficiency is a 25(OH)D concentration, the major circulating form of vitamin D, less than 20 ng/mL.  Insufficiency is at 21-29 ng/mL and greater than 30 ng/mL specifies sufficiency.  It is now recommended that people be screened for deficiency by obtaining a 25(OH)D measurement at least twice/year.

Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3.  Vitamin D2 is formed in the skin, after being in the sun or being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  Vitamin D3 is also available from animal sources (e.g., cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, herring) and is in foods fortified with vitamin D (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheeses, various breads and some juice products).  Vitamin D3 is 2-3 times better at increasing 25(OH)D than the same dose of vitamin D2.  The American Academy of Dermatology statement on vitamin D states, “that an adequate amount of vitamin D should be obtained from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in vitamin D, foods/beverages fortified with vitamin D, and/or vitamin D supplements; it should not be obtained from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation”.

Vitamin D and calcium work together and you should therefore strive to get adequate amounts of each daily.  However, it is important to note that too much calcium and vitamin D can have negative consequences. A National Cancer Institute study found a possible increased risk of pancreatic cancer in those with very high vitamin D levels.  Doses above 10,000 IUs/day have been shown to cause kidney damage.  The risk of having kidney stones increases once people exceed 2,000 mgs/day of calcium.  Therefore, aim to follow these guidelines…

Article by Donna Kennedy, Ph.D., M.S.   Screen shot 2011-06-22 at 2.05.17 PM
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