Thought about your vitamin D status lately? As the winter months approach and the days get shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun’s UVB rays weaken to a point that they’re not strong enough to activate vitamin D production in skin. Because of the sun being too high and the angle too oblique during some of the winter months for certain places, it becomes impossible to glean any vitamin D benefit, even if you were to stand outside stark naked!
It’s about this time when vitamin D levels begin to plummet for many of us. Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University Medical Center has been studying vitamin D for more than 35 years and defines this principle even more in his book The Vitamin D Solution (Isagenix interviewed Dr. Holick prior to the launch of his book; see the interview here).*
He writes that “where you live” can indeed determine whether or not you can make vitamin D from sun exposure. For example, people living at mid-latitudes (about 30 to 50 degrees) in San Francisco or New York City make virtually no vitamin D from November to February. Similarly, people living in high latitudes (about 50 to 75 degrees), or as north as Anchorage, Alaska or Stockholm, Sweden, can’t make any vitamin D from October to March.
Vitamin D levels can be dangerously low for many in northern countries, which has created the need to fortify foods (such as milk) to boost intake and levels of vitamin D to prevent deficiency and potential disease. However, recent research has determined that vitamin D from fortified and natural foods has proved insufficient for maintaining blood concentrations of active circulating vitamin D (25-hydroxy(OH)2D) above the recommended 30 ng/mL.
Earlier this year the Endocrine Society issued a “Task Force” led by Dr. Holick to establish clinical practice guidelines to maintain vitamin D consistently above the recommended level. To assist at-risk individuals with meeting recommended vtamin D levels, the Task Force issued new dietary intake recommendations that differ significantly from those given by the Institute of Medicine:
• Infants ages 0-1: 400-1,000 IU/day
• Children ages 1-18: 600-1,000 IU/day
• Adults ages 18+: 1,500-2,000 IU/day
• Pregnant or nursing women under 18: 600-1,000 IU/day
• Pregnant or nursing women 18+: 1,500-2,000 IU/day
• Obese children and adults: at least 2-3 times the recommendation for their age group
• Children and adults on anticonvulsants, antifungals, and AIDS medications: at least 2-3 times the recommendation for their age group
Winter is a long time to go without a vitamin-like hormone as critical as vitamin D, which the scientific literature consistently shows has a heavy hand in bone modeling, muscle function, immune health, heart health and overall healthy aging. The good news is that if you’re already taking Ageless Actives™ or Essentials for Men or Women™, then you will get the 2,000 IU per day that is recommended to keep vitamin D at concentrations high enough for optimal health.
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• Vitamin D Improves Endothelial Function in Overweight African Americans