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! I’ve summer up the reasons optimal vitamin D levels are so important in the box below.
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.