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If you are deficient in Vitamin D and you start supplementing in August, you will have sufficient levels of Vitamin D by the time winter sets in.

Recently, the subject of Vitamin D deficiency has occupied the mass media quite broadly.  There are reports of widespread deficiency throughout the modern population; at the same time our understanding of the role that Vitamin D plays in our health is widening.

What does Vitamin D do? 

It was thought until very recently--in fact, in chiropractic school in the mid 1990's we were taught--that Vitamin D was only involved in putting calcium into bones.  This is an important job, but this is only one of the possibly thousands of functions that this vitamin performs in our body.

  • Vitamin D has an effect on nerve tissue and has a relationship to mental health. 
  • Vitamin D has an effect on the immune system and helps to prevent and treat viral infections, including the common cold and flu.
  • Vitamin D has a positive effect on autoimmune disease.
  • Vitamin D has a protective effect on certain types of cancers.
  • Almost all types of cells in the body have receptors for Vitamin D.  This means that Vitamin D affects almost all cells in the body.

Where does Vitamin D come from?

The human skin transforms cholesterol into Vitamin D when exposed to UV radiation from the sun.  There is a small amount of Vitamin D added to milk, and there is a small amount available from cold marine oils, such as cod liver oil.  Vitamin D cannot be obtained from meat, grains, or produce.

Why are so many people deficient in Vitamin D?

We live mostly indoors; we have very little exposure to sunlight compared to our ancestors. We wear sunscreen. We in the Pacific Northwest are already sunlight-challenged.

How do I supplement with Vitamin D?

The recommended intake of Vitamin D has been raised almost yearly for the past four years.

I recommend 5000 IU per day after an initial 90-day "loading period" of 10,000 IU per day.  I have found that at this level of supplementation, Vitamin D levels are brought to normal in the 90-day loading period and maintained at adequate levels with 5000 IU per day, year round. (If you work outdoors in the summer--like a camp counselor, outside all day--you don't need to supplement in the summer months).

The proper form of supplementation is cholecalciferol.  This form of vitamin D is the most studied, the most readily absorbable, and the closest to the biologically active form of the vitamin in the body:  25-OH-cholecalciferol.

Avoid supplementation with ergocalciferol.  It is not as bioavailable.

Is it safe to take this much?

Yes, in fact it is healthy to do so.  It is also OK to take more.  Some authorities recommend doses of 25,000 - 50,000 IU per day for 3 or 4 days during acute viral infections.

Should I give Vitamin D to my kids?

Yes.  The recommended dose for kids under 8 is 500 - 1000 IU per day.  Kids 8 to 14 take 1000 - 2000 IU per day.   Kids 15 and older take the adult dose.

Our office sells Vitamin D in 25000 IU capsules which can be taken twice per week for maintenance or every other day as a loading dose. We can special order lower dose capsules or liquid for little kids.

Pick some up on your next visit, or drop in when you are in the neighborhood.