Vitamin D: Winter check-up to keep levels optimal
How is it possible that six years have passed since I wrote about winter vitamin D levels while sitting poolside in the Dominican Republic, tropical drink in hand? With time flying by, I understand when women tell me they’ve had their level checked “just a few months ago” but when they stop and think more carefully, it’s been several years.
This is one reason I remind you yearly about the importance of maintaining your vitamin D levels during the winter.
Have you had your vitamin D levels tested recently?
If not, do so now! Vitamin D levels fluctuate throughout the year, generally rising in the summer months and dropping in the winter. Keep this in mind when you get your results. If you have marginal levels at the end of summer, for example, this is a warning sign that your levels may plummet in winter without proper supplementation.
How much vitamin D do you need?
While a blood level of 40 ng/mL is acceptable, a more optimal blood level of vitamin D is 50 to 60 ng/mL as measured by the 25(OH)D blood test.
Winter is a “vitamin D desert” up here in the northern latitudes, and unless you head south, below Atlanta to be exact, you will need to take vitamin D supplements to maintain an optimal blood level of vitamin D throughout the winter.
How much vitamin D to take varies greatly
On average we can use about 3,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day and taking this amount during winter months generally provides for at least a minimal protective level (which is around 32 ng/mL). However, many individuals need more than this, and a few who absorb vitamin D better might be able to get by on 1,000 or 2,000 IU per day.
How to test your vitamin D at home
Assuring that you and your family have adequate vitamin D levels is the simplest thing you can to do prevent disease and enhance health. Even winter colds and flu are much less common among those with adequate vitamin D on board! There are many great services that will send you a kit so that you can test your Vitamin D at home. Our favorite is Grassroots Health a Vitamin D awareness organization.
Lappe, Joan, M The role of Vitamin D in Human Health; A Paradigm Shift, Jr of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 201, 16 (1) 58=72.