Do you know your current vitamin D level?
If you don’t, be sure you check this promptly by doing a simple blood test via your GP or by completing my self-assessment questionnaire to start with. It could be the key to solving your health problems and even save your life. Mounting scientific evidence confirms that vitamin D is one of the most potent health-boosting substances and is vital for health.
Alas our fear of the sun has resulted in an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency that is widespread even in sunny Australia. This applies to all age groups but especially to people who spend most of their time indoors – office workers, elderly, people in hospitals, chronically ill, people overusing sunscreen etc.
I test every patient for vitamin D levels in my clinic and find that around 95% are deficient and many have low levels. Not surprisingly, their low vitamin D status usually correlates with symptoms they have. Although quite common, this issue can be relatively easily solved by increasing safe sun exposure and/or appropriate supplementation.
What levels should you aim for?
Current research suggest that to benefit from the healing properties of vitamin D, our blood levels should be at least in the range of 100–150 nmol/L, this is much higher than the standard lab recommendations of 50 nmol/L deemed as sufficient.
Sensible and regular sun exposure is the best and safest way; however, because of our indoor lifestyles (this particularly applies to office workers and elderly) we most likely need to supplement.
Supplemental doses can be significantly higher than the standard dose of 400-1000 IU per day, depending of course on your the current blood levels. Therefore testing is crucial and will provide necessary guidance to how much vitamin D is needed to supplement (in some cases 3,000-5,000 IU per day for a period of time are needed).
Chronic vitamin D deficiency/ low vitamin d levels takes time to be corrected and it could take 3-6 months to raise the levels beyond 100 nmol/L.
Importantly, because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it can accumulate to toxic levels in the body over time (this applies to supplements only as vitamin D from sunlight cannot be overdosed thanks to ‘safety mechanisms’ in the body). Therefore it is so important to re-check the statu