Vitamin D deficiency is a major problem in the United States but many Americans are not aware that they may be lacking this important nutrient. Although word is beginning to leak out even among the traditional medical community, testing for vitamin D will not skyrocket like cholesterol or other testing because there is no expensive drug to push, thus making the public more aware.
It is essential to understand that in order to know how much vitamin D you should be taking, you should get your blood level checked.Unfortunately, very few doctors do the blood test for vitamin D. You can't rely on the media to expose the issue. If and when they do, it will be too late for most of you and you will have suffered decreased bone density and an increased risk of many cancers. But you don't have to wait for the media.
You can read my article on vitamin D testing and get up-to-date on this important topic before it is too late. Unless you are getting significant sun exposure on large amounts of your skin, in fact, I would advise reading the article right now.
Vitamin D is such an important topic that we recently conducted an exclusive interview with one of the top vitamin D researchers in the world, William B. Grant, Ph.D. Here you will get the insights of someone who is on the cutting edge of vitamin D research and knowledgeable about the importance of sun exposure for health. Taking a few minutes to read through the information below will broaden your understanding of this important issue to help you reach higher levels of health.
GRANT: Let me preface this interview by qualifying my background and the information I present. I have a Ph.D. in physics and have worked for 30 years in remote sensing of the atmosphere and studying aerosols and ozone. For the past seven years, I have applied the ecologic approach for the study of dietary and environmental links to chronic diseases and have read the health literature extensively.
Thus, the information presented is based on my best understanding of the situation and may not be fully in accord with views held by others. It appears that the health care community is beginning to awaken to the great importance of vitamin D for optimal health so that better answers to these questions should be available in the next few years.
Also, a few words about "vitamin D." When produced in the skin or ingested, it is a "vitamin" or "prehormone"and essential for life. Just as cholesterol is metabolized in to testosterone, precholesterol is turned into cholecalciferol (vitamin D), which is metabolized into what now is looking more and more like a hormone [25(OH)D]. In turn, this is metabolized in the kidneys or other organs into an even more potent hormone [1,25(OH)2D].
<>Vitamin D is an essential part of the endocrine system  as it controls several of the adrenal hormones, growth of cells, production of enzymes and has other direct genomic functions. The key difference in definition is that hormones have DNA receptor sites, and vitamin A is in that family as well as vitamin D, and vitamins are parts of coenzyme systems (not genomic). In a way, vitamins A and D are both vitamins and hormones. Vitamin D is also produced in plants such as algae, as well as mushrooms (which are neither animals nor plants) exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation [2, 2a]. Fish obtain their vitamin D from zoo plankton and, likely, phytoplankton.
1. In your estimation, how many Americans are likely to be lacking in vitamin D right now?
Based on my study of the Atlas of Cancer Mortality for the United States  and the geographic variation of multiple scleros is among U.S. veterans of WWII, and a reading of the literature,I think that 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient.
Those with the best vitamin D status live in Hawaii and rural regions of the southwest, which have the highest UVB radiation in July . Those with the worst vitamin D status are those with darker skins and those who live in Alaska and urban regions of the northeast. Nearly all Americans are vitamin D deficient in winter/spring when there is not enough UVB reaching the surface.
2. What is the optimal level of vitamin D?
The current understanding is that serum 25(OH)D levels should be in the 30 to 40 ng/ml (75-100 nmol/L) range for cancer prevention and optimal health. The only way to determine one’s 25(OH)D levels is though blood tests, which can be ordered through a physician or nutritionist. However, care should be exercised in choice of a laboratory since the testing methods and quality of the tests may vary. In addition, since 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone (PTH)are inversely correlated and have opposite effects on calcium in bones, one could also have PTH levels measured.
|Vitamin D Dose Recommendations
||35 units per pound per day
|Age 5 - 10
There is no way to know if the above recommendations are correct. The ONLY way to know is to test your blood. You might need 4-5 times the amount recommended above. Ideally your blood level of 25 OH D should be 60ng/ml.