Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a hot topic in the news today. Calls for FDA and CDC to support Vitamin D for COVID,  A tremendous amount of research is being performed on vitamin D and the issues surrounding it and for good reason.  Vitamin D is of utmost importance in many systems of the human body.  It affects 2000 or more genomes within our DNA.  A vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in many diseases.  

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that acts much like a hormone.  We can get Vitamin D from plants in the form of D2 or ergocalciferol and in the animal form, D3 or cholocalciferol.  We can make vitamin D from 10-20 minutes of sun exposure on the face arms and legs.   Scientists have discovered that a number of ailments are associated with Vitamin D deficiency.  Following is a short list of some of these ailments:

Heart disease






Chronic pain


Muscle weakness

Muscle Wasting

Multiple Sclerosis

Birth defects

Periodontal disease

Immune disease


How much vitamin D do we need?

Sun exposure for 20-30 minutes, exposing the face, arms and legs daily can provide up to 10,000IU of Vitamin D3.  However, this depends on the color of the persons’ skin, their essential fatty acid status (vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin), the season and the distance from the equator. In the Pacific Northwest, it is not unusual to have 6 months or more per year of overcast days.  So getting the vitamin D we need from the sun is not always possible.  The Vitamin D Council recommends 5,000IU/day.  It is recommend that you have your blood levels checked and if you are less than 50ng/ml then you need to take 10,000IU per day for 2 months and recheck your blood levels.  If your vitamin D blood levels are between 50-80ng/dl then you are said to have adequate vitamin D levels.  Maintaining these levels throughout the year would require supplementation for all of us living in the Pacific Northwest. A supplement containing 2000IU/day is the current tolerable upper limit intake recommended by the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board for healthy Americans to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.   Other experts disagree.  I encourage you to peruse the current information and research. Personally, I take 5000IU/day in the spring, fall and winter months. ,

What about Vitamin D Toxicity?    

The symptoms of D toxicity are:  nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, constipation, weakness, hypercalcemia (high levels of blood calcium), which can lead to irregular heart rhythms.  Experts believe that the prescription form of vitamin D is most responsible for over supplementation and toxicity.  

Where can we get Vitamin D?

In addition to 20-30 minutes of face, hands and legs exposure to the sun, we can obtain vitamin D from some foods.  Vitamin D can be obtained from cod liver oil, fatty fish (salmon and sardines), whole eggs, beef, liver and mushrooms. Certain food products are fortified with vitamin D. An example of this is dairy products.  Supplements are the best choice for anyone living in the Pacific Northwest.  A blood test to determine your current vitamin D status is advisable.  Then an appropriate dose can be recommended.