We all know by now that Vitamin D is much more than a vitamin; it’s more of a hormone and it seems almost every week we learn about another mechanism where it can help in the body. Happily, levels are easy to test for and any anomalies simply corrected in most cases.
What should your Vitamin D level be on your results?
People are often given the info that their Vitamin D result is ‘normal’, but when I look at it, I don’t agree. I’m generally looking for an ‘optimum’ amount of about 120-160nmol (sometimes measured as roughly 50-80 ng/L) whereas I saw someone only this week whose 56nmol was apparently ‘normal’. I think not.
How much Vitamin D should you supplement?
On average 1000iu of Vitamin D will help to raise the nmol by about 7-10 points. So, in this example, to get from 56 to 120, the person would need to take about 6-7000iu per day and then retest after about 2 months. You can do it faster with eg. 25,000iu for up to a week and then a lower maintenance dose, but I generally prefer the slower build as I find it more sustainable.
When you take your Vitamin D supplement is quite important. It is a fat-soluble nutrient so it is best taken with food. Some studies suggest it is best taken with your largest meal of the day – probably because it contains the most fat. If you find after a while that your levels aren’t rising, it may be that you are not absorbing well, in which case consider the Acid & Enzyme factsheet advice as it is unlikely to just be Vitamin D you’re deficient in then. You might also choose a pre-emulsified supplement to help, which is why I’ve chosen those to recommend – see below.
People then often think that their Vitamin D will remain at the level they got it to and stop supplementing or drop down too low. I tend to advise a check at the start of Autumn (because we need more Vitamin D for the colder months, so where is yours at the end of Summer?) and at the start of Spring (as we need less in the sunnier months). That way, you can manage your Vitamin D levels, being relatively sure you are maintaining an optimal level that works with the seasons and, importantly, not over-supplementing: there is such a thing as too much Vitamin D!
A GP test or a simple fingerprick test done twice a year after your first correction is a good policy. For supplementation, your doc will prescribe some possibly or use a good absorbable emulsified form like this 1000iu per drop version or this 2000iu one.