Vitamin D – Where to Get It and Why You Need It

By Buffalo Medical Group | June 2 2017 | Doctor Tips

Vitamin D is somewhat of a misnomer. It functions as a hormone in our bodies and is synthesized in the skin with the use of ultraviolet light. It’s best known for its benefit to bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis, but is also important for muscle strength and fall prevention, particularly for the elderly.

How to Get Vitamin D

With summer coming, the sun is great for vitamin D, but many of us don’t get enough of it and need additional sources, such as supplements or certain foods. If you want to add more vitamin D into your diet, choose foods like fatty fish and cod liver oil. They’re rich with vitamin D and hold the highest concentrations of it as far as edible options. The amounts added to milk or other dairy products can be substantial but somewhat inconsistent. Vitamin D supplements are typically recommended for most patients to treat a deficiency.

The Recommended Amount

The recommended dietary intake of vitamin D varies depending on many factors, but 800-1000 units per day is a safe minimum goal. Similarly, the optimal level of the main storage form of vitamin D in the body is controversial and may vary among ethnicities and/or body types, but currently 30-40 ng/ml would seem to be a reasonable and safe goal for most people while less than 20 is almost always “deficient,” over 50 of some concern for possible adverse effects and over 100 is generally to be avoided.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency can be associated with many diseases since it affects virtually all tissues in the body. There are also interesting theories of prevention or the treatment of illnesses using vitamin D supplementation. Currently, some of the most intriguing areas of interest in medicine research are the effect of vitamin D on the immune system, particularly suppression of autoimmune phenomena and cancer surveillance/prevention, potential cardiovascular benefits, fetal development and the prevention of neuropsychiatric illness at all ages, including autism, depression, etc.