Just "D" Facts about Vitamin D

Benefits of Moderate UV Sunshine Exposure

The Latest Word on Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on February 23, 2008


Over the past few years, vitamin D has gained long overdue respect for the vast health benefits it provides, yet many of us continue to fall short of adequate intake of this vital nutrient. Why? Though it’s important to use it, sunscreen is one culprit because it blocks the skin’s ability to make vitamin D during sun exposure. And adding to the shortfall is the fact that we need even more of this vitamin than previously thought.

So while the need for vitamin D is higher than ever, the general population’s compliance with the valid advice to stay out of the sun or apply sunscreen when outside has inadvertently contributed to 65 to 85 percent of American adults having a vitamin D deficiency.

In fact, diet and sun sources of vitamin D are so inadequate that Robert P. Heaney, MD, a bone-mineral specialist and professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., urges all adults to supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day.

What’s the big deal if you run a bit low on vitamin D? Well, for starters, a vitamin D shortfall puts your bone health in danger and increases your risk of rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, glucose intolerance, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and type 2 diabetes.

And vitamin D is under appreciated for its crucial role in preventing osteoporosis, says Heaney. “This vitamin is necessary for the efficient absorption of calcium, which is the principal bone mineral,” he says. “If you’re going to get enough calcium in your body and keep it there, you have to have enough vitamin D.”

If that isn’t enough to get you reaching for a bottle of vitamin D, consider this: New research finds that supplementing with vitamin D prolongs life. After reviewing data from 57,000 people involved in 18 different trials, researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France found that taking vitamin D supplements lowered the risk of death by 7 percent. These trials used daily supplements of vitamin D ranging from 300 to 2,000 IU, with the average being 528 IU.

Several experts, including Heaney, are calling for an increase in vitamin D intake for all adults. “A good supplement amount is 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day; it’s safe for everyone, and considering the importance of vitamin D coupled with how affordable supplements are, you can’t afford not to do it” concludes Heaney.

Some examples of products containing vitamin D include: NOW Food’s ULTRA A & D-3, Olympian Labs’ OSTEO PLEX (for bone health), and Carlson’s NORWEGIAN COD LIVER oil (in lemon flavor).


Vitamin D can be found in supplements as either vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The former comes from fungal or plant sources and the latter from animal sources. Multivitamin/mineral supplements nearly always contain vitamin D, typically 200 to 400 IU. You’ll want to stay under a daily total of 2,000 IU of vitamin D, so keep that in mind if you take a multi or a stand-alone vitamin D supplement and consume vitamin D-enriched foods (such as milk, breakfast cereal, or eggs). Vitamin D levels do not increase to toxic levels as a result of excessive sun exposure; the body has some safeguards in place to prevent excess skin production of this nutrient.



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