Vitamin D

Vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin

Now even scientists know what everyone knew forever - that sunshine (and vitamin D made by the sun on your skin) helps create health and immunity. And to help promote immunity, taking extra Vitamin D boosts it. In the winter in Northern latitudes, it's a lot harder to get. So it makes sense to take some extra.

How much Vitamin D is right?

When you're well, probably four to six times the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D3 is about right. For an adult, that could mean 2000 to 4000 IU daily. For children, the same rule applies.

If you're fighting a virus, try more - perhaps up to 8000 unity daily for a few days.

What's a good way to get Vitamin D?

We can make adequate levels of Vitamin D ourselves. Sunlight on the skin changes a cholesterol-like substance into vitamin D which then becomes activated in two steps; first though the liver (D2), then through the kidney (D3). People with dark skin need a lot more sunlight for adequate vitamin D production. Those with advanced kidney disease require vitamin D supplementation.

But if you require a supplement, the best supplement is Vitamin D3. Taking D3 makes it easier to absorb and use Vitamin D. D3 is available in drop form (Baby D dropsĀ®) and as adult D DropsĀ® in pharmacies. Carlson Labs, among others makes a good Vitamin D3 with 2000 IU Vitamin D3 per gel cap.

Could you be taking too much Vitamin D or too little?

The only way to know for sure is to get blood levels done. Aim for 200 ng/ml. As far as we know, Vitamin D is not toxic even at higher levels. According to Harrison's Internal Medicine "The safety margin for vitamin D is large and toxicity is usually seen only in [adult] patients taking in the range of 40,000 IU/day." [Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, v 17, 2008, p. 2376]

Because this level may be seen as 'toxic' by your physician, they may be reassured by checking further when they will find what many physicians now believe - that the 'normal' levels are too low and that this level (200 ng/ml) will be of benefit in supporting immune function and bone health.

If you have a history of kidney stones it would be wise to consult a professional before adding extra Vitamin D to your regime.