Vitamin D has gotten a lot of attention lately, especially when talking about bone health. Can we get enough Vitamin D from the sun and Vitamin D from our food?
But, for the average person, the topic of vitamin D can get confusing. Since anyone can be at risk for having a vitamin D deficiency, I want to make it easier for people to optimize this essential nutrient. Here are some tips for getting your vitamin D level just right.
We first begin by remembering that vitamin D3 is the form we monitor for bone health -- not D2. It's also important to realize there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We all eat different foods, absorb differently, get varying amounts of sun, and have other characteristics affecting vitamin D. That's why we must learn to do this by ourselves.
Optimizing D starts by knowing the existing level, then taking various steps to adjust it. A simple blood test is used to assess the level, one that can be ordered by our doctors. We can also order our own test online (1). Look for a test called "25-D" (or 25, hydroxy-vitamin D) on the page that comes with your lab results. That number represents how much D is already stored in your body, giving you a baseline for what to do next.
Should the results come back low, the goal is to get it up to a healthy level. For the latest recommendations on healthy levels, I turned to a new book called, "Dr. Lani's No-Nonsense Sun Health Guide" .
The book recommends a level of 45 ng/ML, or pretty much anywhere in the range of 40-50 ng/ML. The book contains vast amounts of other information about vitamin D, including the other ways it impacts our bodies. But, for Skelly and I, we care mostly about how D takes care of our bones by helping with calcium absorption.
By the way, if having too little D is bad, so is having too much. High vitamin D levels can cause side effects, even toxicity. That's why I encourage everyone to test their level, make any changes, then test it again in two months. It's important to know if what we're doing has made any difference. Life Extensions Lab offers  Vitamin D testing is you're unable to get a script from your doctor.
When D is too low, there are several things that can help. One is to eat fortified foods. Another is to see if anything we're doing might be interfering with absorption, like taking certain medications, or not having the right amount of calcium in our bodies.
Another piece of the D puzzle is exposure to the Sun. We know the Sun can help make vitamin D, which is a great thing as long as we're careful not to burn. But, the truth is, most people don't get much from the Sun, if any at all. The biggest reasons including widespread sunscreen use and living above and below certain latitudes on planet Earth where beneficial rays really don't get to us  .
Probably the easiest way to raise vitamin D is by taking a supplement. If we start by taking 1,000 IU or 2,000 IU daily for 8 weeks, then re-test, we can see if we're approaching the goal of 45 ng/ML. If not, we can slightly increase the dose for another 8 weeks. For every 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 we take, we can expect to get another 10 point increase.
It's easy math. With a little practice, we can all get this right. I find using a liquid Vitamin D3 makes regulating the dosage easier. Pure Encapsulation makes a liquid Vitamin D3.
Every one of us should be able to optimize our D in only a few months. But, because fluctuations will still happen, it's not a bad idea to retest it once in a while. Testing once during the summer and once during the winter months makes sense to me, but you'll get the hang of things once you get started.
Remember that vitamin D3 is fat soluble, which means it should be taken with a meal containing some fat. Check out these other blogs to find the perfect recipe to compliment your vitamin D supplementation.
Within the next few weeks I will be releasing my:
Easy Cooking For Bone Health Guide
This 80-page guide was built around questions, you my readers, have submitted when asked "When it comes to feeding your bones, what is your single biggest challenge". I think your bones will love this!
Make sure you're on my email list and you will be notified. Not on my list? Sign up for my 5 Bone-Loving Recipes to the side of this blog post. Then you will be in my email system. You can also share this blog with anyone you know who has bones by using the share links below.
From my bones to yours,
Irma Jennings, Holistic Bone Coach
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