I have all my clients get their vitamin D level checked and the majority of them have low levels, especially during winter. Keep this in mind: if you completely cover yourself in sun-block during the summer you may find your levels are low during this time of the year too. During colder and darker days of winter, the winter blues or seasonal depression is more common and having sufficient vitamin D can actually improve your mood. As well as the winter blues, certain people who are prone to low serotonin have more severe anxiety during the darker days of winter – I call it the winter mauves – and vitamin D can help with this too! Winter is a season when you especially want your levels to be good because good levels are so important for immunity – so get your levels up and avoid the colds and flu. This amazing nutrient is also crucial for optimal bone and heart health and also helps protect against cancer and fibromyalgia.
Have your doctor check your vitamin D status with a simple blood test. This is what should be tested: 25-hydroxy-vitamin D.
There is a ton of vitamin D research going on and there are some differences as to what is considered the ideal level and how much to take.
Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council makes these recommendations which I am totally in agreement with:
- the new vitamin D guidelines, released in November 2010 (600 IU /day for adults up to age seventy) are still too low
- take 5000 IU daily until your level is between 50 and 80 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), the midpoint of the current lab reference range of 32 to 100 ng/mL
- once your levels are ideal, take a maintenance dose of 2000 to 5000 IU per day
- and then test your levels every three months (you should see your levels increase pretty quickly over a 3 month period)
When supplementing, be sure to take vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). You can now find really good vitamin D supplements in 1000 IU, 2000 IU and 5000 IU doses and many companies are now making it in convenient drops which are easier for some of my clients (and also children) to take.
Dr. John Cannell and the Vitamin D Council is a great resource for recent findings and information www.vitamindcouncil.org
And don’t forget to eat your deep water oily fish like sardines and salmon and plenty of pastured or organic eggs – all of which are great sources of vitamin D. Your body can also make its own vitamin D when you’re outdoors so get out in the sunshine and go for a walk or do something fun outside. And again a full-spectrum lamp is great to use during the winter. But if your levels are low you will need to supplement because food and sunshine (especially when further north like much of the USA) won’t be enough.
I find vitamin D so important for my clients with anxiety, and I devote a whole section on this important nutrient in my new book The Antianxiety Food Solution – How the Foods you eat can calm your anxious mind, improve mood and end cravings. Find out more at www.antianxietyfoodsolution.com
Good vitamin D levels means feeling on top of the world, not getting sick, having a healthy heart and strong bones – and so much more.