Most of the information out there encourages people to have their Vitamin D levels checked in order to assure that there are no deficiencies. Studies are suggesting that getting enough Vitamin D is essential to your health and longevity. These studies include:
- Calcium and Vitamin D levels can reduce the mortality rate in older adults.
- Low levels of Vitamin D may increase stroke risk. http://www.privatemdlabs.com/blood-testing-news/Vitamin_D_Deficiency-Diagnosis_and_Treatment_/Low-vitamin-D-levels-may-increase-stroke-risk—$800793033.php
- Treating Vitamin D deficiency can improve depression. http://www.privatemdlabs.com/blood-testing-news/Vitamin_D_Deficiency-Diagnosis_and_Treatment_/Treating-vitamin-D-deficiency-improves-depression-treatments—$800806477.php
These and many more benefits have been coming to light for Vitamin D recently. Truly sounds like this could be the wonder-vitamin. So, why aren’t we all being advised to find ways to get more Vitamin D? That’s where it appears that experts seem to disagree. While we can be sure about defining too little, there is some concern about what defines too much. In 2010 the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D was raised to 600 IU for anyone from 1 – 70 years of age and increasing to 800 IU if you’re over 70. There are studies showing that up to 10,000 IU would not be toxic, and could be considered the upper limit for dosing of the vitamin. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind/DSECTION=dosing. But this was in 2010 and there are new studies coming online all the time that show more and greater benefits.
Interestingly, our intake of Vitamin D is less food dependent than our intake of other vitamins. There are certainly foods containing the important vitamin. A variety of fish, including salmon, tuna, cod, flounder, halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters and shrimp; cheeses like swiss and cheddar; whole eggs (the D is in the yolk), milk, all contain Vitamin D. But, traditionally, most of our Vitamin D intake occurs through our skin’s exposure to the sun. It’s widely felt that 30 minutes of sun exposure twice per week gives us the Vitamin D we need to maintain our health.
The recommendations we’ve all followed to limit our skin’s exposure to sunlight does have something to do with the idea that Vitamin D deficiencies have increased. There are studies that show that sunscreens can reduce ultraviolet-radiation-generated vitamin D in the skin. Since those recommendations are probably not going to go away and are necessary to maintain our good health as well, we may need to look at food and supplement sources to take advantage of all the good news that seems to be connected to Vitamin D.