Important Vitamin D Update

vitamin D, vitamin D3, sunlight, sunshine, sun, ultraviolet rays, vitaminsA meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials has found that supplemental vitamin D significantly reduces mortality from all causes.

The analysis emphasizes the medical, ethical, and legal implications of promptly diagnosing and adequately treating vitamin D deficiency.


Not only are such deficiencies common, but vitamin D deficiency is implicated in most of the diseases of civilization. Vitamin D's final metabolic product targets more than 200 human genes in a wide variety of tissues. One of the most important genes vitamin D up-regulates is for cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.


Since vitamin D deficiency is both endemic and is associated with numerous diseases, it is one of the most important medical problems in modern society. Treatment of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy patients must be individualized due to the numerous factors affecting vitamin D levels. Steps should be taken to keep patients with chronic diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency, especially internal cancers, in the higher normal range of vitamin D blood levels.

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Vitamin D Dose Recommendations
Age Dosage
Below 5 35 units per pound per day
Age 5 - 10 2500 units
Adults 5000 units
Pregnant Women 5000 units
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.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Before I start this comment, please let me strongly emphasize that if you have not yet viewed my one hour FREE lecture on Vitamin D, please schedule time to do so. Do it with your family as they all need this information. 

One hour may seem like a long time, but I have studied this issue for hundreds of hours and personally interviewed the leading vitamin D experts in the world, and have condensed the most important points for you in this video.   

Click here for the most important video I've ever made 

I don’t know ANY single physical factor that could improve your health more than reviewing, understanding and finally applying this information. Especially important will be to get your blood levels tested so you can obtain all the thousands of well documented benefits.

In my view, one of the most impressive vitamin D researchers is Dr. Cannell.  Although he isn’t a hard core scientist, like most of the other experts, and is a practicing physician, he has done an absolutely masterful job of reviewing and compiling the research and coming up with powerful observations and recommendations.  

Without a doubt, he has been my most important mentor in this area and that is why I feel the article he published earlier this year is such an important one, and if you have any interest in this area I would strongly encourage you to carefully review his article.  If you actually care to see what Dr. Cannell looks and sounds like here is a previous video I have posted on the site

Benefits FAR More Than Your Bones 

The number of diseases found to be impacted by your vitamin D levels is rising rapidly. As Dr. Cannell points out in his meta-analysis, vitamin D appears to reduce your risk of dying from virtually ANY disease. 

And it’s no wonder, really, when you consider what vitamin D really is.  

It’s not “just a vitamin,” but rather the only known substrate for a potent, pleiotropic (meaning it produces multiple effects), repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body.

Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability to fight infections. It produces over 200 anti microbial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic.

And, when you consider the fact that you only have 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D has been shown to influence more than 2,000 of them, the bigger picture of its true impact on your health can be easily understood. It may, in fact, have literally thousands of health benefits! So it’s likely we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of its true potential for reversing the modern disease state. 

It’s absolutely tragic that dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers have done such a thorough job of scaring people out of the sun – your optimal source for natural vitamin D.  Dr. Cannell believes, and I agree, that this is one of the major influences that has contributed to the vitamin D epidemic we’re now facing, and also the autism increases we have seen.

Their widely dispersed message to avoid the sun as much as possible, combined with an overall cultural trend of spending more time indoors during both work and leisure time, has greatly contributed to the widespread vitamin D deficiency seen today -- which in turn is fueling an astonishingly diverse array of common chronic diseases, including:

 Cancer  Hypertension  Heart disease
 Autism  Obesity  Rheumatoid arthritis
 Diabetes 1 and 2  Multiple Sclerosis  Crohn’s disease
 Cold & Flu  Inflammatory Bowel Disease  Tuberculosis
 Septicemia  Signs of aging  Dementia
 Eczema & Psoriasis  Insomnia  Hearing loss
 Muscle pain  Cavities  Periodontal disease
 Osteoporosis  Macular degeneration  Reduced C-section risk
 Pre eclampsia  Seizures  Infertility
 Asthma  Cystic fibrosis  Migraines
 Depression  Alzheimer’s disease  Schizophrenia

Researchers have calculated that simply increasing levels of vitamin D3 could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!

Vitamin D can decrease your risk for common respiratory infections as well. At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels.  That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:

1.   A 2007 study suggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection than did control subjects.

2.   A 2009 study on vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mothers' vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.

Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of developing ALRI, and since the child’s vitamin D level strongly correlates with its mother’s, the researchers recommend that all mothers optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their babies' health.

3.   A similar Indian study published in 2004 also reported that vitamin D deficiency in infants significantly raised their odds ratio for having severe ALRI.

4.   A 2009 analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey examined the association between vitamin D levels and recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in nearly 19,000 subjects over the age of 12.

Recent URTI was reported by:

·17 percent of participants with vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or higher

·20 percent of participants with vitamin D levels between 10-30 ng/ml.

·24 percent of participants with vitamin D levels below 10ng/ml

The positive correlation betweenlower vitamin D levels and increased risk of URTI was even stronger inindividuals with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

5.   Another 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. And that, based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.<

Where You Live Impacts Your Vitamin D Levels, and Your Disease Risk

The evidence is very clear that the farther away from the equator you live, the higher your risk of dying from cancer becomes, for example. In other words, those who live in higher latitudes have significantly higher cancer rates than those living in lower latitudes; directly correlating to the amount of available sunshine you have in your area.

For example, according to Dr. William Grant -- one of the top vitamin D researchers in the world – the cancer rate in Iceland is 90 per 100,000 people per year. Those in the tropics, meanwhile, have rates of 25 per 100,000!

And, he points out, the majority of cancer deaths in the United States are from vitamin-D-sensitive cancers. An estimated 150,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the United States alone by increasing vitamin D levels throughout the population. 

Are You Vitamin D Deficient, and if so, What Should You Do About It?

I still firmly believe that the best way to raise your vitamin D level is not with supplements, but by exposing your bare skin to sunshine. However, getting sun exposure is not always practical or even feasible, depending on where you live. 

During the winter, or during other times of the year when sun exposure is not a possibility for you, then supplementation with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is an option that should be seriously considered.  

I have often warned my readers to use extreme caution when taking oral vitamin D supplements in order to avoid overdosing. However, more and more research is showing that my fears of toxicity may have been overly cautious. 

That said, the way to proceed is to get your vitamin D levels tested before you begin, and then at regular intervals so that you can tell when you reach the optimal level, because the amount of vitamin D required (whether from sun exposure or supplementation) to reach this level is different for everyone.  

It’s thought that 85 percent of the American public is deficient in vitamin D and over 95 percent of African American or deeply pigmented individuals. And, in the United States, the late winter average vitamin D is only about 15-18 ng/ml, which is considered a VERY SERIOUS deficiency state.  

You can find out what your levels are by asking your doctor for a blood test called a 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. (Please note, there are two types of vitamin D tests, and this one is the one you want.) There are also two primary labs in the U.S. and you ONLY want to use Lab Corp.

The OPTIMAL value of vitamin D that you’re looking for has recently been raised to 50-65 ng/ml, with even higher recommended levels required for more serious disease prevention.

Vitamin D Levels

Find Out More About What Vitamin D Can Do for Your Health

This is one case where keeping on top of the rapid discoveries can be truly challenging.

I’ve already amended my recommendations for optimal vitamin D levels, the use of cod liver oil for vitamin D supplementation, and guidance on what labs to use to ensure accurate test results, and I’m sure there will be further updates and revisions as we move forward. So make sure you continue to read future updates.

The links below under Related Articles are some of my best starting points for finding additional sources, to continue your own exploration of this essential nutrient.

+ Sources and References