Many chronic illnesses are a result of a low vitamin D level. Since most of these problems are very complex, and take many years to manifest, the connection between them and a vitamin D deficiency has remained unexamined for a very long time.
While many of these health issues may also have other causes, a low vitamin D level is a common factor found in all of them. Here is a list of the most well-known ones:
Now, even though these are all symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, none of them are necessarily evidence that a low vitamin D level is the cause. However, since vitamin D plays such a pivotal role in strengthening your immune system, it's easy to see that a weakened immune system could easily lead to any of the above conditions.
Unless you sunbath frequently or take ample vitamin D supplements, you almost certainly have a low vitamin D level. In addition, if you live north of 30 degrees latitude (most of the United States and all of Europe), the sun's rays aren't strong enough for about half of the year to produce any vitamin D at all.
See the page on Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency for more information.
To find the latitude where you live, try
this easy-to-use International Latitude/Longitude Finder
The only sure way to determine if you're deficient is to get your vitamin D levels tested. You can even get a test kit that will allow you to do this at home. Make sure you get the correct one. There are two vitamin D tests currently being offered: 1,25(OH)D, and 25(OH)D.
The correct test to order is 25(OH)D,
also called 25-hydroxy vitamin D or vitamin D 25 hydroxy,
the better indicator of overall D levels.
Surprising as it may seem, many doctors are unfamiliar with the different vitamin D tests. If your doctor unknowingly orders the wrong test, he could conclude that you have a normal Vitamin D level when you are actually severely deficient!
A normal vitamin D level has traditionally been set at between 20-56ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). However, more recent studies have indicated that anything less than 50ng/ml should be considered a low vitamin D level.
for vitamin D blood levels:
Deficient: lower than 50ng/ml
Optimal: between 50-65ng/ml
These ranges apply for everyone: children, adolescents, adults and seniors.
A normal vitamin D level should never be below 32 ng/ml, and any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states, increasing your risk of as many as 16 different cancers and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.
See Vitamin D Blood Test for more details.
Fortunately, getting adequate vitamin D is easy — in the summer months, just spend a few hours each week sunbathing. Your skin produces over 10,000IU of vitamin D with just 30 minutes summer sun exposure in a bathing suit (without sunscreen).
In the winter months, you should use supplements. Vitamin D supplements are very inexpensive — a month's supply can be less than $2! Make sure to get natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Do not use the synthetic and inferior vitamin D2.
Recommended Dosages for Preventive Health. The typical recommendations for supplementing call for at least 1,000-2,000IU as a minimum daily dose. 5,000IU per day is not unreasonable, especially if you get little or no sunlight, live in northern latitudes, or are dark-skinned or overweight. If your levels are low to begin with, it can take a few months to raise your vitamin D levels using supplements.
See Vitamin D Dosage for more details.
I recommend getting vitamin D drops because they're so easy to keep on hand. Carlson Super Daily D3 offers an entire years' supply of vitamin D in just one small bottle that costs about $1 a month. Each drop gives you the minimum daily requirement of 2,000 units of vitamin D.
Having an ample supply of vitamin D on hand will also allow you to have extra vitamin D available for treating colds and flu.
That's right — megadoses of vitamin D are one of the most effective ways of beating the flu. See my page on Health Benefits of Vitamin D to learn how to treat a cold or flu with vitamin D.
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Visit other pages in this website on vitamin D:
Other Great Resources for Vitamin D Information:
Grassroots Health A consortium committed to solving the worldwide vitamin D deficiency epidemic.
Dr. Mercola Lecture on the most up-to-date science on vitamin D.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need? An article by Dr. Mercola.
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