Most health conscious people have heard of the potential benefits of vitamin D. Many members in my free and private community are asking “Is vitamin D supplementation needed ?”
Get ready to learn everything you ever needed to know on how to supplement with vitamin D.
Themost comprehensive survey ever conducted on Vitamin D in Canadians has found widespread deficiencies of the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D has been promoted for everything from preventing cancer to reducing heart attack risk. On average, up to 50% of Canadians are deficient during the winter.
Various sources of Vitamin D
We can get vitamin D from two sources: food and sunshine. Seafood is the only significant source of vitamin D but you’d have to eat a lot of it to get enough. 8-9 ounces (normal portion size is 4 oz.) of herring provides about 2,000 IU of Vitamin D which is a minimum daily requirement for most people to maintain adequate blood levels. So realistically, it would be impossible to get our daily requirement of Vitamin D from just food.
The other source of vitamin D is sunlight (Ultraviolet B rays) which is converted by our skin into vitamin D3. This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer. Note that skin must not be protected by sunscreen lotion as it blocks the ultraviolet rays needed for the sun to get converted in Vitamin D. Now you do not need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn.
How much Vitamin D is produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose, the more vitamin D is produced therefore Vitamin D supplementation will need to be altered at various times of the year.
Is sunlight a sufficient source of Vitamin D?
Well, in the summer mid-day sun with pale skin, 30 minutes of direct sunlight will produce 10-20,000 IU of Vitamin D. But this is a best-case scenario. With darker skin, at different times of the year, buildings that block the sunlight, or increased time spent indoors, we won’t produce that much. It’s also true that aging, being overweight and inflammation can reduce our conversion of sunlight to Vitamin D. This is why sunlight alone isn’t normally a sufficient source of Vitamin D.
If you live anywhere with 4 seasons like Canada, Eastern US, or Northern Europe, that very much reduces exposure to the sun in the winter which could result in a deficiency in Vitamin D. In my view, in most northern countries, most folks need to know how to supplement with vitamin D because they obviously need more of the vitamin than they’re currently getting.
Optimum Level of Vitamin D
The optimal level of 25D is somewhere between 75 and 125 nmol/L in blood.
You should always request your family doctor to have your level of Vitamin D (25D) tested during your yearly exam. Be aware that there is a fee of $30 for this test (unless your doctor determines that you have a condition or predisposition that would require Vitamin D testing). In my view, it is well worth the price.
How to Supplement with Vitamin D: The Best Source
We already know that food is a weak source of Vitamin D so we can’t rely on it. Based on where you live, you may not be able to rely on sunlight either (Canada, Eastern US, Northern Europe).
With this in mind, I recommend that people should supplement Vitamin D. The amount needed to maintain blood levels of 75 and 125 nmol/L varies depending on some of the factors I’ve listed above, but in my experience, it’s usually somewhere between 2,000 – 5,000 IU daily.
I wrote an extensive guide on natural supplementation which includes my favorite and most recommended brand of vitamin D. You can access the guide here and you will also gain access to my private online dispensary.
If your Vitamin D level is below optimum, the first place to start is with cod liver oil. Follow with an additional supplement of Vitamin D3. It’s important to test your Vitamin D levels before you begin supplementation. Be sure to re-test a few months later to determine the correct maintenance dose. Vitamin D supplementation levels will change based on time of the year and your location.
Share your thoughts: Do you know how to supplement with Vitamin D? How do you manage your Vitamin D level? I would love to know your point of view.