Vitamin D is required for the body to function properly. Two studies published in the “The Journal of Pediatrics” have found out that 70% of all children in the USA aren’t getting sufficient vitamin D amounts. This increases their risk of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. 9% of the children had vitamin D deficiency, and 61% of them were getting insufficient levels.

How vitamin D regulates cells and genes

Vitamin D can reduce the cellular growth and improve cell differentiation – this makes it one of the strongest cancer inhibitors. This is the reason that links vitamin D deficiency to colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.

It acts on a receptor which sends messages to our genes, and controls different functions such as cancer prevention, reducing inflammation, improving the mood, easing muscle aches and builds the bones. If you are lacking vitamin D, it affects the whole body as it has an impact on our cells’ and genes’ functions.

Our body produces vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. However, not all people are exposed to sunlight, and one of the reasons is sunscreen. It protects us from skin cancer, but blocks up to 97% of the vitamin D from the Sun. Aging skin also produces less vitamin D, and skin color and clothes are another factors.

The daily recommended amount of vitamin D is somewhere between 200-600 UI, enough to prevent rickets. However, according to a research conducted by Dr. Michael Holick, Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, and a pioneer in the vitamin D field, 2000 UI daily is enough to keep the blood levels at 25 hydroxy vitamin D at between 75-125 nmol/L. This may sound a little high, but it is safe. In regions where the sun exposure is between 105-163 nmol/L, autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel movement and rheumatoid arthritis are uncommon.

Vitamin D has been known to prevent and treat osteoporosis which makes it as important as calcium due to the body’s needs of vitamin D to absorb calcium. So, if there are insufficient levels of vitamin D, there will be insufficient levels of calcium. As the dose of this vitamin increases, so the bone-protective benefits.

Tips on getting the right amount of vitamin D

The right vitamin D amounts depend on your age, how north you live, how much time you spend on the Sun and the time of the year. Here are some tips on getting the optimal amounts of vitamin D:

Get tested for 25 OH vitamin D

The normal range is 25-137 nmol/L., enough to prevent rickets, but not enough for optimum health. The range should be between 100-160.

Take the right type of the vitamin

The active form of vitamin D is D3, so look for supplements that contain it. Prescribed medicine contains D2, which is not biologically active.

Take the right amount of vitamin D

If you suffer from vitamin D deficiency, you should take between 5000-10000 UI every day for three months. For maintaining proper vitamin D levels, you need 2000-4000 UI.

Monitor your vitamin D status until you reach the optimal levels

If you take higher doses of vitamin D, your doctor must check your calcium, phosphorus and parathyroid hormone levels every three months.

It takes 6-10 months to fill up the vitamin D tank

Lower the intake to the maintenance dose (2000-4000 UI) if vitamin D deficiency occurs.

Try to get it from food

Eat more of these foods: cooked wild salmon (3.5 ounces/360 IU), cooked mackerel (3.5 ounces/345 IU), canned sardines (3.5 ounces/345 IU), eggs, and cod liver oil.S