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Are Your Vitamin D Levels Critical?

Published November 3rd, 2014

"Doc, but I live in Florida, I’m always outdoors."  These are the words I continually hear from my patients as I report to them that their Vitamin D level is seriously low.  Even though we live in Florida, and live a seemingly more active, outdoors, lifestyle then the rest of the country, our Vitamin D levels are no better than our New York relatives whom right about now are breaking out their jackets.  Vitamin D is essential in hundreds of pathways throughout your body.  It’s deficiency can affect your heart, lungs, digestion, metabolism and mood to name just a few.  While commercial labs will report a normal value between 30-100 ng/mL, I much prefer to have my patients in the 60-90 ng/mL range.  Replacement is easy and relatively inexpensive. Vitamin D3 is typically  available in 1000 IU, 2000 IU and 5000 IU, 10,000 IU. General replacement guidelines are as follows:

  • <10 ng/mL –               10,000 units per day
  • 10–20 ng/mL –           10,000 units per day
  • 20–30 ng/mL –           8,000 units per day
  • 30–40 ng/mL –           5,000 units per day 
  • 40–50 ng/mL –           2,000 units per day

Getting too much vitamin D is difficult but always consult your physician before starting any new regimen.  There are certain conditions in which replacement must be adjusted as your Calcium level may subsequently become elevated.  While I advocate getting off the couch, going for a walk, and enjoying the beautiful climate we take for granted in South Florida, I also strongly recommend using sunscreen with an SPF greater than 15.  Did you know SPF greater than 15 blocks 100% of vitamin D absorption? Remember, your vitamin D level should be rechecked 2 weeks to 2 month after starting replacement.  
Have a healthy day,
Dr. Michele

P.S.  Thank you to our friends at for the following article and to our friends at for the Vitamin D infographic at the bottom.

From boosting the immune system to protecting against dementia, here are nine reasons it’s important to keep vitamin D levels up.

1. Protect vision: Want to save your vision? One study found that having adequate levels of the sunshine vitamin just may ward off the leading cause of blindness.

2. Reduce back pain: Low vitamin D levels may be responsible for your back pain.  Stewart Leavitt, PhD, Executive Director of Pain Treatment Topics, found that patients with chronic back pain usually had insufficient levels of vitamin D. Funny enough, when they were given adequate vitamin D supplementation, their pain either vanished or was significantly relieved.

3. Skip cold and flu season: Sufficient levels of vitamin D just may help you dodge a cold or flu. Scientists have found that inadequate levels of vitamin D lend to a deficiency in the immune defenses that protect us from infections, neoplasias or autoimmune diseases.

4. Dodge colon cancer: Having sufficient levels of vitamin D may mean life or death if you’re ever diagnosed with colon cancer. In fact, one study found that those with high levels of vitamin D were less likely to ever develop colon cancer, and more likely to survive if the cancer ever did developed.

5. Protect against breast cancer: Women who are genetically susceptible to breast cancer may benefit from higher vitamin D levels, as it interferes with the genetic pathway responsible for these types of tumors.

6. Be happy: You’ve likely heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. It’s the condition of feeling depressed and ‘blue’ during the darker winter months, and it’s thought that this is due to lack of the sunshine vitamin. Read up on how low vitamin D levels can impact your mood.

7. Reduce dementia risk: Vitamin D may lower your risk of developing dementia. It is believed that vitamin D helps to transport amyloid beta protein structures across the delicate blood-brain barrier so the clusters can be released for eventual disposal.

8. Improve blood pressure: Even making small improvements in vitamin D status can greatly reduce hypertension risk. In fact, according to one study, for every ten percent increase in vitamin D3 blood concentrations, the risk of developing hypertension decreased by 8.1 percent.

9. Lower heart attack risk: In a 2008 study, researchers found that men who had insufficient levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who had adequate levels of the vitamin.

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