Are You Vitamin D Deficient?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 90 million people in the US are vitamin D deficient. Problems converting vitamin D from food or sunshine can set you up for a deficiency. Factors that increase your risk include:
- Age 50 or older
- Dark skin
- Living in northern half of US
- Overweight, obese, gastric bypass surgery
- Liver or digestive diseases, such as Crohn's disease or celiac
- Using sunscreen can interfere with getting vitamin D, but abandoning sunscreen can significantly increase your risk for skin cancer.
How Does Vitamin D Help Support My Body?
- Vitamin D is critical for strong teeth and bones, from infancy into old age. It helps the body absorb calcium from food.
- Studies suggest that people with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood may have a lower risk for colon and prostate cancer.
- Less coronary artery disease and a decrease chance of developing type 1 diabetes.
- Increased muscle strength and coordination.
Can My Doctor Test My Vitamin D Level?
- There's a simple blood test used to check your vitamin D level, called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D test.
- Current guidelines by the Institute of Medicine set a blood level of 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) as a goal for good bone health and overall health. However, some doctors say people should go higher, to about 30 ng/mL to get the full health benefits of vitamin D.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
- The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU (international units) per day for adults up to age 70. People aged 71 and older should aim for 800 IU from their diet.
- Most children and adolescents don’t get enough vitamin D from drinking milk. They should have a supplement with 400 IU to 600 IU.
Which Form Of Vitamin D Should I Use?
Vitamin D3 is considered the natural form of vitamin D and is the most active.