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Recommended Vitamin D3 Level

July 14, 2014 (Updated: August 16, 2018)
Lily Moran

I don’t mean to sound paranoid, but sometimes I wonder if they’re out to get us. The situation with vitamin D3 is a great example.

First they lie, telling you to hide from the sun – the best source of vitamin D3 on the planet – or you’ll get skin cancer, a half-truth at best.

Now, a federal agency has declared that the nutrient isn’t that important, so don’t waste your money getting tested to see if you’re deficient.

Sorry, no sale!

Because there is no doubt vitamin D3 is absolutely essential for good health. It supports your immune system, keeps your bones, heart, eyes, and lungs strong, combats cancer, plays a role in hormone production, and much more.

In fact, being vitamin D3 deficient raises your risk of dying early, according to a new report in the prestigious British Medical Journal.

All things considered, I’d say that vitamin D3 is pretty darn important!

In addition, medical experts know that most Americans’ vitamin D3 levels are far too low. Supplements are a good option. But how much vitamin D3 should you be taking? Good question!

In fact, a group of respected scientists and vitamin D3 experts requested a government review of the clearly out-of-date recommendations for vitamin D3 seven years ago!

The answer was supposed to be provided by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of health care experts.

Instead, they decided there wasn’t enough data to draw conclusions.

Seriously? There are nearly 60,000 studies on vitamin D3 at PubMed, one of the largest databases available. And those weren’t enough?

As a practicing physician trying to help people maintain their health, I saw this conclusion as irresponsible.

And if that’s not bad enough, there was another doozy from the USPSTF that you should know about.

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Knowing that millions of Americans are vitamin D3-deficient, I routinely order vitamin D3 tests for all my patients to determine appropriate dosage.

So I was looking forward to the second part of the USPSTF’s mission – recommendations for routine testing. But again, they totally dropped the ball, saying that it couldn’t recommend testing for healthy people because it would cost billions of dollars.

What about the hundreds of billions of dollars it will cost to treat the heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, insulin resistance, back pain, and macular degeneration caused by vitamin D3 deficiencies?

Wouldn’t it be smarter to establish a vitamin D3 benchmark – even if it needs to be adjusted based upon subsequent research – to make sure people are getting this inexpensive nutrient before they develop a far more serious – and costly – health condition?

That said, there’s plenty you can do to keep you and your loved ones healthy.

As we’ve seen time and time again, you really need to be your own best friend when it comes to preserving your health. So even though some stupid government agency won’t explain how to get sufficient, life-saving vitamin D3, I will.

First, have your levels of vitamin D3 (known as serum 1,25-dihyroxy D3) tested annually, even if you have to pay out of pocket (the test usually costs less than $100). Yes, it’s that important.

The only caveat here is for people of color. It turns out that individuals with darker skin don’t process vitamin D3 the same way as fair-skinned people, so the test results aren’t accurate.

So instead of wasting your money on a test, just take a daily dose of 1,500 IUs of vitamin D3 and spend some time in the sun. Since we don’t know how much sun exposure is required to increase levels of the nutrient in darker skinned people, start with a minimum of 20 minutes, but feel free to extend that.

Just remember that having dark skin does not protect you from skin cancer, so after sunbathing, cover up or apply sunscreen.

Second, if your score is lower than 50, you need to take at least 1,500 IUs daily. Depending on your test scores, your doctor may recommend as much as 5,000 or even 10,000 IUs daily.Vitamin D3 supplements cost just pennies a day, so this won’t break your bank.

Third, go outside! Just weeks ago, I recommended short, sensible sun exposure to help prevent cancer– and improve vitamin D3 levels!

Getting out and enjoying 20 or 30 minutes of morning or late afternoon sun – on bare skin free of sunscreen – not only boosts vitamin D3, but also increases levels of serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter. Just don’t overdo it.

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