The simple answer for most people is in fact yes.
For many reasons, we are experiencing an epidemic of low vitamin D in the northern hemisphere. Just like me, you must be wondering what could possibly have changed in recent history to cause such a drastic change?
A combination of theories exist, and, in truth, all of them have likely contributed to the problem:
- human ethnic migration to different climate regions (less sunlight exposure)
- computer use and indoor urban culture (less exposure to sun)
- increased inflammation which uses up vitamin D in the body more quickly (i.e. increasing our demand)
- decreased sodium intake due to
- non-seasonal food availability from industrial agriculture, and
- the food industry’s encouragement of low-salt, low-fat diets
Because of food importation, we now eat foods that would normally not grow locally. Ideally, when we eat traditional or regional diets, the kidneys, in the presence of higher sodium in the blood, will get the signal that it’s winter. Higher blood sodium, therefore, activates more Vitamin D. Instead, we eat tropical fruits like bananas and lots of fresh veggies for salads, all year round, which increase potassium in the blood instead.
For this reason as well as all of the ones listed above, our Vitamin D levels are in general too low.
The good news is that it can be tested! Keep reading!
Why is Vitamin D important for my health?
Vitamin D has countless roles in the body, as it acts on every cell of the body, and even assists in cellular differentiation. Cellular differentiation is needed for many health functions, including:
- Immune boosting
- Anti-viral, anti-bacterial
- Blood calcium regulation and bone building
- Cancer prevention
- Treatment of chronic disease
What should my blood levels of Vitamin D be at?
Optimal levels of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (AKA “25-OH Vitamin D” or “Vitamin D3”) levels in the blood should be around:
124.8 – 249.6 nmol/L
This contrasts with conventional ranges around:
49.92 – 249.6 nmol/L
In a recent journal article published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine & Public Health. They state that Vitamin D levels should be maintained over 100 nmol/L in order to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality, with a very little risk of toxicity.
They also stated that supplementation of more than 9000 IU per day is needed for the average adult to maintain levels over 100 nmol/L in the blood, and now recommend the following dosing daily guidelines:
- infants and children <1 year of age:
- on enriched formula: 1000 IU (when on enriched formula and
- breastfed: 1500 IU for breastfed children older than 6 months,
- children >1 year of age: 3000 IU
- young adults & adults: 8000+ IU
“Actions are urgently needed to protect the global population from vitamin D deficiency”
What are the best sources of Vitamin D?
Of course, SUNLIGHT is the best source! Get as much in as you can safely during the summer months. Getting outdoors as much as possible in the winter is also very beneficial!
But given such low levels, supplementation is needed for most people. For most, that requires purchasing a high-quality oil-based supplement.
In the case of low levels on labs test, intramuscular injections can give people a much quicker boost into optimal range. At Empower Health, for example, we monitor levels 3 weeks after a series of injections to make levels are getting high enough, without going too high.
Other things to know about vitamin D:
Vitamin D is one of several fat-soluble vitamins. Because nature is always in balance, it is, therefore, best to take Vitamin D with other fat-soluble vitamins. These include:
- Vitamin K,
- Vitamin A,
- the Vitamin E family (AKA mixed-tocopherols and tocotrienols)
Sometimes you can find these together in one supplement, for convenience.