Are you getting enough Vitamin D?


Twice a year I have my Vitamin D levels checked.  After 4 years of working on my levels by taking Vitamin D supplements I am finally within normal levels but still on the low end. Normal levels of Vitamin D in blood serum are between is 30.0 to 74.0 nanograms per milliliter, but 30.0 is still on the low end and most doctors want to see their patients closer to mid-upper range. I often run into people that say “My multivitamin has D, so I must be getting enough”.  Most multi’s have about 400-600IU. This may be adequate for some, but I have had to take 6,000-10,000/day to get into normal ranges, so there is definitely not a one size fits all dosage.  Why is this important and vital to your health? Vitamin D is involved in muscles movement, nerve messaging between the brain and  body, inflammation and the immune system’s ability to fight off  bacteria and viruses. Together calcium and vitamin D work together to maintain strong bones and teeth. Current studies are implicating Vitamin D in cancer prevention and treatment.

If you are low on Vitamin D you may experience lethargy, low immune system, muscle pain and weakness and other less direct symptoms. Your body uses sunlight to make Vitamin D in the skin however, there are only certain times of the year and times throughout the day when vitamin D can be synthesized from the sun.  Click here for a map indicating areas that have appropriate sun exposure. In addition, if you wear sunscreen or clothing when you are in the sun, you are blocked from vitamin D synthesis.  You can also get vitamin D from food sources including:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms,  D content is being boosted by  ultraviolet light exposure.
  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart. However, other dairy products such as cheese and ice cream are usually not fortified.
  • Some foods such as breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages are now fortified with vitamin D.

Vitamin D can be a big issue if you are in the habit of wearing sunscreen, if you live in a rainy cold, climate, if you are a vegan/vegetarian. Most people are low on vitamin D now, possibly due to the fact that stress depletes vitamin D stores.  The best way to deal with vitamin D is to have your blood taken.  If you are below normal levels take a supplement and get re-tested within 3-6 months. My need for vitamin D might be 10, 000 IU/day but yours might be less and there are toxic effects of too much vitamin D intake so it is not wise to self-dose.

On a personal and anecdotal note;  Once I finally reached normal levels, my immune system kicked in full gear, I had energy and endurance.  Vitamin D is still being researched, but to date is seems like a key player and vital part of maintaining a healthy and disease-resistant body.

Want to get a little more Vitamin D in your diet (not to mention essential fatty acids)? Try this grilled salmon recipe by Bobby Flay.  Note that most of the butter and oil grills off so don’t panic.

Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze



2 thoughts on “Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

  1. I too learned that I have a vitamin D deficiency. I have been taking a mega-dose for almost a year, and while my levels are improving, I still have a ways to go. The information you share shed a lot of light on what I am experiencing. My doc said that the vitamin D deficiency on top of my iron deficiency is why I am feeling extra tired, but I am grateful that I am not having any immune difficulties. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is very informative.

  2. I definitely think I need to have my labs done. Thank you for sharing this information. I know how important it is to get sun limited sun exposure and assumed I would be fine if I got the minimum but after reading your blog and my struggles with muscle pain, lethargy and frequent sinus infections I think it’s time for a check up. I do not eat much fortified cereal, milk, or fish so it is probably a good idea. Thank you!

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