A high percentage of adults, somewhere between 50 percent and upward of 90 percent depending on ethnicity and location, are believed to be at least somewhat deficient in vitamin D. So it makes sense that vitamin D is now one of the most widely consumed supplements. How much, if any should you take and why does it matter?
First, what is vitamin D and what does it do? Vitamin D is a nutrient you need for good health. It helps your body absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks for strong bones. Together with calcium, vitamin D helps protect you from developing osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones making them more likely to break. Your body needs vitamin D for other functions too. Your muscles need it to move, and your nerves need it to carry messages between your brain and your body and your immune system need vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Should you take a supplement? Your body makes vitamin D when your bare skin is exposed to the sun and most people get at least some vitamin D this way. However, clouds, smog, old age, and having dark-colored skin reduce the amount of vitamin D your skin makes.
In people whose vitamin D levels are normal, a common recommendation is to take a dose of 800 international units of vitamin D per day. This dose may be enough to help you maintain levels in the normal range, but some studies suggest that higher doses may be needed by many people. Most people in our area benefit from a dose of 2000 – 5000 iu per day.
Because you get vitamin D from food, sunshine, and dietary supplements, the easiest way to know if you’re getting enough is a blood test that measures the amount of vitamin D in your blood.
Dr. Donna Kachinskas
To schedule an appointment or consultation visit www.drdrdk.com