You're Not Getting Enough D!
Vitamin D that is…
Studies suggest that up to 42% of the population within the US may have a Vitamin D deficiency.
The extent of deficiency can vary depending on several factors, including Age, Sex, Race/Ethnicity, and Geographical Location. And while it’s challenging to determine the exact Vitamin D status of the entire US population, some studies show that specific subgroups of the population are at a higher risk of deficiency.
For example, a 2011 study found that over 40% of African American adults in the US had Vitamin D deficiency, compared to 11% of Caucasian adults.
Why do you need Vitamin D?
You probably know that Vitamin D is essential - it’s vital for bone health, reduces inflammation, and is critical for muscle movement, nerve connections to the brain, and immune system function.
Also, laboratory studies show that it may help protect us from infections (including COVID) and major diseases like cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, and dementia.
However, most people don’t know that Vitamin D is actually a prohormone.
Aprohormone is a substance that the body can convert into a hormone. Prohormones are typically used to increase muscle mass, strength, and athletic performance and are often marketed as bodybuilding supplements.
Coincidentally, studies suggest that Vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels and fertility.
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A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine in the early 2000s showcased the average daily intake for men and women, with ages ranging from 14 - 70+ years old:
With such a low daily food intake and the average American only spending one-half of one day per week outside, the writing’s on the wall - we are not getting enough Vitamin D.
“Not getting enough Vitamin D can have serious consequences, including increased rates of bone loss, osteomalacia ('soft bones') in adults and rickets (a deforming bone disorder) in children.”
- Karl Insogna, MD; Professor of Endocrinology; Director, Yale Bone Center
So, How Much Vitamin D do you Need?
I recommend you consult your healthcare provider to determine your Vitamin D levels and deficiency. They may recommend increasing your sun exposure or supplementation depending on your needs.
Based on what I’ve studied, observed in my clients, and experienced firsthand, I recommend that 60-80 ng/ml daily is optimal.
Here are a few ways to achieve this:
Regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough Vitamin D. Aim to get an additional 30-60 minutes of midday sunlight several times weekly to maintain healthy blood levels. Those with darker skin may need more than this.
“But I burn easily!” -I hear this repeatedly from my clients. If you are worried about getting burnt, I suggest you increase your sun exposure on a gradient - don't jump straight to 1 hour; instead, start with 5 minutes daily for the first week, then 10 minutes the following week, and so on.
Tip: Stay away from toxic sunscreens that include synthetic and harmful chemicals. If you will be in the sun for an extended period, use a non-toxic sunscreen with natural ingredients like zinc oxide, etc.
- The other primary source of Vitamin D is through supplementation. Food sources are minimal, though eggs and raw cheese are best.
I start my clients with 5000 IU of Vitamin D daily, and I currently take 35-100k IU of Vitamin D3 with *Vitamin K2 per week. My levels range from ~80 ng/ml in the summer to ~60 ng/ml in winter.
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Vitamin K2 activates proteins in your blood that prevent the calcification of blood vessels - the process of mineral deposits building up on the walls of your blood vessels.
Therefore, Vitamin D3 should always be taken in combination with Vitamin K2. These two vitamins work synergistically to ensure calcium from food is deposited into the bones, not the arteries.