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November 2015

Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has long been associated with bone health, as this key nutrient helps bones absorb calcium.  It has also been linked to other medical conditions, including the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

Studies suggest that higher vitamin D levels are associated with lower blood sugar levels and better function of the body’s insulin producing cells. Current research is promising and there is a large study underway to verify the impact of vitamin D in preventing diabetes.  It is always good to be sure that your vitamin D levels are adequate.    

Vitamin D Recommendations

  • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends an intake of 600 IU of vitamin D daily for people under 70 and 800 IU for those 70 and above.  
  • If your vitamin D levels are low, the requirements will be more. In fact, some leading experts believe this amount should be higher due to current indoor lifestyles, the use of sunscreens and the lack of good food sources for Vitamin D.
  • The IOM found no danger taking up to 4000 IU daily.

Sources of Vitamin D

  • There are only three (3) ways to get vitamin D; sunlight, food and supplements. 
  • Vitamin D is found only in a few foods such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines and mackerel), egg yolks and D-fortified products (mainly dairy).
  • Recently some mushrooms have been identified as a potential good source of vitamin D; the label should state “Vitamin D - Rich”.

Check Your Vitamin D Status
Know your blood level of vitamin D. Have your doctor check this level.

  • Vitamin D should be at least 30 nmol/L .
  • For bone and overall health the level should be higher, 30-50 nmol/L .

Your physician may prescribe a high dose of vitamin D for a short period of time if it is extremely low.

The Bottom Line

  • Be sure the D levels in your blood are adequate.
  • Make the most of the few good food sources.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Enjoy safe sun exposure, 15 minutes before 10AM or after 2PM, each day.
  • Supplement with D daily. Follow the Institute of Medicine guidelines, or what your physician prescribes.


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