Vitamin D is an amazing substance. It’s a vitamin, but it acts like a hormone. It’s not a mineral, but you can’t have healthy bones without it. In fact, vitamin D is so important to your health, it connects directly with cells all over your body.
Low levels of vitamin D can lead to muscle pain and weakness… joint and bone pain… brittle bones, falls and fractures… and a whole host of health problems.
But the chances are good you’re not getting enough, even if you take a supplement with the amount the government recommends for your age group.
How can that be? I’ll explain in a moment… along with some of the benefits that getting enough vitamin D provides.
Expert Panel: You Need 3 – 5x the Current Guidelines
Yes, you read that correctly. An international panel of hospital and university experts says you probably get just a fraction of the vitamin D you need. And that’s if you’re already getting the amount the government recommends.1
You may need more than five times the vitamin D you’re getting now. And don’t worry about getting too much. The same expert panel found that the safe upper limit is actually five times higher than the current government figure, too!
You see, the government establishes “Recommended Dietary Allowances” (RDA) for most essential nutrients. But not for vitamin D. Vitamin D has an “Adequate Intake” guideline instead. Why? Because the government doesn’t know how much you really need. “Adequate Intake” really translates as “here’s our best guess.”
In this case, they’ve guessed wrong. Very wrong.
Just last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children get double the current guidelines.2 And the Mayo Clinic reported that more than a third of “otherwise healthy young adults” are short on vitamin D. When they looked at hospital admissions, that number jumped to 57%.3
So what’s the big deal? Just this…
You Only Get the Benefits of Vitamin D if You’re Getting Enough
Japanese researchers looked at a group of mature adults with low levels of vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D they found “effective” to bring blood levels up? 800 IU – 30% more than the US guideline for this age group.4
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that vitamin D can help strengthen bones against breaks. But the 400 IU our government recommends had no effect. Researchers found the benefits kicked in at 700 – 800 IU per day.5 That’s double the current guidelines for 51 – 70 year olds.
And to get the full benefit from vitamin D? A team at Zurich’s University Hospital calculated you need from 1,800 – 4,000 IU per day.6 That’s up to ten times the amount currently recommended!
Better Health from Bones to Balance
Getting “enough” may sound good. But what does “enough” vitamin D do for you? Just this:
- Keeps you walking. Tufts University researchers found a 2/3 lower risk of progressive knee problems in people who got more vitamin D.7
- Keeps you in control. An English team found vitamin D improves balance, reaction time and neuromuscular function.8
- Supports your bones. A number of studies show that vitamin D can help strengthen bones against breaks.5
Vitamin D also functions in your immune system… and even helps regulate blood pressure. So adding a little “extra” vitamin D really supports your overall health. That’s why I recommend getting plenty of vitamin D to all my patients.
Dr. Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
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