Vitamin D – Beyond Bone Health

Vitamin D has many benefits and its popularity has always centered on promoting calcium absorption for bone health.  Millions of people take Vitamin D and it has become one of the most recognized supplements, especially among older women.  Frequently your medical doctor will check your levels – and if they don’t you should ask them. It’s not uncommon to have low levels of this vitamin, especially as we age or if we live in colder climates where getting adequate sunlight is not an option.

What Else is Vitamin D Good For?

It is now showing a potential role in cancer prevention, diabetes and as a therapy for inflammation and stronger immunity.  Inflammation is often present in chronic diseases and also contributes to bone breakdown as well as poor metabolic health.  Studies have even shown that when animals are Vitamin D deficient, using supplementation actually reduces inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity (even suppressing elevated blood sugar).

When you supplement with this vitamin, you want to look for D3 which is much more effective at rising serum levels verses Vitamin D2. Optimal levels are between 50 -70 ng/ml. You don’t want to over-supplement with it because there is a risk of developing toxicity.

Current guidelines for Vitamin D as a maintenance dose are usually between 400 – 800 IU daily, although more therapeutic dosages can range from 3,000- 8000 IU daily. With that being said, determine your dosage with caution. You shouldn’t take any supplementation blindly before knowing your levels.

How Can You Attain Vitamin D From Your Diet?

  • Fatty Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna all contain significant amounts of the vitamin. In fact wild salmon has around 1000IU of it in just a 4 ounce serving.
  • Cheese and Dairy
  • Fortified Foods such  as cereals, protein bars, orange juice,  nut milks and  soy milks
  • Egg Yolks
  • Beef Liver